Archaeology

Illegal trade in antiquities: a scourge that has gone on for millennia too long

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Looting of artefacts has always been a sign of military might or economic power. Evangelos Kyriakidis The Conversation Over millennia, conquering generals would take away with them trophies to adorn their cities. In more recent centuries, the wealthy upper classes would make “grand tours” of classical sites and acquire – through whatever means – anything from vases to statues to entire temple friezes to show off at… Owning a piece of antiquity was seen as demonstrating wealth, a love of ... Read More »

Corbyn says he wants to hand the ‘stolen’ Elgin Marbles back to Greece if he becomes Prime Minister

Some of the Elgin Marbles damaged at the instigation of Sir Joseph Duveen.

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he wants to hand the Elgin Marbles back to Greece if he becomes Prime Minister. By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline The Labour leader made clear he viewed the ancient statues as ‘stolen’ and they should be returned. Many Parthenon sculptures have been housed in the British Museum since 1816 after they were bought by the government from Lord Elgin. Greece has long campaigned for their repatriation, but supporters insist they were purchased legitimately and ... Read More »

Jeremy Corbyn would give British Museum’s Elgin Marbles back to Greece

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The UK should start “constructive talks with the Greek government on the return of the sculptures”, Mr Corbyn says. SkyNews Jeremy Corbyn has said he would give the Elgin Marbles back to Greece if he became prime minister. The Labour leader told Greek newspaper Ta Nea “the Parthenon sculptures belong to Greece” when asked whether he would consider returning the carved figures and stelae. The Parthenon sculptures, as they are also called, have been housed in the British Museum since ... Read More »

BBC historian suggests the British Museum should have a ‘Supermarket Sweep’ where every country has two minutes to take back their artifacts

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The British Museum should have a ‘Supermarket Sweep’ where countries have two minutes to take back their artifacts, a BBC historian has suggested. By Jim Norton for the Daily Mail David Olusoga said there was a ‘moral imperative’ for relics to be returned and that it could help our relationship with the Commonwealth after Brexit. Born in Nigeria, he said he felt strongly that the Benin Bronzes should be given back to the country of his heritage after they were ... Read More »

Gaia’s Map of 1.3 Billion Stars Makes for a Milky Way in a Bottle

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Call it a galaxy in a bottle. Last Wednesday, astronomers in Europe released a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. Dennis Overbye The New York Times It is the most detailed survey ever produced of our home galaxy. It contains the vital statistics of some 1.3 billion stars — about one percent of the whole galaxy. Not to mention measurements of almost half a million quasars, asteroids and other flecks in the night. Analyzing all these motions and distances, astronomers ... Read More »

Long lost art of first major global war discovered in Kent

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Exclusive: Largest selection of pre-19th century prisoner of war art ever found in Britain David Keys Independent The long-lost art of the world’s first major global war has been rediscovered inside a historic manor house complex in the Kent countryside. Eighteen images of ships, scratched on the building’s walls by French prisoners of war in the mid-18th century, have been found by historical investigators carrying out conservation work at a National Trust property, Sissinghurst Castle, 13 miles south of Maidstone. Together with 16 ... Read More »

Ancient Amazonians lived sustainably – and this matters for conservation today

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Our colleague, the archaeologist Santiago Rivas, recently made a remarkable discovery. Authors (4) The Conversation On a small plateau above the outskirts of Iquitos, a town in the northern Peruvian Amazon, he found a layer in the soil which contained small pieces of ceramic pottery, that were around 1,800-years-old. Digging deeper, he found another layer of soil, this time containing pottery that was about 2,500 years old. This is the archaeological site at Quistococha which has been occupied for at ... Read More »

Secrets of the sea bed: Hunt for Stone Age site in North Sea

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British and Belgian scientists are exploring the sea bed off Norfolk hoping to find evidence that Stone Age people lived there when it was still dry land. Laurence Peter BBC In recent years, some trawler crews and researchers have found prehistoric animal bones and basic stone tools in North Sea sediment. The team on the Belgian ship RV Belgica aims to map the Brown Bank area, a sand ridge about 30km (19 miles) long. Mesolithic people are thought to have ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

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On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

Renowned author and archaeologist Jacqueline Karageorghis dies aged 85

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Internationally renowned French archaeologist Jacqueline Girard Karageorghis has died, it was announced on Saturday. She was 85. CyprusMail Karageorghis moved to Cyprus in the 1950s after completing her studies at the University of Lyon. She married to the former director of the department of antiquities, Vassos Karageorghis in 1953 and together they had two children, Cleo and Andreas. During her long and multifaceted professional career, she taught French, between 1963 and 1986, and was deputy education attaché at the French ... Read More »

Fall of Troy: the legend and the facts

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The legendary ancient city of Troy is very much in the limelight this year: a big budget co-production between the BBC and Netflix: Troy, Fall of a City, recently launched, while Turkey designated 2018 the “Year of Troy” and plans a year of celebration, including the opening of a new museum on the presumed site. Mariacarmela Montesanto The Conversation So what do we know about the city, ruins of which have been painstakingly excavated over the past 150 years? The ... Read More »

‘Lost’ ancient Mexican city had as many buildings as Manhattan, laser map shows

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‘If you do the maths, all of a sudden you are talking about 40,000 building foundations up there’ Jeff Farrell The Independent A “lost” Mexican city built by rivals to the Aztecs has as many buildings as Manhattan and was home to around 100,000 people, according to new research. The sprawling urban centre of Angamuco which was part of the Purépecha empire that peaked in the 16th century was detected by an aerial laser mapping technique called the Lidar system. An aircraft beamed out laser pulses and experts ... Read More »

How China’s first emperor searched for elixir of life

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China’s first emperor launched an obsessive search for the elixir of life before dying aged 49 in 210 BCE, new archaeological research has revealed. BBC Qin Shi Huang, who created the world-famous terracotta army, ordered a nationwide hunt for the mythical potion. The quest is mentioned in 2000-year-old texts written on thousands of wooden slats – used in China before paper. They were found in 2002 at the bottom of a well in central Hunan province. The writings contain an ... Read More »

How a DNA revolution has decoded the origins of our humanity

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Mapping the genomes of our ancestors has allowed scientists to uncover secrets and discover new mysteries in our evolution Robin McKie, Observer science editor The Guardian cientists made a remarkable discovery at Trou Al’Wesse in Belgium earlier this year. Inside a cave that overlooks the Hoyoux river they found clear evidence it had been occupied by Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago. Yet the cave contained no skull fragments, no teeth – nor any other skeletal remains of this extinct species ... Read More »

Prehistoric teeth fossils dating back 9.7 million years ‘could rewrite human history’

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‘This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery’ Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history. Tom Embury-Dennis  The Independent  The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim. They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

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Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Helena Smith The Guardian As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3655c9d83f27ad523e8bc2649f6bf2d4/content.css”/> Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this ... Read More »