Africa

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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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Petrie at Naqada

Flinders Petrie, an established Egyptologist, excavated three prehistoric sites in Egypt for the Egypt Exploration Fund during the 1890s

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Book Review: Cracking the Egyptian Code

Andrew Robinson Thames & Hudson, £19.95 ISBN 978-0500051719 In 1922 Howard Carter could be confident that he had found Tutankhamun’s tomb, but when Giovanni Belzoni discovered the tomb of Seti I in 1817, the pharaoh was initially misidentified as ‘Psammis’. The difference was that in Belzoni’s day nobody could read hieroglyphs; this knowledge had faded […]

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South Africa: Burning evidence

Humans used fire a million years ago – more than 300,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a team led by Michael Chazan of the University of Toronto and Liora Kolska Horwitz, Hebrew University, whose findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Excavation at Wonderwerk cave in South Africa […]

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Egypt: Missing manuscript

Lost fragments of an ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead have been rediscovered in Australia. On a visit to Queensland Museum, British Museum Egyptologist Dr John Taylor noticed a familiar name on one of the pieces of papyrus on display – a ‘once-in-a-lifetime discovery’, he said. Archaeologists had been searching for the missing pieces of […]

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Egypt: The Aurochs of Qurta

Five years ago, CWA reported on the discovery of the oldest rock art found in North Africa (CWA 24). Dirk Huyge and his team have been back to Egypt to re-examine the site: it seems not only are the petroglyphs even older than first thought, they may show possible contact with Europe.

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Egypt: Facing the past

Archaeologists excavating an ancient Egyptian necropolis near Aswan have come face-to-face with a high-status official buried 3,500 years ago, after uncovering his finely carved wooden sarcophagus. Elephantine (modern Qubbet el-Hawa) was a prestigious burial place for Egyptian nobles from c.2250 BC, with 40 tombs cut into its rocky cliffs. The research team, led by Professor […]

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