Excavation at a Bronze Age hilltop settlement in south-east Spain has uncovered the burial of an elite couple dating to about 1650 BC. The archaeological record shows that just a century later the world as they had known it was gone. Civil unrest had overturned the old order, and all traces of this little-known Argaric culture disappeared almost overnight. Could the great divide between the rich and the poor have sparked a rebellion?
On the other side of the world, a fragment of a wooden canoe with a swimming turtle carved on its bow has provided new evidence of when and how the Polynesian islands were colonised.
Antiochia Hippos was a member of the Roman Decapolis, the Greco-Roman cities on the eastern border of the Roman Empire. But it was deserted following a catastrophic earthquake in AD 749, and its abandoned ruins were buried by time. Now, after 15 years of excavation, archaeologists in Israel are discovering the riches that this capital of the region once enjoyed.
The step wells of Rajasthan are long-neglected monumental masterpieces, some dating back centuries. They combine stunning architectural detail with a practical purpose, yet many are falling into ruin. A new project is under way to restore these watering places to their former glory.
Next, we go to Deir el-Medina, the village of the workers who built the intricately carved tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Popular perception is that these poor individuals endured a brief life of gruelling hardship, and that they were a cheap, readily replaceable labour force. But now research is challenging these notions, and recent evidence suggests the existence of Egypt’s first government-sponsored healthcare system.
Finally, Andrew Selkirk, inspired by his recent visit to China, is delving into Chinese history. Why, he asks, was there no Chinese ‘Dark Age’?
IN THIS ISSUE
SPAIN: Rise and fall of the Argar How revolution toppled a Bronze Age civilisation
NEW ZEALAND: Anaweka canoe A boat fragment writes history
ISRAEL: Antiochia Hippos Revealing a lost city of the Roman Decapolis
INDIA: Stepping down Restoration of forgotten ancient step wells of Rajasthan
EGYPT: Deir el-Medina Did state welfare support the pharaohs’ tomb-builders?
Imperial farm in Rome
By a nose
End of an empire
Ice Age infants
Vampires or victims?
Lady of the Jewels
Finding the port that launched Columbus on his journey to the New World
When the digging is done
USA The lost empires of the United States
PORTUGAL Discovering Stone Age art in the Côa Valley
ITALY S. Michele at Olevano and the Crypt of the Original Sin
Istanbul Archaeological Museum
A History of the Ancient Southwest edited by Stephen H Lekson
Artifact & Artifice: Classical Archaeology and the Ancient Historian by
Jonathan M Hall
The End of the Pagan City: Religion, Economy, and Urbanisation in Late Antique North Africa by Anna Leone
The Intimate Bond How Animals Shaped Human History by Brian Fagan
The Archaeology of American Cities by Nan A Rothschild and Diana diZerega Wall
Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson
Museums of the past and future
Andrew Selkirk thinks about decline and fall – Chinese style
Neil Faulkner asks: Why do people dress up as animals?
Giant scarab beetle