Before oil and gas, the Arabian Gulf grew rich on another natural resource: pearls. From the mid 18th until the early 20th century AD the international demand for pearls was insatiable. The local economy boomed. However, almost as fast as it boomed, so it bust. The story of this heady rise and fall is illustrated [...]
Between Mycenaean Greece and Classical Greece there is a ‘Dark Age’ during which civilization appears to have collapsed and little is known. But now, at Lefkandi on the Aegean island of Euboea, a site has been found that bridges this dark gap. What have they found? The answers are revealed thanks to a major exploration [...]
This issue features a trove of Turkish treasures. We begin in the ancient city of Myra on the southern coast of Turkey. This was once home to St Nicolas, the benign 4th century bishop of subsequent Santa Claus fame. Myra’s remains include a vast 11,000 capacity Roman-era theatre and numerous intricate rock-carved tombs – as [...]
When Nigeria appears on the news, it is too often for internet scams or identity fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting victims thousands of miles away. But the new exhibition at the British Museum brings to the public a very different side to Nigerian culture: the Kingdom of Ife.
Interwar excavators found the remains of about 20 Roman soldiers in an ancient siege tunnel beneath the walls of the Syrian fortress-city of Dura-Europos. No-one was sure how they had died. Now, archaeologist Simon James has pieced together the forensic evidence for the world’s first poison-gas attack.
Carriacou is a quiet island idyll in the southern Caribbean. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, this was an archetypal deserted island. Or so it seemed. Now, archaeologists are revealing a vibrant picture of its pre-European life, as Scott Fitzpatrick explains.
We think of chemical weapons as one of the horrifying features of modern warfare. We might assume that it all started with the First World War. But did it? Our cover feature investigates the gruesome evidence of a stack of bodies discovered inside a siege tunnel at the ancient Syrian frontier city of Dura-Europos. How [...]
What was the fate of archaeology under Communism in post-war Europe? In the East, the Communists carried out immaculate reconstructions of many of their historic city centres – at the very time when we, in the West, were destroying many of ours in the name of modernity. A classic example of such Communist work is [...]
An amphitheatre, with a footprint to match the Pantheon in Rome, has been discovered at the 2nd century man-made harbour of Portus, Rome’s ‘gateway to the Mediterranean’.
This issue is devoted to Egypt. Over the years, some of the greatest discoveries in this extraordinary land have been made by members of the Egypt Exploration Society (EES). Founded in 1882 by the redoubtable Amelia Edwards, they employed Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) as one of their first excavators, so launching one of the greatest figures [...]
In 1987, some of the world‘s richest and most extraordinary tombs were found on the North coast of Peru. They were left by the people of the Moche culture, who preceded the Inca by some 1,000 years. To this day, the site continues to yield great wonders. The editor Nadia Durrani went to Peru to [...]
Space, the final archaeological frontier? Following NASA’s recent Golden Anniversary celebrations, David Miles looks to the skies for extra-terrestrial archaeology. Archaeology, like the Universe, keeps expanding. In the late 1960s pessimists foretold archaeology’s total destruction: sites ripped apart, scattered and buried by humanity careless of its own past. In fact, the evidence of our past [...]
The archaeologists had reached the site’s natural sandy substrate – the site was finished and their work was done. Then they noticed a surprise pot and then another pot. Then, before them, an entire, highly unusual cemetery unfolded. Site director Charles Higham reveals the latest findings from Ban Non Wat.
When, in 1911, the American explorer, Hiram Bingham, slashed his way through the South Peruvian forest to rediscover the Inca site of Machu Picchu, the world was rightly entranced. However, as this issue illustrates, there is much more to Peru than Machu Picchu.Thus, the startled golden face, half child and half ‘space-cadet‘, shown on the [...]
It was not much: two simple hearths, three small postholes, and a fragment of pointed bronze. But it was found on Robinson Crusoe Island. And it was almost certainly the hut of the world-famous castaway. Excavators Daisuke Takahashi and David Caldwell report.
The life of Abraham Lincoln has always aroused passionate interest in the United States, but with 2009 as the bicentennial celebration of his birth, excitement is gathering at an even faster pace. Some 300 biographies of Lincoln are already on the market, with more to come, along with a Stephen Spielberg cinema biography starring Liam [...]
Sean Kingsley reports from the English Channel, where Odyssey Marine Exploration has discovered the long-sought shipwreck of HMS Victory, lost in a ferocious storm in 1744. Thursday 4 October 1744 was a day like every other in the city of London. The Daily Advertiser announced a lecture in Physick and Midwifry by Sir Richard Manningham [...]
The Aegean coast of Turkey is awash with Classical sites. Yet many are unknown even to the informed visitor. Here, David Kennedy powers up a microlight plane to take us for a heavenly view of just one such site: Kaunos. On the Aegean coast of Turkey you are seldom far from the remains of some [...]
Current World Archaeology’s dig – the Great Arab Revolt Project – is now in its third season. A team of specialists and volunteers has been working in Jordan to reveal the archaeology of TE Lawrence, co-directed by Current Archaeology’s Neil Faulkner. Julian Evan-Hart and Roger Ward report back. Jordan offers breathtaking desert scenery and one [...]
Richard Hodges writes his postcard from the idyllic setting of Byzantine Kastoria in Greece. The Byzantine emperors, it is said, regularly exiled dissident members of their court to Kastoria. Like Ochrid to the north, half-way across the breadth of the Balkans on an artery reaching from Constantinople to the Adriatic Sea, evidently exile in [...]