Europe

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Travel: Thasos

With guidebook in hand, Martin Davies explores the untrammelled heritage of an idyllic Greek island. I first came across Thasos as a schoolboy reading Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: it was one of those exotic, magical names that sprinkle the Bard’s works and stir the imagination. Lying just off the coast of Macedonia in the Aegean, the island of […]

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Secrets of the dolmens: Discovering lost masterpieces by ancient artists of the Iberian Peninsula

Rock-art specialists George Nash and Sara Garcês reveal spectacular prehistoric paintings hidden in the burial chambers of central-north Portugal. Thousands of late prehistoric burial-ritual sites litter the Atlantic façade of Europe, most dating to the 5th millennium BC, when first Neolithic and then Bronze Age pastoralists tended the fertile plains and valleys. These societies were […]

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Byzantine Ephesus: Life in the city after Empire

The grand architectural monuments of Ephesus attest to its glory days as a sophisticated metropolis of the Roman Empire. But what happened when the Empire ended in the 4th century AD? Following recent excavation, Sabine Ladstätter and Michaela Binder reveal new evidence of life in the city during the turbulent days of Byzantine rule. Visitors […]

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NEWS: Vasa ship look-alike found in Swedish waters

Underwater archaeologists have discovered a historic vessel off the coast of southern Sweden which is similar in construction to the famous Vasa, the ornate 17th-century warship on display in a dedicated museum in Stockholm. Around 45m in length with 68-70 cannons, experts from the Sjöhistoriska Museet believe the ship is the Blekinge, which was built […]

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FILM REVIEW: Finding Altamira

Paul Bahn sifts fact from fiction in the silverscreen telling of an extraordinary discovery. Rarely does a true archaeological story become the basis of a movie. Yet this is what we have with Finding Altamira. It recounts the discovery in 1879 of Ice Age art on a cave ceiling at Altamira, provoking intense and acrimonious […]

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NEWS: Heartbroken in a French convent

Analyses of graves in the Jacobin convent in Rennes (western France) have revealed previously unknown burial practices, challenging earlier interpretations about the history of death and belief in Europe. Constructed in 1369, the convent became a principal burial site for the aristocracy of Rennes, the seat of Brittany’s parliament.  Excavations there by the Institut national […]

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NEWS: Death of a Byzantine Mother

An early 13th-century AD skeleton found on the outskirts of ancient Troy has yielded preserved bacterial DNA from a deadly maternal infection – an unparalleled find. The genetic material came from two calcified nodules located at the base of the chest of a 30-year-old pregnant woman discovered in a stone-lined grave by archaeologists affiliated with […]

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Object Lesson: Trundholm Sun Chariot

What is it? This unique Nordic bronze piece was discovered in Denmark and dates to the Early Bronze Age, c.1400 BC. It illustrates the eternal journey of the sun, as depicted by a divine horse pulling an ornate golden disc, all on rotating wheels. The Sun Chariot is 54cm long, and the sun disc, which […]

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Turin’s Egyptian Museum

Nadia Durrani and Andrew Selkirk visit Turin’s transformed Museo Egizio. When Turin’s Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio) was opened in 1824, the hieroglyphic codecracker Jean-François Champollion declared that now ‘The path to Memphis and Thebes passes through Turin’. Yet, by the turn of the current millennium, few visited: its displays and facilities were outdated and cramped, […]

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Travel: Las Eretas

Jules Stewart travels to the little-known site of an early Iron Age community in the Navarre region of northern Spain. Las Eretas was never meant to be on the beaten path. On the contrary, its inhabitants were determined to distance themselves as far as possible from hostile neighbours. Visitors should therefore not be discouraged by […]

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Marzamemi Shipwreck: Moving Christian Architecture for Justinian’s Empire

Justin Leidwanger and Sebastiano Tusa dive into a 6th-century puzzle off the coast of Sicily.   In 1959, a local fisherman, searching for cuttlefish in the shallow waters off the coast of south-east Sicily, spotted several carved stone blocks nestled among the rocks, reef, and sand about a kilometre from the coastal port of Marzamemi. […]

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From England to Turkey: Ancient Funerary Vessel Returns Home

In an era of widespread looting and illicit antiquities trade, it seems rarer and rarer that good-hearted people stand up for the cultural heritage of another country. But then again, there are people like Thelma Bishop of Gatley and Jason Wood of Studio Ceramics at Adam Partridge Auctioneers and Valuers in Macclesfield (both in north-west […]

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