Asia

1209

Pushing back pottery use

Fragments of 20,000-year-old pottery discovered in south-east China have pushed back the use of ceramics to 10,000 years before agriculture. This shows that pottery was invented by mobile hunter-gatherers, rather than developing from the more settled lifestyles of early farmers, as was previously believed. Found during excavations at Xianrendong Cave, the sherds are 2,000-3,000 years […]

1216

Canaanite cache discovered

Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have discovered a 3,000-year-old hoard of jewellery while cleaning a prehistoric pot. The vessel was found in 2010 at Tel Meggido, an important Canaanite city-state in northern Israel, but remained uncleaned while awaiting molecular analysis of its contents. When conservators emptied the pot, however, they found a cache of well-preserved […]

1243

Layard at Nimrud

On an overland ride from England to Ceylon in 1839, Austen Henry Layard became fascinated by the newly emerging archaeology of Mesopotomia (in modern Iraq).

1204

Book Review: Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam

Venetia Porter (ed.) British Museum Press, £25.00 ISBN 978-0714111759 Drawing on a recent British Museum exhibition of the same name, this beautifully illustrated catalogue contains stunning photographs of artefacts, sites, and artwork associated with the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as a wealth of information on the evolution of the Hajj and the lives of […]

1202

Book Review: The Archaeology of Northeast China: beyond the Great Wall

Sara Milledge Nelson Routledge, £26.00 ISBN 978-0415513472 Elegantly illustrated and admirably comprehensive in its scope, this synthesis of recent archaeological research into the prehistoric peoples of Donbei – best known in the west as Manchuria – sheds new light on a region rather less discussed than the civilisations of central China. Nelson’s introduction, contrasting the […]

1199

Review: Hajj

Following the success of the British Museum’s recent exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, Nadia Durrani was intrigued to find out more about Britain’s first pilgrims to the holy shrine at Mecca. Who were they, and what were their experiences?

1188

Charles Higham: A prehistoric mystery

The McDonald Institute at Cambridge University has, for many years, held special symposia on topics that traditionally lie on the ‘edge of knowability’. These involve about 20 specialists, each of whom delivers a brief summary of a pre-circulated paper, before the floor is opened to discussion. I have been lucky enough to be invited to […]

1183

20,000-year-old huts in Jordan

Excavations in Jordan have unearthed 20,000-year-old huts that could reshape our view of how humans lived before the development of agriculture. The research, recently published in PLoS One, suggests hunter-gatherers in this region had fixed settlements with extensive trade networks 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. ‘Kharaneh IV is one of the densest and largest […]

1194

Teouma

When were the South Sea Islands first inhabited? The discovery by Matthew Spriggs and Stuart Bedford of a remarkable cemetery, with nearly 100 burials and a superb collection of pots, has thrown new light on the earliest population of this remote area.

Tell Brak

Syria: Tell Brak

Civil unrest, violent clashes, an oppressive authority: we could be talking about Syria today. But this is 6,000 years ago, during the Late Chalcolithic Period.

Charles Higham On...

Charles Higham: The dating game and the saga of Ban Chiang

Very early in my archaeological career, I encountered an intense debate on the chronology of the earliest Neolithic in the Near East. It was rather like the race to the Pole: who had the earliest date? The English champion was the redoubtable Dame Cathleen Kenyon, her American adversary was Robert Braidwood. It was a case […]

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