It is not unknown for children to try to outdo their parents. When it comes to tombs, though, pharaoh Khufu must have thought he was on safe ground. Everything about the vital statistics of the funerary monument he raised at Giza in the 3rd millennium BC is awesome. It had a footprint of 5.3ha, an original height of roughly 146.6m, and contained approximately 2.3 million stone blocks. The result was the largest standing pyramid ever raised, which we know appropriately enough as the Great Pyramid.
The discovery of a two-million-year-old skull in South Africa is shedding important new light on microevolution in an early hominin species, as Jesse Martin and Angeline Leece reveal.
As they walked across Engare Sero in northern Tanzania, a group of people left their mark in the soft surface of volcanic ash beneath their bare feet. Preserved for thousands of years in material expelled during an eruption of Oldoinyo L’engai (visible in the background), these impressions were first spotted by members of a nearby […]
Archaeologists with the Egyptian-Italian Mission at West Aswan have digitally restored fragments of a very fragile painted leopard’s head from a 2nd century BC sarcophagus, discovered at the Egyptian necropolis last year. The leopard is a common symbol of power and protection in ancient Egypt, but it is unusual to see it painted on a […]
In 1898, a team led by French archaeologist Victor Loret excavated the tomb of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Thutmose III. It was given the number KV34, though it had originally been one of the first tombs to be cut into the bedrock of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings over 3,400 years ago. The tomb is […]
As the centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery looms, the largest collection of Tutankhamun’s grave goods ever to leave Egypt has embarked on a world tour. The objects, ranging from glittering treasures to everyday essentials, were assembled to ease the youthful pharaoh’s passage into the next world. For all their beauty, these artefacts also tell tales of belief, the burden of royal duties, and young love.
Creating images in a changing world Today, it seems hard to imagine that the Sahara was once populated by people with large herds of domestic cattle. While the grasslands and lakes that were so important to these communities may be long gone, the images they etched onto stone still survive. This rock art tells the […]
Some of the finest surviving remnants of the Roman Empire can be found in Algeria. But how easy are they to visit? Philip Kenrick is our guide. For the tourist who is interested in the Classical Mediterranean (encouraged not least by the warmth), several really interesting countries with stunning antiquities have in recent years ceased […]
What is it? This small Egyptian figure, carved out of red sandstone around 1800 BC, depicts a familiar mythical creature: the sphinx. It was perhaps a votive offering to the goddess Hathor; Egyptian hieroglyphs inscribed on the sphinx’s right shoulder read ‘beloved of Hathor, mistress of turquoise’. The nose is broken, the head has been […]
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.
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. […]
Caitlin McCall explores Roman remains in the land of Dido, Hannibal, and Caesar. Tunisia, with its glorious sandy beaches wedged between Algeria and Libya on the north coast of Africa, covers an area roughly two-thirds the size of the UK, but with just one-sixth its population. Such a ratio of land to people means that, […]