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.…

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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. …

Moor Sand: a Bronze Age shipwreck revealed

Divers recently discovered a 3,000 year-old shipwreck near Salcombe, which carried a huge cargo of copper and tin: is this the first evidence for Late Bronze Age long-distance maritime trade in bulk goods? Chris Yates, of the South West Maritime Archaeological Group, explains.…

Mexican Clovis and Heavenly Hopewell

In Brian Fagan’s latest instalment of all things archaeological that are both exotic and entertaining, he reads a Jamestown tablet, gets spiritual with the Hopewell, and finds gomphotheres with Clovis points.…

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:…

The Land between the Oceans: The Making of Modern Europe (Part Three)

Geography made a unitary empire embracing the Mediterranean and temperate Europe inherently unstable; but the wreckage of the Roman Empire contained the building blocks of modern Europe. In the third and final part of our series based on Cunliffe’s new book, Europe between the Oceans, we chart the changes from…

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…

Roman frontiers: on the edges of empire

The former frontiers of the Roman Empire are set to become the world’s biggest single archaeological site. UNESCO World Heritage Site status is now in prospect for the frontiers as a whole. Historic Scotland’s David Breeze is a leading advocate of the move. Neil Faulkner asked him to explain why…

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…

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