european commission

New proposals to protect European cultural heritage

New measures to strengthen the protection of cultural heritage within the European Union, and to make it easier to repatriate trafficked artefacts to Member States, are to be discussed by the European Commission. Proposed by EC Vice President Antonio Tajani, the initiative includes expanding the definition of cultural goods to encompass all ‘national treasures of […]

Early Hominin Ear Ossicles 300dpi

Ear fossils and human evolution

Ancient ear bones show how our earliest ancestors evolved, say researchers from Binghamton University and Texas A&M University, USA. The incus, stapes, and malleus are tiny and extremely fragile bones found in the inner ear and are notoriously difficult both to find and to analyse. However, fossilised examples dated to about 2 million years ago […]

Sophie Hay_Italy_Otricoli_Mausoleum in a storm_taken Nov 2012

CWA Photo of the Year Competition – results

CWA readers clearly are a talented bunch: we were overwhelmed by huge number and high quality of the entries for our first CWA photographic competition and giving our judge Adam Stanford, of Aerial-Cam, a truly difficult task in picking a winner. From Classical temples to remote Maya ruins, arty shots to scientific documentation, artefacts to […]


Finding Richard III

At a Leicester press conference on 4 February, experts announced that the human remains found beneath a city centre carpark last August are ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ those of Richard III. Addressing over 100 journalists from all over the world, the panel reported that the skeleton was that of an adult male, aged in his late […]


DNA detective work: identifying Richard III

Following questions about the validity of using a genetic sample from a modern day relative of Richard III to help identify his remains, Dr Turi King of the University of Leicester guides us through the process she used. I’m afraid I must start with a quick DNA primer! I promise to keep it short. Our DNA can […]

Figure 5B

Ancient arteries and ‘modern’ diseases

Hardening of the arteries is commonly associated with modern lifestyle choices, but newly-published research indicates that it affected people across the ancient world. Full-body CT scans of 137 adult mummies from ancient Egypt, Peru, southwest America (Ancestral Puebloans of the Archaic and Basketmaker II cultures), and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska (Unangan people), revealed that […]

Egyptian Blue is used in the 'Pond in a garden' fresco found in the tomb of Nebamun in Thebes.

Worlds oldest artificial pigment put to modern use

Egyptian blue, the world’s oldest artificial pigment, could be put to a range of modern uses from medical imaging devices to remote controls for televisions, newly-published research says. First produced 5,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, who called it hsbd-iryt (‘artificial lapis lazuli’), the bright blue pigment was highly-prized in Antiquity, used to decorate tombs, sculptures, […]


Archaeologists find a 1,600-year-old tumour containing teeth

Archaeologists examining the 1,600-year-old remains of a woman from Roman Spain have made a unique – if grisly – discovery: a calcified ovarian tumour containing four teeth and a piece of bone. Known as a ‘teratoma’,  the spherical mass measured 4.3cm (1.7in) in diameter and was found in the right-hand part of the woman’s pelvis by researchers […]

Ramses_III_mummy_head (1)

Ramesses III: unwrapping an ancient murder

Ramesses III was murdered in a palace coup led by his wife and son, archaeologists announced today (17 December). A number of ancient Egyptian documents, including the Judicial Papyrus of Turin, record an attempt on the 20th Dynasty pharaoh’s life in 1155 BC, the final year of his reign, and that the chief conspirators were […]

The celebrated bust of Nefertiti. Image: Neuses Museum

100 years of Nefertiti

A major new exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the world-famous bust of Nefertiti opens tomorrow (7 December) at the Neues Museum, Berlin. With some 400 objects on display, including never-before seen artefacts from the museum’s collections, as well as loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, and the […]

The Cyrus Cylinder

‘First declaration of human rights’ on tour

The Cyrus Cylinder is to tour five major American museums next year in its first visit to the USA, the British Museum has announced. Supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation, the cylinder will travel as part of an exhibition called ‘The Cyrus Cylinder in Ancient Persia’, which explores the innovations developed under Persian rule between 550 BC […]

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