The spectacular discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 brought the 18th Dynasty teenage pharaoh 20th-century celebrity status, and inspired generations of future Egyptologists. His stepmother, Queen Nefertiti, is equally famous: her limestone bust, found at Amarna and now at the Neues Museum in Berlin, is as recognisable the world over as Tutankhamun’s golden burial mask. But her tomb is yet to be found. Now the world of Egyptology is on tenterhooks following claims that 21st-century technology has revealed signs of two hidden doorways in the walls of the boy king’s funeral chamber – and that one of them may lead to the undisturbed sarcophagus of Nefertiti herself.
Nineteenth-century European travellers who stumbled across the remains at Great Zimbabwe believed the impressive architecture and sophisticated art must be the work of foreigners colonising African territory. Twentieth-century excavation proved them wrong. New investigations at the long-neglected site of Mapela Hill are revealing the earliest traces of this sophisticated society, which went on to flourish in the 11th-19th centuries.
A long-forgotten city, a massive stone harbour, and a rare example of a Roman lighthouse: such discoveries are the stuff of archaeologists’ dreams. Add to that the first evidence for Hittite contact with Europe, and you understand why the team at Bathonea in Turkey enjoy their day job!
Describing a desert as ‘crowded’ sounds like an oxymoron, but in Qatar, that is exactly what you will find. A closer look at the seemingly barren landscape reveals a terrain crammed with evidence of past societies, both nomadic and sedentary, stretching back millennia.
High cholesterol leading to strokes is seen as a modern medical phenomenon. But scientists in Sweden have discovered remarkable evidence for this hidden killer lurking in two medieval monasteries. Was health in the Middle Ages as much a matter of lifestyle choice as it is for us today?
IN THIS ISSUE
EGYPT: Chamber of secrets What lies behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb?
ZIMBABWE: Mapela Hill The early birth of southern Africa’s first great civilisation
TURKEY: Bathonea Discovering a lost city where Europe meets Asia
QATAR: The crowded desert Finding solid remains of ephemeral societies
SWEDEN: Hidden killer A modern disease in a medieval monastery
Home of Goliath
The great American debate
Chauvet cave regrets
Aztec skull rack
French Pompeii frescos
The tooth of heidelbergensis
The Qur’an’s oldest pages
A new insight on a great temple mausoleum
ISTANBUL The Sun and Moon Mosques in Istanbul
ITALY Richard Hodges travels to the Maremma in Tuscany
FRANCE A luxurious Roman villa in rural France
100 years of Egyptian archaeology at the Petrie Museum
Andrew Robinson deciphers the origins of Hinduism in his review of Asko Parpola’s new book The Roots of Hinduism: The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization
Andrew Selkirk explores Babylon: Legend, History and the Ancient City by Michael Seymour
plus reviews of:
The Complete Roman Legions by Nigel Pollard and Joanne Berry
The Gates of Asia: The Eurasian Steppe and the Limits of Europe by Warwick Ball
Carthage: Fact and Myth by Roald Docter, Ridha Boussoffara, and Pieter ter Kerus (eds)
Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage by Helen Walasek
Cites and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East by Ömür Harmanşah
Metaphors, metal monsters, and the Venus de Milo’s arms
Neil Faulkner discusses listening to little voices
The Battersea Shield