A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Please note that while links have been updated where possible, this article was published in 1997 and many websites have changed or are no longer available.
The world wide web abounds with sites on archaeology in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Near East. Many dealing with Africa and Asia are in English. Web sites on European archaeology are often written in the language of that country, but a few offer English translations. The exceptions are those maintained by university or museum projects run by English speakers.
I viewed the following sites on Macintosh computers with Netscape 2.02 using both 14.4 and 28.8 Kbps modems. Uniform resource locators (URLs), or addresses, are subject to change; sites themselves are updated or sometimes removed from the web.
The web site at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6398/ offers an account of excavations at the site of Thulamela, located in the Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa. Thulamela yielded carbon dates of A.D. 1240 to 1630 and the skeleton of a woman wearing a bracelet made of gold beads. A short overview with photos of the area and the skeleton are available in a section titled "The Thulamela Story, Part 1." "Part 2" describes a second grave containing gold ornaments believed to hold the remains of a male ruler.
The Great Zimbabwe web site [www.wn.apc.org/mediatech/VRZ10011.htm - not available as of 11/22/04] describes the layout of this Iron Age (A.D. 1200-1450) center, where as many as 18,000 people lived, and recent research conducted there. The largest of Great Zimbabwe's stone-wall enclosures is 820 feet in circumference and 36 feet tall. The web site also describes other stone-wall enclosures at the site and artifacts, including soapstone bowls and monoliths decorated with geometric designs or carved in the shape of stylized birds, now known as Zimbabwe birds.
The Fossil Evidence for Human Evolution in China [www.cruzio.com/~cscp/ - not available as of 3/10/06] offers a list of all Chinese fossil hominids known to date, photographs of the major ones, a time line of human evolution in China, and links to articles discussing different interpretations of the evidence.
Web sites in English covering archaeology in the Far East are more numerous for Japan. The Asuka Historical Museum web site offers many images of Asuka, home of the ruling dynasty that first unified Japan 1,300 years ago. Pages on the palaces of the Asuka emperors and empresses, sculpture, burial rites, Buddhist temples, and poetry include detailed texts and thumbnail-sized pictures; a click will download a larger image.
The site of Kusado Sengen, written by Yasuyuki Suzuki of the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History, is about a late thirteenth- to early sixteenth-century town on the Seto Inland Sea. Suzuki describes the well-preserved finds at the waterlogged site, including wooden tablets with inscriptions recording agricultural products, place names, and money lending to nearby villages. There are no images of individual artifacts, but there is a shot of a room in the museum, where part of Kusado Sengen has been re-created as a backdrop for excavated artifacts.
The Sannai Maruyama web site describes a site in northern Honshu, occupied from the Early to Middle Jomon period, ca. 5500-4000 B.P. Uncovered during routine salvage excavations before the construction of a baseball stadium in 1992, this site gained nationwide attention in Japan. Postholes of houses and longhouses, adult graves and children's burial jars, clay and stone figurines, and plant and animal remains have been found. Images of the site and its artifacts are paired with short texts.
The Center for the Study of the Eurasian Nomads covers the 1995 excavations at the Sauromatian and Sarmatian kurgan burials at Pokrovka, Russia. (see ARCHAEOLOGY, January/ February 1997). Abstracts of the center's publications, and announcements of lectures, events, and conferences are also listed.
Çatalhöyük: Excavations of a Neolithic Anatolian Tell describes the excavation and conservation of the first urban center in the world, dated to 7000 B.C., located in southern central Turkey. A report of fieldwork conducted between 1993 and 1996 is available. The "Media and Film" section offers QuickTime videos of the excavations and a reconstruction of a shrine. The web site is currently being remodeled and updated. Plans for Çatalhöyük call for full-scale excavation, conservation, and development of the site for visitors by an international team led by Ian Hodder of the Çatalhöyük Research Trust.
The University of Melbourne Northeastern Turkey Archaeological Project summarizes two excavations, one at Sos Höyük, occupied from the early Bronze Age through the Middle Ages, the other at Büyüktepe Höyük, settled during the late Iron Age and Hellenistic periods. Good, descriptive images and maps are available through links.
Aerial Archive uses aerial photographs of sites in Austria to explain how and why such views are useful in archaeological investigations. The photos are thumbnail size; a click will download a larger image.
GIS and Remote Sensing for Archaeology: Burgundy, France is an overview of an extensive mapping project that seeks to identify archaeological sites in the Arroux River Valley. A series of Celtic hill forts is located along the river. The earliest known Gallo-Roman villa in the valley was destroyed by gravel miners, prompting this project to locate, document, and protect remaining sites. Archival aerial photographs, thermal images, SPOT satellite images, and digitized historic maps are available. Using models generated from such information, Scott Madry of Rutgers University has pinpointed areas likely to contain archaeological sites, many of which are threatened by mines.
A CAD model of the Roman town of Colonia Ulpia Traiana, constructed by Ernst Rank of University of Dortmund, is available at the web site of Germany's Xanten Archaeological Park [bauwesen.uni-dortmund.de/forschung/xanten/english/xanten_stadtplan.html - not available as of 11/22/04]. The opening aerial view of the virtual town is clickable, linking to close-ups of housing, an amphitheater, the Capitoline temple, the baths, and an unidentified temple located at the town's harbor. The images are supplemented with basic information about the Roman Empire in the second century A.D.
Archaeological Research at Oslonki, Poland briefly summarizes six seasons of excavations at the site of a large farming village occupied just before 4000 B.C. Uncovered were some 30 longhouses and 80 graves, one including a diadem made of copper, and another of an archer with five bone arrow points in a quiver worn at his back. The web site also discusses what impact this community had on its environment.
Greece and Rome
The Perseus Project [medusa.perseus.tufts.edu - unavailable as of 3/10/06] is a library of study materials on ancient Greece created and edited by classics professor Gregory Crane of Tufts University. It includes the complete works of 27 ancient authors in Greek and English, and lexica of classical Greek with links to texts and secondary sources, such as essays on vase painting and sculpting. The art and archaeology button on the home page links to search tools for databases on architecture, sites and site plans, coins, vases, and sculpture. An overview of Greek history from the end of Mycenaean civilization in 1200 B.C. to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. is available and has more than 3,000 links to the rest of the Perseus database. Additions to the web version of Perseus are planned, including resources for the study of ancient Greek science. Perseus for the Roman world is in development.
World Cultures: Ancient and Modern: The Ancient Greek World from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology includes an introduction to the museum's Rodney S. Young Gallery, providing images of some of the ancient Greek objects on display there and shortened versions of accompanying wall panels. The well-written text is clear and explains what is known about the Greek world and how we know it. Images of objects are plentiful, and download at thumbnail size with provenience information. A click on an image downloads a large one for closer inspection.
Experiments with on-line publishing by universities include The University of Cincinnati, Pylos Regional Archaeological Project, Internet Edition, a book-length report linked to some 600 images of the excavations at the Bronze Age site directed by Jack L. Davis. The Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia focuses on the sanctuary of Poseidon and lifting a mosaic from its Roman bath. Preliminary reports for the 1993-1995 field seasons at this classical Greek site, whose religious festival was second only to that at Olympia, describe the site and outline the work done so far.
The Corinth Computer Project: Reconstructing the city plan and landscape of Roman Corinth opens with a satellite image and locates the Roman colony of Corinth, where David Gilman Romano, director of the project under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies, has spent the past nine years creating highly accurate computer-generated maps of the city and its landscape. Descriptions of the equipment used and discussion of Roman land use accompany the maps.
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago web site describes the institute's projects in Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Anatolia, and Egypt. There are also links to pages on individual projects, including those at Ashkelon, Aqaba, and Tell Es-Sweyhat. The image archive consists of captioned historic photos from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Sudan, and there is a brief history of the institute, founded by James Henry Breasted in 1919. Current events at the Oriental Institute and progress reports on the renovation of its museum are also posted.
Recent Discoveries at Ashkelon is an updated version of an article by David Schloen originally published in the Oriental Institute News and Notes. Ashkelon is located 40 miles south of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. The text details discoveries from the Crusader period and Bronze Age finds, including the burial of an adolescent girl dating 3,000 years earlier, when the site was occupied by Canaanites. Philistine finds are described, as well as signs of the destruction of the site by the Babylonians.
Scrolls from the Dead Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship is an online exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Library of Congress. The web site provides information on the discovery of the scrolls at Qumran, a map and information on its geography, and an overview of the content of the scrolls, which date from the third century B.C. to A.D. 68. Photographs of 12 scrolls and scroll fragments are shown, each with its provenience, a brief analysis of materials and script, and a translation. Artifacts from the caves, including textiles that wrapped the scrolls and leather thongs that secured them, receive the same treatment.
Nefertari: Light of Egypt [www.infobyte.it/pages/vr/nefertari.html - not available as of 11/22/04] offers a virtual-reality tour of Nefertari's tomb, recently restored by the Getty Conservation Institute. Miguel Angel Corzo, director of the institute, describes how such technologies allow people to visit the tomb without entering it, causing further damage to the delicate wall paintings. The tour requires "Cosmo Player" software, but users are able to download still, three-dimensional images of the tomb without it.
Tools for students on the web include the second edition of Exploring Ancient World Cultures, an introductory, on-line, college-level textbook with pages on the ancient Near East, India, Egypt, China, Greece and Rome, as well as on topics such as early Islam and medieval Europe. An anthology of original sources, a chronology, maps, images, computer-graded quizzes, a bibliography of print and film resources, and an index to related web sites are included. This site is edited by Anthony Beavers, an associate professor of philosophy and religion at Evansville University. In time, the textbook will have chapter-length histories for each unit.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about careers in archaeology are answered in a well-written, text-only document maintained by David L. Carlson at Texas A&M University. It describes the various jobs available to archaeologists and the educational requirements for professional status, lists colleges and universities with archaeology programs, and recommends introductory books. It also provides links to a schedule of weekly television programs covering the ancient world, reviews of archaeological films, and works of fiction featuring archaeologists or archaeological sites.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World has illustrations of what the Seven Wonders may have looked like and information on their location, history, and description, with applicable quotations from ancient authors. Links within the text and a list of related topics expand the coverage beyond the monuments themselves.
The Archaeological Institute of America's web site describes the institute's mission, lists its local societies and how to join them, tours to the Classical World, and its code of archaeological ethics. Information on how to order the Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin, a book listing excavations around the world in need of volunteers, is available under the "Other Resources" link in the "Publications" section. Similar information may be obtained directly at Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities [www.cincpac.com/afos/testpit.html - not available as of 3/10/06], which lists more than 50 excavations in need of volunteers.
To find a web page that fits your own interests, try the following indexes, which offer links to other web sites.
ABZU, from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, is a series of indexes organized by author, project, and institutional affiliation to virtually all known Internet resources on the ancient Near East.
African Academic Resources [squash.la.psu.edu/~plarson/links/aac.html - not available as of 11/22/04] has links to pages on archaeology in Africa.
The Archaeological Resource Guide for Europe has more than 1,000 links organized by country, subject, period, sites, and monuments. Many of these sites are not in English.
ArchNet: the World Wide Web Virtual Library for Archaeology has links to web sites on archaeology worldwide.
Argos [argos.evansville.edu - not available as of 9/21/03] is a search engine that locates web sites within its library of peer-reviewed resources on archaeology and the ancient world. Argos is updated weekly.
Asian Archaeology Information Plaza [www.haniwa.com/english/ - not available as of 11/22/04] has links to pages on Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Korea.
The Classics and Mediterranean Archaeology Home Page [rome.classics.lsa.umich.edu - not available as of 3/10/06] has links to museum exhibits, images, site reports, geographic information, and news groups and e-mail lists.
The Council for British Archaeology Internet Information Service has links to sites on archaeology in Britain.
Egyptology Resources has links to sites on Egyptology, and Egyptological institutions, museums, and societies.
Human Origins and Evolution in Africa maintains links to pages on Africa, evolution, and archaeology.
Internet Archaeology is an on-line scholarly journal.
Irish Archaeology Home Page lists sites on archaeology in Ireland and a database of recent excavation reports.
Romarch: Roman Art and Archaeology [www-personal.umich.edu/~pfoss/ROMARCH.html - not available as of 11/22/04] has links to sites on the archaeology of Rome and its provinces.
The World of the Vikings has links to pages on runes, sagas, ships, and schools and museums with viking programs.