Issue 53


Charles Higham: A prehistoric mystery

The McDonald Institute at Cambridge University has, for many years, held special symposia on topics that traditionally lie on the ‘edge of knowability’. These involve about 20 specialists, each of whom delivers a brief summary of a pre-circulated paper, before the floor is opened to discussion. I have been lucky enough to be invited to […]


Turkey: Ancient language discovered

News breaking as we go to press that archaeologists have discovered an unknown language dating back 2,500 years to the days of the Assyrian Empire will not surprise CWA readers, who were given an early exclusive by Dr John MacGinnis in his feature on the ancient site of Ziyaret Tepe in Turkey (CWA 50). He […]


Oetzi: cold case

Researchers studying 5,300-year-old ‘Oetzi’ have found traces of blood, the oldest red blood cells ever recovered, showing he died shortly after his wound was inflicted. Tissue samples from his fatal arrow wound revealed the distinctive ‘doughnut’ shape of red blood cells, and fibrin, a protein associated with blood clotting. The traces of fibrin show the […]


Archaeologists protest

Greek archaeologists picketed a recent auction of antiquities at a London auction house in protest against cuts to state heritage services in Greece. Ten demonstrators stood outside Christie’s during the sale of Egyptian, Greek, Mesopotamian, and Roman artefacts, holding placards with images of shattered museum cases. This article is an extract from the full article […]


South Africa: Burning evidence

Humans used fire a million years ago – more than 300,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a team led by Michael Chazan of the University of Toronto and Liora Kolska Horwitz, Hebrew University, whose findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Excavation at Wonderwerk cave in South Africa […]


20,000-year-old huts in Jordan

Excavations in Jordan have unearthed 20,000-year-old huts that could reshape our view of how humans lived before the development of agriculture. The research, recently published in PLoS One, suggests hunter-gatherers in this region had fixed settlements with extensive trade networks 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. ‘Kharaneh IV is one of the densest and largest […]


Egypt: Missing manuscript

Lost fragments of an ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead have been rediscovered in Australia. On a visit to Queensland Museum, British Museum Egyptologist Dr John Taylor noticed a familiar name on one of the pieces of papyrus on display – a ‘once-in-a-lifetime discovery’, he said. Archaeologists had been searching for the missing pieces of […]


UNESCO protects the Titanic

The Titanic has been granted official protection from unscientific exploration by UNESCO. According to the UN’s cultural agency, over 700 divers have visited the wreck but after passing the centenary of her sinking on 15 April, the ship fell under the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. For more information on the […]


Chinese artefacts stolen

As we go to press, a third man has been arrested in connection with the theft of 18 Chinese artefacts from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The objects, which are mostly jade, date mainly from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and were taken on 13 April at around 7.30pm. Cambridgeshire police have released CCTV images […]


Egypt: The Aurochs of Qurta

Five years ago, CWA reported on the discovery of the oldest rock art found in North Africa (CWA 24). Dirk Huyge and his team have been back to Egypt to re-examine the site: it seems not only are the petroglyphs even older than first thought, they may show possible contact with Europe.


Peru: Peruvian priestess

The discovery of a 13th-century priestess at a ritual site in northern Peru is forcing a reassessment of the role of women in Lambayeque culture. The 25- to 30-year-old woman was buried at Chotuna-Chornancap, adorned with elaborate jewellery, ceramic offerings, and gold and silver ritual objects proclaiming her elite status. ‘This has revolutionised our thinking,’ […]


Celtic coins – Füllinsdorf, Switzerland

In Füllinsdorf, archaeologists have announced the discovery of the largest hoard of Iron Age silver coins ever to be found in Switzerland. Almost 300 Celtic coins were found in farmland during a survey by Baselland Archaeology. Cantonal archaeologist Dr Reto Marti told CWA that the coins were buried together in 70 BC or 80 BC, […]

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