With prehistoric painted caves, ruins of Roman cities, spectacular places of worship converted during periods of conquest and reconquest, and elaborate palaces occupied by emirs and kings, Spain offers plenty of historic sites to explore. One place where you can get a flavour of this rich heritage across the length and breadth of the country under one roof is the National Archaeological Museum, founded in Madrid in 1867.
The megalithic jars of Laos have been entrancing visitors since the 19th century. These remarkable stone receptacles can occur individually, or in groups running to several hundred. While the most-famous set was arranged on a plain, most jars can be found perched on ridges and hills, with some still shrouded by forest. All the signs […]
Now housed in the Prince’s Palace in Copenhagen, the National Museum of Denmark has one of the oldest established collections of prehistoric artefacts in the world. It dates back to King Frederik VI, who set up Den Kongelige Commission til Oldsagers Opbevaring (The Royal Commission for the Preservation of Antiquities) in 1807. One early secretary […]
The archaeological legacy of the Trojan war is immense. 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?
Sailing to a remote maritime sanctuary brings Richard Hodges to Europe’s earliest central place As the ferry slipped through the still-sleeping grey sea heading northwards, I raced to the aft windows to get a last look at Dhaskalio, albeit in silhouette. Dark now, this conical rock reminds me of Tintagel, detached in this case from […]
Cyrus the Great had an eye for the finer things in life. At Pasargadae he established a fabulous palace, which boasted lavish pleasure gardens watered by ingenious hydraulic works. Today, the lush vegetation is long-gone, but the ruins testify to the arrival of a new approach to palaces, where the buildings played second fiddle to […]
The decision to install a hydroelectric dam in the Göksu valley sparked a project to record its past, before the archaeology was submerged beneath rising water. Naoíse Mac Sweeney, Tevfik Emre Şerifoǧlu, Anna Collar, and Stuart Eve reveal the remarkable story of a region shaped by successive empires. What is our heritage worth? Should we […]
When excavations at Akrotiri commenced in 1967, they revealed a prehistoric town with buildings still standing two or even three storeys high. More than 50 years later, the story of the life and death of an extraordinary settlement is still being teased out. We find out more.
It is a building like no other at Akrotiri. Now known as the ‘House of the Benches’, it is tucked away on the edge of the famous Bronze Age town. Inside, there is no sign of the domestic set-up suggested by its modern name. Instead, archaeologists have found traces of perplexing and mysterious activity. Among […]
Situated at the remote tip of a sparsely inhabited Cycladic island, Dhaskalio seemingly had little to draw visitors. Yet they came in sufficient numbers to create a type of settlement previously unseen in Europe. Why?
What is it? This ancient Chinese bronze bell is one of a set of four. It is decorated with birds forming a suspension loop, coiled serpents as bosses, and dragons on the bottom panel. Each bell in the group is of a different size (this one measures 66.4cm in height and 47cm in width) and […]
Hello, everyone! It is wonderful to be here, and I am looking forward to exploring sites and discoveries around the world with you. First, we travel down the spectacular long and winding Siq that leads to Petra. There, the Nabataeans founded one of the most beautiful, and perhaps also unlikely, cities in the ancient world. What persuaded these […]