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It’s 102 degrees under the hot Mediterranean sun. Your neck aches and your back feels like it’s breaking as you squat, knee deep in dirt, in a narrow rocky ditch. For the hundredth time, you find yourself wondering why you decided against a vacation in the south of France. Then, suddenly, your hand brushes up against a buried fragment of pottery. For an instant, the pain recedes and your heart races: You are holding a piece of ancient history in the palm of your hand…

No Guts, No Glory
Inside the Roman arena By Donald G. Kyle

When we confront the strange allure, or even at times the banality, of violence, the road often leads back to Rome. For centuries, blood sports and other deadly spectacles were central to the social life and public space of the Roman world.1 Rome’s violent public entertainments included gladiatorial combats (spectacula gladiatorum), animal hunts […]

The Roman Amphora
Learning from storage jars By Elizabeth Lyding Will

I have spent the better part of my professional life studying the lowly Roman amphora—a two-handled clay jar used by the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans to ship goods. What would Harvard professor Charles Eliot Norton, who founded the Archaeological Institute of America in 1879, have thought about my archaeological tastes? Norton wanted […]

A new traveling exhibition of 5,000 years of Georgian art is already ancient history By Jack Meinhardt

Look at this crucifix,” said Gary Vikan, the director of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. He pushed a book across the table and pointed to a photograph of a silver sculpture of Jesus nailed to the cross. The statuette was made in tenth-century A.D. Georgia, on the east coast of the Black […]


Origins: Fixing the Millennium
Just how did we get to the year 2000 anyway? By Leonora Neville
Past Perfect: Under a Desert Sky
Rejecting a world of privilege, the Victorian heiress Gertrude Bell found bliss in Arabia’s past
Destinations: The Oasis of Amun Siwa, Egypt
Across the Great Sand Sea lies an ancient necropolis, an oracle of the gods and a melted city.
Ancient Life: Bull Jumping
It’s taking your life in your hands
The Forum
Pimping antiquities, cracking the code, and weighing the talent.