The archaeological legacy of the Trojan war is immense. Greek vases pull no punches when they show Homeric heroes engaged in brutal combat. Key scenes from the conflict and its aftermath play out across ancient sarcophagi, wall paintings, and even fine tableware. Yet there is a strong chance that none of these events ever really happened. How did this story become so important in the Greek, Roman, and medieval worlds? We explore where the inspiration for Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey came from, and ask whether there could be a grain of truth at the heart of them.

The lush pasturelands of the Orkhon river in Mongolia are another place where mythology has been woven around cities. One ruined site was known as the ‘bad city’, perhaps because it became seen as a realm of the dead, while another was reputedly founded by Genghis Khan. Excavations are currently breathing life into these former capitals, by exposing fine architecture expressing the aspirations of their nomadic founders.

Sadly, some of the stunning historic structures studding the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal were levelled by the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015. More damage was done in the subsequent rush to clear the rubble and rebuild these monuments. Now a programme of post-disaster archaeology has demonstrated what can be achieved if greater heed is paid to the surviving fabric.

Painstaking attention to detail is fundamental to the cutting-edge methods being used to conserve and record the Dead Sea Scrolls, too. This remarkable cache of manuscripts may also be the product of a devastating event, in this case Roman repression. We examine the past, present, and future of the world’s oldest surviving biblical writings.

Finally, in our travel section, Richard Hodges takes us to an exclusive Corfu house party, while Lucia Marchini has been exploring life, death, and a ziggurat-style structure in Sardinia.

FEATURES

Trojan War
The archaeology of a story

A cradle of civilisations
Excavating nomadic capital cities in Mongolia

After the earthquake
Post-disaster archaeology in Nepal

Spotlight: The Dead Sea Scrolls
Conserving one of the world’s greatest manuscript collections

NEWS

  • Bronze Age tombs discovered in Pylos
  • AI finds new Nasca Line
  • First Egyptian head cones found
  • The twist in the monkey’s tail
  • Necklaces for Neanderthals
  • Revealing a unique Iron Age shield
  • Portrait of the archaeologist
  • Ship-shape find Norway
  • Ethnoarchaeology in the mountains

NEWS FOCUS
The discovery of the Aksumite town Beta Samati

CHARLES HIGHAM
A summer of archaeology highlights

HORIZON
Sagalassos, city on the slopes

TRAVEL

CORFU AND ALBANIA
Richard Hodges explores the archaeology both sides of the Straits of Corfu

SARDINIA
CWA visits ancient sites around Alghero

CULTURE

MUSEUM
Encounters with the gods of Selinunte at the Antonio Salinas Museum

REVIEWS
From Stonehenge to Mycenae; What We Did in Bed; Conflict Landscapes; Bluffer’s Guide to Archaeology; Antiquities in Motion; The Man who Invented Aztec Crystal Skulls

SPECIAL REPORT
How AI can aid archaeology

CHRIS CATLING
Finding medieval manuscripts and lost words

FORUM
Crossword and cartoon

THINKING ALOUD
Dracula and the archaeology of the ‘tourist gaze’

OBJECT LESSON
A Palaeolithic Venus from Amiens, France

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