понедельник, 20 января 2020 г.

Graphing the truth

I haven't used TreeMix since qpGraph became freely available for Linux. Among other things, the latter offers greater control, reproducibility and transparency. However, I'd say that in its current form qpGraph is not the most objective way to analyze data. That's because if you're really good with it, and you want a graph to work, then often you can make it work by tweaking whatever it is that

* This article was originally published here

Crop Circle Farley Mount Hampshire 08/07 2019

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Crop Circle Farley Mount, Nr Winchester. Hampshire
Reported 08/07 2019
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Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections


Finland will be repatriating artefacts of human origin from the National Museum of Finland’s Mesa Verde collection to representatives of Native American peoples. The items, which are estimated to date back to the 13th century, were originally extracted from the graves of roughly 20 Pueblo Indians. In addition to human bones and mummies, goods found in the graves will be returned. The artefacts and remains are of particular importance to the descendants of North American Indian tribes. The remainder of the Mesa Verde collection consisting of some 600 items will remain in the possession of the National Museum of Finland. The Mesa Verde collection and the repatriation decision came up in the meeting between President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinisto and President of the United States Donald Trump on 2 October 2019.

Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections
Mesa Verde is a complex of ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park
[Credit: All Over Press]


“On an international scale, we have seen an increase in requests to repatriate a variety of original materials and items from museum collections to their countries and cultures of origin,” says Elina Anttila, Director General of the National Museum of Finland. “There are many aspects to consider with regard to repatriation, so every request and initiative is processed on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, it would be good for the collection to remain intact, well-preserved and available to the scientific community. Alongside repatriation, other solutions can include increasing the accessibility of the collections, enabling item loans and engaging in active interaction with the countries of origin. In this case, we recognise that the grave goods and especially the human remains in our collection are of particularly great significance to representatives of Native American tribes, who also submitted an earlier unofficial request to repatriate the items,” Anttila says.

Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections
Credit: Matti Huuhka 2012, Museovirasto
Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen confirms that Finland is approaching the repatriation request with great respect, and that the preconditions for the repatriation have been explored with the utmost care. “We at the Ministry of Education and Culture are very pleased with how the National Museum of Finland and United States authorities have handled the matter. It makes me very happy that we have been able to advance an important issue such as this in amicable cooperation.”

Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections
Credit: Matti Huuhka 2012, Museovirasto


As regards the items to be repatriated from the Mesa Verde collection, the Museum will conduct some further investigations as to their appropriate storage in the United States and other details of the repatriation process. The repatriation will also require some legislative analysis and possible regulatory changes. The exact time when the items will be transported to the United States has not yet been established.

The important artefacts shed light on the lifestyle of American Indian cultures

The Mesa Verde collection, which falls under the National Museum of Finland’s ethnographic collections, was originally compiled by the Swedish geologist Gustaf Nordenskiold, who first heard of the extensive ruined settlements of the Mesa Verde canyons in Denver, Colorado, in the spring of 1891. Nordenskiold focused on studying modest habitat findings, which have been very helpful in illustrating the lifestyle of ancient American Indians. For quite some time, the collection, which has been studied and documented in great detail, was among the most significant in the world in shedding light on the native culture in the Mesa Verde area – and its importance remains substantial to this day.

Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections
Credit: Matti Huuhka 2012, Museovirasto


The Finnish physician and collector Herman Frithiof Antell purchased the collection from Nordenskiold and eventually bequeathed it to the Finnish state along with his other collections. The Mesa Verde collection includes some 600 Pueblo artefacts from the 6th to the 14th centuries. The National Museum of Finland has inventoried and digitised the collection, but photos of the bone findings cannot be publicised for ethical reasons. During his expedition, Nordenskiold took plenty of photos of the excavations and artefacts. Some of these photos, which date back more than a hundred years, can be viewed via the digital materials list of Finnish museums at www.museot.finna.fi by entering the search term ‘Mesa Verde’.

International conventions regulating the traffic of cultural heritage items

Today, the export of cultural heritage items from their countries of origin is regulated by international conventions. In the 1890s, no such agreements existed, which meant that the flow of cultural artefacts and relics between countries was substantial to say the least. People in the Mesa Verde region of the United States recognised the problem towards the end of the 1890s, which led to the area being declared a national park in 1906.

Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections
Credit: Matti Huuhka 2012, Museovirasto


In 1999, Finland ratified the 1970 Unesco Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property as well as the 1995 Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. However, the export of the items in question from the United States in 1891 was not illegal and the current international conventions are not applied retroactively.

Finland to repatriate Mesa Verde Puebloan artefacts to United States from its national collections
Credit: Matti Huuhka 2012, Museovirasto
The National Museum of Finland has taken upon itself to approach all repatriation requests regarding its collection items with special respect and care. The Museum’s collections include more than 500,000 items, and a variety of materials documenting modern and historical phenomena are constantly being added to the number. A previous important repatriation decision was made in 2017, when the National Museum of Finland and the Sami Museum Siida agreed upon the transfer of ownership of some 2,600 original Sami artefacts from the National Museum to Siida. The parties are preparing the return process in collaboration, and the intention is to move the collections in 2021, once the appropriate facilities are completed at the Siida museum.

Source: The National Museum of Finland [December 31, 2019]



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Crop Circle Rodfield Lane, Tichborne Hampshire

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Crop Circle Rodfield Lane, Tichborne, Winchester, Hampshire Reported 16/07/2019
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Neolithic Carved Stone Grave Goods, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.

Neolithic Carved Stone Grave Goods, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



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Unexpected cemetery found in central Trondheim


During the archaeological excavations in Kjøpmannsgata in the summer, somewhat unexpected traces of a large cemetery from the Middle Ages appeared.

Unexpected cemetery found in central Trondheim
One of the fourteen individual graves [Credit: NIKU]
Throughout 2019, excavation work has been taking place in connection with new construction projects in Kjøpmannsgata. As with all new builds in Norway, an archaeological examination of the site in central Trondheim has taken place.

The surprising finds continue

An unelected cemetery has been the highlight of the work so far. It’s surprising not only for its location, but for its size. To date, 15 individual graves and three pit graves have been found.


Heads were turned last summer when one of these pits was uncovered. It contained the human remains of an estimated 200 people. It is believed these remains were excavated from other cemeteries and reburied here during development work sometime in the 17th century. Two more pit graves have since been found.

Unexpected cemetery found in central Trondheim
Overview of excavation site in historic Trondheim
[Credit: NIKU]
As it doesn’t appear on any maps, it is not yet known when this cemetery was built or for how long it has been in use. These are some of the questions archaeologists are hoping to answer during the investigation.


A team from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) is currently working on the site of the former Kjøpmannsgata cemetery under a heated tent.

Studying the cemetery

Archaeologists are closely studying a 12-square-metre area of the cemetery. Although 15 graves have been found so far, they expect the final count to be up to 30. Of those found far, seven were adults, five were children, with three yet to be excavated.

Unexpected cemetery found in central Trondheim
Trench with postholes [Credit: NIKU]
“There are probably even more graves further down. All of these individual graves are in situ, i.e. located in the same place as when they were buried, but several have been partially destroyed. In many cases only the upper body has been preserved. The lower half can be cut by, for example, other graves being laid over or by later excavation work.” Those were the words of NIKU project manager Silje Rullestad.


The cemetery has been clearly impacted by several stages of building work, but the team can nevertheless see a clear structure. The northern boundary of the area appears to be marked by a ditch, while four post holes suggest a clear boundary mark.

Two new pit graves discovered

“This collection and re-burial of bones must have been an extensive job,” says archaeologist Monica Svendsen. She is responsible for the digital mapping and documentation of the excavation.

Unexpected cemetery found in central Trondheim
The team of NIKU archaeologists are currently working in Trondheim
[Credit: NIKU]
She explains that all three pits consist of deep wooden boxes filled with human bones. They Re placed parallel to the trench that archaeologists assume marks the medieval demarcation of the cemetery.

Survey of conservation conditions for human bones

At the same time as the cemetery excavation is underway, a survey will also be conducted. In collaboration with COWI, NIKU will systematically take samples of soil and human bones to survey soil and biochemical conditions in the cemetery soil.

“From the archaeological excavation of the St. Clement’s Church churchyard, large variations in the degree of conservation of the skeletons were observed. We also see the same here in Kjøpmannsgata. Using the study, we will try to map out why the differences in conservation conditions vary within small distances,” says Rullestad.

The survey could provide a better understanding of the conditions that affect the preservation of human remains.

Author: David Nikel | Source: Life in Norway [January 09, 2020]



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USAF Upper Heyford Part 2

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Home to the US nuclear bombers which kept Western Europe safe from Cold War armageddon.
Upper Heyford was one of the largest US Air Force bases in Europe, housing bombers that carried NATO's intermediate-range nuclear weapons.
Today, parts of the site are protected as scheduled monuments of national importance, as this is one of the oldest bases in the world with more than 100 years of history.
First used by the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 the airbase was later and more significantly used by United States Airforce as a UK base for strategic bombers, tactical reconnaissance, fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft. The airbase’s flight line was officially closed on 15th December 1993 and in January 1994 the final aircraft was transferred without personnel or equipment, to Carolina, USA. These days the airbase is occupied by rare bird species such as the Peregrine Falcon and Skylark, and houses various business Many of the shops have returned and service the local community, the hospital has been demolished along with other abandoned buildings to make way for new houses
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2020 January 20 Quadrantid Meteors through Orion Image Credit...



2020 January 20

Quadrantid Meteors through Orion
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek

Explanation: Why are these meteor trails nearly parallel? Because they were all shed by the same space rock and so can be traced back to the same direction on the sky: the radiant of the Quadrantid Meteor Shower. This direction used to be toward the old constellation of Quadrans Muralis, hence the name Quadrantids, but when the International Astronomical Union formulated its list of modern constellations in 1922, this constellation did not make the list. Even though the meteors are now considered to originate from the recognized constellation of Bootes, the old name stuck. Regardless of the designation, every January the Earth moves through a dust stream and bits of this dust glow as meteors as they heat up in Earth’s atmosphere. The featured image composite was taken on January 4 with a picturesque snowy Slovakian landscape in the foreground, and a deep-exposure sky prominently featuring the constellation Orion in the background. The red star Betelgeuse appears unusually dim – its fading over the past few months is being tracked by astronomers.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200120.html



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Neolithic Decorated Stone Slabs, Ness of Brodgar, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December...

Neolithic Decorated Stone Slabs, Ness of Brodgar, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



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On the trail of purple in Tunisia


As part of a DFG-funded project, a German-Tunisian team co-directed by LMU archaeologist Stefan Ritter have surveyed the ancient city of Meninx on the island of Jerba and reconstructed its trading links in antiquity.

On the trail of purple in Tunisia
German and Tunisian archaeologists uncover the remains of the Roman bathhouse of Meninx
[Credit: MAP/Stefanie Holzem)
The port of Meninx was unusually situated and well protected. Incoming ships first had to negotiate a deep and broad submarine channel in the otherwise shallow bay, before approaching the city itself via another channel that ran parallel to the coast for much of its length. They then had to traverse a wide stretch of shallow water to reach the city's wooden and stone quays, which extended seawards from the strand. From these piers, stevedores could readily unload cargoes and transport them to the nearby warehouses. We know all of this thanks to the work of LMU archaeologist Stefan Ritter and his team, which has allowed them to reconstruct the port facilities of Meninx on the island of Jerba off the coast of North Africa. The city was an important trading center in the time of the Roman Empire, and had commercial links with many other regions throughout the Mediterranean.


In the course of a DFG-funded project that lasted up until the end of 2019, Ritter, together with his colleague Sami Ben Tahar (Institut National du Patrimoine, Tunis) and a joint German-Tunisian team, has surveyed and explored the remains of Meninx and its port facilities. With the aid of magnetometer surveys, the researchers were able to map the highly unusual layout of the city, whose main streets ran parallel to the coastline. In addition, on the basis of their mapping data, they carried out exploratory excavations on selected temples and shrines, as well as commercial and residential buildings. "We even discovered a well preserved private bathhouse, which dates from the Roman imperial period and included mosaic floors, splendid wall paintings and a range of statuary," Ritter explains.

On the trail of purple in Tunisia
Reconstruction of the coastal zone of Meninx between the market building (Macellum, left) and the storage
 buildings (Horrea, right), with landing stage [Credit: MAP/Max Fiederling, Tobias Bitterer]
Based on their findings, Ritter and his collaborators believe that the city's prosperity rested in large part on a single commodity—the purple dye, which was obtained from the sea snail Murex trunculus. "We have good reasons to believe that the purple dye from Meninx was not exported as such, but was used locally to dye textiles, which were then sold further afield," says Ritter. The material, which was highly valued, was apparently exported all around the Mediterranean littoral and beyond. In exchange, the inhabitants of Meninx imported foodstuffs, wine, fine domestic pottery and marble sourced from Italy, Spain, Greece, Asia Minor and Egypt.


The settlement was founded in the 4th century BCE, when the Carthaginians were still the dominant force in the area. It reached its zenith during the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, when Imperial Rome was at the height of its power and Meninx possessed its own theater and was adorned with other imposing urban structures. Owing to its location on the shores of a shallow bay, it was relatively well protected from attack. However, the harbor itself was accessible only via submarine channels that could be navigated only with the help of local pilots, says Ritter. The underwater investigations, which were carried out by the Bavarian Society for Underwater Archaeology, not only uncovered traces of the original harbor facilities and the tricky passage to the docks, they also brought to light a number of wrecks and the remains of piers. Together with their Tunisian colleagues, the LMU archaeologists now plan to extend their investigations on Jerba as part of a more comprehensive comparative study of the region's ancient heritage.

Source: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [January 13, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Crop Circle Westbury White Horse, Nr Bratton, Wiltshire 4K

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Crop Circle Westbury White Horse, Nr Bratton, Wiltshire. Reported 20th July.
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Bryn Celli Ddu Prehistoric Burial Chamber at Night, Anglesey, North Wales, 19.1.20.No filter! That...

Bryn Celli Ddu Prehistoric Burial Chamber at Night, Anglesey, North Wales, 19.1.20.

No filter! That sky was something else tonight!



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Gladiator chamber found at the Roman amphitheatre in Cartagena


As excavation continues at the Roman amphitheatre in Cartagena, a large part of which lies beneath the 19 century bullring, archaeologists have found various fragments of ceramics and an ossuary ground during their dig prior to work to shore up the exterior walls.

Gladiator chamber found at the Roman amphitheatre in Cartagena
Credit: Ayuntamiento de Cartagena
This preliminary campaign has now ended and the next phase will be to reinforce the bull ring and the amphitheatre, a project which is co-financed by the Town Hall and the national Ministry of Development.


The campaign began in December and has included the full documentation of all of the structures of the amphitheatre, during which another 'carcer' or service room has come to light: these rooms were used to hold gladiators and animals captive before they were released to do battle in the arena itself.

Gladiator chamber found at the Roman amphitheatre in Cartagena
Gladiator chamber found at the Roman amphitheatre in Cartagena
Credit: Ayuntamiento de Cartagena
In addition, ceramics dating from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD have been recovered, as has an 18 century ossuary or charnel house containing bones which are thought to have been discarded after use by students at the nearby Hospital de Marina.


The Roman amphitheatre of Cartagena is one of only eighteen which are known about in the Iberian Peninsula, and only seven of those have been the subject of in-depth archaeological investigation. Six of them can be considered monumental remains, and with the latest discovery the one in Cartagena is on its way to becoming one of the most important in Spain, or indeed anywhere outside Italy.


In addition, Cartagena is one of only four cities in Spain to have both a theatre and an amphitheatre built by the Romans, and when the amphitheatre is eventually opened on a permanent basis to visitors it will be a significant addition to the already impressive range of Roman monuments which attract tourists to the city.

Source: Murcia Today [January 13, 2020]



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Crop Circle Windwhistle Lane, West Grimstead, Wiltshire Reported 23/07/2019

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Crop Circle Windwhistle Lane, West Grimstead, Wiltshire Reported 23/07/2019
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Ty-Gwyn Prehistoric Standing Stone at Night, Anglesey, North Wales, 19.1.20.

Ty-Gwyn Prehistoric Standing Stone at Night, Anglesey, North Wales, 19.1.20.



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Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire


Exciting discoveries from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: ten new rock reliefs showing the Assyrian king and the gods of Assyria sculpted along a large rock-cut irrigation canal. These are the results of the “Kurdish-Italian Faida Archaeological Project”, co-directed by Prof Daniele Morandi Bonacossi (University of Udine – Italy) and Assis. Prof Dr Hasan Ahmed Qasim (Directorate of Antiquities of Duhok – Kurdistan Region of Iraq), a joint archaeological project working in the Duhok area of the northern Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 4, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
In September-October 2019, the joint Italian-Kurdish team made an extraordinary discovery in the archaeological site of Faida (20 km south of Duhok). Ten unique Assyrian rock reliefs of the eighth-seventh century BC were excavated on the eastern side of an approximately 7-km long canal dug into the bedrock.


The Faida canal, which rounds the western spur of Mount Ciya Daka, cuts through the limestone of the hill range and was fed by a series of karst springs – in part still active today – situated in several small wadis along the mountain’s northern flank. The canal had an average width of 4 m and today is buried under deposits eroded from the mountain. From the primary canal, several offtakes diverted water into secondary canals to irrigate the neighbouring fields and thus improve the agricultural production of the countryside in the hinterland of Nineveh, the last capital of the Assyrian Empire.

Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 4, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 4, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 4, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 4, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
The canal was possibly planned by the Assyrian king Sargon (720-705 BC) and along its east bank the king had panels – almost 5 m high and 2 m wide – sculpted, showing the ruler on both sides of a line of deities mounted on their sacred animals. Before the excavation, only the upper parts of the sculpted panel frames emerged from the colluvial deposits and in some cases it was possible to recognize the crowns of the deities depicted on the buried panels.

In 1973, the British archaeologist Julian Reade identified three of these panels buried along the canal, but was not able to investigate them further due to the unstable political and military situation present in the region during the conflict between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the army of the Baathist regime. The Faida reliefs were recorded in the Iraqi Official Journal under entry 2269 (14 August 1983).

Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Reliefs Nos. 6-7 during excavation, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 7 during excavation, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Reliefs Nos. 6-7, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Reliefs Nos. 6-7, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 6, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, UAV photogrammetric survey of Reliefs Nos. 6-7, 8th-7th cent. BC 
[Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Forty years later, in August 2012, during archaeological survey work in the Duhok region, the Italian Archaeological Mission to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq of Udine University directed by Daniele Morandi Bonacossi visited the site and identified six new rock reliefs. In 2019, thanks to cooperation between the Directorate of Antiquities of Duhok and the University of Udine, and the support of the Italian Consulate in Erbil, the Assyrian rock reliefs of Faida were finally brought to light.


Assyrian rock reliefs are extremely rare monuments. With the sole exception of the Mila Mergi stela, the last reliefs discovered in Iraq were made know to international scholarship almost two centuries ago – in 1845 – by the French Consul in Mosul Simon Rouet, who identified the reliefs in Khinis and Maltai.

Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 8, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
The Faida reliefs portray a procession of statues of seven of the main Assyrian deities standing on podia in the shape of striding animals in the presence of the king – who is depicted twice, at both the left and right ends of each panel. The figures are shown in profile facing left and thus looking in the same direction as the current flowing in the channel.


The deities can be identified as Ashur, the main Assyrian god, on a dragon and a horned lion, his wife Mullissu sitting on a decorated throne supported by a lion, the moon god Sin on a horned lion, the god of wisdom Nabu (?) on a dragon, the sun god Shamash on a horse, the weather god Adad on a horned lion and a bull, and Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on a lion.

Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Reliefs Nos. 5-10-6-7 during excavation, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Reliefs Nos. 2-3 during excavation, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Reliefs Nos. 5-10, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 9, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Isabella Finzi Contini, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, Relief No. 9, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Isabella Finzi Contini, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Khinis, Assyrian rock art complex, 7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Khinis, the Large Panel, 7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Khinis, the Large Panel, 7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Today this remarkable rock art complex is part of a still post-war scenario, strongly threatened by vandalism, illegal excavations and the expansion of the nearby village and its productive activities that have already seriously damaged it. Moreover, in the years between the birth of the Islamic State as a self-proclaimed state entity in 2014 and its defeat in 2016, the Faida reliefs were located only 25 km from the front line.


Due to these threats, the joint Italian-Kurdish project is a salvage operation, which aims not only to bring to light and study these extraordinarily important Assyrian reliefs (ten have already been excavated, but many others are still waiting to be identified and unearthed), but also to record them using new technologies, to conserve them – and above all to protect this unique and exceptional archaeological site. During the 2019 field season, the canal and the reliefs have been excavated and cleaned, where necessary consolidated, and recorded by means of UAV technology, laser scanning, and digital photogrammetry.

Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Bandawai, Assyrian canal, 7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Bandawai, Assyrian canal, 7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Faida, the Assyrian canal, 8th-7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
View of the Mosul Dam Lake from Faida [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Jerwan, stone aqueduct, 7th cent. BC [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Aerial photograph of the Mosul Dam Lake [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Italian and Kurdish archaeologists on the trail of the Assyrian Empire
Aerial photograph of the Mosul Dam Lake [Credit: Alberto Savioli, LoNAP]
Prof Jason Ur (Harvard University) provided invaluable support in the UAV mapping of the canal with his senseFly eBee mapping drone, which made it possible to capture high-resolution aerial photos of the entire canal that were later transformed into accurate orthomosaics and 3D models. Finally, the state of conservation of all reliefs was assessed, rock samples were taken for minero-petrographic and physical characterization and mineralogical, chemical, and biological characterization of the deterioration products. Goal of these preliminary analyses is to plan targeted conservation treatment of the Faida reliefs.

At the end of the excavation and conservation work, which will continue in the next years, in cooperation with the Duhok Directorate of Antiquities an archaeological park of the Faida Assyrian reliefs will be established. This will allow the canal and its rock reliefs to be opened to sustainable local and international tourism, thus allowing widespread dissemination of knowledge about them, and their adequate protection.


The Faida canal with its extraordinary reliefs will thus join the other Assyrian canals, aqueducts and rock reliefs existing in the Duhok region (Khinis, Maltai and Shiru Maliktha reliefs, and Jerwan aqueduct). This complex monumental hydraulic system built by the Assyrian king Sennacherib has been studied and documented by the Italian Archaeological Mission to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq of Udine University since 2012.


A project for the creation of an archaeological-environmental park of Sennacherib’s irrigation network in the Duhok region, a conservation project regarding the Maltai and Khinis rock reliefs, and a dossier proposing the inscription of this hydraulic system in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List have been drafted and recently published in the first volume of the new monograph series “Italian Archaeological Mission to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Monographs”.


The joint Italian-Kurdish Faida Archaeological Project of Udine University and the Duhok Directorate of Antiquities is supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG – Iraq), the Directorate General of Antiquities of the KRG, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Government, the Friuli Banking Foundation, ArchaeoCrowd Ltd, and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Source: QuiUniud/Universita Degli Studi di Udine [January 14, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

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