Stone Age Death Masks
A new interpretation of some of the world’s earliest human images By Denise Schmandt-Besserat

In the Neolithic period (c. 8000–4000 B.C.), Near Eastern peoples created a number of arresting images to represent (or influence) their world. They carved small female figurines immodestly presenting their breasts or pregnant stomachs, for instance, and they depicted animals being viciously stabbed with flints. Perhaps the most powerful and haunting of these Stone […]

Ferocious Elegance
The mosaics of Sicily’s Villa Romana del Casale By Francine Prose

In Sicily’s Villa Romana del Casale, the fourth-century A.D. Roman mansion decorated with the most extensive collection of mosaics to have survived the destruction of the empire, the Cyclops depicted on the floor of the Vestibule of Polyphemus has three eyes. Two regular eyes, normally set, and another, smack in the middle of his […]

Villages of Stone
Sardinia’s Bronze Age Nuraghi By Robert H. Tykot

“It lies outside; outside the circuit of civilisation.” That’s how D.H. Lawrence described Sardinia in Sea and Sardinia (1923), and until recently that’s what many thought about this island: During the third and second millennia B.C., Sardinia remained isolated from the vibrant cultures of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean. Decades of archaeological research, […]


Editors’ Page: Looting by Bulldozer
Is this really “the best we can do?” By Hershel Shanks
Past Perfect: Reading the Rosetta Stone
Jean-François Champollion deciphers Egyptian hieroglyphics
Destinations: Oases in Time
Nabatean little Petra and Stone Age Beidha By Avner Goren
Ancient Life: Heavens!
An ancient model of the cosmos
The Forum
On ancient pornography, Cyprus’s politics, and the magic of Delphi
Briefly Noted
Guiding lights