Surviving the tsunami: archaeological sites of northeastern Japan

The deadly wave that engulfed the northeastern coastline of Japan devastated many archaeological sites and museums. Prehistoric settlers along the coast chose higher ground for their sites, perhaps passing on knowledge of the danger from earlier tsunamis from generation to generation. CWA looks at a handful of these ancient sites.…

Tidal Wave: the day Japan shook

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in Spring this year, archaeologist Simon Kaner insists there is much to celebrate about the country’s heritage – and much to mend.…

Epaminondas: the man who destroyed Sparta

The Spartans are so famous that their name has become part of the language. But the name of the military genius who broke their power – and whose example inspired Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great – is hardly remembered at all. This is the story of Epaminondas and…

The English Castle

A new generation of castleologists believe that castles were about much more than trebuchets, portcullises, galloping hooves, boiling oil, and the clash of swords on armour: instead, castles were centres of lordship, symbols of wealth, and expressions of status, alluding to the past and expressing poetic ideals. Current Archaeology's Chris…

Isandlwana, 1879: Humbling the Great White Queen

‘I can’t understand it!’ That was British commander Lord Chelmsford’s response. Isandlwana was perhaps the greatest defeat inflicted on British redcoats by native warriors in imperial history. Zulu War expert Ian Knight, who has published a major new study, tackles the key question: what went wrong for the British at…

Time Team geophysics: from pits to palaces

Time Team’s geophysics crew have covered a lot of ground, and their data represents an unparalleled archaeological archive of sites from rural retreats to Royal palaces. Lisa Westcott talks with John Gater about the science behind the scenes.…

A brief history of Time Team

Everybody knows the story of how Time Team started: one ex-teacher turned TV producer, a couple of quirky archaeologists, and a fortuitous meeting in the Mediterranean with one of Britain’s best-loved actors combined to create the most successful archaeology programme ever on British television.…

Liquid History: excavating London’s great river

Prehistoric forests, the skull of a child, the slipway of a Victorian engineering masterpiece and part of a Tudor palace jetty: all have emerged from the mud and gravel on the foreshore of the Thames, thanks to an exciting new project to record the archaeology of London’s great river. …

The Reigate Witch Bottle

How do you deal with a witch? In 17th century England, the answer was obvious: you prepare a ‘witch bottle’, with contents equally as bizarre as those in the cauldron of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. Witch bottles were white magic devices, that is they were used not by witches, but against witches:…

A Roman clock at Vindolanda

In CA 224 we reported a splendid new discovery from Vindolanda. The excavators – and just about everyone else – thought it was part of a calendar. Not so, says leading ancient technology specialist Michael Lewis. It is something much more spectacular. The 8cm-long bronze fragment turns out to be…

Bamburgh Castle: digging the home of Northumbria’s kings

The Bamburgh Research Project is picking up the pieces of the archaeological work started by legendary eccentric Dr Brian Hope-Taylor, who had left virtually no record of his excavations – or so it was believed. The story of Bamburgh is two-fold: before properly investigating the site, the team must first…

The Dissolution of the Monasteries: heritage in ruins

Apart from his red hair, beard, giant girth and his equally gargantuan appetite for wives, the one thing we all associate with Henry VIII is the event that the authors of 1066 and All That called, with an eye for a memorable spelling mistake, ‘the Disillusion of the Monasteries’.…

Taboo!

The Gods of the Pacific are powerful gods. Some have called them idols - more have called them art. And the Gods of the Pacific have had an enormous influence on European art throughout the 20th century. The Gods were powerful, and their power could be dangerous as well as…

Japanese Jomon

CWA takes a picturesque look at Japan's prehistoric Jomon Culture, encompassing their exquisite pottery, Neolithic/Mesolithic economy and ritual beliefs.…

The Brochtorff Stone circle, at Xaghra, Malta

The great Neolithic temples on Malta are among the oldest temples in the world, most of them erected before even the pyramids were built. Yet what were they and how did they work? The most important and illuminating excavations of this period were those that took place at the Brochtorff’s…

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