Category: Issue 54

Horse-featured

Horse Power

How does the archaeological record reflect the vital role horses played in the development of civilisation?

Trawler-new

Wrecks in jeopardy

Is global trawling of fragile shipwrecks the greatest threat to underwater heritage today?

Amara west

Sudan: Amara West

What was life like under the shadow of the pharaohs? The realities of life and death under Egypt’s rule

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France: Barbegal watermills

When they were built in the 2nd century AD, the great watermills at Barbegal, in the South of France, were at the very cutting edge of technology. Their revolutionary design, says Wayne Lorenz, enabled the Roman Empire to flourish, and endured unchanged until the 20th century.

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Namibia’s mandolins

‘Expect the unexpected’ is a good maxim for any archaeologist. But nothing could have prepared Terry Hardaker and his team for their spectacular find as they explored the ancient land surfaces in a remote part of western Namibia.

Pachacamac

Peru: Pachacamac

Why were the bodies of a dozen newborn babies placed around the edge of a 1,000-year-old tomb?

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Turkey: Dascyleum

The unstoppable Persian king, Cyrus the Great, powered through Anatolia, conquering all in his path. In 547 BC, he defeated Croesus, the legendary Lydian king of ‘rich as Croesus’ fame. The new empire was divided into regional satrapies; the capital of one was Dascyleum, where recent excavations led by Kaan İren tell the story of that fiery onslaught and subsequent settlement.

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Turkey: The Koru tumulus

The Koru tumulus The large cluster of tumuli around Lake Kuş (Lake Manyas) – reminiscent of the Thousand Mounds of Sardis, the great royal cemetery of the father of Croesus, King Alyattes – belongs to Dascyleum. It includes burials of Phrygian, Lydian, Persian, and Macedonian nobles. Here, Kaan İren reports on recent excavations at one […]

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Ancient masters

Europe’s oldest known cave art could be the work of Neanderthals more than 40,000 years ago, say archaeologists. The abstract red circles and stencilled handprints decorating the walls of El Castillo cave, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Spain, were discovered over a century ago, but until recently the paintings’ age had not been […]

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Pushing back pottery use

Fragments of 20,000-year-old pottery discovered in south-east China have pushed back the use of ceramics to 10,000 years before agriculture. This shows that pottery was invented by mobile hunter-gatherers, rather than developing from the more settled lifestyles of early farmers, as was previously believed. Found during excavations at Xianrendong Cave, the sherds are 2,000-3,000 years […]

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Earliest instruments

Archaeologists have identified the world’s oldest instruments, showing that early modern humans were making music 40,000 years ago. Two flutes, one made from bird bone and the other from mammoth ivory, were uncovered during excavations at Geißenklösterle cave in south-west Germany between 1973 and 1990. Now, researchers led by the University of Oxford’s Prof. Tom […]

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