France

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Richard Hodges: Lascaux IV

It is a country of enchantment which poets have staked out and which they alone may lay claim to. It is nearest thing to Paradise this side of Greece… I believe that the Cro-Magnon man settled here because he was extremely intelligent and had a highly developed sense of beauty. Henry Miller, The Colossus of […]

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Object Lesson: Venus of Renancourt

What is it? This statuette, dating from around 21,000 BC, has the familiar form of a Palaeolithic ‘Venus’ figurine. Carved out of chalk and standing to a height of 4cm, the female figure has the prominent, fleshy thighs, buttocks, and breasts typical of these works from a late phase of the Gravettian culture (28,000-22,000 years […]

Aerial View of Fromelles

Fromelles

A century ago, 250 soldiers were buried behind enemy lines in unmarked mass graves on the outskirts of the village of Fromelles in northern France. In 2009, a team from Oxford Archaeology was charged with recovering and helping to identify these men. In 2014, the report was published: Louise Loe told CWA about this remarkable – and unique – project.

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CWA 91

At first, they came by sea, carrying cargoes of broken objects destined to be deposited at the world’s earliest known maritime sanctuary. Their destination was Keros, a small island in the heart of the Cyclades, which offered little in the way of natural resources to detain the voyagers after they had made their observances. But […]

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CWA 88

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 […]

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NEWS: Heartbroken in a French convent

Analyses of graves in the Jacobin convent in Rennes (western France) have revealed previously unknown burial practices, challenging earlier interpretations about the history of death and belief in Europe. Constructed in 1369, the convent became a principal burial site for the aristocracy of Rennes, the seat of Brittany’s parliament.  Excavations there by the Institut national […]

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CWA 80

Crossing the Caucasus, Europe’s highest mountain range, is not for the faint-hearted, and nowhere is so bleak and so inhospitable as Dariali Gorge. It is here, legend tells, that Prometheus endured his cyclical punishment for stealing fire from the gods. And through here the Huns forced their way south to plunder the riches of the […]

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CWA 74

Metropolis, not Superman’s home town but the Ionian City of the Mother Goddess, was a major Classical city established in Anatolia during the 3rd century BC. Crowned by an acropolis, it lies above fertile plains on the road to Ephesus, its magnificent monumental architecture testament to the sophistication of its wealthy citizens. So why has nobody heard of it? Serdar […]

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CWA 73

The spectacular discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 brought the 18th Dynasty teenage pharaoh 20th-century celebrity status, and inspired generations of future Egyptologists. His stepmother, Queen Nefertiti, is equally famous: her limestone bust, found at Amarna and now at the Neues Museum in Berlin, is as recognisable the world over as Tutankhamun’s golden burial mask. But her tomb is yet […]

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CWA 72

In France, archaeologists have uncovered a huge Iron Age chariot burial that is puzzling archaeologists. It is the largest yet found, and belongs to a Celtic aristocrat who enjoyed high social standing in life. But is this chief a man or a woman? The funerary complex is unusual, too: no settlement has been found close enough to be associated […]

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CWA 71

The spectacular untouched tomb of Prince Liang Zhuang, favourite brother of the Ming emperor Xuande, has been hailed as China’s greatest discovery for a century. Not only was the treasure found in the burial chamber among the richest ever recovered, but the dazzling jewels that adorn the artefacts are evidence of expeditions undertaken by one of the most famous […]

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CWA 68

In July 1916, 450 of the 2,500 British and (mostly) Australian soldiers killed during two days of fighting at Fromelles in northern France were buried behind enemy lines. Many unmarked mass graves were lost for decades. Now archaeological survey has located eight of them just outside the village, and Oxford Archaeology was called in to investigate the remains. Using […]

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