The Centuries-Old Silver Jug That Conjures the Mysteries of the Silk Road

Stretching From Rome and Africa to Asia, the Ancient Trade Route Lured Invaders, Migrants, and Merchants—and Left Artifacts Rich With Meaning

As China has promoted its Belt and Road Initiative—an ambitious plan to open new markets for China by building logistics and trade infrastructure from Asia to Europe and Africa—the Chinese government has drawn parallels with the fabled Silk Road, which operated from Africa to Europe and Asia from roughly 200 B.C. to A.D. 1400.

But, as a matter of history, the “Silk Road” was nothing like the Belt and Road Initiative. In fact, in its time, there was no “Silk Road” at all. The Silk Road is actually a modern …

Reflecting Splendor and Conflict in Enduring Visions of an Ancient City

A Getty Online Exhibition Unearths the Complex Legacy of Syria’s Palmyra

All places contain history; traces of the past that can be read, contextualized, interpreted, and, with some effort, crafted into knowledge. Some places are so rich in material and textual …

Why I Dig Aztec Kitchen Trash

While Most Archaeologists Hunt for Pyramids and Palaces, I'm Fascinated by the Detritus of Ordinary Life

For years I was too embarrassed to admit how I first got interested in the Aztecs and Mayas. Now, as an archaeologist who has directed excavations at Aztec sites for …

The Dinosaurs in My Yard

Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops Are Gone, But We Can Enjoy Their Surviving Cousins: Birds

Few things make me happier than seeing dinosaurs on my front lawn. They’re not trundling, spiky stegosaurs or knife-toothed, stubby-armed ceratosaurs. No, my neighborhood dinosaurs here in Salt Lake City …