Gobekli tepe

How to have the archaeological adventure of a lifetime

Anyone with even a passing interest in history and archaeology has surely, at some point, asked themselves: what would it be like, to be an eye-witness to a world-shaking discovery? To walk down the Valley of the Kings, even as Howard Carter opened Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Or to visit Sutton Hoo in the week they unearthed the first glittering Anglo-Saxon treasures. Maybe you’d like to have been among the first to see marvellous walls of Troy as the great German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann lifted away the veil of thirty centuries. Well, remarkably, you can do something like this today, by visiting the so-called Tas Tepeler (‘the stone hills’) in eastern Turkey.

The aesthetic prejudice towards white classical statues

In the 1930s curators at the British Museum, under orders from Lord Duveen, a generous donor, scoured and hacked at the friezes and statues of their Parthenon collection. They were trying to remove the smudges and stains thought to be discolouration, to restore the marbles to their original colour — white. But it wasn’t discolouration; it was paint. Though the idea was rejected for years, an arsenal of new technologies — infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray and chemical analysis — has since established that classical sculpture was slathered with the stuff. Though polychromy — the art of painting statues and architecture — was finally accepted in the 1970s, it was proposed over