Below the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico lies a submerged world of extraordinary beauty. Caves once created a subterranean labyrinth that the earliest human settlers seemingly associated with magic. After these passageways flooded at the end of the last Ice Age, they created reservoirs that proved essential for the success of Maya cities. Now a fascinating project is revealing the remarkable range of archaeology preserved in this underworld.
Goddesses and spiritual beings also display an impressive range, in this case of powers. There can be a tendency for modern audiences to focus on a single attribute – Venus as the goddess of love, for instance – but this obscures the remarkable breadth of gifts they could bestow on worshippers. An exhibition examining the nature of feminine power provides an opportunity to consider the divine and the demonised.
Of the many treats on offer in Pompeii, its varied selection of eateries and hostelries was surely particularly prized by ancient inhabitants. From purveyors of fast food to more-refined dining, and of course a wealth of options for liquid refreshment, there was something for everyone. What can taking a tour of these establishments reveal about Roman retail?
When Johannes Østrup set off from Denmark on a tour in the 19th century, he had the Syrian desert in his sights. Over the course of many adventures, he visited Palmyra, and was the first to record some of the ruins in its hinterland. Looking back at his exploits today offers a reminder of the importance of examining archive accounts of ancient sites.
In our travel section, Carly Hilts asks what the Romans ever did for Athens, while Richard Hodges takes us behind the scenes of a memorable crossover between two immensely popular archaeology television shows.
PS Anyone interested in Hadrian’s Wall might like to check out a special I’ve written for our stablemate Military History Matters. It’s in issue 129, out now!
A Roman pub crawl
A tour of the hostelries in Pompeii and beyond
- Assyrian art found in underground complex
- Denisovan tooth found in Laos?
- Palaeolithic art by firelight
- America’s oldest ochre mine
- Life and death in an early South Australian colony
- Ancient Maya dentistry
- Medieval hand grenades?
- Early Islamic burials in the Levant