The 6th century BC temple on the Greek island Despotiko is not what you might expect: the shrine boasts an enormous dining facility, and is surrounded by a large number of statues. Excavation on this idyllic little uninhabited island has also revealed evidence of an earlier temple – and a rather unnerving statuette of a goddess with wild, staring eyes.
Sidon appears in the Old and the New Testaments, in Homer’s Odyssey, and in inscriptions from Phoenicia to Assyria. But what of its archaeological record? We reveal more than 5,000 years of continuous, often turbulent, occupation from 4th millennium settlers and traders to brutal medieval Crusaders.
The first clues of structures on the imperial estate at Vagnari in the depths of the Puglian countryside were a bit of an enigma. What could they be, built in the middle of nowhere? The answer is a winery, one capable of wine production on a truly industrial scale.
Rapidly falling sea levels during the Last Glacial Maximum created a land bridge between two continents, enabling humans to make their way from Siberia into the Americas. New studies show that, far from being a frozen wasteland, this zone – called Beringia – provided an environmental safe haven, and cores from the now submerged landscape provide convincing dates for human occupation.
How long did it take for groups to make their way down through the Americas? Dates obtained from rock art in the Piauí region of Brazil may throw the cat among the pigeons. Results suggest a human presence here some 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.
IN THIS ISSUE
GREECE: Despotiko An early Greek temple
LEBANON: Sidon Unravelling the story of a legendary city
ITALY: Vagnari Is this the winery of Rome’s greatest landowner?
BERINGIA: Beringian Standstill The story of crossing continents
BRAZIL: Making their mark Interpreting clues left by early settlers in the rock shelters of Piauí
Brutal Stone Age massacre at Nataruk in Africa
Inca gold at Pacopampa, Peru
By Jupiter: Ancient Babylonians calculate planet’s path
ITALY Abruzzo & Molise: in search of the Samnites
MEXICO 48 Hours in Mexico City
ITALY The island of Lampedusa
Roman mosaics of Germanicia in the Kahramanmaraş Archaeological Museum, Turkey
New light on Byzantine Dark Ages: Sean Kingsley reviews The Byzantine Dark Ages by Michael Decker
plus reviews of:
Death Rituals, Social Order and the Archaeology of Immortality in the Ancient World by Colin Renfrew, Michael J Boyd, Iain Morely (Ed.s)
The Mediterranean in History by David Abulafia (Ed.)
In search of Kings and Conquerors: Gertrude Bell and the Archaeology of the Middle East by Lisa Cooper
Sons of the Sun: rise and decline of the Fifth Dynasty by Miroslav Verner
The Later Prehistory of North-West Europe by Richard Bradley, Colin Haselgrove, Marc Vander Linden, and Leo Webley
Folktales, sleep, and protecting antiquities
Neil Faulkner queries The Meaning of Movement (Part 1)
The Dragon Master