As CWA reaches a milestone, we sifted through our back issues in search of the most exciting discoveries about our shared past. Ten sites have been selected to tell stories from the last 300,000 years that have been brought to light by archaeology.
The deeds of royal dynasties presiding over Maya city-states in northern Guatemala can still be followed on ornate inscriptions raised in their name. But just how large were their dominions? Tom Garrison tells us how recent survey and follow-up fieldwork is revolutionising our knowledge of Maya state power.
The Guatemalan rainforest has kept its secrets well. Maya monuments like the world-famous pyramids at Tikal may seem hard to miss, but until recently surveying the dense jungle posed a formidable challenge. Now extensive aerial survey using lasers to strip away the foliage virtually has revealed just how much escaped detection. Tikal has gained two […]
Seeking out Maya masterpieces in Yucatán Head off the beaten track in Mexico and you might be rewarded with some magnificent Maya archaeology, as Tom St John Gray reveals. The Spanish have built a city here and called it Mérida, because of the strangeness and greatness of its structures. In 1566, Diego de Landa – […]
Archaeology of the Night: life after dark in the ancient world Nancy Gonlin and April Nowell (eds) University Press of Colorado, $75 ISBN 978-1607326779 Review by: Lucia Marchini With easy access in modern homes to instant illumination and streetlights a common feature in the outside world, it can be difficult to relate to how people […]
Discovering two royal tombs at El Perú-Waka’ Excavations at the Maya city of Waka’ in Guatemala revealed a stone gallery buried within the palace acropolis. Inside its rooms were relics that told the extraordinary story of its construction, destruction, and reuse as a chamber for subterranean fire rituals. David Freidel, Griselda Pérez Robles, and Juan […]
Excavations are exposing the insatiable appetite for self-promotion displayed by the owner of a modest late Roman villa estate at Gerace, Sicily. There, Philippianus delighted in having his monogram stamped on tiles and even included it in his bathhouse decor. Was he aping contemporary elite fashion in Rome? Our cover feature explores how fieldwork is […]
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 […]
Archaeologists have developed a highly-refined chronology for the two major Maya collapses using the largest set of radiocarbon dates ever obtained from a single site. The circumstances behind the Preclassic (2nd century AD) and Classic Maya (9th century AD) collapses – two periods of widespread urban abandonment across Mesoamerica – have long been the subject […]
In February 1221, the Mongols unleashed one of the most devastating attacks on the medieval world. Led by Genghis Khan’s son, Tolui, they sacked the great Silk Route city of Merv, in modern-day Turkmenistan, laying waste to anything they could not carry away, and slaughtering tens of thousands. As one contemporary author put it, this was a ‘great disaster, the […]