EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Science
ARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGY September - October 2017

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
Frequency:
Bimonthly
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
no longer lost

T he ancient Peruvian site of Pañamarca, graced with extraordinarily imaginative polychrome murals by the Moche culture, was explored by archaeologists in 1950. In the years since, the site was assumed destroyed, its fragile masterpieces gone. “Painted Worlds” (page 26), by executive editor Jarrett A. Lobell, reports that archaeologists have recently found the site to be surprisingly well preserved and are just beginning to study its unique paintings in order to glean an understanding of the a.d. 600 Moche worldview. “To Die Like an Egyptian” (page 44), by associate editor Marley Brown, is a story of retrieval, in this case of the burial shroud of a Roman-era Egyptian named Aaemka, who died around a.d. 10. The shroud, nearly portrait-like in its depiction of the deceased, was consigned to the archives of…

2 min.
our human story

L ast spring, I gave a series of lectures aboard a cruise ship on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution. I’d boarded in Dubai and we docked in Abu Dhabi, Salalah, Oman, and Aqaba, Jordan. From there we sailed to Egypt, up the Suez Canal, and on to Haifa where I disembarked. The trip allowed me to see parts of the Middle East that I had never before visited. In Dubai, I took an elevator to the top of the Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest building—and wandered around the Dubai Mall, marveling at the indoor ice skating rink, aquarium, and hundreds of upscale stores and restaurants. The lush coconut and banana groves of Salalah reminded me of parts of southern India. Arriving in Aqaba felt like coming home, just a stone’s throw…

4 min.
from our readers

A STEADY REMINDER I was highly interested to read your article on the memento mori bead (“Artifact,” July/August 2017) that Jarrett A. Lobell describes as a “pendant terminal, or end, of a set of late medieval rosary beads.” Through my own research into artifacts thought to be Aztec crystal skulls, particularly the smaller ones measuring one to 1.5 inches, I have come to the conclusion that they too were pendant terminals from Catholic rosary beads, and not pre-Columbian Aztec ornaments. The small skulls were suspended from the bottom of a crucifix. The skull in Catholic iconography is usually shown at the foot of the cross and represents the skull of Adam, while also referencing the place of the crucifixion, Golgotha, the “place of skulls.” The bead in your recent article is…

3 min.
white horse of the sun

C arved into the chalk of a hillside in southern England, the Uffington White Horse is utterly unique. Stretching 360 feet from head to tail, it is the only prehistoric geoglyph—a large-scale design created using elements of the natural landscape—known in Europe. “There’s just nothing like it,” says University of Southampton archaeologist Joshua Pollard, who points to the Nazca lines in Peru as the closest parallel. Pollard says that because the site is so anomalous, researchers have resisted grappling with its distinct nature. As a consequence, few new interpretations of the site have been advanced since the early twentieth century. “Archaeologists are tripped up by things that are unique,” says Pollard, “and the White Horse has thrown us.” But now, after making a close study of the site and its…

2 min.
off the grid

Any visitor today to the site of Los Adaes, in northwest Louisiana, will take in a landscape that was the easternmost point of Spanish expansion in the southwest. It was the location of a Spanish mission and presidio, constructed in 1721 and occupied until 1773, in a high, defensible position. A previous Los Adaes mission had been built in 1717, a short distance away, but was abandoned because of initially poor relations with the Caddo Indians. According to archaeologist George Avery of Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, the Los Adaes mission, and others like it, was regarded as a less expensive alternative to military occupation. The Spaniards’ intention was to halt French incursions into the region and to prevent the French from using the Mississippi River as a…

1 min.
doll story

A t the palace of Wolseong in Gyeongju, several hundred miles south of Seoul, archaeologists have found a group of sixthcentury clay figures dating to the Silla dynasty (57 b.c.–a.d. 935). The dolls, which measure between one and eight inches tall, include one wearing a turban and caftan believed to represent a Sogdian, a member of an ancient Iranian civilization. The Silla are known to have had active exchanges with Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, but few clay dolls resembling people from the Middle East have previously been found. Other clay figures found at Wolseong include one riding a horse, a man with exaggerated male genitals, and several dancers in lively, dynamic postures.…