The mysterious images on the Nasca plateau, Peru, have captured countless imaginations. But where did this tradition of planting pictures in the earth come from? A curious congregation of figures and beasts, clustered around the nearby city of Palpa, seems to have been crafted before their famous neighbours. As new survey reveals further examples of […]
It may be the royal tombs that spring to mind when we think of the Valley of the Kings, but you did not have to be pharaoh to secure space in the cemetery. More modest tombs exist in greater numbers, although the identity of many of their occupants remains a mystery. Donald P Ryan has been investigating.
The pharaohs did not lie in splendid isolation in the Valley of the Kings. While they held a monopoly on the spectacular royal tombs driven far into the bedrock, favoured individuals could also secure space in the cemetery. They had to make do with humbler tombs – often more modest than they would have expected […]
How did an Egyptian pharaoh rejuvenate after a demanding year? The annual Opet festival at Luxor was dedicated to renewing the semi-divine ruler’s lifeforce, but mortals will also benefit from a visit to the temple, as Matthew Symonds reveals. When it came to keeping up with the neighbours, Luxor temple never really stood a chance. […]
A fresh approach to a celebrated collection On 18 October 2018, the new Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World will open its doors to visitors at the British Museum. CWA was invited to take a look behind the scenes as installation of the objects was under way. How do you tackle a subject as […]
Heliopolis had the largest boundary of any Ancient Egyptian temple, but little of this extraordinary religious complex remains visible today. As the modern Cairo suburbs advanced ever deeper into the former home of the sun god Ra, a project was set up to record the archaeology of Heliopolis before it was too late.
According to Ancient Egyptian mythology, the world was created at Heliopolis. This significance was reflected in a temple complex that boasted the largest enclosure known in Egypt. Today, acts of creation at the site mostly concern new buildings springing up in the Cairo suburbs, while rescue excavations tease out traces of the temple before they […]
It sounds more like Hollywood than archaeology: thousands of life-size sculpted soldiers, brandishing real weapons and faithfully guarding an emperor’s tomb for millennia. Yet the terracotta warriors are no special effect. These soldiers are believed to have been individually crafted, capturing an army on the cusp of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The resources and […]
What is it? William is the nickname given to this small Egyptian Middle Kingdom statuette of a hippopotamus. The figurine was made in the 12th Dynasty (c.1961-1878 BC) and was placed with another in a tomb. Measuring just 11.2cm in height and 20cm in length, the bright, blue faience hippopotamus has a well-rounded body and […]
How did Romans drive around their cities? While Classical authors had plenty to say about the coarse manners of the muleteers using the streets, they were less interested in setting down the rules of the road. Was it just a free-for-all? Subtle traces worn into the streets of Pompeii by passing carts suggest otherwise. Our […]
Giza is one of the most celebrated archaeological sites in the world. Although it is revered for its spectacular pyramids, research over the last few decades has shed light on a living community that grew up to service the dead. In our cover feature we examine their role in dispatching the deceased on a voyage […]
Apparently, we now live in a ‘post-fact’ world. The new American president denounces the truth as ‘fake news’. A leading White House spokesperson rejects the truth in favour of ‘alternative facts’. Veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk has argued that there is nothing new here: what is happening is called ‘lying’, and politicians have always […]