Asia

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Travel: Raffles and Java

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 […]

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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. […]

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Object Lesson: Ram in the Thicket

What is it? This ancient Mesopotamian sculpture known as the ‘ram in the thicket’ is actually a ‘goat in a tree’. The goat is rendered in impressive detail, as it reaches up to eat leaves on high branches – a common sight along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The sculpture was made […]

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Review: China – visions through the ages

China: visions through the ages Lisa C Niziolek, Deborah A Bekken, and Gary M Feinman (eds) University of Chicago Press, $45 ISBN 978-0226385372 People across China’s vast and diverse landscape have long been creating works in a range of materials, such as bronze, jade, porcelain, and paint, and the results of their handiwork can be […]

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Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy

In 1640, a bronze tablet was discovered during construction work on a palace in Tiriolo, southern Italy. Dating from 186 BC, it records a decree issued by the Roman senate strictly regulating the cult of Bacchus, which it seems had gotten too big for its boots. But despite its ostensible threat to authority, worship of […]

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Army of the dead

Around 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses were created in battle formation to protect the burial place of China’s first emperor. But what can modern technology reveal about these faithful soldiers?

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Hope through heritage

Before September, the people in this picture had never picked up a chisel. Now, only a few months into World Monument Fund’s conservation stonemasonry training programme, they can carve arabesques for zakhrafa jambs, prepare rectangular billet mouldings, or work an ovolo return. Not yet perfect maybe, but still astonishing progress, made more remarkable still given […]

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The Nabataeans of Petra

We travel down the spectacular long and winding Siq that leads to Petra. There, the Nabataeans founded one of the most beautiful, and perhaps also unlikely, cities in the ancient world. What persuaded these nomads to turn their hand to urbanism, and how did they find wealth in the wilderness?

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Film Review: Letters from Baghdad

If there has ever been a historical figure readymade for a biographical documentary, it’s Gertrude Bell (1868-1926): archaeologist, explorer, spy, British political powerhouse, and the uncrowned ‘Queen of the Desert’. Hers is a story that requires no Hollywoodisation, and Letters from Baghdad lends almost none. In a bold approach, directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum […]

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Travel: United Arab Emirates

Dubai is best known for its luxury shops and futuristic architecture. But this year the UAE is encouraging tourists to visit its ancient historical sites too. David Millar takes us on a tour.   Dubai does such a good job of promoting its image as a destination of world-class shops and luxurious hotels that it […]

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Excavating Iran: Stories from the Silk Road

When Ed Keall first visited Iran, at the age of 24, little did he realise that he was about to embark on an archaeological venture – involving a Persian castle and a fire temple – that has now been 50 years in the making.   In 1962, I took an adventurous trip to Iran to […]

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Lawrence of Arabia’s War

The Great Arab Revolt Project With the CWA-backed Great Arab Revolt Project at an end after ten years’ work on the deserts of southern Jordan, we asked Co-director Neil Faulkner – also Editor of our sister magazine Military History Monthly – for some concluding thoughts   In 2006, here in the pages of CWA, we […]

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