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CWA 123 – out now

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In ancient Japan, royal burial mounds could be magnificent monuments. The distinctive keyhole-shaped earthwork associated with the semi-legendary Emperor Nintoku, for example, is 486m long and ranks as one of the largest tombs ever constructed. In our cover feature, we explore how these burial mounds could create a potent statement of royal power, while also containing sumptuous grave goods that provide a fascinating glimpse of traditions in both life and death. Some display clear connections with continental Asia, revealing the role of overseas influences in elite power.

When it comes to subterranean finds in Spain, cave art has recently been discovered at Cova Dones, near Valencia. The region has not previously been renowned for such imagery, and it was initially suspected that there would only be a handful of paintings at the site. A surprising twist came during survey work, though, when it was realised that the Ice Age artists had used an unusual technique to create many more images. Could this approach have been more widespread than currently appreciated?

It is a concentration of sites at Khirbet al-Khalde, along the former Roman frontier, that is attracting attention in Jordan. Among the remains are a Roman fortification, an apparent roadside inn, an aqueduct, and a cemetery. Today, these ruins appear isolated in remote desert, but in antiquity they would have formed part of a global exchange network.

In our travel section, Richard Hodges investigates the results of a remarkable campaign of excavations at Monte Cassino, which sheds fascinating light on one of the wonders of Christendom. Meanwhile, Carly Hilts has been exploring Sydney, Australia, and takes a look at the results of the Big Dig, which explored early life in the British colony.

FEATURES

Cova Dones
A surprising Palaeolithic cave-art site

Japan’s royal tombs
Burial mounds and Korean connections in the 3rd to 8th centuries AD

Surveying Khirbet al-Khalde
Global trade and ancient mobility in southern Jordan

NEWS

NEWS FOCUS
Let the sun shine in!

CHARLES HIGHAM
What the emissary saw

HORIZON
Objects in the ice

TRAVEL

ANGELO PANTONI’S EXCAVATIONS AT MONTE CASSINO
Richard Hodges untangles the early evolution of the famed Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino

JAILHOUSE ROCKS
Carly Hilts explores the archaeological echoes of Australia’s earliest colonists

CULTURE

MUSEUM
A new exhibition at the Met examines the connections between medieval Africa and Byzantium

REVIEWS
Facing the Sea of Sand: the Sahara and the peoples of northern Africa; The Folds of Olympus: mountains in Ancient Greek and Roman culture; Weavers, Scribes, and Kings: a new history of the Ancient Near East; Archaeology in Antarctica

RUBINA RAJA & SØREN SINDBÆK
Machine learning

SPECIAL REPORT
Antler combs uncover Viking Age connections

CHRIS CATLING
Stone tools, space dust, and sacramental ash

FORUM
Letters, crossword, cartoon

OBJECT LESSON
Shark-tooth blades

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