The Moche were the first empire-builders of the American continent, more than eight centuries before the Incas, and just as deserving of fame as those Johnny-come-latelys. But they had no written language, and did not hang around long enough to be recorded in the histories written by European fortune-hunters who plundered their material legacy almost a millennium later. Now, after 20 years of excavation at the Moche capital, we are rediscovering this sophisticated – and terrifying – culture, with its dependence on human sacrifice to appease its pantheon of gods. The latest discoveries offer a fascinating insight into their world: a mysterious platform that, though represented in Moche art, has never before been found on the ground; and, buried next to it, three members of the Moche elite.

A different archaeological enigma is puzzling the team at the Etruscan site of Poggio Civitate, the largest complex of its time in the Mediterranean. Babies discarded with the rubbish, and evidence of a catastrophic fire are just some of the secrets that are beginning to emerge.

While strife elsewhere in the troubled Middle East prohibits much archaeological investigation, in Kurdistan a new age of exploration is just beginning. We take a peek at some of the exciting projects that are under way in this fascinating region.

In CWA 65 we looked at the popularity of the wine trade in the Holy Land. Now, a gigantic Byzantine-era winery discovered at Ganey Tal in Israel reveals how this industry was fuelled, and the community that grew up around it.

Albania’s Ambassador to Italy Neritan Ceka walked a political tightrope through some of his country’s most tumultuous times while producing highly acclaimed studies of its Illyrian past. Richard Hodges chats with him about his extraordinary life, influences, and passion for archaeology.

Finally, what does one of the greatest prehistorians of the 20th century have in common with a rock star? Paul Bahn found out when he visited Australia.

IN THIS ISSUE

FEATURES

PERU: Huacas de Moche Revealing death and ritual in the shadow of the Sun and Moon pyramids

ITALY: Poggio Civitate Exploring an Etrusca enigma on the Plain of Treasures

NEAR EAST: Kurdistan A new dawn breaks for archaeology

ISRAEL: Ganey Tal Where Byzantine wine flowed on an industrial scale

INTERVIEW: Mister Archaeology Richard Hodges and Ambassador Neritan Ceka chat about life in politics and archaeology

NEWS

Origins of the World Trade Center shipwreck

Paleolithic child violence

Neolithic fire and child sacrifice

Copper Age Spain

Assyrian accountancy

Earliest Egyptian Embalmers

Professor Klaus Schmidt (1953-2014)

NEWS FOCUS

Ritual violence in Denmark’s Holy Valley

SPECIAL REPORT

Killing with kindness on the Black Sea

TOM HIGHAM

Denisovans: past, present, and future

TRAVEL

TURKEY    Istanbul: finding the Great Palace of Constantinople

TUNISIA   Carthage: the city that ruled the Mediterranean

ITALY    Ostia Antica: rambling along Roman backstreets

CULTURE

MUSEUM

Museo Arqueológico Nacional in Madrid reopens

British Museum: Ming Dynasty exhibition

REVIEWS

Andrew Robinson explores ancient Egyptian myths in Garry Shaw’s new book The Egyptian Myths: a guide to the ancient gods and legends

plus reviews of:

Wadi Sura: the Cave of Beasts by Rudolph Kuper

Archaeology in the ‘Land of Tells and Ruins’: a history of excavations in the Holy Land inspired by the photographs and accounts of Leo Boer by Bart Wagemakers (ed)

Regarding the Dead: human remains in the British Museum by Alexandra Fletcher, Daniel Antoine, and J D Hill (eds)

Bodies in Conflict: corporeality, materiality, and transformation by Paul Cornish and Nicholas J Saunders (eds)

The History of Archaeology: an introduction by Paul Bahn (ed)

COMMENT

Paul Bahn on V Gordon Childe down under

Neil Faulkner asks not ‘what?’ but ‘why?’

CHRIS CATLING

Gnashers, nuptials, and seltzer at sea

OBJECT LESSON

The Indus Dancing Girl