ARCHAEOLOGY July/August 2021

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
4,57 €(IVA inc.)
13,69 €(IVA inc.)
6 Números

en aquest número

2 min.
the people we meet

Archaeologists seldom know the names of the people whose lives they study. But every so often, they have the chance to encounter people of the past and learn their names, even as they uncover information about their daily habits and their place in society. In this issue, you, too, will have that rare opportunity to meet the people behind the archaeological record. In “The Ugarit Archives,” you’ll get to know Urtenu, a Bronze Age merchant who worked from home long before it once again became popular or necessary. In his modest suburban house in the ancient city of Ugarit on the Syrian coast, Urtenu maintained a library filled with more than 600 tablets that chronicle his financial dealings and efforts at diplomacy with Hittite kings and Egyptian pharaohs. These potentates’ names,…

2 min.
looking forward

As I reflect on this past year of the pandemic and the way it has disrupted our routines and daily connections, I also see how it has brought out examples of resilience and has created space for new opportunities. At the AIA, we launched a series of new initiatives. One of these is Archaeology Abridged, short lectures including “Ötzi the Iceman’s Prehistoric Medical Kit”; “The Extraordinary Archaeological Finds from Roman Vindolanda,” which discusses the largest collection of ancient Roman shoes ever found; “A Toast to Ancient Greek Wine Drinking”; and most recently, “Discovering Sutton Hoo.” I’d like to thank the AIA’s staff; our speakers, Patrick Hunt, Elizabeth M. Greene, Kathleen Lynch, and Martin Carver, for their enthusiasm and the terrific sense of fun they brought to these topics; and the audience…

3 min.
from our readers

A NEW STYLE DOWN UNDER Your report on the identification of a new rock art style in West Arnhem Land was excellent (“Where the World Was Born,” May/June 2021). I visited the area and numerous rock art sites in 1999, so I appreciate the descriptions of the various other styles and where they all fit in the time line. Identifying the Maliwawa Style is a great achievement and fills a 4,000-year gap in the knowledge of the history of the land and its people. Magda GagliardiNewtown, CT REACHING CLOUD CITY Thank you for the article on the Chachapoya people (“Mapping a City in the Clouds,” March/April 2021). I made a then-epic journey to Kuelap in 1982. The multiday trip started from Trujillo, where we viewed the ruins of Chan Chan. Then we went to…

3 min.
a challenging world

There are many extremely challenging places to dig. In Luxor, Egypt, site of a newly discovered 18th Dynasty city (See “Lost Egyptian City,” page 18), temperatures often rise above 100°F. At the Yana Rhinoceros Horn site in remote northeastern Siberia, where scientists have found 31,000-year-old baby teeth belonging to a previously unknown human population, it can be as cold as −46°F. Some archaeologists regularly dive to the depths of the ocean. In the field, they can face venomous scorpions and active volcanoes. And there are the dangers of the modern world—the “Big Dig” was conducted in downtown Boston as a new highway was built overhead, and the recent coup in Myanmar has put archaeological work on hold. But there are few places where more challenges collide than the Judean Desert in…

1 min.
the spider’s on the wall

Farmers in Peru’s Virú Province accidentally unearthed a temple complex dating to between 1000 and 200 B.C. in an earthen mound. Although the farmers’ heavy machinery destroyed much of the site, a vibrant, multicolored mural was preserved on a wall of one of the complex’s adobe buildings. The compound was built by people of the Cupisnique culture who lived along Peru’s northern coast for some 2,000 years. At the mural’s center is a figure holding a ceremonial knife in one of its many limbs. The figure, which also appears on Cupisnique stone vessels, has been interpreted as a spiderlike god. According to archaeologist Régulo Franco Jordán of the Wiese Foundation, this is the first known depiction of the supernatural being on a Cupisnique mural. The Cupisnique people relied on seasonal…

1 min.
mirror, mirror

An array of 2,000-year-old bronze mirrors unearthed in a cemetery in the suburbs of Xi’an, China, has shed new light on funeral customs and daily life during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9). Among the 87 circular mirrors, which vary in size from three to eight inches in diameter, several can still reflect images. “They clearly show petals of flowers, or the brand name on your drink,” says lead researcher Yingpei Zhu from Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology. On the back of each mirror is a central knob surrounded by decorative images such as dragons and stars. According to Zhu, these mirrors belonged to ordinary citizens. In most cases, the mirror was placed near the head or chest of the tomb owner. In one well-preserved tomb, four mirrors were placed…