In July 1916, 450 of the 2,500 British and (mostly) Australian soldiers killed during two days of fighting at Fromelles in northern France were buried behind enemy lines. Many unmarked mass graves were lost for decades. Now archaeological survey has located eight of them just outside the village, and Oxford Archaeology was called in to investigate the remains. Using the latest forensic archaeological science, DNA analysis, and historical research, the team was able to give soldiers back their names, and thus restore their identities and even trace some of their families.
The stunning Mesa Verde National Park in the American Southwest is famous for its photogenic 13th-century cliff dwellings of the Pueblo Indians. But the region enjoys other great archaeological riches: just a few miles away on the plain – and 600 years earlier – Neolithic farmers were establishing maize-growing communities. Excavation helped by the local community is revealing a detailed picture of their lifestyle, society, and ingenuity.
In CWA 63, we brought you news that archaeologists had found the first shrine built at the Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini in Nepal, pushing back the date of his birth by about 300 years. In this issue, the team from Durham University reveals the full story of their discovery of a 6th century BC wooden structure built around a tree – possibly the very tree that, legend recalls, the Buddha’s mother held on to as she gave birth.
Then we’re off to explore the sanctuary site of Demeter at Eleusis, home of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Still today, visitors bring offerings to the goddess, whose ethereal presence seems to haunt the atmospheric ruins.
As Christmas approaches, it can mean only one thing: it’s time to scroll through your favourite photos of archaeological sites you’ve visited or artefacts you’ve seen, and to send them in for our annual CWA Photo Competition (see p.14 for details). We’ll display the winning shots at CA Live! 2015 on 27 & 28 February, and, of course, print them on the pages of CWA. Good luck!
IN THIS ISSUE
FRANCE: Fromelles Recovered, identified, remembered: the fallen of WWI
UNITED STATES: First Farmers The Neolithic arrives in the American Southwest
NEPAL: Lumbini Excavating the birthplace of the Buddha
GREECE: Eleusis Unshrouding the Eleusinian Mysteries
Ancient mummy brain
Missing fortress found
Scottish Viking hoard
Artistic origins redefined
HMS Erebus found
CWA PHOTO COMPETITION
Caught in the crossfire
Jade suits and lasers
SPAIN Exploring Pamplona Cathedral
ITALY In search of Etruscans at Cerveteri
ROMANIA Roman gold mines in Transylvania
Andrew Selkirk reviews Ming at the British Museum
Andrew Robinson examines the history of beer in William Bostwick’s new book, The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer
plus reviews of:
The Cambridge World Prehistory edited by Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn
The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us by Alice Roberts
The Great Archaeologists edited by Brian Fagan
Cities that Shaped the Ancient World edited by John Julius Norwich
Meteoric mistakes and mythical origins
Neil Faulkner does some middle-range musing
The Messines harmonica