Issue 56


A Japanese time capsule

Archaeologists will be able to determine the age of ancient objects much more precisely following a breakthrough in radiocarbon dating using sediments from Lake Suigetsu in Japan. Radiocarbon, or C-14, is a naturally occurring, radioactive isotope of carbon that is continuously produced in the upper atmosphere and becomes incorporated into all living organisms. Once the […]


No sting in this tale

A piece of cloth woven from nettle fibres and found in a Danish Bronze Age burial mound is evidence of far-reaching trade connections 2,800 years ago, archaeologists say. Excavated on Funen, off the coast of Denmark, the cloth had been used to wrap the cremated remains of a man, which were then placed in a […]


Paving the way

Excavations in southern Turkey have uncovered a huge Roman mosaic, suggesting that Imperial culture was more influential on the edge of the empire than previously thought. Decorated with large squares, each filled with a colourful geometric design, the mosaic was part of a baths, lying alongside a 25ft-long (7.5m) marble-lined pool, and is thought to […]


Germany: Saalburg

Our ideas about what a Roman fort should look like are being overturned, or at least being severely challenged, by recent reconstructions at the Roman fort of the Saalburg in Germany, as Andrew Selkirk reveals.


Early Seafaring: Beyond the Blue Horizon

In the first of a two-part series, Brian Fagan reveals tantalising highlights of the rich and complex history of ancient seafaring. He has combined his love of the sea with a deep-rooted curiosity about our species’ earliest endeavours in his new book Beyond the Blue Horizon. This is no history of caravels, galleys, and galleons, but an investigation into the humble beginnings of ocean voyaging. Why did these intrepid explorers venture out on to the wild unknown seas?


SW Pacific: Erromango

Within hours of stepping ashore, the 19th-century missionaries were dead, their bodies cut up and eaten by local chiefs. Undeterred – or perhaps inspired – more followed. They met a similar fate. James L Flexner ventured to this tiny, far-flung island to discover what remains of this turbulent time.


China: Pingyao

Pingyao is an archaeological site with a difference: 30,000 people still live in it.
Once the banking capital of China, it has been continuously occupied for more than
2,700 years, and today provides an astonishing picture of life in Imperial China. But, asks Tom St John Gray, are tourist dollars turning the city into a theme park of the past?


Sicily: Selinunte

The Temple of Hera at Selinunte is testament to the grandeur of this great Classical settlement. But it is just one of many on this sanctuary site. Now, Clemente Marconi and his team have uncovered one of the finest examples of Greek cult architecture and, next to it, one of the earliest to be discovered so far West – dedicated, they believe, to Hera’s sister Demeter.


CWA 56

Three thousand years ago, the daughter of a priest from the temple of Amun at Karnak was laid to rest in the nearby Valley of the Kings. The tomb already had an occupant, but grave robbers had long since done their worst. So the ransacked body was carefully rewrapped, laid to one side, and lightly […]


CWA travels to: Oslo

Down on the quayside in front of Oslo’s fabulously functional City Hall, a small queue of tourists gather to catch the ferry that will take us to see some rather older boats – more than a thousand years older, in fact. As we scud across the steely waters of the fjord, past the forbidding walls […]


Richard Hodges travels to: Aegina

As the aeroplane circled to land at Athens international airport, I half expected to see a riot on the runway. The hysteria in the press immediately after the first failed spring election in Greece seemed to be paving the way for the end of the world as we have known it. Six months earlier, I […]

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