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A secret passageway has been discovered under a 1,000-year-old Mexican pyramid

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A secret passageway has been discovered under a 1,000-year-old Mexican pyramid.
It’s believed the previously undiscovered access could reveal the geography of the sacred site, as well as shed light on new details of the Mayans ancient beliefs.
Spanish explorers discovered the ancient Kukulkan pyramid in the 1500s.
The Kukulkan is a Mayan snake god, who legend has it, resembles a feathered serpent and emerged from a cave after an earthquake.
The new discovery of the underground passage is believed to lead to a cenote or water-filled cave at the Temple of Kikulkan in Mexico’s Chichen Itza.
Experts believe this passageway will reveal more about the Mayan ‘snake god’.

Sophisticated imagine technology revealed the passageway.

The discover should reveal more about the sacred structure (Picture: INAH/ GAM/ Youtube)
Reports suggest that the Mayans sacrificed people into cenotes – and this has been backed up by the discovery of human remains on past expeditions.
The passage was revealed by the Great Mayan Aquifer Project, led by underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda.
The group used sophisticated imagine techniques, including ground penetrating lidar to force electromagnetics signals through the ancient structure.

The passage is believed to lead to a water-filled cave (Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia

At present, they team have discovered the passage, although have not physically explored it yet as it’s currently blocked by a smaller burial chamber known as the Ossuary.
Dr de Anda told El Universal: ‘Through the Ossuary, we can enter the cave beneath the structure and there we found a blocked passageway, probably closed off by the ancient Mayans themselves.
‘We will enter again and this time we will try to open it to see if the passageway leads us to the entrance of the cenote beneath the pyramid.’
Exploration could prove perilous as researchers discovered a large sinkhole beneath the temple in 2015.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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One of the most devastating human rights violations

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.

Gender inequality persists worldwide. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms, as stated by the UN Secretary-General, in his latest report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Some intolerable facts

Violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination. According to the aforementioned report, on the basis of data from 2005 to 2016 for 87 countries, 19 per cent of women between 15 and 49 years of age said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey. In the most extreme cases, such violence can lead to death. In 2012, almost half of all women who were victims of intentional homicide worldwide were killed by an intimate partner or family member, compared to 6 per cent of male victims.

Another extreme case of violence against women is female genital mutilation/cutting. This harmful practice has declined by 24 per cent since around 2000. Nevertheless, prevalence remains high in some of the 30 countries with representative data. In those countries, survey data from around 2015 indicate that more than 1 in 3 girls between 15 and 19 years of age have undergone the procedure compared to nearly 1 in 2 girls around 2000.

Moreover, only just over half (52 per cent) of women between 15 and 49 years of age who are married or in a relationship make their own decisions about consensual sexual relations and use of contraceptives and health services. That statistic is based on available data from around 2012 for 45 countries, 43 of which are in developing regions.

Research also shows that achieving gender equality helps in preventing conflict, and high rates of violence against women correlates with outbreaks of conflict. Despite the evidence, actions for women’s inclusion, leadership and protection remain inadequate. In some areas, there has even been a roll back on progress.

Lack of funds

One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which include a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.

This year has brought some good news in this regard, as the European Union and the United Nations launched the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls.

Another initiative that has been helping to expose this scourge is the UNiTE to end violence against women initiative launched in 2008 by the then UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, which is also supported by his successor, António Guterres.

2017 Theme: Leave no one behind

UNiTE leads the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which aims to raise public awareness and mobilize people everywhere to bring about change. Those 16 days go from 25th November to 10th December, which is Human Rights Day. The theme of the campaign for 2017 is “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls.” This theme reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters, amongst others, first. As in previous years, the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange the world,” using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange streets, schools and landmarks!

Earthquake and historic sites in Iran

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A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck western Iran late on Sunday November 12, causing relatively minor damage to several historic and heritage sites in Kermanshah and Ilam provinces.

“It slightly damaged five historical sites including a Safavid-era caravanserai and a Sassanid-era fortress in the counties of Qasr-e Shirin, Sarpol-e Zahab and Dalahu in Kermanshah province while assessing the damage is still ongoing,” CHTN quoted Jalil Baalai, the provincial tourism chief, as saying on Monday.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Department dispatched several cultural heritage task forces to determine the extent of [possible] damage to each monument, the official said, adding “The five sites can be restored.”

UNESCO-registered sites of Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan went unhurt, ISNA quoted Baalai as saying. 

Bisotun features a life-size bas-relief carving that depicts Achaemenid king Darius I and several other figures while Taq-e Bostan meaning “Arch of the Garden” is home to series of large rock reliefs from Sassanid era.

Opening of the Louvre Museum in Dubai

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Today, November 11th, marked the historic opening of the much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, and it definitely won’t be a quiet affair! With a whole host of events, the Louvre museum will come alive for a 4-day opening celebration and we’re all invited! From music and workshops to international performers and surprise performances, the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to be monumental in the capital’s history.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to become a new cultural beacon in the region it opens on Saturday 11th November. The first of its kind in the Arab world, Louvre museum will showcase human stories across civilisations and cultures, helping us to understand the similarities and connections that are at the core of humanity. In addition to featuring galleries, temporary exhibitions and a year-long programme packed with performances, Louvre will also boast a high-end restaurant, a café and a Children’s Museum.

The Peopling of the Americas

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In a Perspective article published in the November 3, 2017 issue of Science, Todd J. Braje and colleagues discuss the various theories behind how people first arrived and settled in North America, emphasizing that the conventional belief – that the first people to arrive came via the Beringia land bridge – is becoming less widely accepted. They cite evidence for human occupation at least ~14,500 years ago, which is a millennium or more sooner than the Beringia land bridge became passable, roughly 13,500 years ago. In particular, the authors favor the kelp highway hypothesis, which proposes that deglaciation of the outer coast of North America’s Pacific Northwest after ~17,000 years ago created a possible dispersal corridor rich in aquatic and terrestrial resources along the Pacific Coast. However, testing the kelp highway hypothesis is challenging because much of the archaeo­logical evidence would have been sub­merged by rising seas since the last glacial maximum. Recent underwater discoveries, such as one site in Florida, where butchered mastodon bones and chipped stone tools were found and estimated to be roughly 14,500 years old, show how it may also be possible to receive evidence from such submerged sites along the Pacific coast. Braje et al. outline key areas where additional research can be focused. In the search for clues as to how the peopling of the Americas occurred, including formerly glaciated areas where ancient shorelines have not shifted so dramatically, is important, they say.

Article Source: Edited and adapted from the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) news release.

Sasanian loom discovered in Northern Iraq

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A team of Frankfurt-based archaeologists has returned from the Iraqi-Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah with new findings. The discovery of a loom from the 5th to 6th century AD in particular caused a stir.

The group of Near Eastern archaeology undergraduates and doctoral students headed by Prof. Dirk Wicke of the Institute of Archaeology at Goethe University were in Northern Iraq for a total of six weeks. It was the second excavation campaign undertaken by the Frankfurt archaeologist to the approximately three-hectare site of Gird-î Qalrakh on the Shahrizor plain, where ruins from the Sasanian and Neo-Assyrian period had previously been uncovered. The region is still largely unexplored and has only gradually opened up for archaeological research since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The objective of the excavations on the top and slope sections of the settlement hill, some 26 meters high, was to provide as complete a sequence as possible for the region’s ceramic history. Understanding the progression in ceramics has long been a goal of research undertaken on the Shahrizor plain, a border plain of Mesopotamia with links to the ancient cultural regions of both Southern Iraq and Western Iran. These new insights will make it easier to categorise other archaeological finds chronologically. The excavation site is ideal for establishing the progression of ceramics, according to archaeology professor Dirk Wicke: “It is a small site but it features a relatively tall hill in which we have found a complete sequence of ceramic shards. It seems likely that the hill was continuously inhabited from the early 3rd millennium BC through to the Islamic period.”

However, the archaeologists had not expected to find a Sasanian loom (ca. 4th-6th century AD), whose burnt remnants, and clay loom weights in particular, were found and documented in-situ. In addition to the charred remains, there were numerous seals, probably from rolls of fabric, which indicate that large-scale textile production took place at the site. From the neo-Assyrian period (ca. 9th-7th century BC), by contrast, a solid, stone-built, terraced wall was discovered, which points to major construction work having taken place at the site. It is possible that the ancient settlement was refortified and continued to be used in the early 1st millennium BC.

World Science Day for Peace and Development

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Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the important role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

The Day offers the opportunity to mobilize all actors around the topic of science for peace and development – from government officials to the media to school pupils. UNESCO strongly encourages all to join us in celebrating World Science Day for Peace and Development

What can you do?

The success of the World Science Day for Peace and Development will depend on the active involvement of many partners such as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, scientific and research institutions, professional associations, the media, science teachers and schools.

Different activities will be undertaken to mobilize support for the objectives of the World Science Day for Peace and Development.

We invite you and your organization to celebrate this Day with some special events or action. Next, you can find a list of potential actions that can be undertaken by you and your organization:

  • DIFFUSE World Science Day for Peace and Development in your institution or in your town, city or local community, through municipal and state government channels.
  • ORGANISE an ‘Open Day’ in your institution to highlight the importance of science for peace and development.
  • INCORPORATE the messages of World Science Day for Peace and Development into official speeches, publications and other activities taking place on 10 November.
  • ORGANIZE classroom discussions to emphasize the many different ways science and technology touch our daily lives.
  • CONTACT national and local media (TV, radio, print, electronic) to highlight the importance of celebrating WSDPD at national and local level.
  • WRITE articles and letters about the importance of science for sustainable societies to the media, including industry trade journals, organization newsletters, and school newspapers.
  • VISIT local schools to speak about careers in science, deliver scientific presentations or demonstrations to young students.
  • BUILD classroom-to-classroom connections between schools via the Internet to talk about science projects that will interest young people.
  • ORGANIZE conferences and forums.
  • FIND a sister institution and carry out a joint activity highlighting the importance of science.
  • INVITE university faculty to join with community organizations and schools to celebrate the Day.
  • ARRANGE a science museum visit

 

Pregnant Egyptian Woman’s Remains Discovered in King Solomon’s Mines

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A consortium of archeologists and researchers from Tel Aviv University have discovered the 3,200-year-old remains of a pregnant Egyptian woman in Southern Israel’s Timna Valley, adjacent to an ancient Egyptian temple in an area once known as “King Solomon’s Mines”, according to a report in Haaretz.

Situated in an arid climate with scarce natural resources to sustain life, few human corpses – and no previous female remains – have been unearthed near the copper mines, which were believed to have been exploited for 500 years between the 9th and 14th centuries BCE.

Older Neandertal Survived With A Little Help From His Friends

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An older Neandertal from about 50,000 years ago, who had suffered multiple injuries and other degenerations, became deaf and must have relied on the help of others to avoid prey and survive well into his 40s.

 “More than his loss of a forearm, bad limp and other injuries, his deafness would have made him easy prey for the ubiquitous carnivores in his environment and dependent on other members of his social group for survival,” said

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Erik Trinkaus, study co-author and professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Known as Shanidar 1, the Neandertal remains were discovered in 1957 during excavations at Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan by Ralph Solecki, an American archeologist and professor emeritus at Columbia University.

Previous studies of the Shanidar 1 skull and other skeletal remains had noted his multiple injuries. He sustained a serious blow to the side of the face, fractures and the eventual amputation of the right arm at the elbow, and injuries to the right leg, as well as a systematic degenerative condition.

In a new analysis of the remains, Trinkaus and Sébastien Villotte of the French National Centre for Scientific Research confirm that bony growths in Shanidar 1’s ear canals would have produced profound hearing loss. In addition to his other debilitations, this sensory deprivation would have made him highly vulnerable in his Pleistocene context.

As the co-authors note, survival as a hunter-gatherer in the Pleistocene presented numerous challenges, and all of those difficulties would have been markedly pronounced with sensory impairment. Like other Neandertals who have been noted for surviving with various injuries and limited arm use, Shanidar 1 most likely required significant social support to reach old age.

“The debilities of Shanidar 1, and especially his hearing loss, thereby reinforce the basic humanity of these much maligned archaic humans, the Neandertals,” said Trinkaus, the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor.

https://source.wustl.edu/2017/10/shanidar/

The World’s Smallest Ornamental Beads Discovered in China

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As reported in Shanghai Daily:  Four beads, made of a kind of eggshell and the smallest 1.26 millimeters in diameter, were discovered in an ancient site from the late Pleistocene dating between 8,000 and 12,000 years ago in the city of Qingtongxia.

All were smaller than 2 millimeters in diameter, archeologists said yesterday.

The excavation was conducted by Ningxia Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the cultural relics administration of Qingtongxia from May to August.

“It is incredible that it can be so well processed with such a small diameter. It is rare among similar ornaments unearthed in other sites around the world,” said Wang Huimin, a researcher with the Ningxia institute.

Archeologists said the beads showed excellent craftsmanship and the aesthetic tastes of ancient humans. They said further research is needed to determine their exact purpose or meaning.

The Qingtongxia site is one of China’s top 10 archaeological finds of last year and has revealed more than 10,000 items, including stoneware, ornaments and plant seeds.