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Editor's Letter: The Value of Persistence

This issue's cover is an image of a woman's coffin from the first unlooted tomb found in Egypt's Valley of the Kings since 1922. Her name was Nehemes-Bastet and hieroglyphs on the coffin's side reveal that she was a shemayet, or chantress, of the sun god, Amun. In "Tomb of the Chantress," contributing editor Julian Smith discusses her life and the significance of the find.

"The Birth of Bureaucracy," by archaeologist and writer Amanda Summer, focuses on the Mycenaean site of Iklaina, located in Greece's southwestern Peloponnese. Since the late 1990s, excavation work there has focused on the manner in which government functioned in towns and villages, on the lives of the ordinary people who lived at Iklaina more than 3,000 years ago, and how widespread literacy may have been in the Mycenaean world.

The wreck of a seventeenth-century Swedish warship, pulled nearly intact more than 50 years ago from Stockholm Harbor, has long concealed a mystery about why it sank on its maiden voyage. In "Vasa's Curious Imbalance," science journalist Lucas Laursen explains that archaeologists are now coming up with answers thanks, in part, to their ability to digitally render Vasa's contours.

As the 2012 Summer Olympics approach, journalist Nadia Durrani has filed a report on the challenging archaeology of the Olympic Park site in East London's Lea Valley. "London 2012: Archaeology and the Olympics," offers a 12,000-year timeline, maps the location of six of the most significant finds, and tells us what mankind has been up to there from prehistoric times until the present day.

Contributing editor Andrew Lawler, in "Uncovering Sidon's Long Life," traces the history of the port city of Sidon in Lebanon. The extraordinary site sits directly beneath the modern-day city and has been under excavation by a multinational team for more than a decade. Sidon has been occupied for some 4,000 years, and archaeologists are only now beginning to trace the long history of a city so ancient that it is mentioned in the Book of Genesis.

"Letter From Mexico," tells a different story, one in which archaeology must proceed sporadically because of the danger to researchers often caught in the ongoing drug war south of the United States border. Writer Kathleen McGuire details the importance of the region known to some as El Norte de Mexico, and talks with archaeologists who are committed to studying and preserving its important heritage.

That, of course, isn't all. Don't miss a very special "Artifact," and do look for a mystery or two to be revealed in "From the Trenches" and "World Roundup."

Claudia Valentino
Claudia Valentino
Editor in Chief

Features

London 2012
Archaeology and the Olympics
by Nadia Durrani

Tomb of the Chantress
A newly discovered burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings provides a rare glimpse into the life of an ancient Egyptian singer
by Julian Smith

The Birth of Bureaucracy
At the site of Iklaina, excavations are revealing new evidence of how the Mycenaean state functioned
by Amanda Summer

Automated Site Mapping
Computational analysis of satellite images detects previously overlooked human settlements
by Aldo Foe

Vasa's Curious Imbalance
Researchers are learning new lessons from the majestic Vasa—a warship monumental in its ambition, its failure, and its role in maritime archaeology
by Lucas Laursen

Uncovering Sidon's Long Life
For the first time, archaeologists are revealing the 4,000-year history of one of ancient Lebanon's oldest ports
by Andrew Lawler

Departments

From the President
Saving Easter Island
by Elizabeth Bartman

From the Trenches

World Roundup
A mass grave in the South Atlantic is a grim reminder of the slave trade, Lucy's tree-climbing hominin friends, scientists look for elite archers in a medieval shipwreck, and when it snowed in Baghdad.

Letter from Mexico
An archaeologist's daughter surveys the rich cultural heritage of northern Mexico—and the impact of violence on researchers working there.

Artifact
In one of the earliest Anglo-Saxon Christian burial sites in Britain, archaeologists find a young girl's rare gold and garnet-jeweled cross.

May/June 2012 | September/October 2012

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