Sicily

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CWA 89

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 […]

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Travel: Greek Temples of Sicily

Richard Hodges tours the island’s Greek temples. Sicily in February. Cheating winter with the smell of new grass and the first flowers and blossom, I promised two friends that in three days we would chase down the ancient Greeks and their Mediterranean setting. To get into the mood, I watched Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Now […]

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CWA 83

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 […]

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Marzamemi Shipwreck: Moving Christian Architecture for Justinian’s Empire

Justin Leidwanger and Sebastiano Tusa dive into a 6th-century puzzle off the coast of Sicily.   In 1959, a local fisherman, searching for cuttlefish in the shallow waters off the coast of south-east Sicily, spotted several carved stone blocks nestled among the rocks, reef, and sand about a kilometre from the coastal port of Marzamemi. […]

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CWA 81

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 […]

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Sicily: Touring Persephone’s island

In the early morning, when the light is right, one can see Sicily from Gozo. Though Malta, Gozo, and Sicily share strong cultural connections, each has its own unique character. Sharon Sharpe concludes our Mediterranean jaunt with a tour of Persephone’s island. We fly into Catania, in the shadow of Mount Etna, on the east coast of […]

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CWA 78

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 […]

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Sicilian splendours

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 […]

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CWA 77

Cambodia’s stupendous temple of Angkor Wat, and the dense forest in which it sits, are currently the focus of a major cutting-edge project, led by an international team of researchers. In addition to traditional archaeological methods, the team has used high-tech LiDAR aerial laser-scanning to ‘see’ what lies beneath the temple grounds, and through the surrounding jungle. This revolutionary work […]

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CWA 65

Finding the archaeological evidence for a major turning point in history is something few archaeologists will experience. Finding the remains of a sea battle has never been done. Archaeologists working off the coast of Sicily have achieved both when they recovered the bronze rams from the warships lost at the Battle of the Egadi Islands. This was the battle […]