World

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Travel: St Pierre Cathedral

Hazel Blair explores ancient Celtic roots beneath early Christian Geneva. In the 21st century, Geneva is a lively hub of international politics and underground quantum research, but archaeologists should not feel out of place in this lakeside cosmopolis: if your passion for stratigraphy trumps your interest in the Higgs boson, Geneva has another secret subterranean […]

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Beyond the Pillars of Hercules – Excavating an Iron Age seat of power

A new discovery deep in the Guadiana Valley of the Iberian Peninsula is revealing the secrets of a little-known and intriguing Iron Age civilisation. Sebastián Celestino Pérez and Esther Rodríguez González tell CWA about the latest finds from a political powerhouse: the kingdom of Tartessos. In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian and geographer […]

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Neil Faulkner considers the Pyramids and alternative facts

Apparently, we now live in a ‘post-fact’ world. The new American president denounces the truth as ‘fake news’. A leading White House spokesperson rejects the truth in favour of ‘alternative facts’. Veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk has argued that there is nothing new here: what is happening is called ‘lying’, and politicians have always […]

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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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Circles of mystery: Strange ancient earthworks in Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest

Hundreds of enigmatic earthworks lay hidden for millennia beneath what was thought to be virgin rainforest. Who built them, and why? In searching for answers, Jennifer Watling discovered how ancient human activity holds the clues for future forest-management. The discovery in recent years of mysterious circular earthworks in western Amazonia is one of the most […]

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Film Review: Letters from Baghdad

If there has ever been a historical figure readymade for a biographical documentary, it’s Gertrude Bell (1868-1926): archaeologist, explorer, spy, British political powerhouse, and the uncrowned ‘Queen of the Desert’. Hers is a story that requires no Hollywoodisation, and Letters from Baghdad lends almost none. In a bold approach, directors Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum […]

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Travel: The Yucatán

Richard Hodges visits sites in the shadow of Chichén Itzá. Hotels, at their best, resemble oases in a desert. Mayaland – nestling in the shadow of Chichén Itzá, one of the New World’s Seven Wonders – is just such a place. Its civility and graciousness are rooted in the Carnegie expeditions to this Maya metropolis, […]

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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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NEWS: The Exotic Libations of Ancient Ghana

Forensic analyses of the hollow cavities inside pre-colonial terracotta figurines from Koma Land, northern Ghana have revealed the exotic contents of libations poured inside them during traditional West African rituals. Researchers from University of Manchester tested the biological contents of a series of terracotta forms which date to the 6th-14th centuries AD. Using swabs and a magnetic extraction […]

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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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