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Ten years ago, CWA was launched on its maiden voyage of discovery. Here, Editor in Chief Andrew Selkirk flicks back through the pages to reflect on what we have learned on our travels, as well as what the next decade may bring.

 

 

So, what has been happening over the past ten years? I have been taking a look back through our last issues to see some of the stories that have emerged and to look at their implications for the Story of Man.

Let us begin at the beginning with the Palaeolithic. Here the big stories have been based on science and particularly once again with radiocarbon dating. (I say once again because in my previous life, editing Current Archaeology, the story was always being dominated by radiocarbon revolutions.) The latest revolution is that radiocarbon has been stretching ever further backwards with more sophisticated dating facilities. Whereas it used to peter out around 20,000 BC, it is now going back to nearly 100,000 BC – and there are other scientific techniques that take the dating further back. But, as well as stories about the origins of humans, we have been following the story of the spread of mankind from Africa out to the rest of the world. A fascinating in-house titbit came from Nadia Durrani. Her father, Professor Saeed Durrani, is a distinguished scientist who was one of the first to date Peking Man (CWA 5), and he was invited back to China to celebrate the anniversary of the original dating which confirmed that man had spread to China by at least 500,000 years ago – though the date has since been raised to 750,000 BC.CWA-20---Orca-and-Cueva-Victoria

An even older date came from Dmanisi in Georgia (CWA 9) where excavations were taking place on a Medieval town, but suddenly they began finding crude flint axes, the bones of extinct animals, and then the bones of some early humans. They proved to be smaller than modern humans, with brains only half the size of ours: they are considered to be a form of Homo erectus, but they date back to 1.75 million years ago.

Similar early humans have been found in Spain in the caves of Orca and Cueva Victoria (CWA 20). Here again there were also primitive hand axes and the bones of extinct animals, and Orca is dated to at least 1.3m years ago. But reaching the parts radiocarbon dating cannot reach, Alistair Pike and Paul Pettitt have pushed back dates for early cave art in Europe through the use of uranium dating (CWA 55). Although used by geologists, they applied the technique to archaeology and the stunning results showed that some of this art – in the Altamira Cave in Spain, for example – was created about 35,600 years ago, thus stimulating the debate about whether our Homo sapiens ancestors overlapped with our Neanderthal cousins. Indeed, were Neanderthals the first artists here?

An example of a Homo floresiensis skull alongside that of a - considerably larger - modern human.

An example of a Homo floresiensis skull alongside that of a – considerably larger – modern human.

A fascinating side story was that of the pygmy men found at Flores in Indonesia (CWA 8) who seem to have survived right down to 10,000 BC, or perhaps even later. There was lots of publicity about the idea of a different form of man surviving nearly into modern times, but the article in CWA 8 confirmed that the late dating does appear to be valid.

And as a postscript I remember another fascinating account of wildlife in the Balearic Islands (CWA 21) where a mouse-goat, only 50cm (19in) in height, survived right down to 5,000 BC, when they became extinct, exterminated by that horrid nasty predator, man!

In the beginning

One of the big questions in archaeology is always the problem of the ‘Neolithic’: how did the revolution take place when man changed from being a hunter-gatherer, and began to pursue a more sedentary form of life? Two of the most spectacular sites revolved round the problem of the ‘Neolithic Revolution’, both in very different parts of the world, from Turkey and Japan.

From Turkey there is the spectacular site of Göbekli Tepe (CWA 53) where a series of what I call henge monuments have been discovered – huge upright monoliths, arranged in approximate circles and decorated with wild animals, but all dating back to around 10,000 BC at the very end of the Palaeolithic, when the climate became warm again and apparently before the relapse into cold weather once again with the episode known as the Younger Dryas. All the animals appear to be wild animals, and the whole site is definitely ‘ritual’, suggesting that the big changes called the Neolithic Revolution began with ritual rather than with the dull and boring story of the domesticating of animals and the evolution of cereals.

Then from the other side of the world there is an equally fascinating story of the emergence of Jōmon pottery. Jōmon pottery has long been known as exotic pottery decorated with cord impressions and dating to the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Recently, however, it has been discovered to have its origins very much earlier – around 10,000 BC, right back indeed into the Lower Palaeolithic, making it by far the oldest pottery in the world. One theory is that it was developed to make acorns edible, because by boiling them it is possible to boil out all the unpleasant juices. Others say it was used for boiling fish. Whatever it is, we are all having to turn our attention to Japanese archaeology and to learn all about Jōmon pottery (CWA 1 & 11).

Japan, of course, endured a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011, the effects of which are ongoing. But the country has shown enormous resilience and determination to preserve its unique heritage, as we discovered in CWA 49 – and see Simon Kaner’s comments on p.33.

From Neolithic to Bronze Age

When we come down to the more familiar ground of the late Neolithic and the Bronze Age, I am delighted to find that we have had lots of stories updating familiar ground. Malta, for example, is famous for its very early prehistoric temples – some of them dating back to 3500 BC, and thus at least 700 years earlier than the pyramids of Egypt. At Tas Silġ (CWA 59), archaeologists have revealed that this multi-period site flourished for 5,000 years, adapting to each new religious trend: starting life as a Neolithic megalithic temple, it became a centre of worship, witnessing the comings and goings of Phoenician, Egyptian, Roman, and Christian rituals until about the 8th or 9th century AD. Today, a Christian church still stands nearby, called Our Lady of the Snows, from which the site gets its name.

Yet, one of our best stories was not about a temple, but about a very mysterious burial ground that forms the other, unknown, half of Malta’s temple story. Just 275m (900ft) away from possibly the finest of Malta’s Neolithic temple complexes, Ġgantija (on the adjacent island of Gozo), is another site known as the Brochtorff Circle (CWA 7). It is named after a 19th-century artist whose painting is the only record of its original excavations.

This is not a temple, but rather some sort of cemetery site, and it remained an enigma. Modern politics intervened: under the controversial Maltese prime minister, Dom Mintoff, little archaeology took place; but after he lost power, it became possible to launch a major re-excavation of this mysterious stone circle, confirming that it was, indeed,a major cemetery site.

As a bonus to the excavation, some superb figurines were discovered of a totally unknown artistic style. This was an exciting story of putting together the various different aspects of the temple culture – and of modern politics.

Then there is the fascinating story of the excavations of some of the Greek Cycladic figurines on the island of Keros. This is the story of Colin Renfrew – now Professor Lord Renfrew; indeed it is virtually his lifetime story (CWA 26). As a young researcher he wrote his doctoral thesis on the fascinating Cycladic figurines which he called the Keros-Syros culture. Syros is where the best preserved figurines come from, but on the uninhabited island of Keros a hoard of small fragments had been discovered, and now, 30 years later, he was able to go back and excavate this mysterious site properly. I vividly remember going out to visit him there. You first go out to the island of Naxos, then by boat to the smaller island of Kouphonisi where you live, and then every morning a small fishing boat takes the excavating team out to Keros from which a rubber dinghy takes one across to the even smaller island of Dhaskalio where the people in the Bronze Age were actually living.

The shield-shaped stone head of an early Cycladic figure, dating to the 3rd millennium BC, from the island of Keros

The shield-shaped stone head of an early Cycladic figure, dating to the 3rd millennium BC, from the island of Keros

But the deposits on Keros are most mysterious – lots and lots and lots of fragments of figurines all broken up into tiny pieces, but none of them are local, none of them are complete, and they all seem to have come from different islands scattered through the Aegean, though not from Crete. And there must have been some sort of ritual whereby the figurines were smashed up and then a small selection of the broken pieces taken to Keros and deposited. At a recent conference I rashly suggested that this was the result of war – you went and captured your enemy’s figurines, and you then brought them home in triumph and smashed them up and then took some of the broken pieces to Keros where you threw them away in an act of triumphal ritual cursing so that they could never be reconstructed again. But Colin thinks I am much too bloodthirsty!

Then there was the sex scandal of Lot’s Monastery (CWA 5). Lot, you will remember, was the one virtuous inhabitant of Sodom and Gomorrah, but when he escaped with his family, his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. However, Lot went to live with his two daughters who eventually seduced their father and thus gave birth to the ancestors of the modern Palestinians – the Moabites and the Ammonites. In the 5th and 6th centuries AD, Lot’s cave was rediscovered, and a monastery, with some fine mosaics, was built over it. Now it is the monastery’s turn to be rediscovered, and the mosaics revealed. However, when they excavated in the cave behind the monastery, lo and behold! they found some Middle Bronze Age burials and, under them, some Early Bronze Age burials – just the right date to be contemporary with Lot and his daughters. Could it be that the 6th-century monks really did follow some sort of tradition that enabled them to discover the actual cave where Lot resided? Or were Middle Bronze Age burials made in most caves in the area?

I am always fascinated to find out how ancient sites really worked and there was a good example in the German excavations at the Hittite capital of Hattusa, otherwise known as Boğazköy, hidden away in the mountains of central Turkey (CWA 13). The secret lay in bread and water – or rather huge granaries and water reservoirs. The granaries, deep rectangular storage pits in clusters the size of a football pitch and several metres deep, were filled with quantities of grain – mostly barley, though one granary contained emmer wheat. The quantity would have been enough to feed 20,000 people for a year – it would have been the state treasury for the country as a whole. The water-supply reserves were equally excessive. One thinks of Knossos: the huge quantities of olive oil stored there – this is the gift-exchange economy at its most extreme – demonstrate the ruler’s power by the over-lavish abundance of the goodies he has for redistribution.

Another fascinating story came from Nimrud (CWA 11). This is a site in Iraq that is well known to British archaeologists as it was extensively excavated in the 19th century by Layard, and finds were brought back which form some of the greatest treasures of the BritishMuseum. Further work was done by Max Mallowan in the 1950s, but in the 1980s the Iraqi archaeologists under Mahmud Hussein realised that there was more to be discovered. Burials were often made under the floors of the main living rooms and, noting the uneven floor in one of the houses, they dug down and found some amazing tombs including that of Queen Yaba, the wife of Tiglath Pileser (744-727 BC), together with a curse on anyone who desecrated the tomb. The curse was not very effective for only 50 years later another burial was inserted on top of Queen Yaba. It was a most spectacular discovery. Since then political troubles have meant that fresh excavations have had to take a back seat, but it gives a taste of what we hope will begin to emerge when Iraqi archaeologists are able to continue their excavations.

The coffin of Nehemes-Baset, Chantress of Amun, from the Valley of the Kings.

The coffin of Nehemes-Baset, Chantress of Amun, from the Valley of the Kings.

And what can one say that is new about Egypt? Well, CWA did manage to discover the biggest of all tombs in the Valley of the Kings, which is only just now being properly explored. Tutankhamen’s tomb is often thought to be the last royal tomb to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings, but in truth it was a titchy little tomb that just happened to be virtually intact. KV5, however, is probably the biggest royal tomb in the Valley, and is believed to have been built by one of the greatest of all the pharaohs, Ramesses II. However, it was unfinished and abandoned, and it is only recently that its huge size has been fully appreciated (CWA 12).

In CWA 56, we brought you news that another of Tutankhamen’s neighbours had been discovered in the only intact tomb to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings since Howard Carter came across the young pharaoh in 1922. Although not royalty, the Chantress of Amun was of high enough status to have been buried in this prestigious site. The funerary chamber had previously belonged to an 18th Dynasty princess, who had been ignominiously robbed and discarded during the 21st Dynasty, well before the Chantress was interred.

Dark Ages?

And what happened between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age? Was there a so-called ‘Dark Age’, when the Sea Peoples destroyed the Egyptian and most other civilisations in the eastern Mediterranean? Well, again, CWA has been able to throw new light on this mysterious period with digs both in Greece and in Israel – where again we rewrite the Bible.

The Greek ‘Dark Age’ comes between the end of the Mycenaean period and the beginnings of Classical Greece, and here the gap has been neatly filled by Lefkandi (CWA 39). This is in the island of Euboea, a part of Greece that no one ever goes to, so I decided it was about time I did. It was, in fact, very easy: just an hour’s drive north of Athens and then across the bridge to the island of Euboea, which lies alongside the mainland north of Athens. Lefkandi lies between the towns of Chalcis and Eretria, and may indeed be the predecessor to Eretria, but was occupied from before 1200 BC to around 700 BC. The most important structure is a ‘ritual’ building, found under a mound that was illegally bulldozed. It happened on Whit Sunday 1981, when a villager thought that everyone would be in church and would not notice his misdeed. But there was a major cemetery adjacent, and excavations in the town have shown that it was continuously occupied, and thus fills a very important gap in Greek history.

A very similar story can also be told from Israel where, in CWA 31, Jonathan Tubb from the BritishMuseum contributed a fascinating account of how archaeology is rewriting the Bible. Based on the excavations at Tel Jezreel and his own work at Tel es Sa’idiyeh, he shows that there is a dark age following the collapse of the New Kingdom in Egypt, and that this gap is filled by the rise not of the united kingdom under David and Solomon, but of a united kingdom under Omri and his son Ahab; and it is centred not at Jerusalem but at Samaria. It is a fascinating rewriting of a traditional story – and a rehabilitation of Ahab’s wife, the notorious Jezebel.

Classical Greece

Returning to Greece, I was very pleased to uncover the story of the Paros massacre (CWA 6). The site lies on the island of Paros, right on the sea front, where it is passed by thousands of uncomprehending tourists every year as it is not properly labelled. But among the many burials were two large cists containing between them some 140 cremations. In the corner of one of the cists were two superb vases, painted in the geometric style and showing a battle in progress in which presumably all 140 young men were slaughtered – probably a major part of the male population of the island at the time. We may even have a written record for this, for the poet Archilochus wrote a lament for the warriors killed in a battle on Paros, so it is tempting to link poem and pot together, and to suggest that this is a rare example of a case where archaeology and poetry may possibly be linked.

Another fascinating story came from the excavations in Athens in advance of the new underground railway. This produced a mass of material, but I was most struck by some splendid water pipes found under the Syntagma Square (CWA 6). These were laid down by Peisistratus, who was the tyrant of Athens from 561-527 BC. Today, despots are generally considered to be bad things, but he was followed by the establishment of democracy in Athens – hurrah! However, it was Peisistratus who carried out the crucial water supply of Athens: so democracy is built on the water supply laid down by a tyrant!

One of the most spectacular discoveries in Greece in recent years was made in Macedonia (CWA 50), with the excavation of the tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. The tomb was actually found in the 1970s. But the huge barrow has now been excavated, and the tomb has been reconstructed as a museum. The barrow has been replaced over the top of it, making it into one of the most spectacular museums in the world. However, numerous other discoveries have been made in the town of Vergina (Aigai), which was the ritual capital of Macedonia. Some of the best of these were lent to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for a very successful exhibition. This provided us with the opportunity to go to Macedonia and, in three successive articles, to report on the drama of the discovery of the tombs, the other finds in Vergina itself, and then to look at Pella, the administrative capital of Macedonia (CWA 52).

Another major new site in Greece is the site of Messene (CWA 33). This was the town conquered by the Spartans in the 7th century BC, when the inhabitants were turned into Helots – that is, virtual slaves who cultivated the land and provided the agricultural background to Sparta’s very successful army. Eventually, in 370 BC, Sparta itself was overthrown, and Messene was re-established and soon became ‘smarter than Sparta’. The site has now been extensively excavated with lavish grants from the EU, but it is a little known site in a hidden corner of Greece that is well worth visiting.

The Romans

There has, of course, been a lot on the Romans. Pompeii and Herculaneum are, as always, to the fore, and particularly Herculaneum where the BritishSchool has been very active. Since the great Italian archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri finished his excavations in 1969, Herculaneum was rather forgotten about; but the BritishSchool at Rome managed to get a grant from the Packard Foundation in America, and set up a joint programme with the Italians to consolidate the remains. An important start was to reopen the sewers, which were vital for draining the site properly, and several articles have followed the progress of the restorations under the aegis of The Herculaneum Conservation Project. And it was CWA who reported on the news of their spectacular find of a complete wooden roof, blown off by the force of the eruption in AD 79, and of its reconstruction (CWA 42 & 55).

But Pompeii too has been in the limelight and a special issue – CWA 4 –was devoted to the works. The current interest is to try to elucidate the earlier history of Pompeii, and to treat it as a town that fortunately had no later disturbances after the events of AD 79. The walls of Pompeii are certainly very early, going back to the 6th century BC, but the major build-up within the city did not really get under way until after the town became an ally of the Romans, following the defeat of Hannibal at the beginning of the 2nd century BC.

The other major British project in Italy has been at Portus, the principal port of Rome. Although Ostia is the better known harbour of Rome, Portus was in fact the bigger port. Little of this has survived above ground, indeed part of it now lies under Rome’s airport, but the recent surveys and excavations have revealed the extent of the two harbours, and currently some of the ship sheds where the ships were hauled up and repaired are being excavated (CWA 42 & 51).

But I have always been fascinated by what might be called non-Roman Italy – the peoples whom the Romans conquered. In particular, what effect did Hannibal have when he was rampaging through Italy trying to wear down the Romans? I found some of the answers in the work done by Alastair Small near the town of Gravina in modern Apulia in southern Italy (CWA 45). There are two halves to this story, separated by the ravages of Hannibal in the 210s BC. Before Hannibal, in the 5th and 4th century BC a thriving and prosperous hillfort town rose on the hill of Botromagno where the clandestini, the illegal excavators, have been uncovering a number of very rich graves, many of them with superb Greek-style red-figure pottery. However, the hillfort declined in the 3rd century onwards: was this due to Hannibal?

Afterwards, in the Roman Imperial period, it became a vast imperial estate: was this ‘Hannibal’s revenge’? However, here the story is in many ways even more interesting, for a pottery manufacturing works was set up, run by slave labour: one of the tiles was stamped with the name of Grati Caesaris – that is, it was made by Gratus, the slave of Caesar. And if the boss of the tileworks, who stamped his name on the tiles, was a slave, presumably all the other workers in the tileworks were also slaves. A cemetery is being excavated of these slaves, who proved to be surprisingly prosperous, and analyses of the bones suggest that they were surprisingly well nourished. Roman slaves are usually thought to be very ill-treated, but here in a rural backwater, they turn out to be surprisingly prosperous.

Out in the Empire

In the Roman Empire two sites in particular have predominated in our pages: one is the site of Butrint in modern Albania, just across from the Greek island of Corfu, where the collapse of the Communist regime in Albania gave Richard Hodges the opportunity to launch a major campaign of restoration and excavation (CWA 2, 26 & 40). The Greek and Roman town had already been excavated by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Ugolini at the behest of Mussolini, but Richard Hodges has demonstrated that there was also a very important late Roman town that went into the Dark Ages, and he has turned this into the type site for the ‘Dark Ages’ between the end of the Romans and the Middle Ages. In this issue (p.46), he recalls his first memories of visiting the site, and returns the excavations to bring us up to date.

The Kings' Cemetery of the Garamantes in the Sahara Desert, seen from the air.

The Kings’ Cemetery of the Garamantes in the Sahara Desert, seen from the air.

Then, we have all been making the acquaintance of the Garamantes, the fierce tribesmen who lived in the SaharaDesert, deep inside Libya (CWA 9 & 53). Here, David Mattingly has shown that, far from being migrant bandits, they were in fact hugely successful at exploiting the underground water resources, and established towns of considerable sophistication in what appears at first sight to be a most hostile environment.

The Americas

But forgetting for a moment the Romans, perhaps the most amazing archaeological discovery of the past half century has been across the Atlantic with the decipherment of the Maya language. This means that the Maya have been transferred from Prehistory to History, and we can now give names and dates to the rulers of the great towns of the Maya civilisation.

We looked at the remarkable work of David Martin at Philadelphia (CWA 30) who has been building up the history of the Maya, and who has produced a map rather like the London Underground map, showing the relationship between the different Maya cities by linking who was at war with whom and which king captured his rivals – they were a most warlike lot. From this, it emerged that Tikal in Guatemala was, as everyone had expected, the most important city of the Maya. But the second most important was Calakmul.

Hidden away deep in the jungles of Mexico, it is still little known today, though it possesses some magnificent monuments. We managed to discover it for ourselves at the end of a 50km (30 miles) road through the jungle that was built especially to make the site accessible to the adventurous tourist! It was to Calakmul that the satellite citadel of El Zotz (CWA 55) in modern-day Guatemala owed allegiance. This royal outpost perched on the edge of Calakmul territory, with its massive friezes of fearsome blood-red faces of the Maya sun god glaring across the tree-tops at their common enemy, Tikal.

One of the most remarkable Maya stories has been the story of Copán (CWA 30) in Honduras, where a stele erected in AD 776 claimed to go back to the founder of the dynasty in AD 426. Everyone thought that this was a bit unlikely – until excavations in one of the pyramids revealed that the pyramid had been started by the original ancestor 300 years earlier, precisely as the later inscription had indicated. In CWA 55, Richard Hodges interviewed Ricardo Agurcia-Fasquelle, the driving force behind the exciting work at Copán. The whole local community is involved, and today visitors to the site and to its museum can see a reconstruction of the extraordinary Rosalila Structure, the stunningly ornate temple found within the pyramid.

Off the beaten track for all but the most intrepid of CWA travellers is La Milpa in Belize. In our first issue, Professor Norman Hammond, archaeological correspondent for The Times, gives us a magisterial summary of his many years’ work there.

It is rare today to be able to declare the discovery of a forgotten people. But that is exactly what happened when archaeologists, on the trail of tomb raiders in Colombia, came across the lost city of a lost civilisation (CWA 53). The people were the Tairona, who disappeared in about 1600 AD, shortly after the arrival of the Spanish. The original name of their huge abandoned city, however, remains a mystery, and today it is known simply as Ciudad Perdida (‘LostCity’). With the help of the Global Heritage Fund, archaeologists are now working with the local community to investigate and conserve this unusual site.

Another startling discovery in the Americas appeared in the news section of CWA 21: some years earlier, builders had uncovered a great slab of stone at Veracruz in Mexico. Known as the Cascajal Block, it is covered with strange markings which, it transpires, are the only examples yet found of Olmec script. The Olmec are believed to be the earliest civilisation in the Americas, and, it was long thought, had not mastered the art of writing – until the discovery of the glyphs on this stele, that is.

On to South East Asia

The stunning Bronze Age burials revealed at Ban Non Wat.

The stunning Bronze Age burials revealed at Ban Non Wat.

In South East Asia, the problem of the beginning of the Bronze Age has been to the forefront. Bronze-working began surprisingly late in China, not till around 2000 BC: from where was it derived? Excavations in Thailand began producing equally early if not earlier dates, and the possibility even arose that bronze-working in China originated in Thailand. However, our New Zealand correspondent Charles Higham in his excavations at Ban Non Wat (CWA 9 & 35) showed that contrary to early reports, the Bronze Age did not really begin until around 1000 BC, which is around 1,000 years later than the Bronze Age of China to the north; but when it came, it was surprisingly sophisticated.

Another highlight for me was a visit to Korea and the discovery of an excavation at Gongju (CWA 8) of what has been called the ‘Tutankhamen of Korea’. It is an untouched tomb of a king of the 6th century AD. The entrance, like that to Tutankhamen’s tomb, was buried soon after it was constructed, and thus lost – so the tomb was saved. This tomb gave a wonderful display of the wealth of the Korean kingdoms, which were at their height in the 6th century AD.

The Middle Ages

It is time to wrap up this account and to ask what happened in the years following the collapse of the Roman Empire, and during the emergence of the modern world. A crucial feature was, of course, the rise of the Muslim world, which has featured in a number of our articles. A site of particular interest was Raqqa in Syria (CWA 19), in the 8th century the head of the Abbasid Caliphate, the forerunner of modern Baghdad. Here Julian Henderson has been excavating an industrial site, where glass was made on a massive scale using plant ash as a flux. The green glass that was produced became one of the glories of the Islamic world, and demonstrated something of the industrial expertise that underlay its rise.

At the other end of the Western world, a similar role was played by the Vikings: in CWA 58, we had a fascinating account of the Vikings penetrating in the opposite direction to the one we usually consider, up into the Baltic, to Estonia. Here, 40 Viking warriors were buried with their weapons inside two ships that were left standing upon the shore to be gradually subsumed by the sands.

Finally emerging into the modern world we have been following in the footsteps of the western colonisation of the rest of the world. A fascinating account came from Denmark and the Danish colony of Fredriksnopel on the Gold Coast, founded in 1788 to make the slave trade superfluous (CWA 20). But disease soon intervened, the settlement failed, and the site was lost until its recent rediscovery. Further work has been done in the West Indies, but some of the most remarkable discoveries have been made in America, tracing the hardships suffered by the first settlers at Jamestown in Virginia.

And the next ten years?

Over the past ten years there have been many discoveries in many parts of the world: so what can we expect in the next? Will the ‘Arab Spring’ see the opening up of new opportunities for archaeology in Iran and Iraq, as well as in Libya and perhaps even Syria?

And what of China? The huge success of the BritishMuseum’s exhibition The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army (CWA 21) is testament to the enduring appeal of that country’s great heritage. Sadly, looting and commerce is an ongoing problem, but one the officials are beginning to address (CWA 52). In the past, it was sometimes difficult to find out what was going on in Chinese archaeology, but, thankfully, information is beginning to be more forthcoming, and we hope to include more about China’s discoveries in future issues of CWA.

What else? Modern technology is developing at a rapid rate. Ever more sophisticated recording, dating, and surveying methods are being developed and adapted by archaeologists around the world both to re-evaluate established research and probe new ground. Certainly, there will be no shortage of discoveries to come in the next ten years – and CWA looks forward to reporting on them!

 

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