Finding the archaeological evidence for a major turning point in history is something few archaeologists will experience. Finding the remains of a sea battle has never been done. Archaeologists working off the coast of Sicily have achieved both when they recovered the bronze rams from the warships lost at the Battle of the Egadi Islands. This was the battle that marked an end to the lengthy First Punic War, and changed the fortunes of the two protagonists: Carthage, once the great power in the region, was sent packing; and the victors, Rome, began their mighty ascent to domination in the Mediterranean. Our cover feature reveals a battlefield landscape beneath the waves, and the battle-scarred bronze rams of warships that did not survive the day’s conflict in 241 BC.
Nearly a 1,000 years later, as the last of Rome’s influence ebbed away, Reccopolis was founded in Visigothic Spain. Reccopolis is a rarity: few new towns are known from this time. So, what does a new-build look like during this period of transition?
For more than three millennia, a community in Luxor has lived with the dead: el-Qurna grew on and around the ancient necropolis at Thebes. Now, former residents of the recently demolished hamlet have joined archaeologists in a project to record both modern and old remains.
Next door to the sumptuous Villa Poppaea at Oplontis, near Pompeii, archaeologists have found the remains of a wine emporium. We take a look at both.
Did Christianity affect the wine trade in the Levant? Though boosted by the rise in popularity of this new religion, when Christianity in the region declined, so too, it seems, did its taste for wine.
IN THIS ISSUE
SICILY: Battle of the Egadi Islands Where the First Punic War was won, and the battle-scarred warship rams lost in the conflict
SPAIN: Reccopolis Discovering a unique Visigothic city
EGYPT: el-Qurna Luxor’s 3,500 year-old cemetery that was also home to the living
ITALY: Opulent Oplontis Revealing the the extravagant splendour of a house fit for an emperor’s wife
HOLY LAND: Holy Wine The rise and fall of the wine trade in the Levant
Roman hoard in the Netherlands
Ostia wall discovered
Macedonian royal tombs found
Tutankhamun’s replica tomb
Earliest evidence of organ cancer
Are China’s ancient ‘living’ towns at risk?
Happy times at the Institute of Archaeology
IRAN Persepolis: Making memories and meeting new relatives
SERBIA CWA travels to the Ružica Church of Kalemegdan Fortress
ITALY Richard Hodges travels to Rome’s non-Catholic cemetery
Discovering Tutankhamun at the Ashmolean
Andrew Robinson investigates the year civilization collapsed
Shamanic Regalia in the Far North by Patricia Rieff Anawalt
Thinking Big: how the evolution of social life shaped the human mind by Clive Gamble, John Gowlett, and Robin Dunbar
The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world from scratch by Lewis Dartnell
Locating the Sacred: Theoretical approaches to the emplacement of religion by Claudia Moser and Cecelia Feldman (eds)
Depicting the Dead: Self-representation and commemoration on Roman sarcophagi with portraits by Stine Birk
Getting out of the library
Music, wine, and waking the dead
The Dying Gaul