Facing the Palmyrenes: exploring life and death in a desert city

What can an extraordinary group of sculptures commemorating the dead reveal about ancient life in Palmyra? Thousands of ancient inhabitants’ portraits once graced lavish family tombs in cemeteries just beyond the desert city. Studying this artistry can reveal much about wealth, power, family, and even the balance between local tradition…

Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom

For Ancient Greeks, the natural world was a source of wonder and inspiration. Philosophers pondered sundry subjects, seeking the secrets of the night sky or what makes for a satisfying tune. Such questing curiosity inspired technological advances that we are only fully appreciating today, as Jane Desborough and Matthew Howles…

Reconnecting relationships: uncovering genealogy in archaeology

Examining ancient DNA is revolutionising our knowledge of the past. Being able to detect family relationships is revealing ever more about connections between people buried in cemeteries and even individual coffins. Caroline Arcini introduces three cases where DNA evidence has opened new windows into past lives.…

The Battle of Chinese Farm

William Stroock analyses the decisive battle of the 1973 Yom Kippur War: a massive clash of Egyptian and Israeli armour in the Sinai Desert.…

Lost and found: wall paintings and rood-screens in Welsh churches

In response to the Black Lives Matter protests of June 2020, influential voices within the Anglican church called for the removal of every monument and stained-glass window commemorating people connected with slavery and empire. Ideologically motivated change on such a scale might seem unprecedented, but it has happened time…

Greek myth in Roman Rutland: unearthing scenes from the Trojan War

An intricate Roman mosaic depicting the triumph of the Greek warrior Achilles over Hector of Troy, recently unearthed in Rutland, has been hailed as the region’s most stunning archaeological discovery to-date. Hazel Blair spoke to John Thomas, Anthony Beeson, David Neal, and Peter Kruschwitz to find out more about the…

A painter’s paradise: the life of John Craxton

The artist John Craxton had a close relationship with archaeology. It began in his early years in England, where he encountered excavations of Roman mosaics, medieval churches, and an idiosyncratic museum. But, above all, it was the art of Greece that he longed for, as Ian Collins explains.…

From Stonehenge to Santa Claus: the archaeology of Christmas

What does Stonehenge have to do with Christmas? How did the Romans celebrate midwinter? Was Jesus really born on 25 December? How did the Medieval church merge the celebration of the Nativity with earlier pagan tradition? Why did Parliament abolish Christmas in the 17th century? What are the origins of…

Domitian: dominus et deus

Are bad Roman emperors really that different from good Roman emperors? Nathalie de Haan and Eric M Moormann look at the case of Domitian, an accomplished military man and prolific builder who emulated Augustus but was reviled as a new Nero.…

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