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
MEXICO: Beneath the Serpent Temple Entering the sacred netherworld at Teotihuacan
ISRAEL: Defying the pharaoh Looking at life and rebellion under Egyptian occupation
Greek city discovered
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
Melting mummies of Chinchorro
Funerary boats for the pharaoh
Danes’ camp and Neolithic Greece
ITALY: Roman villas beyond the Eternal City
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:
Genetic dispersal and human sacrifice
Letters, crossword, cartoon
Neil Faulkner considers another fat lady
The Golden Rhino of Mapungubwe