As the Inca state expanded, the inhabitants of Pachacamac, Peru, found themselves on the receiving end of the imperial experience. By then, Pachacamac was already a venerable city presided over by a powerful local god. In our cover feature we explore how the Incas sensed an opportunity and encouraged pilgrimages to the site from across the empire, cunningly tightening their grip on local communities along the way.

When Ashurbanipal came to power in the 7th century BC, it placed him at the helm of the Assyrian empire. Palace artwork presents him as a fearless leader, deftly wielding an array of weapons to vanquish his foes. But such feats of brawn were matched with brains, as Ashurbanipal had a strong bookish streak. One of his flagship policies was an attempt to ensure Assyria’s future by amassing the entirety of human knowledge in a great library. When crisis came, though, would Ashurbanipal respond as a strongman or a scholar?

Well-heeled residents of the Caelian Hill in Rome became used to weathering the foibles of imperial whim. First, a military base was established in an area of elite housing, and then the world’s first cathedral was founded on the spot. Extraordinary relics of these structures survive amid a bewildering network of tunnels dug out over hundreds of years beneath the Basilica of St John Lateran.

Petra is another site that has enticed many investigators over the years. Combing the archive reveals some of the personalities behind the earliest excavation campaign, in 1929. These pioneering explorers had their work cut out for them in a city that seemed determined to keep its secrets.

In our travel section, a trip to Denmark presents an opportunity to visit a network of Viking fortresses and ponder what lessons their presentation to the public holds. Meanwhile, Egypt’s Luxor temple shows how a monument can be reimagined for successive audiences, while a new Roman museum in Nîmes proves to be a hit.

FEATURES

Ashurbanipal, king of the world The archaeology of an accidental Assyrian king

Pachacamac Pilgrimages and power in ancient Peru

Under the Lateran From soldiers to saints on the Caelian Hill

Spotlight: Petra’s first dig An expedition to Transjordan

NEWS

  • Pompeii and Pliny: when did Vesuvius erupt?
  • Viking ship burial revealed
  • Wooden sculptures unearthed at Chan Chan
  • Drawing the line in Blombos Cave
  • Debunking theories of violence
  • Maya elite lived in Teotihuacan
  • Unearthing Trondheim’s early settlement
  • Mummies from the mines

NEWS FOCUS
Discoveries from the high seas

CHARLES HIGHAM
Insights from the IPPA in Vietnam

TRAVEL

DENMARK: Richard Hodges explores the Viking fortresses at Trelleborg and Borgring

EGYPT: Seeking a pharaonic festival and changing faiths at Luxor temple

CULTURE

MUSEUM
Meet the Romans at Nîmes’ new Musée de le Romanité

REVIEWS
The Viking Age; Palmyra after Zenobia 273-750; Rediscovering Lost Innocence; If Venice Dies

SPECIAL REPORT
Following the Pilgrimage to Hadrian’s Wall

CHRIS CATLING
From Sweden’s Queen of the Lake to how to dress in ancient Egypt

FORUM
Crossword, cartoon, and photo competition

THINKING ALOUD
Revolution and the Dead Sea Scrolls

OBJECT LESSON
Nebra sky disc

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