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The bear necessities

Fragments of ivory found in a German cave on the eve of war have been reconstructed to create a magnificent ‘Lion Man’. This figure has been feted as the earliest representation of a god, and a representation of shamanic beliefs, but how secure are these interpretations?

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Investigating a pre-Roman oil press

Excavations near Ferrandina in southern Italy, an area rich in sites dating from the Iron Age to the Lucanian period (8th-3rd century BC), have been investigating an ancient olive oil press identified during preventative archaeological work in 2007. Led by Maria Chiara Monaco, Antonio Pecci, and Fabio Donnici from the Università degli Studi della Basilicata, […]

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Sardinian splendours

CWA explores standout ancient sites in the north-west of the Mediterranean island. In the middle of an open plain, a magnificent structure stands out against the blue sky, dominating the flat green fields that surround it. With a long ramp leading up to a tiered, truncated pyramid, this prehistoric monument has been likened to a […]

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The gods of Palermo: the Antonino Salinas Museum

Oliver Gilkes explores a recently refurbished Sicilian museum. Sicily plays host to an unprecedented variety of archaeological sites and monuments, set in an extraordinary medley of landscapes. Combine this with Sicilian panache at cookery (very different from mainland Italy) and its wines, and a visit is a must for enthusiasts of Mediterranean archaeology. Superb museums […]

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Object Lesson: Venus of Renancourt

What is it? This statuette, dating from around 21,000 BC, has the familiar form of a Palaeolithic ‘Venus’ figurine. Carved out of chalk and standing to a height of 4cm, the female figure has the prominent, fleshy thighs, buttocks, and breasts typical of these works from a late phase of the Gravettian culture (28,000-22,000 years […]

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Trojan War: the archaeology of a story

The archaeological legacy of the Trojan war is immense. Key scenes from the conflict and its aftermath play out across ancient sarcophagi, wall paintings, and even fine tableware. Yet there is a strong chance that none of these events ever really happened. How did this story become so important in the Greek, Roman, and medieval worlds?

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Richard Hodges: Homage to Dhaskalio

Sailing to a remote maritime sanctuary brings Richard Hodges to Europe’s earliest central place As the ferry slipped through the still-sleeping grey sea heading northwards, I raced to the aft windows to get a last look at Dhaskalio, albeit in silhouette. Dark now, this conical rock reminds me of Tintagel, detached in this case from […]

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Ulpiana: The Romans in Kosovo

Excavations in a once-forgotten city are bringing its inhabitants’ stories to light, as Oliver Gilkes reveals. The wide, high, rolling plains and hills of Kosovo are a sudden change from the soaring peaks and rugged hills of the Balkan Mountains. This region of fertile soils and mineral-rich highlands has made Kosovo the target of ambitious […]

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Richard Hodges: In the city of Aphrodite

Claims and counter-claims about a sculptural fragment held by the British Museum brought a touch of trepidation to a celebrity visit during excavations at Knidos, the Turkish city of Aphrodite, in 1971, as Richard Hodges remembers in this exclusive extract from his latest book. ‘Sir Mort’s coming. That’ll put the cat among the p-pigeons!’, Tim […]

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The Sandby borg massacre

Life and death in a 5th-century ringfort It is not unusual for archaeologists to find caches of artefacts stashed in the ground, but their owners rarely remain nearby. Excavations on the island of Öland are revealing traces of a ringfort’s violent end. Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay, Helena Victor, and Clara Alfsdotter explain what a community’s demise can […]

Aerial View of Fromelles

Fromelles

A century ago, 250 soldiers were buried behind enemy lines in unmarked mass graves on the outskirts of the village of Fromelles in northern France. In 2009, a team from Oxford Archaeology was charged with recovering and helping to identify these men. In 2014, the report was published: Louise Loe told CWA about this remarkable – and unique – project.

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Racing against time: salvage survey in the Göksu river valley

The decision to install a hydroelectric dam in the Göksu valley sparked a project to record its past, before the archaeology was submerged beneath rising water. Naoíse Mac Sweeney, Tevfik Emre Şerifoǧlu, Anna Collar, and Stuart Eve reveal the remarkable story of a region shaped by successive empires. What is our heritage worth? Should we […]

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