This week: Child’s play!

It was, according to the ship's captain, a 'once in a 100-year phenomenon'. On 13 February 1997, the 944ft-long cargo vessel Tokio Express was en route from Rotterdam to New York when it was hit by a freak wave about 20 miles off Land’s End, causing it to tilt so…

Toys & Games Quiz

First discovered in Iraq, and dating to the third millennium BC, the Royal Game of Ur is a precursor to which modern board game?…

This week: Ancient Egypt

This year sees the marking of two significant anniversaries: the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by the British archaeologist Howard Carter, in excavations funded by Lord Carnarvon; and the bicentenary of the use of the Rosetta Stone by the French philologist Jean-François Champollion to decipher Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.…

China Quiz

Which legendary leader established the Xia dynasty in c.2070 BC, inaugurating dynastic rule in China?…

This week: China’s lost kingdoms

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that Chinese culture began with the Qin – the regional powerbrokers who in the 3rd-century BC conquered their warring rivals to become the country’s first imperial dynasty, thereby ushering in a system that lasted until the 1911 Revolution, more than…

This week: Remarkable stones

According to the 12th-century cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth, the famous stones that make up the Stonehenge monument were erected originally in Ireland, before being moved to their current, more familiar home on Salisbury Plain. Geoffrey’s claim may seem fanciful, but almost a thousand years later, we can see that he…

Remarkable Stones Quiz

The historic boundary-marker known as the London Stone, indicating the downstream limits of the City's jurisdiction, is located at which point on the Thames Estuary?…

This week: Augmented reality

Throughout history, writers and artists have used their imaginations to tell stories from former times. From The Iliad to A Tale of Two Cities, and from The Last Supper to the Sistine ceiling, the results have inspired countless millions down the centuries, opening a window that can never be shut.…

This week: Ancient alcohol

History, as we know, has been driven by the complicated love affair between humans and booze. Writing in the fourth-century BC, the Greek philosopher Plato summed it up for many, when he observed: ‘He was a wise man who invented beer.’ Nearly 3,000 years on, scientists now believe this ancient…

This week: Rome in Greece

These days, the term ‘philhellenism’ (literally, the love of all things Greek) is perhaps most often associated with the Romantic poets and thinkers of the late 18th and 19th centuries – a period during which a ‘new cult of the antique’, as one scholar described it, won many disciples among…

This week: Roman frontiers

The Roman Empire was at its height when Hadrian came to power in AD 117, its territory encircling the Mediterranean, and reaching from Britain in the north as far as Egypt in the south.…

This week: Butser Ancient Farm

'Through a series of spectacular experiments, the archaeologist Peter Reynolds... told us more about Iron Age buildings and agriculture than most of the excavations of that period put together,' said The Guardian in its 2001 obituary of the first director of Butser Ancient Farm, the pioneering archaeological open-air museum nestling in…

Shipwrecks Quiz

Located in 1985, the wreck of the Titanic lies how far below the surface of the Atlantic?…

This week: shipwrecks

On 11 October 1982, an estimated global audience of 60 million people tuned in to watch one of the televisual events of the decade: the long-awaited raising of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's ill-fated Tudor flagship, from the seabed near Portsmouth, where it had rested since capsizing while fighting against…

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