Turkey: Secrets of the Chariot Makers

Solving the mysteries at Van How were some of the first chariots made? Prof. Erkan Konyar of Istanbul University believes he has the answers. His theory turns on a series of strange rock ‘symbols’ found at the early 1st millennium BC site of Van, in Easern Turkey. Nadia Durrani writes. In the early 1st millennium […]


Crusader castles

For God or for Mammon? The 13th-century Northern Crusades not only converted the local tribes from paganism to Christianity, they also converted the landscape from dense forest to open farmland. Were these men of God intent on saving souls or plundering natural resources? Lisa-Marie Shillito looks for answers in the archaeological record. When we hear […]


Richard Hodges travels to: Visegrád

Forty minutes north of Budapest, on a bend in the Danube, occupying a strategic point on its western side, lies Visegrád. In Roman times, this was a heavily fortified stretch of the Pannonian limes, controlling some of the richest farming land in Europe. Today, though, its real fascination lies in how Hungary’s smallest town became […]


CWA travels to: Montmaurin

Exploring a Gallo-Roman grand design The idyllic setting and picturesque ruins of the Gallo-Roman villa at Montmaurin certainly would have appealed to the Romantics of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Set in a rural landscape against the backdrop of grazing animals and the distant white peaks of the Pyrenees, the ruined walls rise up […]


CWA travels to: Mount Nemrut

How the mighty have fallen High on a mountain top in a remote part of south-eastern Turkey, the gods congregate at a place known as Mount Nemrut (Nemrud Daği). It is not easy to reach, but definitely worth the climb. After a long trek up the mountain trail to a height of some 2,100m (6,900ft), […]


Birdmen of Koutroulou Magoula

Archaeologists have uncovered more than 300 clay figurines depicting male and female forms, as well as human-bird hybrids, at Koutroulou Magoula, a Neolithic settlement in central Greece. Ranging from 3-4cm to 10-12cm in length (about 1-4.5in), the models were scattered all over the 4ha site (nearly 10 acres), with some recovered from the foundations of […]


A tall tale

A 16- to 20-year-old Roman from the 3rd century AD represents the first complete skeleton of a person with gigantism known from Antiquity, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. At 2m (6ft 7in), he would have towered over contemporaries in imperial Rome, when men averaged around 1.7m (5ft 7in) […]


Extra mature cheese

Cheese-making developed in Northern Europe over 7,000 years ago, possibly because our ancestors were lactose intolerant. Pieces of sieve-like pottery, excavated in Poland 30 years ago and dated to the 6th millennium BC, were typologically interpreted as cheese-strainers. Now results, published in Nature, from the analysis of fatty acids trapped in their fabric has revealed […]


Harbouring secrets

A team of French and Italian archaeologists have announced the discovery of the lost harbour of Ostia, once ancient Rome’s primary seaport. The commercial centre was founded beside the Tiber in c.620 BC to give Rome an outlet to the sea and guard against enemy fleets entering the river. According to contemporary writers such as […]


World’s oldest timber structures

The identification of four 7,000-year-old wells as the world’s oldest-known timber structures suggests that Neolithic communities were capable of much more sophisticated woodworking techniques with stone tools than previously thought, newly published research says. Previous excavations at three Neolithic settlements near Leipzig, Germany, had uncovered four well-shafts, each lined with oak planks preserved for thousands […]


Neolithic dentists?

A 6,500-year-old tooth packed with beeswax represents the earliest dental filling, newly published research says. Found in part of a human jaw excavated in a Slovenian cave, the tooth is a left canine, thought to have belonged to a man aged between 24 and 30 years old. Research led by Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz […]

Recycling ideas

Recycling is no modern concept: our ancestors were putting old tools to new uses 13,000 years ago, archaeologists in Spain have discovered. In the first study of its kind, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, researchers examined the unusually high number of re-worked burnt tools found at Molí del Salt in Tarragona. Manuel Vaquero, […]

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