Special Report: Will China’s future destroy its past?

China’s heritage sites are fast disappearing – to tomb-robbers and thieves, or to make way for industrial projects and new developments. These sobering conclusions are the result of research carried out by the country’s own governmental organisation. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) recorded a total of 766,722 ancient ruins, temples, and other sites […]


Russia: Gone Fishing

The discovery of 7,500-year-old fish traps in a Russian river valley has given new insight into prehistoric European settlement patterns. The Mesolithic nomadic hunter-gatherers were believed to move with the seasons to follow food sources. Now excavation at a site in the Dubna river basin outside Moscow shows evidence of continuous year-round occupation. The three-year […]


Earliest Christian Arabic text

Archaeologists have discovered the only Crusader-period Christian inscription to be written in Arabic. The marble engraving, once part of the city wall at Jaffa in Israel, was long-believed to date to the Ottoman period (1517-1917). Now Professor Moshe Sharon and Ami Shrager, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have shown that the text, a unique […]

Siberia: Barking up the wrong family tree

A 33,000-year-old canine skull is challenging accepted theories on dog domestication. Rather than being descended from a single ancestry, it appears dogs were becoming man’s best friend in different parts of the world, and at different times. The remains were discovered in the Altai Mountains in Siberia by a team led by Nikolai Ovodov, of […]

Arabia's Stonehenge

Yemen: Arabia’s Stonehenge

While surveying the inhospitable Red Sea coastal plain of Yemen, archaeologist Ed Keall took a wrong turn on his way back to base camp. As he tells Nadia Durrani, his mistake turned out to be monumental.

 © UNESCO/Niamh Burke

India: Hampi

The former capital of one of the greatest and wealthiest empires of the Indian subcontinent for 300 years until its destruction in 1565 is facing a new and very modern danger: bulldozers. Paul Woodfield visited the site.

Syria: Upheavals halt excavations

Archaeologists in Syria have been forced to pull out of the country because of civil unrest, with protesters opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad. International teams were recording sites threatened by the Halabiyeh hydropower scheme. Now they fear that many of these important and little-explored sites will be lost to flood waters, if the […]

Japan; Kublai Khan’s invasion fleet

The wreck of a Mongolian ship that took part in Kublai Khan’s attempts to invade and subjugate Japan in 1281 has been discovered on the seabed off southern Japan. The warship appears to be nearly complete, and lies in 1m of silt at a depth of 25m. An archaeological team from Okinawa’s University of the […]

East Timor: Early deep-sea fishermen

The idea that the early humans who migrated to South-east Asia and on to Australia 50,000 or more years ago lacked the skills to build boats has been dealt a blow by evidence for deep-sea fishing 42,000 years ago. Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra have found 38,000 fish bones from 2,843 […]

Charles Higham On...

Charles Higham: notes from the field

At a barbecue last year, a former student of mine, who had joined me on my excavations for 20 years, suggested the time had come for me to give up fieldwork and leave it to younger people. I reflected on this by comparing my interests and plans with those of my contemporaries who studied archaeology […]

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat: Temple of Boom

The ancient temples of Angkor have endured nearly a millennium of conflict and warfare, but will this new visitor boom, asks Tom St John Gray, be the most deadly threat to their survival? The capital of a flourishing empire between the 9th and 15th centuries, Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South- east Asia. This year Cambodia invited visitors from around the world to enter the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’, and tourists responded in their millions.

Armenia: 5900-year-old women’s skirt found in cave

Excavations at Areni 1 Cave in the Vayots Dzor region, on Armenia’s border with Iran and Turkey, have unearthed parts of a well-preserved woman’s skirt of woven straw, which has been dated to 3900 BC. Excavation Director, Pavel Avetisyan, of the Armenian Archaeology and Ethnography Institute, said ‘It is an amazing material with rhythmic colour hues’. […]

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