Current World Archaeology 117

Cover Story

‘The city thirsts’: water in Istanbul: past, present, and future Supplying Constantinople with water was a monumental challenge that received a monumental solution. Examining the extraordinary remains of aqueducts, bridges, and cisterns reveals the ingenuity – and expense – committed to sating a thirsty ancient metropolis, as James Crow explains.


The Priest of Pututus: unearthing a unique Andean tomb What can a freshly discovered tomb reveal about the emergence of Andean civilisations? The early date of this rich burial is raising new questions about how and when social elites…
Conjuring Mongolian deer stones: biographical statuary of Bronze Age Central Asia and south Siberia The enigmatic deer stones speckling the Mongolian steppe have long invited questions. Now fresh research is providing clues to why they were carved and what they may represent. William Fitzhugh…
The man in the parcel: explaining a puzzling burial rite The discovery of a burial in pride of place in Gårdby Church, Sweden, marked the beginning of an archaeological detective story. What could explain the unusual treatment of the man’s…


Spectacular bronzes found in Italy Archaeologists uncovered 24 finely worked bronze statues – the largest deposit of Etruscan and Roman bronze statues ever found in Italy.
Remarkable early medieval burial found in Northamptonshire The collection of grave goods – dubbed the ‘Harpole Treasure’ after the name of the local parish – has been dated to AD 630-670.
Under the Old Fort of Zanzibar: exploring the origins of Stone Town Timothy Power and Mark Horton return to the Old Fort of Stone Town, Zanzibar, to discuss the site’s Swahili origins.
Genetic analysis shines new light on Neanderthal communities Researchers conducted genetic analysis of bone and tooth remains from 13 Neanderthals from two sites in the foothills of the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia.
Hominin footprints in Spain 200,000 years older than previously thought New analysis has revealed that the layer containing the footprints dates to c.295,8000 years ago.
Funerary finds in Fayum Inside the funerary structure, archaeologists found a number of rock-cut and stone-lined burial chambers containing a variety of burials, ranging from simple interments to examples of high-quality embalming.


CWA 117 Letters – January 2023 Letters Your observations, your objections, and your opinions: send them to
CWA #117 Crossword, and Answers to #116 Competitions Across 7 Vegetables domesticated c.8000 BC (8)9 George ___, 20th-century French archaeologist noted for his work in French Indochina and Siam (6)10 Boudica's tribe (5)11 Huntress of Greek mythology (8)12…
The British Institute at Ankara: 75 years researching Turkey Travel As the British Institute at Ankara celebrates a major birthday, CWA casts an eye over what it has achieved, and where it is heading.
Becoming an archaeologist Comment Archaeology is not immune to wider social changes... the #BlackLivesMatter movement focused attention on the colonial pasts of many nations and on the challenges of the post-colonial present.
Seasons and the city Comment Even reputable observers like Pliny the Younger often ended up at the mercy of the competence of later scribes. As his writings only survive as copies, it may be no…
Clare Tuffy and Newgrange Places, Travel I would restore the great chambers of Boyne, prepare a sepulchre under the cupmarked stones. Seamus Heaney, ‘Funeral Rites’
Linguistics, genetic links, and a long-lost ‘emperor’ Comment A long-lost Roman emperor. Who could resist such a headline? The media lapped it up. But how could anyone lose an emperor in the first place? It turns out that…
Ivory comb with rare Canaanite inscription Objects Until now, inscriptions found in the Canaanite alphabet have been limited to two or three words; this is the first meaningful Canaanite inscription found in Israel.
A Byzantine business district The Picture Desk Excavations in the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey have uncovered the remains of early Byzantine shops and businesses. Archaeologists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) working this year…
A chicken coup Comment An infant who died at birth during the fourth Bronze Age phase was interred with a hen’s egg over the left hand; perhaps the infant was holding it when placed…


The British Institute at Ankara: 75 years researching Turkey As the British Institute at Ankara celebrates a major birthday, CWA casts an eye over what it has achieved, and where it is heading.
Petra in the Accounts of Western Travelers: Selected Narratives from the Nineteenth Century Review by David J Breeze John William Burgon’s description of Petra as ‘the rose-red city, half as old as time’ dates to 1845, well within the timeframe covered in this…
Van Archeology and Ethnography Museum A new museum in Van, Turkey, explores the rich history of the area. Nick Kropacek visited to find out more.
Clare Tuffy and Newgrange I would restore the great chambers of Boyne, prepare a sepulchre under the cupmarked stones. Seamus Heaney, ‘Funeral Rites’
Roman Aquileia: the impenetrable city-fortress, a sentry of the Alps Review by Carolynn Roncaglia In AD 452, Attila the Hun led his forces over the eastern Alps into Italy. Straightaway they besieged the city of Aquileia, which for more than…
Palaeolithic Rock Art of the Italian Peninsula Review by George Nash Until relatively recently, European Palaeolithic rock art outside the Franco-Cantabrian area (south-west France and northern Spain) was considered a rare occurrence. This belief was partly based…

From the editor

Constantinople came with a problem. This ‘new Rome’ served as Constantine the Great’s imperial capital and held a commanding position on the Bosporus waterway. Being perched on the channel splitting Asia and Europe brought a cost, though, as it left Constantinople facing the sea on three sides. For drinking water, the newly minted capital was reliant on a minor stream and an aqueduct built to supply its predecessor, Byzantium. As Constantinople grew, so too its water supply proved inadequate for a thirsty city. Legend had it that the solution came from tapping the distant waters of the mighty Danube River. The truth was scarcely less astonishing. An extraordinary network was built to carry water to the capital, showcasing its power.

Status was also on display at Pacopampa, an ancient ceremonial gathering place in the highlands of Peru. Recent excavation work has revealed a remarkable tomb. Within lay the remains of an individual who was accompanied by a wealth of grave goods, including a set of 20 Strombus shells. This rich burial dates to a surprisingly early stage of activity at the site, raising intriguing questions about when and why elites emerged in the region.

Power was being signalled in a different way by the deer stones in Mongolia. Various images grace these magnificent monoliths, including striking, stylised representations of deer. Numerous explanations have been proposed for these monuments over the decades, such as that they show gods. Now research is pointing to a fascinating possibility: that they represent actual individuals.

Excavations in Sweden unearthed another way to indicate eminence, by burying an individual in a prestigious setting at the middle of a church. Examining the deceased revealed that his corpse was treated in a most unusual manner. A search for parallels presents an explanation for this surprising burial rite.

Finally, our travel section sees Richard Hodges visiting Newgrange and Knowth, in Ireland, to cast an eye over developments in the quarter-century since a new visitor centre opened.