Ram in the Thicket

What is it? This ancient Mesopotamian sculpture known as the ‘ram in the thicket’ is actually a ‘goat in a tree’. The goat is rendered in impressive detail, as it reaches up to eat leaves on high branches – a common sight along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The sculpture was made […]

Art at the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis

The small size of the Cycladic island of Delos belies its significance in the ancient world, both as a major sanctuary and as a thriving port. According to myth, it was on this remote and rocky pocket of land in the Aegean that Leto, pregnant by Zeus and persecuted by his wife Hera, took refuge […]

Records of the pyramid builders

Discovering eye-witness accounts of a legendary construction project How did Egypt build the pyramids? It is a question that has excited the imagination of scholars and visitors for millennia. Now papyri documenting work on the Great Pyramid are revealing fresh insights into construction work. Pierre Tallet and Mark Lehner told Matthew Symonds how combining text […]

Facing the Palmyrenes

Exploring life and death in a desert city What can an extraordinary group of sculptures commemorating the dead reveal about ancient life in Palmyra? Thousands of ancient inhabitants’ portraits once graced lavish family tombs in cemeteries just beyond the desert city. Studying this artistry can reveal much about wealth, power, family, and even the balance […]

National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

With prehistoric painted caves, ruins of Roman cities, spectacular places of worship converted during periods of conquest and reconquest, and elaborate palaces occupied by emirs and kings, Spain offers plenty of historic sites to explore. One place where you can get a flavor of this rich heritage across the length and breadth of the country […]

Victims of Vesuvius

The remains of two individuals who died during the eruption of Vesuvius have been found at a suburban villa near Pompeii. The large villa is located in Civita Giuliana, a suburb 700m north-west of Pompeii’s city walls, where excavations in 2017 uncovered several service areas belonging to the villa, including the remains of three harnessed […]

The gods of Palermo: the Antonino Salinas Museum

Oliver Gilkes explores a recently refurbished Sicilian museum. Sicily plays host to an unprecedented variety of archaeological sites and monuments, set in an extraordinary medley of landscapes. Combine this with Sicilian panache at cookery (very different from mainland Italy) and its wines, and a visit is a must for enthusiasts of Mediterranean archaeology. Superb museums display […]

An unexpected tomb

Inside an Etruscan hypogeum on Corsica Discovering a previously unsuspected Roman cemetery would normally rank as the archaeological highlight of a building project. Recent work on Corsica, though, revealed an even greater surprise, as Marina Biron, Jean Demerliac, Vincent Dumenil, Catherine Rigeade, and Laurent Vidal explain. In June 2018, a team of archaeologists led by […]

Ancient Antalya

Antalya Province is located in south-west Türkiye, along the Mediterranean coast. In the past, the region was the location of the ancient lands of Pamphylia in the east and Lycia in the west, but it has also been ruled by a number of different civilisations throughout its long history, and today is home to many […]


What is it? This mid 3rd century AD semi-cylindrical shield is known as a scutum and was used by legionary soldiers of the Roman Empire. Constructed of thin strips of wood glued together in layers to create a plywood board, the surface is covered with red-dyed hide or parchment. The round opening in the centre would originally […]

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