пятница, 4 мая 2018 г.

Egypt to restore hundreds of pharaonic era coffins

Egypt will restore hundreds of coffins dating back thousands of years to the time of the pharaohs as part of a joint American-Egyptian project to document and preserve one of the world’s oldest civilizations, a director of the project said on Tuesday.











Egypt to restore hundreds of pharaonic era coffins
A 2,300 year old mummy is displayed after it was found by the Sakkara pyramids south of Cairo, May 3, 2005 

[Credit: Reuters]

The conservation effort, funded by a United States grant, will restore over 600 wooden coffins that date to various eras of ancient Egypt and which are currently being stored at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.


“There has been no other project like this worldwide with this number of coffins being documented or restored,” said head of the museum’s restoration department Moemen Othman.


Egypt was awarded the conservation grant, worth $130,000, in December 2015.


That project is part of a larger U.S.-Egypt treaty signed in 2016 to curtail illicit trafficking of the country’s rich cultural heritage.


Antiquities theft flourished in Egypt in the chaotic years that immediately followed its 2011 uprising, with an indeterminate amount of heritage stolen from museums, mosques, storage facilities, and illegal excavations.



 



Global interest in Egypt’s pharaonic era remains high. The hunt for the resting place of the lost Queen Nefertiti grabbed international headlines in 2015, though the search has yet to bear fruit.


The gilded ancient relics and resting sites of the pharaohs were once the cornerstone of a thriving tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency that has suffered near endless setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.


The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, a United States program founded at the turn of the century, has been responsible for the conservation and restoration of countless ancient sites, museums, and artifacts around the world.


The fund previously helped Egypt conserve a mausoleum in historic Cairo and an ancient temple in Upper Egypt.


One of the main goals of the project is to ensure that the (Egyptian) museum has a full inventory of the objects and understands their conservation needs, so that the coffins can be made available for research by scholars but also for the public,” Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Program Director Martin Perschler said.


“It means that in the long run more people here in Egypt and people from around the world will have the opportunity to discover and appreciate the full range of heritage and of history within this single collection of coffins,” he said.


Source: Reuters [January 18, 2017]




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Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork


133 rock cut tombs discovered in South East Turkey

Archaeological surface survey and cleaning works in the ancient site of Kızılkoyun and the outskirts of a historic castle in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa (Haleplibahçe district) have discovered 133 rock-cut tombs and five mosaics dating to the Hellenistic (Osroene Kingdom), Roman and Byzantine periods.


133 rock-cut tombs discovered in south-eastern Turkey

Works that started in the region last year around Balıklıgöl, the historic castle and the Archaeology and Mosaic Museum, have been carried out by archaeologists and specialists.


Some 61 rock-cut tombs have been found in Kızılkoyun, while 72 more have been found near the castle. The tombs, which depict various motifs and figures, have now been taken under protection. Among the motifs on the site are tombs featuring humans, flowers and snakes.











133 rock-cut tombs discovered in south-eastern Turkey

Officials reported that the caverns and mosaics would be cleaned and opened to tourism.


Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Mayor Nihat Çiftçi, who visited the area, said the artefacts would be protected in their original places.


Source: Hurriyet Daily News [January 18, 2017]



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Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork


Roman statue of Diana unearthed at Terracina in central Italy

Following the recent discovery of a headless Roman marble torso missing arms and legs, identified as the goddess ‘Diana the Huntress’, this morning the head of the same statue was found in the centre of the town of Terracina in the Lazio Region, central Italy.











Roman statue of Diana unearthed at Terracina in central Italy
Head of the statue [Credit Città di Terracina]

Experts think that the statue originally stood in the centre of a hot water pool in an ancient Roman thermal complex of the town and that other findings are probably scattered in the area where today the Agip petrol station stands.


The discovery of the Roman thermal baths, dating to the 4th century AD according to the experts, came as a complete surprise during the installation works of petrol tanks.











Roman statue of Diana unearthed at Terracina in central Italy
Recovery of the statue’s torso [Credit Città di Terracina]

The newfound statue will be catalogued and restored.


It is expected that more finds will see the light of day with the continuation of other important excavation works in the area.


The extraordinary archaeological find testifies to the importance of the town of Terracina in ancient times.


Source: Comune di Terracina [January 18, 2017]



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Source TheArchaeologyNewsNetwork


Major Viking Age manor discovered at Birka, Sweden

For centuries it has been speculated where the manor of the royal bailiff of Birka, Herigar, might have been located. New geophysical results provide evidence of its location at Korshamn, outside the town rampart of the Viking Age proto-town Birka in Sweden. The results will be published in the international scientific journal Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt.











Major Viking Age manor discovered at Birka, Sweden
Reconstruction of Viking age manor [Credit: Jacques Vincent]

During spring of 2016 a number of large presumed house terraces were identified by the authors at Korshamn. As a consequence high resolution geophysical surveys using ground-penetrating radar were carried out in September 2016. Korshamn is one of the main harbour bays of the island of Björkö, situated outside the town boundaries of the Viking town of Birka. The survey revealed a major Viking period hall on the site, with a length of around 40 meters. Based on the land upheaval the area of the Viking hall can be dated to sometime after 810 AD. The hall is connected to a large fenced area that stretches towards the harbour basin.


“This kind of Viking period high status manors has previously only been identified at a few places in southern Scandinavia, for instance at Tissø and Lejre in Denmark. It is known that the fenced area at such manors was linked to religious activities” says Johan Runer, archaeologist at the Stockholm county museum.











Major Viking Age manor discovered at Birka, Sweden
The raised plateau as seen from the south [Credit: Jenny Radon]

During the survey a predecessor for the Viking Age manor was also identified at the site: a high status manor that existed during the Vendel period, prior to the establishment of the Viking Age town of Birka. Both the identified buildings and their continued use from the Vendel period to the Viking Age correlate well with the “ancestral property” of Birka’s royal bailiff Herigar as mentioned in Rimbert’s Vita Anskarii. Herigar was Christianized by Ansgar, archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, during his first mission c. 830 AD, and he built the first church on his land.


“The consequences of our discoveries cannot be overestimated: in terms of the emergence of the Viking town of Birka, its royal administration and the earliest Christian mission to Scandinavia,” says Sven Kalmring, researcher at the Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie, Schleswig.


“The results highlight the benefits of using non-intrusive geophysical surveys for the detection of archaeological features and, once again, prove to be an invaluable tool for documenting Iron Age building remains in Scandinavia,” says Andreas Viberg, researcher at the Archaeological Research Laboratory at Stockholm University.


The research is a collaboration between Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie, Stockholm county museum and the Archaeological Research Laboratory, Stockholm University.


The results will be published in the international scientific journal Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt.


Source: Stockholm University [January 19, 2017]



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Medieval horse’s head found at the Colossseum

A horse’s head isn’t generally a good omen in Italy – or at least, not in Italy-based movie franchise The Godfather. But archaeologists at Rome’s Colosseum were delighted to stumble across a medieval equine skull on Tuesday.











Medieval horse's head found at the Colossseum
Horse skull dating from the 12th or 13th century found at Colosseum [Credit: ANSA]

The find was made while cleaning the area around the steps to the monument’s basement, Rome’s Superintendent for Archaeology Francesco Prosperetti said.


The horse’s skull dates back to between the 12th and 13th centuries, according to an initial analysis by an archaeozoologist.











Medieval horse's head found at the Colossseum
Horse bone fragments excavated at Colosseum [Credit: ANSA]

However, further tests will have to be carried out to reveal crucial information about the horse’s age, state of health, and to give clues as to what it was doing at the amphitheatre.


Plenty of animal remains have been found in the area around the Rome monument, with many on display in its museum.


Source: The Local [January 19, 2017]




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ISIS destroys part of Palmyra’s Roman Theatre

Islamic State militants have destroyed parts of the second-century Roman amphitheater and an iconic monument known as the Tetrapylon in Syria’s historic town of Palmyra, the government and experts said Friday.











ISIS destroys part of Palmyra's Roman Theatre
The Roman Theatre’s pillared portico is shown here intact in March 2016 

[Credit: AFP/Joseph Eid]

It was the extremist group’s latest attack on world heritage, an act that the U.N. cultural agency called a “war crime.” A Syrian government official said he feared for the remaining antiquities in Palmyra, which IS recaptured last month.


Also on Friday, Turkey’s military said IS killed five Turkish soldiers and wounded nine in a bomb attack in northern Syria.


Turkey is leading Syrian opposition fighters in an offensive against the IS-held town of al-Bab in the Aleppo province, a push that has been bogged down since mid-November. Since its military intervention, Turkey has lost 54 soldiers in Syria, most of them in the al-Bab offensive.


After suffering several setbacks in Syria, IS has gone on the offensive— reclaiming ancient Palmyra in December and launching an attack on a government-held city and military air base in Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria.


On Friday, the state news agency SANA said seven civilians were killed when IS shelled a residential area in the city of Deir el-Zour.


However, IS remains under pressure in northern Syria from Turkey and U.S-backed Kurdish forces, as well as in neighboring Iraq where Iraqi troops backed by the U.S.-led coalition are fighting to retake the city of Mosul from the militants.


Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site that once linked Persia, India, China with the Roman empire and the Mediterranean area, has already seen destruction at the hands of the Islamic State group. The ancient town first fell to IS militants in May 2015, when they held it for 10 months. During that time, IS damaged a number of its relics and eventually emptied it of most of its residents, causing an international outcry.











ISIS destroys part of Palmyra's Roman Theatre
Most of the pillars of the tetrapylon were reconstructed in 1963, but one was original

[Credit: Getty Images]

Palmyra fell again to the group last month, only nine months after a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive was hailed as a significant victory for Damascus.


On Friday, Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of Syria’s antiquities department, said reports of the recent destruction first trickled out of the IS-held town late in December. But satellite images of the damage only became available late Thursday, confirming the destruction.


Abdulkarim said militants have destroyed the facade of the second-century theater, along with the Roman-era Tetrapylon — a set of four monuments with four columns each standing at the center of the colonnaded road leading to the theater.


Satellite imagery obtained by the Boston-based American Schools of Oriental Research, or ASOR, show extensive damage to the Tetrapylon. DigitalGlobe satellite imagery also shows damage to the theater facade.


ASOR said the damage was likely caused by intentional destruction from IS, but the organization was unable to verify the exact cause.


IS extremists have destroyed ancient sites across their self-styled Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq, perceiving them as monuments to idolatry.


UNESCO’s director-general, Irina Bokova, said the new destruction in Palmyra amounted to a war crime.


“The Tetrapylon was an architectural symbol of the spirit of the encounter and openness of Palmyra – and this is also one of the reasons why it has been destroyed,” she said in a statement.


ISIS destroys part of Palmyra's Roman Theatre










ISIS destroys part of Palmyra's Roman Theatre
These satellite-detected images show the damaged Roman amphitheatre in Palmyra on Jan. 10, left, and the same 

monument on Dec. 26, 2016, right, before it was damaged. Daesh militants have destroyed parts of the theatre 

and the site’s Tetrapylon since retaking Palmyra last month [Credit: UNITAR-UNOSAT/AFP/Getty Images]

Abdulkarim told The Associated Press that only two of the 16 columns of the Tetrapylon remain standing.


The Palmyra Tetrapylon, characterized by its four plinths that are not connected overhead, had only one original ancient column, said Abdulkarim. The 15 other columns were modelled after the ancient one and installed by Palmyra’s 81-year old distinguished antiquities scholar Khaled al-Asaad, who was killed by IS militants when they were controlling the town the last time. The militants hung his body from a Roman column.


It was not immediately clear if the original column survived the destruction, Abdulkarim said.


ASOR said new stone debris was scattered across the center stage from damage to the stage backdrop that is also the facade of the theater.


During their first stay in Palmyra, IS destroyed ancient temples — including the Temple of Bel, which dated back to A.D. 32, and the Temple of Baalshamin, a structure of stone blocks several stories high and fronted by six towering columns. The group also used the theater for public killings and posted chilling videos of the slayings.


The militants also blew up the Arch of Triumph, built between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211.


Spokesman for Russian President Dmitry Peskov said Syrian troops are continuing their efforts to take back Palmyra. Peskov called the new destruction “barbaric,” saying that it is a “real tragedy for the historic heritage.”


On Friday, Syria’s state news agency said government forces and allied troops have clashed with IS militants south of Palmyra, part of a new week-old offensive to reclaim the city.


Abdulkarim said he fears for what remains of the city’s ancient relics.


“When Palmyra fell for the second time, we shed tears because we expected this terror,” he said. “Now we are destined to see more terror if (IS control of Palmyra) continues.”


Palmyra, with its 2,000-year-old towering Roman colonnades and priceless artifacts, was affectionately referred to by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert.”


A desert oasis surrounded by palm trees in central Syria, Palmyra is also a strategic crossroads linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, with the country’s east and neighboring Iraq. Located 215 kilometers (155 miles) east of Damascus, the city was once home to 65,000 people before the Syrian civil war began.


However, most Palmyra residents did not return after it was retaken by the government. Activists estimate the city is now home to a few hundred families. Many residents tried to flee as IS recaptured the city in December.


On Thursday, reports emerged that the militant group killed 12 captives it held in Palmyra, some of them beheaded in the Roman theater.


Author: Sarah el Deeb | Source: The Associated Press [January 20, 2017]



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Priceless looted Kanakaria mosaic returned to Cyprus

One of the last remaining pieces of the Kanakaria mosaics has been repatriated to Cyprus and was presented at a special ceremony on Monday evening at the Archbishopric in Nicosia.











Priceless looted Kanakaria mosaic returned to Cyprus
The mosaic of Apostle Andreas is the second to last part of the set of mosaics stolen from Panayia Kanakaria
to be returned to Cyprus [Credit: Archdiocese of Cyprus]

President Nicos Anastasiades, who was present at the ceremony, said that he had accepted the invitation to attend with “much emotion”.


The return of the mosaic of Apostle Andreas, he said, almost completed the set of the mosaics which had been stolen after the invasion from the Panayia Kanakaria church of Lythrangomi. Most of the artefacts were located and repatriated between 1983 and 2015.


“This moment cannot be anything else than a moment of emotion for the whole of Cypriot Hellenism, but it is also a great national and cultural victory, which justifies and strengthens the joint struggle of the state and the Church to identify and repatriate the stolen treasures of art from occupied Cyprus, and to end the looting of our religious and cultural monuments in the years following the Turkish invasion,” Anastasiades said.


Anastasiades congratulated church and state agencies which had located and repatriated “invaluable treasures, as well as the rescue and restoration of many cultural and religious monuments of occupied Cyprus”.


The remains of the mosaic of the Apostle Andreas, dating from 523-530 AD, was part of a set looted from the Panayia Kanakaria church. The mosaics were stolen after the Turkish invasion in 1974 by well-known Turkish art dealer Aydin Dikmen.











Priceless looted Kanakaria mosaic returned to Cyprus
Panayia Kanakaria church [Credit: Julez A.]

Between 1983 and 2015, most of the mosaics were discovered and repatriated, some after lengthy legal battles, except for two. One of these was the mosaic of Apostle Andreas. It is regarded as one of the most important Byzantine works in existence. It belonged in the apse of the church sanctuary.


The mosaic was found in 2014 by the art historian Maria Paphiti. The last buyer of the mosaic acquired it as part of a larger collection of artworks in 2010. She asked Paphiti to prepare an exhibition for her pieces.


Paphiti told her about the origin of the mosaic and after a long period of negotiations, the owner finally agreed to hand it over to the Church of Cyprus without litigation and for only a symbolic sum.


Dr Andreas Pittas, president of Medochemie and Roys Poyiadjis, a Cypriot businessman, based in New York, covered the cost and restoration.


During the ceremony, the Medal of Apostle Andreas, the highest distinction of the Archbishopric of Cyprus was awarded to Paphiti, Poyiadjis and Pittas for their contribution to the repatriation of the mosaic.


In a statement, Pittas said: “The destruction our country suffered in 1974 and the subsequent thefts of Christian artwork by stripping entire monasteries and churches will characterise Turkey and its prolific thieves in the darkest of colours”.


He said the mosaic in question was one of the highest archaeological value and significance. “The payment for its release and restoration was made by us with the greatest of joy,” he added.


Monday’s ceremony was concluded with a lecture by Professor Robin Cormack, Professor of Art History at the University of London titled ‘Stolen and Found’.


Author: Jean Christou | Source: Cyprus Mail [April 24, 2018]



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Study challenges the European origin of Neanderthals

The Dental Anthropology Group of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), led by José Mª Bermúdez de Castro, has published a paper in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews in which dental samples from two of the most important Middle Pleistocene archaeological sites in Europe, the Arago Cave, in southern France, and Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca), in northern Spain, are compared systematically for the first time, and whose results show that the hypothesis of a linear evolution in a long process of “Neanderthalization” is not supported.











Study challenges the European origin of Neanderthals
Dental samples [Credit: Mario Modesto]

This is a metric and morphological comparative study which makes clear that the teeth from the two sites are very different in size and shape. Certain traits reveal that they had a common origin, but the majority of the dental features suggest two distinct European genealogies. The hominins from Arago are of archaic appearance, while those of Sima de los Huesos show notable similarities with the Neanderthals.


The majority of the human remains from the French site are of similar chronology to those of Sima de los Huesos, 430,000 years, to which the geographical proximity, with barely 800 kilometers separating the two locations, must be added. “If the hypothesis which proposes a local, linear and continuous evolution in Europe is correct, the fossils from the two sites ought to be very similar”, affirms Bermúdez de Castro.


Asiatic origin


For decades, experts have suggested that almost at the start of the Middle Pleistocene, a period which lasted 660,000 years, the European continent was colonized by a new human population which brought with it Acheulean technology and perhaps mastery of fire. Throughout this long period, an evolutionary process took place that culminated with the appearance of Neanderthals on the scene. But the latest findings in different points in Europe have raised doubts about this linear model.


And, as Bermúdez de Castro comments, perhaps it wasn’t all so simple. “A couple of years ago, we proposed that the gates of Europe might have opened several times, letting in human groups from the southwest of Asia which also had a common origin. Our results merely underline that we are now faced with a new challenge: to rethink the whole of human evolution on the old continent. Perhaps the Neanderthals originated outside Europe”.


Source: CENIEH [April 27, 2018]



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Punic city of Kerkouane and its necropolis. Tunisia


They are the only examples of Punic architecture that have not undergone modifications by later civilizations. The city was probably destroyed and abandoned during the first Punic war, in the middle of the third century BC. C. and was not rebuilt by the Romans.

The city covers an area of ​​approximately eight hectares and is estimated to have an approximate population of 2000 inhabitants. Although situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, it has no port: boats and fishermen were to take refuge in two coves located near the city while the older boats could dock in the port of Aspis, now Kélibia.

The residential districts and the public, civil and religious buildings are arranged according to a plan of urbanism elaborated within the wall constituted by two enclosures separated by an intermediate street. The streets cross orthogonally and impose a grid on the city. The architecture is distinguished by the diversity of materials and construction techniques used.

The urban hydraulic system is remarkable: it had drainage of dirty water, the cistern, the pipes carved for rainwater, etc. Each house had its bathroom that was located near the entrance lobby. Two large Punic sanctuaries are located in the heart of the city and not in the periphery as is generally the case for Roman cities.



fuente: Túnez



   foto: Richard Mortel



foto: Richard Mortel



  foto: Richard Mortel


                                                      Bath



foto: Richard Mortel



foto: Richard Mortel


Beyond the perimeter of the city have been excavated four necropolis, between which two are very close to the cliffs. The northern one seems to have been reserved for children who were buried in jars then deposited in holes, while the south was reserved for the burial of adults who were directly buried in holes. The other two necrópolis have classic bóvédas with a staircase, a dromos and a burial chamber elaborated with sandstone and whose funerary furniture is important and similar to the one of Carthage.

 



fuente: Mahdi Jwini – مهدي الجويني


Cultural landscape of Aranjuez. Spain

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is one of the residences of the Royal Spanish Family, located in the Real Sitio and Villa de Aranjuez (Community of Madrid). It is located on the banks of the River Tagus, between the Avenida del Palacio and the Plaza de las Parejas in the South, the Parterre Garden in the East, the Ria in the North, and the Plaza de la Estrella in the West. It was erected by order of Felipe II, who entrusted the project to the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, who died during its construction, reason why his disciple Juan de Herrera was in charge of finishing the work. Throughout the seventeenth century the work was stopped, until in the time of Ferdinand VI an important enlargement was undertaken, which Charles III will continue to endow with wings that enclose the courtyard of arms, as can be seen today. A smaller palace, the so-called Casa del Labrador, is located outside the grounds, forming part of the Prince’s Garden.



                                                                         foto: onir





                                                             foto: Fernando López





                                                   foto: Javier Martin Espartosa 




                                                             foto: Charles Roffey





                                                                          foto: Poran111 

 



                                                       foto: Javier Martin Espartosa





                                                     foto: Javier Martin Espartosa





                                                           foto: Haritza Zubillaga





                                                                  foto. Julio



                                                      Gabinete de Porcelana




                                                                  foto: Ferro Rall




                                                                  foto: Ferro Rall




                                                                 foto: Ferro Rall




                                                   foto: Javier Martin Espartosa




  foto: Alberto




                                                       foto: Javier Martin Espartosa





                                                 foto: Javier Martin Espartosa




                                                     foto: Javier Martin Espartosa




                                                         foto: Ferro Rall



Los inmensos jardines (el Parterre, de la Isla, del Príncipe, de Isabel II) son los más importantes del periodo de los Habsburgo en España. el del Parterre, el de la Isla, el del Príncipe y el de Isabel II.



                                                             foto: Haritza Zubillaga





                                                                foto. Miguel





                                                         foto: Avelio Fernandez





                                                                foto: Luis Suarez





                                                                 foto: zyberche





                                                     foto: Javier Martin Espartosa





                                                    foto: Diego de Haller




                                                     foto: Javier Martin Espartosa














                                                     foto: Javier Martin Espartosa




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