Issue 51

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 […]

France: The Villers-Carbonnel lady

The Somme region of Picardie is already famous in archaeological circles for the first hand axe to be found in a securely stratified context with the bones of extinct mammals. This find prompted the realisation in European antiquarian circles that humans were far older than timeframes based on Biblical events. Now the same region has […]

Mexico: Moche monkey business

A gold monkey-head pendant has been returned to Peru thanks to the intervention of the country’s ambassador Luis Valdivieso. The artefact, which had been housed by the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, was made by the Moche people. Renowned for their elaborate gold work, the Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru in […]

Japan; Kublai Khan’s invasion fleet

The wreck of a Mongolian ship that took part in Kublai Khan’s attempts to invade and subjugate Japan in 1281 has been discovered on the seabed off southern Japan. The warship appears to be nearly complete, and lies in 1m of silt at a depth of 25m. An archaeological team from Okinawa’s University of the […]

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Chris Catling on…

Lion man or woman? In August 1939, archaeologist Otto Völzing was excavating deep inside the Stadel cave in the Schwäbische Alb mountains of south-western Germany when the Second World War rudely interrupted his research. As so often happens in archaeology, his most spectacular find – a carved ivory figure – emerged on the last day. […]

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Knossos

Results of the excavations at Knossos surpassed all expectations. Evans revealed a vast palace complex of Middle Bronze Age date , 1300 rooms connected by a network of corridors…

Charles Higham On...

Charles Higham: notes from the field

At a barbecue last year, a former student of mine, who had joined me on my excavations for 20 years, suggested the time had come for me to give up fieldwork and leave it to younger people. I reflected on this by comparing my interests and plans with those of my contemporaries who studied archaeology […]

 © Richard Hodges

Italy: postcard

Tuscany conjures thoughts of the apogee of rich living. Its picturesque villages, graced by grand villas and their pools, serve as summer homes to the jet set. It is hard not to conclude that it has always been like this. Renaissance towns and castle-sized farms from the same period are a global benchmark for civilised […]

 © Musee Carnavalet

France: Paris Crypte Archaeologique

It is a traveller’s story repeated throughout the decades. The first-time visitor to Paris arrives in the city armed with a checklist of ‘must-see’ wonders – sites viewed in photographs so often that they are imprinted in the mind’s eye. And, unlike so many other places, in Paris every monument equals or surpasses expectation: the […]

Egypt: James Henry Breasted

He founded the Oriental Institute in Chicago, was the first American to achieve a doctorate in Egyptology, and his book is an enduring classic a century later. Yet few today even know his name. Here, Andrew Robinson reviews a new biography that should bring James Henry Breasted the recognition he deserves. James Henry Breasted has […]

Book review: Photography and Archaeology

Frederick N Bohrer Reaktion Books Ltd, £17.95 Before photography, archaeologists hired ‘tracers’ to copy inscriptions and record finds by hand. Howard Carter himself first entered archaeology through this route, having trained as an artist. But once the camera became a regular feature on site, the art of documenting excavations changed forever. Frederick Bohrer’s insightful new […]

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