The World Archaeology October 2022 issue explores the secrets of Japan’s stone circles, the lost prehistoric cities of Bolivia, women’s everyday lives in the Ice Age, an idyllic alpine region that saw fierce fighting during the First World War, and much more.
The stone circles of Japan are enigmatic monuments. These structures were created by Jomon hunter-gatherers, mostly from roughly 2500-300 BC, and can be associated with burials, seasonal ceremonies, and solar alignments. Such preoccupations are far from being restricted to Jomon Japan, with study of these circles proving influential when it came to early 20th-century attempts to understand Stonehenge. In our cover feature, we take a detailed look at some of the Jomon stone circles, examining both the monuments themselves, and wider activity in the period.
Below the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico lies a submerged world of extraordinary beauty. Caves once created a subterranean labyrinth that the earliest human settlers seemingly associated with magic. After these passageways flooded at the end of the last Ice Age, they created reservoirs that proved essential for the success of Maya cities. Now a fascinating project is revealing the remarkable range of archaeology preserved in this underworld.
Goddesses and spiritual beings also display an impressive range, in this case of powers. There can be a tendency for modern audiences to focus on a single attribute – Venus as the goddess of love, for instance – but this obscures the remarkable breadth of gifts they could bestow on worshippers. An exhibition examining the nature of feminine power provides an opportunity to consider the divine and the demonised.