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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]