Issue 51

Pompeii

What’s new in Pompeii

Pompeii and its neighbour Herculaneum are among the oldest archaeological sites in the world, but today they risk destruction by exposure to the elements, tourist traffic, and time. Yet these are not new problems. As early as the 18th century, excavators applied varnish to wall-paintings in an attempt to prevent their decay; different types of conservation work have taken place on site ever since. The challenge now is to ensure the preservation of these sites while continuing investigations into the town, its inhabitants, and its history. How can we preserve Pompeii’s past for our future? And what more is there to learn?

France: la Glacerie

La Glacerie in Cherbourg, Normandy, is the first WWII Prisoner of War camp for German soldiers to be excavated and studied. How does living memory measure up to archaeological research? Robert Early compares the hard evidence with the witness accounts.

Aegae

Aegae: Capital of Macedonian Kings

In 1855, the young French archaeologist Léon Heuzey found the remains of a magnificent palace, concealed under a ruined chapel. The village nearby was called Palatitsia, a name that hints at its former regal glory. Could this be the palace of the ancient Macedonian kings? In issue #50 Andrew Selkirk told the story of how the tomb of Philip II of Macedon – father to Alexander the Great – was discovered here. Now, he returns to examine the rest of the site and shares its secrets with us.

 © Simon Keay

Italy: Portus

Imperial Rome’s mighty maritime gate at Portus was revealed in CWA 42. Now, Simon Keay reports on an exciting new discovery that may hold the key to the nature of this port: the giant military shipsheds of the Emperor’s fleet.

 © UNESCO/Niamh Burke

India: Hampi

The former capital of one of the greatest and wealthiest empires of the Indian subcontinent for 300 years until its destruction in 1565 is facing a new and very modern danger: bulldozers. Paul Woodfield visited the site.

 © Stuart Campbell

Turkey: Domuztepe

The popular image of Neolithic communities is of small hamlet-sized groups. Excavation at the vast settlement at Domuztepe has turned this notion on its head. What rules or rituals could have bound such a huge community together? Alexandra Fletcher and Stuart Campbell believe a macabre ‘death pit’ and mysterious red-clay terrace hold the clue.

Mexico: Mexican pyramid’s first offering

Archaeologists investigating the core of the Pyramid of the Sun, at Teotihuacan on the outskirts of Mexico City, have discovered the ceremonial offering placed at the heart of Mexico’s tallest pyramid, deposited when construction first began in about AD 50. Laid on the pyramid’s rubble base, the offerings included obsidian knives and projectile heads, 11 […]

Alaska: Chinese buckle

An ancient Chinese-style bronze buckle found by a team from the University of Colorado Boulder in Alaska may prove the earliest evidence of trade links with East Asia. The CU-led excavations are part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to study human responses to climate change at Cape Espenberg from AD 800 to AD 1400, […]

Smithsonian: Tang Treasures special report

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC has withdrawn from hosting a controversial maritime exhibition. Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds was due to open in the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in spring this year, but has been cancelled following a two-day conference in December 2011, attended by an international advisory committee of experts that included the […]

Romania: Threatened ‘city’

A massive Late Bronze Age (1500- 1100 BC) fortified settlement in Romania is under threat from intensive agriculture, according to archaeologists from Romania, Germany, and Britain. Funds are urgently needed for excavation before the site at Cornesti-Iarcuri is ploughed out. The site, located in the plains of the Banat in western Romania, is almost 6km […]

East Timor: Early deep-sea fishermen

The idea that the early humans who migrated to South-east Asia and on to Australia 50,000 or more years ago lacked the skills to build boats has been dealt a blow by evidence for deep-sea fishing 42,000 years ago. Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra have found 38,000 fish bones from 2,843 […]

Syria: Upheavals halt excavations

Archaeologists in Syria have been forced to pull out of the country because of civil unrest, with protesters opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad. International teams were recording sites threatened by the Halabiyeh hydropower scheme. Now they fear that many of these important and little-explored sites will be lost to flood waters, if the […]

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