Issue 57


Richard Hodges travels to: Visegrád

Forty minutes north of Budapest, on a bend in the Danube, occupying a strategic point on its western side, lies Visegrád. In Roman times, this was a heavily fortified stretch of the Pannonian limes, controlling some of the richest farming land in Europe. Today, though, its real fascination lies in how Hungary’s smallest town became […]


CWA travels to: Montmaurin

Exploring a Gallo-Roman grand design The idyllic setting and picturesque ruins of the Gallo-Roman villa at Montmaurin certainly would have appealed to the Romantics of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Set in a rural landscape against the backdrop of grazing animals and the distant white peaks of the Pyrenees, the ruined walls rise up […]


CWA travels to: Mount Nemrut

How the mighty have fallen High on a mountain top in a remote part of south-eastern Turkey, the gods congregate at a place known as Mount Nemrut (Nemrud Daği). It is not easy to reach, but definitely worth the climb. After a long trek up the mountain trail to a height of some 2,100m (6,900ft), […]


Chris Catling on… Mythical beasts, bones, and mystery lines

Unicorn lair found North Korea seems to live in a parallel universe where truth is concerned. Even the name – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – is one that cannot be taken without a large dose of salt. Various events in the life of the former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il would surely send […]


A Passion for Roman Pottery

Rei Cretariæ Romanæ Favtores More than 150 archaeologists from 24 different countries gathered in Catania, Sicily, to share their interest in, their knowledge of, and their uncertainties about Roman pottery. Philip Kenrick reports on the Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautores (Devotees of Roman Pottery), which met for its 28th International Congress in September 2012. The RCRF […]


Charles Higham: Water, Ritual, and Function

Water, ritual, and function I am writing this column on an aeroplane heading from Christchurch in New Zealand to Singapore, then on to Bangkok for the second season of excavations at Non Ban Jak. As is usual with all my Thai digs, I have no idea what will turn up as we go deeper into […]


Lucy in the trees with primates

Australopithecus afarensis such as ‘Lucy’ (CWA 32) may not represent the moment hominids finally came down from the trees after all, newly published research suggests. Ground-dwelling bipedalism is often held up by anthropologists as an essential marker of ‘human-ness’, setting us apart from all other great apes living today, who spend at least some of […]


Meet the Hobbit

Modern humans can now look their recently discovered relative, Homo floresiensis, in the face thanks to a new reconstruction unveiled at an archaeological conference in Australia. This species of early human was first identified in 2003 when researchers led by Professor Mike Morwood and Thomas Sutikna found the remains of nine individuals in Liang Bua, […]


Practical Peking Man

Also more sophisticated than previously thought is Peking Man, who may have made clothing and composite tools, archaeologists say. A subset of Homo erectus living in China c.200,000-750,000 years ago, the existence of Peking Man was revealed between 1929 and 1937 when a number of fossils, mostly from skulls, were excavated at Zhoukoudian, 55km (34 […]


Birdmen of Koutroulou Magoula

Archaeologists have uncovered more than 300 clay figurines depicting male and female forms, as well as human-bird hybrids, at Koutroulou Magoula, a Neolithic settlement in central Greece. Ranging from 3-4cm to 10-12cm in length (about 1-4.5in), the models were scattered all over the 4ha site (nearly 10 acres), with some recovered from the foundations of […]


Core of the matter

Archaeologists have identified a 30,000-year-old stone tool as China’s earliest-known engraved object – a key marker in the development of modern human behaviour. Found at Shuidonggou in the 1980s, the 68mm-long (2.7in) core’s significance was realised during recent analysis of the site’s stone assemblage by Professor Gao Xing and Dr Peng Fei from the Chinese […]


A tall tale

A 16- to 20-year-old Roman from the 3rd century AD represents the first complete skeleton of a person with gigantism known from Antiquity, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. At 2m (6ft 7in), he would have towered over contemporaries in imperial Rome, when men averaged around 1.7m (5ft 7in) […]

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