It may be the royal tombs that spring to mind when we think of the Valley of the Kings, but you did not have to be pharaoh to secure space in the cemetery. More modest tombs exist in greater numbers, although the identity of many of their occupants remains a mystery. Donald P Ryan has been investigating.
The pharaohs did not lie in splendid isolation in the Valley of the Kings. While they held a monopoly on the spectacular royal tombs driven far into the bedrock, favoured individuals could also secure space in the cemetery. They had to make do with humbler tombs – often more modest than they would have expected […]
More than a decade ago I took a holiday on Naxos. This Cycladic island is a paradise for walkers and those who find pleasure in old high-walled mule tracks that connect miniature Byzantine churches. A German guidebook led me from village to village through this blessed landscape. One day, to escape this comforting world, I […]
The 200th anniversary of Raffles’ arrival in Singapore has galvanised debate about the legacy of this controversial figure. His modern profile owes much to his interest in heritage, which restored his reputation after a debacle in Java. Tom St John Gray has been following in Raffles’ footsteps. Nestled among the skyscrapers and colonial buildings of […]
The golden burial of a Scythian king In 2001, more than 5,000 gold objects were discovered in an untouched Scythian burial in Tuva, Central Asia. But where exactly is Tuva? We first look at an earlier excavation that pushed back the date of the Scythians, and then look in detail at the latest magnificent discovery. […]
When excavations at Akrotiri commenced in 1967, they revealed a prehistoric town with buildings still standing two or even three storeys high. More than 50 years later, the story of the life and death of an extraordinary settlement is still being teased out. We find out more.
It is a building like no other at Akrotiri. Now known as the ‘House of the Benches’, it is tucked away on the edge of the famous Bronze Age town. Inside, there is no sign of the domestic set-up suggested by its modern name. Instead, archaeologists have found traces of perplexing and mysterious activity. Among […]
How did an Egyptian pharaoh rejuvenate after a demanding year? The annual Opet festival at Luxor was dedicated to renewing the semi-divine ruler’s lifeforce, but mortals will also benefit from a visit to the temple, as Matthew Symonds reveals. When it came to keeping up with the neighbours, Luxor temple never really stood a chance. […]
A Tuscan challenge Modern archaeology cannot turn a blind eye to its importance in contemporary society. There is a huge and growing appetite for visiting archaeological sites as global tourism grows at an extraordinary pace. So, although my European Research Council project under the Tuscan sun does not envisage a popular archaeological outcome for our […]
When the Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro arrived at Pachacamac, Peru, in January 1533, he had before him one of the jewels of the Inca Empire. ‘We arrived,’ he wrote, ‘in this city thathat seems very old because most of the buildings are in ruins.’ Archaeological research at the site has since vindicated his judgement.
As the Inca state expanded, the inhabitants of Pachacamac, Peru, found themselves on the receiving end of the imperial experience. By then, Pachacamac was already a venerable city presided over by a powerful local god. In our cover feature we explore how the Incas sensed an opportunity and encouraged pilgrimages to the site from across […]
Today, a network of subterranean passages spreads out from under the world’s first cathedral, in Rome. Within the tunnels are remnants of Roman buildings dating from the Republic to the 4th century AD. The challenges associated with piecing together this remarkable jigsaw puzzle mean that the remains have never been studied as a group – until now.