What went on inside Neolithic tombs? Recent survey of one stunning example in Spain has revealed previously unknown artwork, raising questions about who was entering this burial place. Some rock art was daubed with paint, suggesting an attempt to catch the eye of visitors processing into the tomb. What can these images tell us about the nature of the society whose dead were committed to this remarkable monument?

Archaeologists working at Tambo Viejo, Peru, have also been considering some exceptional burials, although in this case those of guinea pigs and llamas. These creatures were sacrificed to mark important moments in the life of an Inca centre, built to help administer their empire. Despite this mainstream imperial setting, elements of the rituals have no known parallels elsewhere in the Inca world.

At Belsk, Ukraine, it is the vast space enclosed within a hillfort rampart that is without equal in Europe. But rather than containing an enormous settlement, much of the area girded within the defences appears to have been empty. So who was responsible for this hillfort, and what did they want it for? Careful study is shedding light on the secrets of Belsk.

When it comes to the Great Wall of China and the frontiers of the Roman empire, it is their length that is most striking. An attempt to determine the true extent of the many barriers collectively referred to as the Great Wall has spurred a comparison with the Roman frontiers. The results illustrate the extraordinary resources these civilisations dedicated to security.

Our regular travel section feels a little like wishful thinking during the current pandemic, but I hope you will welcome this glimpse of happier times. Richard Hodges reminisces about experiencing the latest high-tech way for tourists to explore Lascaux, while Andrew Selkirk remembers a trip to the industrial part of Roman Barcelona.

FEATURES

Tambo Viejo
Excavating remarkable Inca rituals

A 5,000-year-old mystery
Recording rock art within the Dolmen de Soto

Belsk
The largest hillfort in Europe

Spotlight: Long division
Measuring the Chinese and Roman frontiers

NEWS

  • Lost Maya capital located
  • New way to date pottery
  • Migration period mingling
  • A mammoth find from Ice Age Russia
  • Oldest known string found at Neanderthal site
  • Insights into Homo Antecessor
  • Polo donkeys discovered
  • Rare painted leopard revealed

NEWS FOCUS
A new discovery from one of Europe’s richest areas of rock art

CHARLES HIGHAM
The Shanghai Archaeology Forum 2019

HORIZON
The winner of CWA Photo of the Year 2020

TRAVEL

FRANCE
Richard Hodges delves into the recreated Palaeolithic paintings of Lascaux IV

SPAIN
Andrew Selkirk heads beneath a royal palace to explore the remains of Roman Barcelona

CULTURE

MUSEUM
Infinity of Nations at the National Museum of the American Indian, New York

REVIEWS
An Engraved Landscape; Tree Story; Digging up Armageddon

SPECIAL REPORT
Expanding amino acid dating

CHRIS CATLING
From the Bronze Age tin trade to a king’s military maps

FORUM
Letters, crossword, cartoon

THINKING ALOUD
Considering the collapse of civilisation

OBJECT LESSON
An intriguing Gallo-Roman tombstone from Geneva

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