Courtesy of MAFOUZ

In 329 B.C., after marching into Central Asia, Alexander the Great took control of Samarkand, thus beginning 200 years of Hellenistic rule at the site. Last year a stone ball (inset), about 5 inches in diameter, was found in a mountainous pass called the Iron Gates, about 100 miles south of Samarkand. The ball, typical of ancient Greek catapults, was possibly used by Alexander’s army in subduing the local Sogdians. If so, the object is the only weapon from Alexander’s army yet found.