At their peak in the 4th century AD, the people who built Teotihuacan in Mexico ruled an empire every bit as impressive as that of Rome on the other side of the world. Yet we don’t even know their name, nor why they mysteriously abandoned their colossal capital city in the 7th century AD, some 700 years before it was chanced upon by that other great expansionist power, the Aztecs. But now, thanks to a remarkable discovery and the ingenuity of INAH archaeologists led by Sergio Gómez Chávez, we can follow their spiritual journey along a hidden passageway that lies beneath the huge Temple of the Feathered Serpent and leads directly to the secretive netherworld of their ancestral founders.

Just off the Sicilian coast, a chance find by a local fisherman revealed a sunken cargo of church architecture. Can the Marzamemi wreck, as it became known, reveal new insights into the enthusiastic promotion of Christianity across his empire by Justinian I in the 6th century?

Early Archaic mortuary practices uncovered in Brazil are not for the fainthearted. But what do they tell us about the people who populated this region for millennia, and about their changing cultural practices?

The success stories of the Egyptian pharaohs are well documented, emphasising that old maxim that ‘history is written by the victors’. So the archaeologists at the Egyptian garrison at Jaffa in Israel were intrigued to uncover evidence of violent destruction and rapid rebuilding unmentioned in the written sources – proof, if proof were needed, that it is down to archaeology to right the historical record.

Finally, we tag along with Richard Hodges as he travels to Tunisia with his old friend and esteemed colleague Roberto Nardi, ‘Mr Mosaic’, recognised for his revolutionary work in heritage conservation and now charged with restoring the stunning Roman mosaics in the Bardo Museum.

IN THIS ISSUE

FEATURES

MEXICO: Beneath the Serpent Temple Entering the sacred netherworld at Teotihuacan

SICILY: The Marzamemi ‘church wreck’ Shipping 6th-century architecture for Justinian’s Empire

BRAZIL: Lapa do Santo Decapitation and ritual in ‘The Saint’s Rock Shelter’

ISRAEL: Defying the pharaoh Looking at life and rebellion under Egyptian occupation

NEWS

Greek city discovered

Phoenician shipwreck

New evidence of early hominins in Spain

Altar of a Viking king

Smallpox virus: a modern mystery

Food for thought in Chaco Canyon

Ancient killer identified

‘Russian doll’ pyramid

Australia’s earliest history

SPECIAL REPORT

Melting mummies of Chinchorro

NEWS FOCUS

Funerary boats for the pharaoh

CHARLES HIGHAM

Danes’ camp and Neolithic Greece

TRAVEL

SPAIN: An Iron Age village at Las Eretas

TUNISIA: Richard Hodges travels with ‘Mr Mosaic’, Roberto Nardi

ITALY: Roman villas beyond the Eternal City

CULTURE

MUSEUM

The Egyptian Museum in Turin

REVIEWS

FILM: Paul Bahn reviews Finding Altamira

BOOK: Andrew Robinson discusses Mike Maslin’s new book The Cradle of Humanity: how the changing landscape of Africa made us so smart

plus reviews of:

The Great Paleolithic War by David J Meltzer

The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization by Tamar Hodos (ed.)

John Henry Haynes: A Photographer and Archaeologist in the Ottoman Empire 1881-1900 by Robert G Ousterhout

Vikings at War by Kim Hjardar and Vegard Vike

The Archaeology of Malta: from the Neolithic through the Roman Period by Claudia Sagona

CHRIS CATLING

Genetic dispersal and human sacrifice

FORUM

Letters, crossword, cartoon

THINKING ALOUD

Neil Faulkner considers another fat lady

OBJECT LESSON

The Golden Rhino of Mapungubwe

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