ARCHAEOLOGY January - February 2016

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
4,66 €(TVA Incluse)
13,99 €(TVA Incluse)
6 Numéros

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2 min
trial and error

The outline of a hand, a bride, a skeleton, the teeth of a slave, the grave of a chaplain— all these and more are the evidence that make up our editors’ picks for the “Top 10 Discoveries of 2015” (page 28). This is the stuff of the discipline of archaeology, and this year’s field broadens our understanding of the business of becoming, and being, human. Much of our knowledge, particularly in the sciences, advances by trial and error. In “The Alchemist’s Tale” (page 36), by contributing editor Andrew Curry, we learn how thousands of fragments of glass uncovered at the bottom of a medieval stairwell in Germany are now understood to be the remains of an alchemist’s lab. Curry describes both the discovery and the ways in which alchemy, often practiced…

2 min
croatia’s considered past

Archaeology can heighten a nation’s awareness of its own heritage even as it increases international understanding. The world over, archaeological heritage is regarded as something to be shared by us all. The young republic of Croatia, barely a quartercentury old, exemplifies this idea as it develops its archaeological patrimony with increasing energy. Located in the heart of southeast Europe with the Adriatic Sea on one side and the Danube River on the other, it has, for millennia, been open to influences from all directions, and has incorporated these influences and developed rich cultural traditions of its own. Croatia is home to spectacular archaeological sites that deserve to be better known. The cave sites of Krapina and Vindija near the capital Zagreb have yielded numerous Neanderthal fossils that have proved crucial for…

3 min

We received a number of letters with different interpretations of the gold spirals from Denmark on page 16 of the November/December 2015 issue. Below is a small sample. The Right Tool? After reading “Slinky Nordic Treasures” I forced myself to put the magazine down and send a communication to you. The picture of the gold spirals looks to me remarkably like the turnings that result from cutting a soft metal on a lathe, or using a sharp tool in a linear fashion. In my youth I learned how to use lathes and also the turnings, or swarf, from machining. Soft iron or copper would form spirals such as these. The spirals should be examined under a microscope for evidence of tool marks. Perhaps some sort of lathe or scraping tool may have…

3 min
reading the invisible ink

Late-Breaking News And Notes From The World Of Archaeology When Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean in 1492, he assumed he was in Japan. This was partly due to his fifteenth-century naïveté regarding world geography, but also because he had departed Spain armed with misinformation. It is believed that one of the sources that Columbus consulted before his journey was a map produced by German cartographer Henricus Martellus in 1491. The map locates Japan a thousand miles from the Asian mainland, where Columbus expected to find it on his way to the East Indies. The Martellus map reflected the sum total of European geographical knowledge at that time, and is considered by experts today to be one of the seminal maps of the Age of Discovery. “It seems to have influenced…

2 min
off grid

The history of Los Angeles’ water supply is long and complicated—remember Chinatown?—and continues through today’s drought crisis. In the early 1900s, William Mulholland, then superintendent of Los Angeles’ Water Department, oversaw the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct to bring water to the city from Owens Valley, more than 200 miles away. About a decade later, he built the St. Francis Dam, in San Francisquito Canyon, to guard the city against drought and to generate hydroelectric power. St. Francis, a curved gravity dam like the later Hoover Dam, was completed in 1926. On March 12, 1928, two years to the day after the reservoir began to fill, the St. Francis Dam failed catastrophically, sending a wall of water through the towns of Piru, Fillmore, and Santa Paula that killed at…

1 min
irish roots

A storm blew over a 215-year-old beech tree in Sligo, Ireland, revealing a skeleton tangled in its root system. Archaeologist Marion Dowd was called in to investigate what she calls “an unusual situation,” and found that the remains belonged to a 17- to 20-year-old man who died of what appear to be knife wounds sometime between A.D. 1030 and 1200. Records indicate that there was a medieval graveyard in the area, and although no visible trace of it survives, Dowd suspects there could be more burials nearby.…