Recent Posts

Archaeology

The First Lady of Chinese Archaeology

Trowelblazers recently published an article I wrote for them on the career of the Chinese archaeologist Zheng Zhenxiang and her discovery of the tomb of the Shang Dynasty female general and priestess Lady Fu Hao. Although this isn’t strictly Tomb Raider-related, I know that a lot of you are interested in archaeology and female archaeologists so here’s a short excerpt of my article for you to enjoy: Zheng Zhenxiang (born in 1929) was not only the first female archaeologist of New ... [Continue Reading]

November 6, 2013 // 8 Comments

5 Fantastic Free Resources for Learning Maya Glyphs

Do you have a passion for Maya archaeology and fancy learning how to read Maya glyphs? While there are a number of books you can buy, such as Michael D.Coe and Mark Van Stone’s Reading the Maya Glyphs (buy this on Amazon/Amazon UK), you might also want to check out these 5 fantastic and completely free online resources, especially if you’re on a tight budget. 1) Writing in Maya Glyphs: A Non-Technical Introduction to Maya Glyphs – This two-part booklet by Mark Pitts is ... [Continue Reading]

October 13, 2013 // 13 Comments

Arte-Factual: Minoan Dolphin Fresco (Tomb Raider 1)

Time for another blast from the past as we return once again to the original 1996 Tomb Raider for this edition of Arte-Factual! If you’ve ever played the original game, you may have noticed that the game developers drew inspiration from real-life artworks and artefacts, such as the Toltec pillars at Tula in Mexico, the Gayer-Anderson cat statue, and the Chimú bird motifs that adorn the adobe walls of buildings at Chan Chan in Peru. This time around, we’ll be looking at the walls ... [Continue Reading]

October 7, 2013 // 12 Comments

Photo Gallery: Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Treasures

Taking some time out from writing about the Tomb Raider series to share some of the photos I took at the Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Treasures exhibition in Brussels back in June 2011. All of the items shown below are replicas of the grave goods and coffins that Howard Carter and his team found in tomb KV62 in November 1922. Over 1,000 replicas were crafted by some of Egypt’s finest craftsmen who used traditional techniques to recreate many of the young king’s treasures to stunning ... [Continue Reading]

September 23, 2013 // 5 Comments

Guest Blog: Tomb Raider and the Temples of Angkor

Guest blogger Anya Martin has just returned from a trip to Cambodia, where she explored the magnificent and now world-famous Angkor temple complex near Siem Reap. In this guest article, Anya not only shares what she’s learnt about the site’s construction and history but also discusses the impact the 2001 Tomb Raider film has had on the local economy. ********* In the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lara pays a visit to a hidden tomb in Cambodia, where she finds the first half ... [Continue Reading]

September 21, 2013 // 13 Comments

Arte-Factual: Buddhist Symbols of Barkhang Monastery (Part 1)

Those of you who have known me for a while will probably know that Tomb Raider 2: The Dagger of Xian is (and most likely always will be) my favourite Tomb Raider game. You might also know that I was interested in archaeology and ancient civilisations long before Ms Croft appeared on the game scene in 1996. But did you know that my interest in Tibetan culture was triggered by Tomb Raider 2? Before TR2 was released, Tibet was, in my younger, uninformed mind, a semi-mythical land of snowy ... [Continue Reading]

September 18, 2013 // 19 Comments

7 Egyptology Blogs You Should Be Following

Are you interested in Ancient Egyptian history and art and looking for some quality blogs to read? Then look no further. Here are seven Egyptology blogs that get the Tomb Raider Horizons stamp of approval! Note: There is an updated list of Egyptology blogs in the article “8 Egyptology Blogs You Should Be Following” (published in March 2018). ********* 1) The Egyptiana Emporium – This blog is run by Gemma, an Egyptology graduate, and was one of the most popular blogs at the ... [Continue Reading]

September 15, 2013 // 18 Comments

Lara’s Travels: Meteora

In the last edition of Lara’s Travels, I wrote about the island of Jan Mayen in the Arctic Ocean, one of the real-life locations featured in Tomb Raider: Underworld. This time, however, we’ll be going back in time to where it all began and look at one of the places Lara visits in the original Tomb Raider (and Anniversary): St. Francis’ Folly. Of course, there is no real-life St. Francis’ Folly (try not to be too disappointed), though this hasn’t deterred fans from ... [Continue Reading]

September 11, 2013 // 12 Comments

Arte-Factual: Anubis Shrine (The Times Exclusive)

In the last edition of Arte-Factual, I wrote about the Metal Inrō from Tomb Raider 2013 and explained how these cases were used in pre-modern Japan. This time around, I will be taking a look at a well-known Ancient Egyptian artefact that makes an appearance in The Times Exclusive Level, a stand-alone level that was released in December 1999 and developed in conjunction with The Times newspaper.** The artefact in question is the Anubis statue (or rather, statues) which can be seen in the ... [Continue Reading]

September 4, 2013 // 11 Comments

Guest Blog: Why I Love Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider

In her guest blog, Shanthini explains what makes Lara Croft a good role model for young women (and men) and how Lara has inspired her to learn more about archaeology and ancient history. ********* It’s no secret that Lara Croft is one inspiring character. It doesn’t matter whether she’s fictional or not, she’s a fantastic role model. It doesn’t matter that she’s a little video game character, she’s been my idol for a couple of years now. Well, you know, apart from Jesus ... [Continue Reading]

August 31, 2013 // 9 Comments

10 Biographies of Early Female Archaeologists & Explorers

I’ve always thought of Lara Croft as a modern-day “romantic explorer”, albeit one who’s armed to the teeth and equipped with all the latest high-tech gadgetry. Her insatiable thirst for knowledge and adventure drives her to explore ancient ruins and remote lands in search of priceless artefacts and long-lost civilizations. But she is not alone in her quest. Women have been blazing trails through foreign lands and archaeology long before she was a twinkle in Toby ... [Continue Reading]

August 28, 2013 // 17 Comments

Arte-Factual: Athenian Owl Figurine (Tomb Raider: Anniversary)

In the last edition of Arte-Factual, I wrote about the Gayer-Anderson cat statue and its virtual counterpart seen in the original Tomb Raider. This time around, I will be looking at an artefact that depicts one of my favourite animals: the Athenian Owl Figurine. The Athenian Owl Figure is one of the collectable relics found in Tomb Raider: Anniversary and, as its name suggests, is a depiction of the owl normally associated with the Greek goddess Athena and the ancient city-state of Athens. ... [Continue Reading]

August 18, 2013 // 9 Comments

Guest Blog: Life Might Not Be a Video Game But…

This guest blog by Anya Martin is the fourth in our Tomb Raider Inspirations series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date. In her guest post, Anya shares her thoughts on the Tomb Raider series and explains how Lara’s single-minded dedication has helped shape her own worldview. ********* When I ... [Continue Reading]

August 12, 2013 // 14 Comments

Jean-Yves Empereur: A Career in Ruins

“All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” How often have we seen these words appear on the big screen, on TV, or in print? But oddly enough, there was one occasion where the resemblance to a fictional character in a Tomb Raider game was perhaps a little too close for comfort. Does the name Jean Yves ring any bells? In 2001, the Alexandria-based Egyptologist and archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur ... [Continue Reading]

August 2, 2013 // 6 Comments

The Hunt for Himiko: Will Archaeologists Ever Excavate the Hashihaka Tomb?

In Tomb Raider 2013, Lara and the rest of the Endurance crew set out to look for the lost kingdom of Yamatai and its mysterious queen, Himiko, but, in reality, Japanese archaeologists have known the possible location of Himiko’s tomb for a few years now. Long-time readers of this blog may recall that a group of researchers were allowed access to the Hashihaka kofun burial mound earlier this year in the hope that they’d be able to confirm whether the tomb in Sakurai, Nara ... [Continue Reading]

July 30, 2013 // 12 Comments

The Day of Archaeology: Thoughts of an Aspiring Archaeologist

Today’s the Day of Archaeology and, despite my busy schedule, I couldn’t help getting involved in this exciting community blogging event. Here’s the short piece I wrote for the 2013 event: “I often feel like I missed my true calling as an archaeologist. Despite being attracted to archaeology and ancient civilisations from an early age, I was dissuaded from a career in archaeology by teachers who warned me that there was no future in studying the past. It’s too late to ... [Continue Reading]

July 26, 2013 // 8 Comments

The University of Manchester’s Short Courses in Egyptology

Would you love to study Egyptology but are unable to commit to a degree programme? Or do you want to focus on just one specific aspect of Ancient Egyptian history or culture? If so, you may be interested in the University of Manchester’s short courses in Egyptology. These non-credit bearing courses are 10 weeks long (6 weeks of taught modules plus 4 weeks to allow for late completion and further discussion) and are taught entirely online through a combination of video lectures, written ... [Continue Reading]

July 25, 2013 // 11 Comments

Guest Blog: Lara Croft – Why I Love Her

This guest blog is the first in our Tomb Raider Inspirations blog series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series are invited to share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date. Today’s guest blog is from Chloë, who explains why she is a die-hard fan of Lara Croft and how this famous fictional “archaeologist” inspired her to study ... [Continue Reading]

July 18, 2013 // 7 Comments

Arte-Factual: Kansu Burial Urn (Tomb Raider 2013)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another edition of Arte-Factual! Last time, we looked at the killer whale bottle from Tomb Raider: Anniversary and learnt a little about the Nasca, their beliefs, and their art. This time we’ll be taking a close look at one of the many collectable items found in Tomb Raider 2013: the Kansu burial urn. The “Kansu burial urn” bears a striking resemblance to a ceramic jar in the Asia Society’s collection, a Banshan type storage ... [Continue Reading]

July 10, 2013 // 11 Comments

Photo: The Great Wall of China

This photo was taken along the Badaling (八达岭) section of the Great Wall during my third visit to the Wall in September 2010. Many choose to avoid this section of the Great Wall, deriding it as too touristy and overdeveloped, but if you’re short on time, Badaling is perhaps one of the easiest sections to get to, especially if you don’t have your own transportation. The Badaling section of the Great Wall was built in 1505 and has been restored on several occasions over the ... [Continue Reading]

July 1, 2013 // 4 Comments