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Editors' Picks Volume 59 Number 1, January/February 2006

Dramatic religious icons and hundreds of artifacts from a century of excavations of the oldest medieval town in Russia are on display in "Sacred Arts and City Life: The Glory of Medieval Novgorod," at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore through February 12. Founded in the ninth century on an important river linking the Baltic and Black seas, Novgorod was a center of trade and travel between western Europe and the Byzantine Empire and, in recent years, famous for its birch-bark correspondence. Among other artifacts, the wide variety of crafts created in the town are on view, from musical instruments and metalwork to wooden toys immaculately preserved by Novgorod's clay-rich soil.
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Dictionary of Ancient Egypt

Toby Wilkinson's Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2005; $50) distinguishes itself from the vast number of layperson's guides to the archaeology and history of the country with clear, concise entries on a range of subjects, from the naming conventions of pharaohs to the symbolic importance of the frog, invoked for its powers of fertility (the hieroglyph for the number 100,000 is a tadpole). A chronology of dynasties and site plans of places such as Saqqara, Luxor, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings are other helpful resources. Wilkinson, an Egyptologist at the U.K.'s Clare College, includes a bibliography loaded with works aimed at the curious nonspecialist.
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The History Channel's second season of Digging for the Truth kicks off January 23 at 9 p.m. with "The Real Temple of Doom." Overlook the bombastic title and you'll get a great tour of Chavin de Huantar, a ceremonial center high in the Andes, where drug-altered Chavin priests led rituals for thousands in the first millennium B.C.
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© 2006 by the Archaeological Institute of America