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A reappraisal of the artefactual and chronological evidence for the earliest occupation of Europe — with proper attention to its limitations and its reliability — makes for a short chronology. The first solid traces of hominid activities in this part of the world are around 500,000 years old.
The tangled dynastic history of Tonga, celebrated kingdom of western Polynesia, offers a rare chance to study the place of monumental burial-places in a chieftains’ society. Disentangling the story, at a remove of not many centuries, is not a simple business.
Ireland is important in the early metallurgy of northwest Europe, for it has given us a large majority of the Early Bronze Age artefacts from the whole British Isles. Is there tinore to have been mined in early Ireland to produce this bronze or must it have come from elsewhere?
‘What must it have been like to be here in ancient times?’ — where ‘here’ is inside one of the Great Zimbabwe enclosures or a Mesoamerican ball-court. An architectural approach to built spaces may make coherent that felt experience, here applied to the Loughcrew chamber-tombs, classic built spaces of Irish prehistory.
The cosmology of the Etruscans, like so much else Etruscan, hovers on the edge of historical visibility. By exploring Etruscan temple alignments measured in situ and with the helpful context of the Disciplina Etrusca, factors are found that might affect temple orientation, and connections with the Greek and Roman record are explored.
Phytoliths — the microscopic opal silica bodies inside plant tissue that often survive well in archaeological deposits— are becoming a larger part of the world of human palaeobotany. They give a new view of early rice in southeast Asia.
Around any great construction enterprise, whether Victorian railway viaduct or contemporary motorway, there will be a passing scatter of huts and buildings, swept away when the project is complete and the builders have moved on. In the unmechanized age, this meant large numbers of hands and large settlements, which have their archaeological trace.
‘Hunstanton Woman’, a skeleton found in 1897 within glacial gravels at Hunstanton on the east English coast, has now been carbon-dated. She turns out to be yet another intrusive burial, rather than an ‘Ice Age’ person.
Recent excavations on the Gwent Levels, in the wetlands of the Severn Estuary, south Wales, have recovered substantial remains of a waterlogged boat, of probable late 3rd- to early 4th-century AD date.
The growing story of early settlement in the northwest Pacific islands is moving from coastal sites into the rainforest. Evidence of Pleistocene cultural layers have been discovered in open-site excavations at Yombon, an area containing shifting hamlets, in West New Britain's interior tropical rainforest. These sites, the oldest in New Britain, may presently stand as the oldest open sites discovered in rainforest anywhere in the world.
The team that has been dating early Australian sites by luminescence methods replies to Allen's (1994) view of the continent's human chronology, published in the June ANTIQUITY (68: 339–43). They argue the strength of the long chronology with their new optical dates.
Great Zimbabwe, most celebrated monument in the country that is named after it, is a large challenge not just in its technical conservation, but in how it is to be made alive for its country's citizens.
The acid rocks and soils of northwest France are not kind to preservation of organic material. Radiocarbon dating has mostly depended on charcoal, for want of a better dating medium that survives. In Brittany, Finistère can sometimes contribute to the dating of early passage-graves from human bones.
The biographer of Flinders Petrie (Flinders Petrie: a life in archaeology, 1985), looking at Petrie family letters, came across this one. It comes not from exotic Egypt, but from domestic Dorset, when the Petries visited the Pitt-Rivers estate; and it offers a lively picture of Pitt-Rivers and his ménage, instructive for those whose view of the old man is perhaps a little austere.
Distinctive patterns in the nature and composition of early metal objects in Israel and Jordan make it possible to find a chronological order in the celebrated, and hard-to-date, copper-mining sites of the region.