The British Museum excavation team work in Sidon

Ancient Sidon: Sifting through the city's deadly history

Among its ruins, Robert Fisk joins an archaeological dig that could transform our understanding of Lebanon’s bloody past

The skeleton of a man at Sozopol in Bulgaria, with an iron stake driven through his chest

Land of the tomb raiders: Bulgaria is trying to claw back tens of thousands of ancient artefacts plundered from its historic sites in a £25m-a-year export racket

Greeks, Romans, Thracians, Byzantines and Ottomans all fought countless wars to gain control of its fertile lands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia

Beowulf is depicted in his battle against Grendel

Feasting and fighting: the long-lost secrets of Beowulf

Archaeologists in Denmark have excavated the sixth-century great dining hall at the centre of the epic work

The gardens were probably situated in Nineveh, a city located in what is now in the north of modern-day Iraq

The biggest wonder about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon? They weren’t in Babylon

Oxford historian gathers evidence that proves ancient marvel was located 300 miles away

Pompeii: Life and death in the shadow of Vesuvius

A blockbuster exhibition of artefacts salvaged from the volcanic eruption that decimated the Roman city of Pompeii 2,000 years ago opens in New York today.

Greatest finds of the year

Grunts from the front: From Roman tablets to army blogs

Humans have always fought each other, but the written narrative of warfare begins about 6,000 years ago with documents detailing a conflict between Elam and Sumer (modern-day Iran and Iraq). Since then military history has been dominated by the official story of leaders and their strategic political and military decisions. Wars have rarely been narrated by the ordinary foot soldier, pilot or sailor.

David Lister: Craft does not make art – it takes originality

As a debate, "what is art" prefigures most art. France's celebrated prehistoric cave paintings probably had assorted cavemen raising their clubs as they declared: "I may not know much about art but I know what I like." And within the last couple of weeks, there has been an earnest debate in the pages of The Independent on the nature of art. This was sparked by Sir Richard Eyre's polemic on the subject, in which he said, among many other things, that art "makes us look at the world differently".

Huge ice age river carved the English Channel

Prehistoric Fleuve Manche cut through land bridge to Europe, say scientists

Prehistoric Masterpieces: The Swimmers and The Beast

The inhospitable plateau of Gilf Kebir in the far south-west Egyptian desert was once home to an early Egyptian civilization, who left behind spectacular cave art.

Best of the stones: The ancient structures at Stonehenge are truly rocks of ages

You know Stonehenge, of course: a haunting silhouette from the past that stands gaunt and defiant on the chalky grassland of Wiltshire, just where the busy A303 and A344 meet. This inspirational stone circle, a triumph of the human spirit, was bequeathed millennia ago. It is now protected by English Heritage and forms part of a Unesco World Heritage Site.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
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Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried