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 […]
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?
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 […]
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?
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Today the ancient cities of Merv lie in a sleepy Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It is protected by the Turkmenistan Ministry of Culture, and since 2001 we have been working closely with them and their local park staff to support their management and conservation of this outstanding site. The standing earthen architecture at Merv […]
Frankincense and more The fragrant land of Oman, tucked away in the south-eastern corner of Arabia, is rich with glorious archaeology. But what are its highlights? David Millar is our guide. Imagine a country with a near-complete archaeological record from the time that humans first came ‘out of Africa’, with settlements and monuments as old […]
LiDAR – or Light Detection And Ranging – is a form of laser-scanning, initially used in meteorology. Over the past decade or so, archaeologists have begun routinely to use the technology, drawn to its ability to capture extraordinarily accurate, high-resolution, 3D data. It works by using light sensors to measure the distance between the sensor […]
Countdown to tragedy Tom St John Gray reviews Brent E Huffman’s award-winning documentary Saving Mes Aynak. Mes Aynak, a spectacular 2,000-year-old Buddhist city south of Kabul, Afghanistan, is facing total destruction. This sprawling 500,000m² complex of monasteries, temples, and hundreds of Buddha statues is hailed as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of this century. […]