Fishermen were landing some extraordinary catches in mid-19th-century Switzerland. The discovery of prehistoric sites submerged in European lakes prompted a surge in angling for antiquities. In 1857, this fishing for finds led to some telltale timbers being spotted in a small bay on Lake Neuchâtel. The bay was called La Tène, and the finds from it were so significant that the site went on to lend its name to the second half of the European Iron Age. For all its fame, La Tène has remained something of an enigma. Our cover featureexplores what the finds tell us about the nature of Iron Age activity there.
For many years, the prehistory of the Aegean coastline in Turkey was also soundly enigmatic. In the north, Troy provided a single dot on the map, but elsewhere the focus was squarely on the great Classical-era cities. That changed in the 1990s, when a project was set up to investigate the Anatolian coast. In the decades that followed, numerous sites have been examined, especially the remarkable city of Liman Tepe. We take a look at what has been discovered.
The Indiana Jones films are another long-running feature of the archaeological landscape, searing their take on the discipline on to the popular imagination. But just how accurate an evocation of archaeology in the era is it? Comparing Indy’s world with that of the trailblazing excavations run by the Woolleys and Sheikh Hamoudi in Turkey and Iraq proves instructive.
Robert Guiscard – aka ‘Robert the Weasel’ – was another larger-than-life character. Back in the 11th century, he acquired a fearsome reputation, successfully sacking Rome and then setting his sights on the Byzantine Empire, before expiring in a bay on Kefalonia. A careful survey of the landscape may offer a glimpse of Robert’s next target.
The landscape had a major impact on ancient life in Sicily, too. The rich mythology inspired by the remarkable surroundings offers a fascinating sense of how the Greek and Roman inhabitants viewed their world.