This low-relief limestone carving, dating to c.2400 BC, formed part of a larger votive wall plaque in a Sumerian temple in southern Iraq, during what is known as the Early Dynastic III period. It would have been fixed to the wall next to a door, and could have been used to securely shut it by tying a rope attached to the door around a peg in the centre of the plaque.
What is it? This ancient Mesopotamian sculpture known as the ‘ram in the thicket’ is actually a ‘goat in a tree’. The goat is rendered in impressive detail, as it reaches up to eat leaves on high branches – a common sight along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The sculpture was made […]
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 […]
Though recorded in historical sources, the indigenous people in the south-west corner of the Iberian Peninsula have largely eluded archaeologists. We know they traded their silver and gold with the Phoenicians, and we know they had a coastal city called Tartessos, because the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of it in the 5th century BC. But […]
At Pylos in Greece, archaeologists have uncovered that increasingly rare phenomenon: an untouched Bronze Age burial, replete with rich grave goods. But this Mycenaean princely tomb, discovered next to the Palace of Nestor, is causing a stir for another reason: many of the beautiful high-status burial gifts reflect the Minoan culture of the island of […]
What is it? This unique Nordic bronze piece was discovered in Denmark and dates to the Early Bronze Age, c.1400 BC. It illustrates the eternal journey of the sun, as depicted by a divine horse pulling an ornate golden disc, all on rotating wheels. The Sun Chariot is 54cm long, and the sun disc, which […]
At their peak in the 4th century AD, the people who built Teotihuacan in Mexico ruled an empire every bit as impressive as that of Rome on the other side of the world. Yet we don’t even know their name, nor why they mysteriously abandoned their colossal capital city in the 7th century AD, some […]