EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Science
ARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGY September - October 2015

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.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Archaeological Institute of America
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
writ large and small

The monumental mid-first-century A.D. Domus Aurea, residence of the Roman emperor Nero, once encompassed not just sumptuously decorated palatial structures, but also vineyards, farmlands, and forests. For nearly 1,500 years, the massive property lay abandoned, eventually absorbed and covered over by the Eternal City. In “Golden House of an Emperor” (page 37), journalist Federico Gurgone tells us of the dramatic steps archaeologists, landscape architects, and conservators are taking to document and preserve this extraordinary testament to power and artistry constructed during “Reclaiming Lost Identities” (page 48), by journalist Traci Watson, offers a view of history on a far more human scale—the discovery of a paupers’ graveyard in the city of Kilkenny, containing the burials of nearly a thousand victims of Ireland’s Great Famine. Under pressure to complete their work before the…

2 min.
encounters with the past

Long after the moment when archaeological artifacts are unearthed in the field, museum exhibits employ those finds to offer the experience of discovery and a deep sense of the human past to visitors from around the world. Curators work with exhibition specialists to develop engaging ways to tell the story of each artifact: how it was made, what it was used for, and its cultural significance. A recent visit to Scandinavia as lecturer on an Archaeological Institute of America tour gave me the opportunity to experience contrasting approaches to illuminating the past in two of the most important museums in the region, the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm. The landscapes of Denmark and Sweden are rich in visible archaeological remains, including extensive fields…

3 min.
letters

A Reminder of Home On “Juneteenth” (June 19), I opened my July/August 2015 issue of the magazine to a lengthy article about my hometown, Hampton, Virginia (“Letter from Virginia: Free Before Emancipation”). Hampton calls itself the oldest continuously English-speaking city in the United States and celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2007. Juneteenth is a loosely observed holiday, honoring the Emancipation Proclamation and the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865—the last state to do so following the end of the Civil War. Hamptonians have history in abundance, and the Butler fugitive slave law is part of that. It is reported that the frst reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to the “contraband” Hamptonians was outside Fort Monroe underneath an oak tree. That tree is still alive, known today…

3 min.
bronze age ireland’s taste in gold

Gold has long played an important role in human societies. Its color, malleability, and resistance to corrosion have given it unequaled desirability for personal ornamentation and currency. In mainland Europe, the earliest evidence of goldworking dates back to more than 6,500 years ago in Bulgaria. For Ireland and Britain, it dates to about 2500 B.C., when early Bronze Age Irish craftsmen made great strides in metallurgy and demonstrated extraordinary skill in the production of gold artifacts. By hammering gold into thin sheets and then forming it into objects such as sun disks, beads, oval plaques, and lunulas, or crescent-shaped neck ornaments decorated with geometric motifs, they created what were to become the most iconic gold artifacts of the early Irish Bronze Age (2200–1800 B.C.). Some 100 lunulas have been discovered by…

2 min.
off the grid

On a broad hilltop in the heart of Tallahassee, Florida, is Mission San Luis, a site with a deep history involving the Apalachee Native Americans and Spanish missionaries. In the mid-1500s, Hernando de Soto visited Anhaica, the capital of the Apalachee, an Indian nation so prominent that mapmakers bestowed its name on distant mountains: the Appalachians. In 1656, the Apalachee chief agreed to move his people a few miles away to Mission San Luis, the capital of Spain’s settlements in western Florida. There, Spanish friars baptized thousands of the Native Americans. Amid conflict between the Apalachee, other Native American groups, the Spanish, and the English, the mission was destroyed in 1704. According to Grant Stauffer, a graduate student at Texas State University, archaeologists consider Mission San Luis unique because, unlike St.…

1 min.
a rare bird

Danish archaeologists investigating the settlement of Lavegaard on the island of Bornholm have uncovered an unusual and exquisite owl-shaped fibula. The 1.5-by-1.5-inch Roman brooch, which dates to the first through third centuries A.D., was discovered by metal detectorists working with the Bornholm Museum. The bronze owl is inlaid with enamel disks and colored glass, which were used to create the enormous orange-and-black eyes. Decorative enameled fibulas are rare in such remote areas of northern Europe, with most concentrated in Roman frontier forts along the Danube or Rhine. This valuable personal item was likely brought back to Bornholm by a local mercenary who had served along the frontier, or was perhaps a gift from a wealthy Roman visiting the island. Courtesy National Museum of Denmark, Peter Langer/Design Pics/UIG/Bridgeman Images;…