Issue 56


CWA travels to: Erbil Citadel

The World’s Longest Living Town Today, you will only get a view of Erbil Citadel ‘some four miles away’ from the window of a plane: there is a building boom going on in the modern city that surrounds the ancient settlement. Even so, the sight of the great citadel cannot fail to impress. It sits […]


Neolithic dentists?

A 6,500-year-old tooth packed with beeswax represents the earliest dental filling, newly published research says. Found in part of a human jaw excavated in a Slovenian cave, the tooth is a left canine, thought to have belonged to a man aged between 24 and 30 years old. Research led by Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz […]


Chris Catling on…

The dogs of archaeology Dogs have long been used in police work and truffle hunting, and their ability to find people buried beneath the snow of an avalanche has saved many a life, but now their acute sense of smell is being used by archaeologists in Australia to help them find ancient graves. A black […]


Charles Higham: Why silence is golden

During a recent visit to Mycenae – as a guest speaker with Swan Hellenic – my wife Polly and I were amused by the overheard conversation of another couple, clearly American tourists who, I hastily add, were not from our cruise. Rather overweight and clearly feeling the heat, the lady sat on a large rock […]


An archaeological smoking gun: the tomb of a Maya warrior queen

Archaeologists in Guatemala believe they may have uncovered the tomb of the 7th-century warrior queen K’abel, one of the great female rulers of Classic Maya civilisation. The burial was discovered during excavations by a team from Washington University in St Louis investigating the Maya city of El Perú-Waka, about 75km (47 miles) from Tikal. Interred […]


Running dry

The collapse of Classic Maya civilisation was brought about by war and social unrest driven by climate change, newly published research suggests. An international team of scientists have analysed stalagmites in Yok Balum cave, Belize, to reconstruct a precisely dated record of rainfall in the Classic Maya region, dating back 2,000 years. This was compared […]


Decoding Demotic

A 37-year project to compile a dictionary of Demotic – the language of ordinary ancient Egyptians – has been completed, opening a window on everyday life 2,500 years ago. Taking its name from the Greek demos, or ‘common people’, Demotic was used between 500 BC-AD 500. Its flowing script was much faster and easier to […]

Recycling ideas

Recycling is no modern concept: our ancestors were putting old tools to new uses 13,000 years ago, archaeologists in Spain have discovered. In the first study of its kind, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, researchers examined the unusually high number of re-worked burnt tools found at Molí del Salt in Tarragona. Manuel Vaquero, […]


Jobs for the girls

Austrian archaeologists are reconsidering prehistoric gender roles after the discovery of what could be the earliest female metalworker. The burial of a mature woman, aged between 45 and 60, was uncovered along with 14 other early Bronze Age graves during excavations by the Austrian Museum of Ancient History at Geitzendorf, north-west of Vienna. She had […]


Ancient Egypt in Manchester

A hundred years after its first Egyptian exhibition, Manchester Museum has reopened its Ancient Egypt and Archaeology collections to the public following a £1.57m revamp. Three new ‘Ancient Worlds’ galleries showcase the museum’s collections, ranging from prehistoric Egypt (c.10,000 BC) to the Byzantine era (c.AD 600), introducing the people and stories behind the ancient objects, […]


Ancient Egyptian teething problems

High-resolution CT scans of an ancient Egyptian mummy have revealed that the young man suffered from terrible dental problems – and that he used a unique treatment to try to soothe his toothache. Aged in his 20s or early 30s, the man had a mouth full of cavities and abscesses that would have caused him […]


Egypt’s lonely princess

Excavations at Abusir, south of Cairo, have identified the 4,500-year-old tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess called Sheretnebty. More than a mile from the burials of the rest of her dynasty, she had been laid to rest in a complex of rock-cut tombs, in a part of the site dedicated to the graves of non-royal […]

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