Brescia: Wings of Victory

After it was discovered hidden in a Roman temple with other works of art, a bronze statue of Victory attracted the attention of rulers and writers, who praised and sought copies of the ancient masterpiece. Now restored, the winged statue is back on view in its former home. This is…

Discoveries in the desert

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s, the caves - which have preserved fragile objects like the scrolls – have been the target of looters.…

The Rood in Medieval Britain and Ireland, c.800-c.1500

The cross is ubiquitous in medieval Christian iconography. As it was on the cross that Jesus died, bringing believers salvation, it is a critical component of the religion. But, despite the ubiquity and apparent simplicity of the instantly recognisable form, it has lent itself to substantial variation throughout history. The…

The lost city of al-Qata’i‘

Just decades after it was founded, ibn Tulun’s capital al-Qata’i‘ was razed to the ground. The Great Mosque of ibn Tulun, the oldest mosque in Africa to survive in its original form, still stands in Cairo today, and through its magnificent architecture offers a chance to encounter the former…

Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs: A Guide to Nahuatl Writing

A leading handbook of scripts and writing that runs to almost a thousand pages, The World’s Writing Systems (1996), edited by Peter Daniels and William Bright, contains scarcely any reference to the Aztec writing system of Mesoamerica. Wikipedia’s entry on ‘Aztec writing’ is brief and refers to no book-length study.…

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New Welsh home confirmed for military medical museum

A new home in Cardiff Bay for the Museum of Military Medicine has been given the green light by the local council. Currently based in the village of Mytchett, Surrey, where it was long known as the Army Medical Services Museum, the site contains a collection of more than 30,000…

Minerva Magazine 188

• The sacred power of shiny objects
• Tigray: painted churches in peril
• Stabiae: Roman land of leisure
• Sutton Hoo: the story behind The Dig
• Galen: the emperor’s doctor
• A helping hand for heritage…

Secrets of a Maya sweat bath

Recent research on an intriguing assemblage of artefacts excavated from a Classic Maya sweat bath in Guatemala is revealing new details about ritual activity at the unusual structure. This sweat bath at Xultun, named Los Sapos (‘the toads’), was explored by archaeologists from the San Bartolo-Xultun Archaeological Project (directed by…

News in brief: Dealing with dates

A Roman ring revisited A Roman intaglio discovered in 1995 in Colchester, UK, pre-dates the Roman invasion of Britain, research for the new online database for Colchester + Ipswich Museums suggests. Engraved with the image of Mars, the Roman god of war, the carnelian gem was once mounted in an…

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