It was a typical summer day: birds, boats, sea, and ice. The difference was, the birds were Arctic geese, the boats were converted canoes, the sea was −10°C, and the ice was the size of a large car, rather than bobbing in a refreshing drink. I was standing on the northern coast of the small island of Uglit, where I camped for five weeks last summer while excavating ancient Arctic houses.
Journeying south from the Serbian Danube presents an opportunity to revel in Roman opulence, as Oliver Gilkes reveals. The Danubian provinces of the Roman world do not get much of a look in as far as history goes. That is not to say there is no history – there is a lot – but seeking out modern accounts is not so easy.
Italy is in lockdown as I write and it feels like Christmas Day, such is the silence. Yet the cuckoos have dodged passport control and are here to herald each day. The fields, incidentally, are now flush with spring flowers. The government decree forbids travel, so I resort to assembling reports on old excavations for a new tome and, as it takes shape, I dwell on whom to dedicate it to. Archaeology is as much about people as it is about the past. So, just as I rework interpretations about past discoveries with each new piece of evidence, so I inevitably revise my thinking about people.
Oliver Gilkes tours the Danube, in the first of a two-part exploration of Serbia’s archaeology. The mighty Danube runs for almost 2,000km from southern Germany to the Black Sea. It forms the backbone of central-southern Europe and was for millennia not only a trade and communications artery, but also a frontier and barrier. Last year, […]
No matter how many years I have spent in the Mediterranean in wintertime, I cannot get it into my head that it rains a lot. This New Year in western Crete the rain was biblical save for one magical sunlit day. Chania, in western Crete, seemed to be the vengeful target of black brooding skies […]
It is one of the delights of visiting new places that you sometimes find an entirely unexpected archaeological site, which gives you an insight that is entirely new. And this is what happened when Andrew Selkirk visited Barcelona and discovered that there is, in fact, a Roman Barcelona. Barcelona is not normally considered to be […]
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 […]
As we set off down Philadelphia’s runway, the pilot drolly piped up to say, ‘at least we didn’t have to de-ice [the plane] today.’ A muted ripple of laughter passed through the serried ranks of seats as we set southwards and onwards into crystalline horizons with glimpses of shimmering coral reefs and long sandy beaches. […]
Some of the finest surviving remnants of the Roman Empire can be found in Algeria. But how easy are they to visit? Philip Kenrick is our guide. For the tourist who is interested in the Classical Mediterranean (encouraged not least by the warmth), several really interesting countries with stunning antiquities have in recent years ceased […]
Driving past Monte Cassino many years ago with the late Mark Pluciennik, professor at Leicester University and one of the most cerebral archaeologists I have known, I pointed out the Benedictine monastery. Mark replied with words I’ve never forgotten: My father was with the Poles who captured the monastery, and my uncle, his brother, as […]
More than a decade ago I took a holiday on Naxos. This Cycladic island is a paradise for walkers and those who find pleasure in old high-walled mule tracks that connect miniature Byzantine churches. A German guidebook led me from village to village through this blessed landscape. One day, to escape this comforting world, I […]
Why was a victory monument erected 20km from Rome? David J Breeze explores the extraordinary circumstances that led to an unsung triumphal arch at Malborghetto. For the last 30 years I have visited Rome roughly every other year, taking my sons and now my grandchildren to see this marvellous city, usually staying in the comfortable […]