Iona in the Viking Age: laying a ‘zombie narrative’ to rest

The traditional story of Iona’s early medieval monastery ends in tragedy and bloodshed, with the religious community wiped out by vicious Viking raiders. Increasingly, though, the archaeological and historical evidence does not support this persistent narrative, as Adrián Maldonado, Ewan Campbell, Thomas Owen Clancy, and Katherine Forsyth report.…

The Viking Great Army

In AD 865, a Viking army landed in eastern England. For more than a decade, it raided across the country, but contemporary documents tell us little about it. Dawn M Hadley and Julian D Richards use the latest discoveries to track down the Army and see the changes it brought…

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Kazakhstan’s Golden Burials

The Greek historian Herodotus tells us that among the Scythians, the nomads of the Eurasian steppe, there was a group of ‘gold-guarding Griffins’. Were these people the Saka, whose elite filled their tombs with golden depictions of griffins and other creatures? As a new exhibition on the Saka opens,…

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This week: Gold

According to a recent estimate by the World Gold Council, the total quantity of this precious pale yellow metal discovered around the world throughout all of human history amounts to just 201,296 tonnes. If the whole lot were melted down to form a single cube, it would measure just 22 metres…

Treasures of the Scythian Kings

Barry Cunliffe, among the most distinguished of world archaeologists, has recently drawn together the evidence for the Scythians in a comprehensive new book, The Scythians: nomad warriors of the steppe. Neil Faulkner asked him what we know of this most mysterious of ancient peoples.…

The Triumph of Rubens

One of the most accomplished painters of the 17th century, Peter Paul Rubens had a deep interest in the ancient world, expressed through the power of the paintbrush, but also the written word. Lucia Marchini speaks to Anne Woollett to find out more about the artist’s engagement with Greece…

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Honouring Augustus

After centuries of reuse and years of closure, the Mausoleum of Augustus is now open to visitors. Dalu Jones examines the structure’s long history and how, with its neighbour the Ara Pacis, it forms a modern monumental complex to the ancient emperor in the heart of Rome.…

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Berlin’s Humboldt Forum: building power

Berlin’s ambitious cultural project the Humboldt Forum opened its doors to the public this summer. Exhibition spaces, museum collections, and presentations of scientific research are brought together in a partially rebuilt Baroque palace that once stood on the site. As Alfred Hagemann tells Lucia Marchini, this spot – and…

Looking at lakes as ornaments in the landscape

For a visitor to a late 18th-century country seat, the most striking feature of the landscape, apart from the house, would have been the lake. For that reason, it is all the more surprising these bodies of water have had such little attention from garden historians and archaeologists. Perhaps that…

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