Ancient Statue of Nubian King Found in Nile River Temple


Remains of a 2,600-year-old statue with an inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics has been discovered in a temple at Dangeil, an archaeological site along the Nile River in Sudan.

Found in an ancient temple dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun, the statue depicts Aspelta, who was the ruler of the Kush kingdom between 593 B.C. and 568 B.C. Some of Aspelta’s predecessors had ruled Egypt, located to the north of Kush. Though Aspelta didn’t control Egypt, the inscription says (in translation) that he was “King of Upper and Lower Egypt” and was “Beloved of Re’-Harakhty” (a form of the Egyptian sun god “Re”) and that Aspelta was “given all life, stability and dominion forever.”

“Being ‘Beloved of a god’ confers legitimacy on a ruler,” wrote archaeologists Julie Anderson, Rihab Khidir el-Rasheed and Mahmoud Suliman Bashir, who co-direct excavations at Dangeil, in an article published recently in the journal Sudan and Nubia. The “Kushite kings were closely tied to Re,” they noted.

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The Phaistos Disc reveals its secrets


According Greek news The Phaistos Disc, probably dating back to the 17th century, gradually reveals its secrets. The linguist Dr. Gareth Owens, who has been living in Crete for the past 30 years (25 working in the Technical University of Crete and the last 10 as Erasmus + coordinator), has devoted his research to decipher the disc. In fact, in collaboration with Professor John Coleman, professor of phonetics at Oxford, he has managed to decipher the disc in a 99 percentage, ANA reports.

“We are reading the Phaistos disc with the vocal values of Linear B and with the help of comparative linguistics, ie comparing with other relative languages from the Indo-European language family. Reading something, however, does not mean understanding,” Owens revealed in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on the occasion of his speech to the National Research Foundation on Wednesday, February 7.

Conservationists Criticize Possible Lifting of the Ban on Import of Elephant Trophies


Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that they will reverse an Obama-era ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia after determining that sport hunting in those countries will help conserve the species. However, a day later, in a tweet by President Trump himself, he stated that he would delay his administration’s decision to allow the importing of elephant body parts from Zimbabwe “until such time as I review all conservation facts”.

It is interesting to note that the first announcement was made public not by a federal agency but via a celebratory news release by the Safari Club International, a trophy hunting advocacy group that, along with the National Rifle Association, sued to block the 2014 ban. In fact, Greg Sheehan, principal deputy director of the FWS, broke the news to the hunting organization during the African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in Tanzania.

While it is still not clear what happened during the twenty four hours that made the Trump administration to change course or at least put a pause on the decision, it is quite obvious that the administration and federal agencies received many criticisms from around the world. Many conservationists and wild life experts opposed the decision and talked about vocally on the social media and through press releases arguing that the Trump administration was pandering to big-game hunters. According to the Guardian Newspaper (UK), one of the vocal critics was the primatologist Jane Goodall who told the Guardian on Friday, before Trump’s announcement of the postponement that she “was shocked and horrified, but this is the road this administration is taking,” and that “One by one, they are undoing every protection for the environment that was put in place by their predecessors.” In fact, she added that, “It’s very rare that money raised by legal trade in ivory or rhino husks gets out to protect the animals,” Goodall added. “It goes into the pockets of the safari outfits that take the clients, or goes into the hands of corrupt government officials.” According to the Guardian.

Another big name celebrity who made public statements was actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio who said he “could not believe” the Trump administration had taken the step and called the move by the Trump administration as “reprehensible.”

African elephants have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1978. A provision of the law, however, allows for sport-hunted trophies to be imported if government determines that hunting will help safeguard the population. However, it is a fact that the number of Savanna elephants continues to dwindle. From 2007 to 2014, the population dropped by 30 percent, or about 144,000 animals, across 18 African countries, according to the 2016 Great Elephant Census. In Zimbabwe, it fell 6 percent. And “substantial declines” have been recorded along the Zambezi River in Zambia, although the population elsewhere in the country remained stable. 

Most conservationists believe that one of the reasons for the recent changes and for the actions being taken by the Trump administration is because the Interior Department is led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is an avid hunter and has moved to increase opportunities for hunting and fishing. Earlier this month as reported by several news outlets, Zinke announced the creation of a so-called International Wildlife Conservation Council to advise him on “the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs.” In addition, President Donald Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, are also avid big game hunters. In a photo that surfaced in 2012, Trump Jr. was seen holding the tail of an elephant he had shot and killed in Africa. 


Seventy Seven Species are Placed on IUCN Red List



red logoAccording to the latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are more than 20,000 endangered species on their Red List of Threatened Species. Out of this number, seventy seven belong to Iran, and this number is 3/4th of all animal species in Iran.

Destruction or deterioration of conditions in their natural habitats, new industries and factories, building roads in restricted areas, illegal fishing and hunting, droughts, and lack of attention by the governmental departments are among the causes that have resulted in the present situation.

Among the endangered animal species of the country, the Iranian panther and Persian Zebra are considered the most important ones.








Neglect of Historical Fortresses on Islands in Southern Iran


fortressLack of attention and neglect by officials has resulted in the destruction of a number of historic castles on the southern islands of Iran.

One great example of a historical structure that has experienced deterioration and destruction because of neglect is Hormouz castle, which is the most important structure built during the Portuguese domination of the Gulf coast and islands. This Castle was built by a Portuguese admiral in 1507.

Another castle known as the Portuguese Castle is 400 years old and has seen major deterioration and it is in very bad condition.

Unfortunately, the restoration work that has been done a couple of times by the specialists who do not have the right training has resulted in major destructions of these sites.

The Uncertain Fate of Persian Zebra



Persian Zebra or Iranian Zebra, is one of the species of Asian Zebra (Equus hemionus) and a large mammal belonging to the horse family. It is indigenous to the deserts of Iran, Syria, India and Tibet. Persian Zebra is similar to a donkey but slightly larger in size.
Persian Zebra is now critically endangered, and the remaining numbers can now be found in two areas of Iran, including in Touran National Park and other protected areas of Bahram’gur.
Destruction of the natural habitats for these animals, lack of proper management of protected areas and hunting are only a few factors that have threatened the survival of these animals. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists the animals in the Valley as “endangered”.
There is currently no accurate official count of these zebras. The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that the number is 330, while only last autumn 2012, there were over 433 of them still alive. It then looks like that in the last six months; over 110 of them have died.
It seems that more attention and serious measures need to take place in order to preserve Persian Zebra.

Shushtar Historical Hydralic Systems



Our Heritage activists (Iran / Branch) are reporting that the Shushtar historical hydraulic systems are in danger of major deterioration and destruction.  The site which was inscribed in 2009 as a “historical hydraulic masterpiece of creative genius” by UNESCO is an Iranian national heritage site and can be traced back to Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C.   It involved the creation of two main diversion canals on the river Kârun one of which, Gargar canal, is still in use providing water to the city of Shushtar via a series of tunnels that supply water to mills. It forms a spectacular cliff from which water cascades into a downstream basin. It then enters the plain situated south of the city where it has enabled the planting of orchards and farming over a vast area known as Mianâb (Paradise). The property has an ensemble of remarkable sites including the Salâsel Castel, the operation centre of the entire hydraulic system, the tower where the water level is measured, damns, bridges, basins and mills.

It is believed by international experts; engineers and archeologists that the Sassanid engineers had created a structure that was a masterpiece.  The river was channeled to form a moat around the city, while bridges and main gates into Shushtar were built to the east, west, and south. Several rivers nearby are conducive to the extension of agriculture and the cultivation of sugar cane. A system of subterranean channels called Ghanats, connected the river to the private reservoirs of houses and buildings, and supplied water for domestic use and irrigation, as well as to store and supply water during times of war when the main gates were closed. Traces of these ghanats can still be found in the crypts of some houses. This complex system of irrigation degenerated during the 19th century. 

Over the last ten years, neglect of the cultural heritage in Iran has escalated and has impacted many historical and heritage sites and in the case of Shushtar Historical Hydraulic Systems, UNESCO demanded (in April 2011) that Iranian government submit explanations regarding the situation following the collapse of a portion of the Gargar Bridge at the Shushtar’s ancient water system. 

Endangered Iranian Forests


forest destroy 1It is widely believed by the experts and activists that the decisions and actions made by the Iranian government over the last three decades and especially the last eight years have greatly damaged the conditions of the Iranian forests and have put them in danger of destruction.

These actions include the followings:

–          Iranian government has allowed exploration for oil in the Kavir Desert National Park which is a protected National Park and is believed to be the original habitat for the Persian Cheetah.

–          The government has allowed building roads through Cloud Forest. Cloud Forest is one of the most unique forests in Iran.  In the last three decades, deforestation has destroyed the soil in the Iranian forests and created drought.

–           The government has allowed the extraction and exploitation of mines in environmentally protected areas with major and distinct wildlife. This has happened in many cases while the while the individual or people are not under the law entitled or allowed to start a mine.

–          The government has allowed building houses and apartment complexes in many areas of forests that should have been protected.

These decisions have resulted in the gradual destruction of forests, and extinction of animals and plant species in many areas in Iran.

Yazd Awaiting Recognition



Translated by WCHV

The city of Yazd, which has been known to have been the first city to be built using adobes or sun-dried bricks in Iran, has historical sites spanning over 743 acres.  Even though Yazd has been recognized to have very well known historical sites, it still has not been listed and recognized by the UNESCO. Yazd is one of the oldest cities in the world and many of its sites are unfortunately in danger of deterioration. Lack of good management and record keeping have resulted in the delays in the international recognition by the UNESCO and other agencies and no doubt has created more destruction and deterioration of these beautiful historical sites.  For example, it has been reported that some very old houses are being renovated by the owners without paying any attention to the correct codes which are necessary for the preservation of historical buildings and national heritage sites.  In addition to old mosques and historical sites, it has been reported that over 140 private homes could be considered national heritage buildings but have unfortunately been deteriorating and many fixtures (of the homes) like doors and windows have been stolen. Other factors that prevent Yazd from being listed as a national heritage city includes the new central library building which was built blocking several older historical buildings and a two hundred meter underground tunnel under a number of historical sites.