Europe

1342

Toothy Roman Tumour

Archaeologists examining the 1,600 year-old remains of a woman from Roman Spain have made a unique – if grisly – discovery: a calcified ovarian tumour containing four teeth and a piece of bone. Known as a ‘teratoma’, the spherical mass measured 4.3cm (1.7in) in diameter and was found in the right-hand part of the 30-40 […]

1341

Reconstructing the Lion Man

Archaeologists returning to the spot where the enigmatic ‘Lion Man’ was found 74 years ago have announced the discovery of almost 1,000 new fragments of the mammoth ivory figure – and new dating evidence that could put it among the oldest figurative sculptures in the world. The first pieces of the Palaeolithic statue were excavated […]

1340

No Neanderthal Neighbours?

Neanderthals might have died out 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, meaning that they could not have interacted or interbred with modern humans, new analysis suggests. For 20 years it had been thought that pockets of Neanderthals survived in southern Iberia until c.36,000 years ago. As Homo sapiens arrived in the northern part of the […]

1339

Not Slow Progress

Prehistoric snail shells contain a wealth of information about what the climate was like thousands of years ago, newly-published research says. Chemical analysis led by Dr André Carlo Colonese, Dept of Archaeology, University of York, examined the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of the shells of Pomatias elegans, recovered from Mediterranean caves and ranging in […]

1337

A Colourful Colosseum?

Conservation work on the Colosseum’s only remaining covered passageway has revealed fragments of colourful frescoes and graffiti from the Roman period. Previously hidden beneath layers of calcified rock and dirt, the red, black, and blue scribbles suggest that the white and grey marble surfaces of the 1st-century AD amphitheatre might once have been much more […]

1336

Insight of the Valkyrie

A small silver figurine, found on the Danish island of Funen, is the first-known 3D representation of a valkyrie from the Viking Age, archaeologists say. Images of armed women interpreted as valkyries – literally ‘choosers of the slain’, companions of the god Odin, who in Norse mythology are sent to battlefields to fetch warriors fated […]

Roman Mediterranean: Stamping Ground

As a schoolboy, Philip Kenrick was hooked by the fine red Samian ware he found amongst the coarse indigenous pottery at a site on the Watling Street in England. Otherwise known as terra sigillata, its more handsome precursor comes from Italy, and was traded throughout the Roman world. After enjoying great popularity, it suddenly fell from grace. Why?

1363

Turkey: Yenikapı

One of the most spectacular excavations in the world today is in the Great Harbour, built by Theodosius I in Constantinople (Istanbul). So far, 36 shipwrecks have
been discovered – most dating to the 6th to 7th centuries AD – making it by far the biggest collection of craft known from Antiquity. How was it that such a major haul of ships was excavated? Therein lies an interesting story that Andrew Selkirk starts by looking at the transport problems of modern Istanbul.

1321

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 […]

1320

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 […]

1325

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 […]

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