ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2020

ARCHAEOLOGY magazine offers readers incisive reporting, vivid storytelling, compelling photography – and the latest news from around the globe – all devoted to exploring the world’s ancient past. Whether reporting from a dive on an Arctic shipwreck, trekking through Afghanistan, or digging just beneath Beirut, ARCHAEOLOGY’s editors and writers bring readers the science, and the magic, of archaeological discovery.

United States
Archaeological Institute of America
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6 Numéros

dans ce numéro

2 min
living on the edge

Popular interest in the past is often focused on the political or spiritual centers of ancient cultures—capitals such as Rome or Teotihuacan, for example, or the religious complexes at Saqqara in Egypt or on the Acropolis in Athens. But outside those centers lived people whose beliefs at times reflected, and at other times challenged, those held by the inhabitants of such power centers. Several of the stories in this issue investigate the customs of people who thrived on the far reaches of some of the ancient world’s great empires. “The Founder’s Tomb” shares the discovery of a vibrantly frescoed burial chamber in what is now Jordan. The tomb’s paintings—some of them humorous—tell the story of the founding of the city of Capitolias, which, during the late first and second centuries A.D.,…

2 min
the aia: a big tent

The Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting, which takes place the first weekend in January, offers an amazing smorgasbord for the archaeology lover. Every year, the meeting illustrates the AIA’s mission to excavate, educate, and advocate. Of the many papers that focused on aspects of excavation this past January, I single out here the panel on the shipwreck at Marzamemi off the southern coast of Sicily that you first had the opportunity to read about in “Shipping Stone” in the September/October 2018 issue of ARCHAEOLOGY. One of several ancient wrecks of ships with cargoes of monumental stone architectural elements that had been identified by the early 1960s, this vessel carried prefabricated pieces of carved marble church architecture dating to the early Byzantine era. In addition to providing a fascinating look…

3 min
from our readers

SHARING THE PAST The range of topics in the November/December 2019 issue was superb, and you hit some of my favorite subjects—Petra, Babylon, English sites. But my favorite article was “Artists of the Dark Zone.” Will Hunt exemplified, I feel, what archaeology is all about: taking an image, an object, something created by the hands of others in the near or distant past and connecting it with culture, religion, and daily life. I wanted to major in archaeology in college, but most schools were too expensive and beyond the salaries of my parents, a dress factory worker and a house painter in the late 1960s. One day my dad was painting at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg and struck up a conversation with the archaeologist there about his daughter who wanted…

3 min
ancient academia

In some respects, the life of a Mesopotamian scholar in the seventh century B.C. was not so very different from that of a modern academic. While the former might be responsible for reporting on celestial phenomena and whether they augur well for the king’s reign, and the latter might be searching for evidence of a new subatomic particle to better understand the origins of the universe, in either case, one’s reputation among colleagues is paramount. Let’s take, for example, the lot of an unnamed astrologer who was subjected to a vicious onslaught of peer review from some of the Neo-Assyrian Empire’s top minds after claiming to have sighted Venus around 669 B.C. In a letter to the king Esarhaddon (r. 680–669 B.C.), a fellow stargazer named Nabû-ahhe-eriba, who was part of…

2 min
off the grid

Some 1,000 years ago, stonemasons cut into a basalt escarpment in a river valley outside the modern Balinese village of Tampaksiring. They carved out a nearly 100-foot-wide courtyard backed by a 40-foot-tall vertical wall. Into this wall they carved five shrines, called candis, each almost 30 feet tall and intended to resemble temple facades. Across the small river bisecting the valley, the masons carved another courtyard and four more, slightly smaller, candis. A tenth candi is set apart from the others. The two courtyards and the candis, as well as a number of small artificial caves that may once have been used as prayer or living spaces for monks, make up the site of Gunung Kawi. This is one of many temple complexes built on Java and Bali starting around…

1 min
bicycles and bayonets

Recently discovered graffiti carved into a stable door at a farm in Lincolnshire during the first decades of the twentieth century mixes bucolic childhood concerns with matters of far greater import. Looming above images of plows, horses, and a bicycle is a stark record of the day Great Britain entered World War I: “WAR AUG 4 1914.” Below this date sits a question mark. “I wonder if this is someone asking, ‘When’s it going to end?’” says Ian Marshman, historic environment officer at the Lincolnshire County Council. The graffiti artists also signed their work with two sets of initials—WB and JL—and an abbreviated name, J. Leusley. Marshman and his colleagues used census information to determine that WB was William Bristow, part of the family that owned the farm, and JL was…