The Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha was obsessed with defending his ‘paradise on earth’. He feared invasion by NATO troops using a combination of amphibious landings and parachutists. As a result, he covered the country with thousands of mushroom-like bunkers, concealed trenches, and anti-aircraft guns. From the sea to the mountains, Albania became a fortress. This extraordinary martial investment had one unexpected outcome. During construction of an anti-aircraft installation close to Fshati i Vjetër, ‘The Old Village’ high on Mount Mile, overlooking Butrint, ancient Buthrotum, and the Straits of Corfu, an exquisite bronze statuette of the god, Pan, came to light in 1981.
Houses of Ill Repute: the archaeology of brothels, houses, and taverns in the Greek world Allison Glazebrook and Barbara Tsakirgis (eds) University of Pennsylvania Press, £58.00 ISBN 978-0812247565 Review by: Andrew Selkirk How can you recognise an ancient brothel? It is best to begin by identifying the andron, the room where the inhabitants of a […]
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 […]
What is it? This enigmatic fired-clay disc, dating to around 1700-1600 BC, was discovered in the palace of Phaistos on the Greek island of Crete. It is 16.5cm in diameter, 2.1cm thick, and its two faces bear 45 different pictographic signs – a total of 241 symbols – spiralling from the edge to the centre […]
Sicily, one of the world’s great crossroads of culture, is the subject of the British Museum’s latest must-see exhibition, Sicily: Culture and Conquest. Curators Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs take us behind the scenes, telling the story using five of their favourite objects from the displays. Sicily sits in the centre of the Mediterranean, its […]
Revealing Egypt’s international port From the late 7th century BC, the Nile Delta port of Naukratis was the world’s gateway to Egypt. Yet, despite early archaeological research at the site, it has languished in the shadows. Who lived there, how did the port operate, and what (sometimes salacious) secrets remained hidden? Alexandra Villing and Ross […]
The 6th century BC temple on the Greek island Despotiko is not what you might expect: the shrine boasts an enormous dining facility, and is surrounded by a large number of statues. Excavation on this idyllic little uninhabited island has also revealed evidence of an earlier temple – and a rather unnerving statuette of a […]