November/December 2019 Issue

Features From the Issue

  • Features

    Searching for the Witches’ Tower

    Archaeologists hunt for evidence of a 17th-century English family accused of witchcraft

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    (Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Features

    Artists of the Dark Zone

    Deciphering Cherokee ritual imagery deep in the caves of the American South

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    (Alan Cressler)
  • Features

    Life in the City of the Gods

    Inside the neighborhoods of Teotihuacan, Mesoamerica’s first great metropolis

  • Features

    Farm to Emperor’s Table

    Excavations reveal the inner workings of an ancient Roman imperial estate

  • Features

    Magical Beasts of Babylon

    How the Ishtar Gate safeguarded the Mesopotamian world

Letter from Jordan

Letter from Jordan

Beyond Petra

After the famous city was deserted, a small village thrived in its shadow

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(Robert Bewley/APAAME)


(Dale Omori/Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

Digs & Discoveries

Off the Grid

Off the Grid November/December 2019

Rathcroghan, Ireland

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(Joe Fenwick/Courtesy Rathcroghan Visitor Centre)

Around the World




  • IRAN

Slideshow: Stone Faces of Ancient Mexico

During the first half of the first millennium A.D., the metropolis of Teotihuacan flourished in what is now central Mexico. Amid the bustling city’s formal avenues and standardized apartment blocks, stone faces measuring between six and nine inches wide were likely a common sight. Hundreds of such stone faces, once thought to have been masks buried with the dead, are now held by museums across the world. Most were fashioned from limestone, serpentinite, travertine, and liswanite, a rare form of volcanic rock. Recently, Smithsonian Institution scientists Timothy Rose and Jane MacLaren Walsh analyzed more than 100 of these stone faces. They concluded the faces were made outside Teotihuacan in workshops near stone sources. They also determined that the objects were not used as masks, but were likely central elements in larger ceremonial displays made of wood or other perishable materials that have not survived. Below are four of the stone faces examined by Rose and Walsh. (All photographs courtesy Jane MacLaren Walsh.)