Cambodia’s stupendous temple of Angkor Wat, and the dense forest in which it sits, are currently the focus of a major cutting-edge project, led by an international team of researchers. In addition to traditional archaeological methods, the team has used high-tech LiDAR aerial laser-scanning to ‘see’ what lies beneath the temple grounds, and through the surrounding jungle. This revolutionary work has completely rewritten the history of Angkor Wat and its vast lost city.
From Cambodia we voyage to the Nile Delta, where we discover the lost port of Naukratis, once Egypt’s great international gateway. Despite pioneering late 19th-century archaeological research at the site, Naukratis has since languished in the shadows. Who really lived there, how did the port work, and what salacious secrets were hidden away by the Victorians? Its mysteries are finally being solved by a new British Museum project.
Following the scandals of Naukratis, sinners are then shaken by the gods in a feature that draws on Andrew Robinson’s latest book Earth-Shattering Events: Earthquakes, Nations and Civilization. When do we first find evidence for earthquakes, how did they change the course of history, and how far has our understanding advanced from archaic ideas of divine punishment? The answers are, at times, alarming.
The extremes of the earth are then explored further in the feature concerning the El Médano rock art of Chile. Discovered in the forbiddingly desolate Atacama desert that runs parallel to the teeming ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean, the art illuminates the forgotten world of an ancient fisherpeople.
Other highlights include travels in Ecuador, Oman, and Morocco, plus a behind-the-scenes look at the British Museum’s latest exhibition on Sicily.