Africa

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Book Review: Pharaoh: King of Egypt

Margaret Maitland British Museum Press, £9.99 ISBN 978-0714119984 This small book takes on a huge subject: the role of the pharaoh as head of state, as divine intermediary to the gods, and as military leader. It is a concise, scholarly, yet highly accessible introduction to the subject that aims to ‘look beyond the pharaoh’s dazzling […]

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Book Review: Who was who in Egyptology?

Ed. Morris L Bierbrier Egypt Exploration Society, £35 The Egypt Exploration Society has updated their compendium of Egyptologists after a gap of nearly 20 years. Andrew Robinson puts this long-awaited edition to the test. More so than any other ancient civilisation, that of Egypt has been explored, collected, and studied by an amazing variety of […]

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Forts of the French Foreign Legion

Tales of the French Foreign Legion in the deserts of North Africa have fired the imagination of many an adventurous school boy. Richard Jeynes was one. Now, as a (grown-up) archaeologist, his investigation of an abandoned fort of the French colonial empire is bringing those stories to life.

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Facing the past

A fossilised face and two lower jaws excavated in Kenya may confirm that Homo erectus, our direct ancestor, coexisted with multiple species of early humans 2 million years ago. Palaeoanthropologists agree that both Homo erectus and Homo habilis inhabited East Africa during the Pleistocene epoch, but these new discoveries, published in Nature, could settle a […]

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Book review: The Pharaoh: life at court and on campaign

Garry J Shaw Thames & Hudson, £24.95 ISBN 978-0500051740   Garry Shaw’s guide to ancient Egyptian kingship is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs of sculpture, artefacts – including stunning royal regalia – and details of temples and palaces. From the role’s semi-mythological origins with Menes, the ‘first unifier of Egypt’, to its eventual extinguishing amid Roman conquest, […]

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Sudan: Amara West

What was life like under the shadow of the pharaohs? The realities of life and death under Egypt’s rule

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Namibia’s mandolins

‘Expect the unexpected’ is a good maxim for any archaeologist. But nothing could have prepared Terry Hardaker and his team for their spectacular find as they explored the ancient land surfaces in a remote part of western Namibia.

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Hard to swallow

While most of our early ancestors preferred to eat soft foods such as grass and sedge, Australopithecus sediba enjoyed more roughage, including tree bark and papyrus in their two million-year-old diet. Rich in protein and soluble sugars, bark and papyrus are eaten by many modern primates, but previous research into 81 other hominids had not […]

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Book Review: Women in Ancient Egypt

Barbara Watterson Amberley, £18.99 ISBN 978-1445604947 This authoritative, accessible book by a freelance lecturer in Egyptology provides a comprehensive and compelling introduction to the world of ancient Egyptian women, who seem to have enjoyed a much more equal role in society than their sisters in other parts of the ancient world. Watterson’s interdisciplinary survey encompasses […]

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Book Review: 31 BC: Antony, Cleopatra, and the fall of Egypt

David Stuttard and Sam Moorhead The British Museum, £9.99 ISBN 978-0714122748 Whatever you think about the story of Antony, Cleopatra, and the viper, think again. The legend, told and retold for centuries, is far removed from reality. As ever, truth is more fascinating than fiction. Antony was a vain, womanising lush prone to self-pity; Cleopatra […]

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Early Milking in the Sahara

A research team led by the University of Bristol has found proof that dairy farming was practised in Saharan Africa 7,000 years ago. Chemical and isotopic analysis of fatty acids taken from unglazed Libyan pottery dated to the 5th millennium BC, revealed that dairy fats were processed inside the vessels. Evidence for domesticated cattle in this region […]

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