We believe that all cultural, historical and natural heritage, wherever they are should be preserved. LEARN MORE
News

Searching for traces of the ancient Temple of Athena

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Archeologists have rolled up their sleeves to find the Temple of Athena, in the 2,800-year-old ancient city of Aigai, which appeared in 19th-century excavation research by German archeologists.

The excavation works are being conducted under the supervision of Yusuf Sezgin, assistant professor of archeology at

Manisa Celal Bayar University (Turkey) . The Temple of Athena is expected to be erected in at least two months after the definite localization of the temple.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Yusuf Sezgin indicated this was the first time since 2004 that there was excavation work for the discovery of the temple and they are trying to understand whether the temple was dedicated to Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom. Sezgin remarked that the region on which they were continuing the excavations signaled a carefully selected location for a temple.

“It is not known whether there are Temples of Athena in all of the 12 cities built by the people of Aiol south of İzmir during ancient times. On the other hand, Goddess Athena’s head was depicted on the coins from the Hellenistic-period in Aigai. In this respect, it can be deduced that she was one of the most important and protective goddesses of the city,” he said.

Emphasizing “pagan” beliefs in ancient times, Sezgin stated the discovery of the temple was key in understanding their beliefs. “That is the reason why we seek to understand what kind of a temple and belief Athena had. We think we will gain important information about the beliefs held in the region.

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

On September 26, the United Nations (UN) promotes a special day that calls for all countries to get rid of nuclear weapons.

17,000 Nuclear Weapons Worldwide

Nuclear weapons are explosive devices with a destructive power that comes from nuclear energy being released. More than half the world’s population live in countries that have nuclear weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. There are at least 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world today.

One single nuclear device can destroy a whole city and eliminate the natural environment and lives of future generations. They have already destroyed entire cities, like Hiroshima in Japan, where at least 150,000 people were killed or wounded after the city was bombed during World War II.

A World Without Nuclear Weapons

One of the UN’s oldest goals is to achieve worldwide nuclear disarmament – in other words, to see the world free of nuclear weapons. In December 2013, the UN decided to create a day to inform people and push governments to see the social and economic benefits of not having nuclear weapons. The Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is one of the UN’s efforts to seek more action on nuclear disarmament.

Kuwaiti Archaeologists Discover Rare Arabic Manuscripts

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Kuwait University archaeological team has discovered rare manuscripts written in Arabic at Mount Athos in Greece.

They were able to unearth these documents at the historic mountain, which represents around 1,800 years of Christian history.

Mount Athos, is an ancient sacred place chosen as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in 1988.

The archaeological mission, Professors Dr Abdulhadi Al Ajmi who visited monasteries and libraries in northern Greece pointed out that the manuscripts, which date back to the golden Islamic age, cover various subjects pertaining to daily events, scientific observations, religious affairs and more

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated on September 16 every year. This event commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.

What Do People Do?

On this day primary and secondary school educators throughout the world organize classroom activities that focus on topics related to the ozone layer, climate change and ozone depletion. Some teachers use educational packages from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that have been specifically tailored to address topics about the Earth’s ozone layer.

Other activities that are organized by different community groups, individuals, schools and local organizations across the world include: the promotion of ozone-friendly products; special programs and events on saving the ozone layer; the distribution of the UNEP’s public awareness posters to be used for events centered on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer; and the distribution of awards to those who worked hard to protect the Earth’s ozone layer.

Background

In 1987 representatives from 24 countries met in Montreal and announced to the world that it was time to stop destroying the ozone layer. In so doing, these countries committed themselves, via the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, to rid the world of substances that threaten the ozone layer.

On December 19, 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16 to be the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date when the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. The day was first celebrated on September 16, 1995.

Nancy Dupree dies in Afghanistan

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Nancy Hatch Dupree an American historian who spent decades in Afghanistan working to preserve the heritage of the war-torn country has died following a long illness. 

An Afghan government statement said on Sunday that Nancy Hatch Dupree, who first came to Afghanistan in 1962 and spent much of her life collecting and documenting historical artifacts, died in Kabul overnight at the age of 90.

She amassed a vast collection of books, maps, photographs and even rare recordings of folk music, all now housed at Kabul University, and wrote five guidebooks.

Many Afghans viewed Dupree as one of their own, and hundreds of people posted condolences on social media.

“The Earthworks” were once important ritual communication spaces.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

The geometric earthworks of southwestern Amazonia have raised the interest within the scientific community as well as the media and the general public, and they have been explored recently by several international research teams.

These unique archaeological sites have been labeled the Geoglyphs of Acre, as most of them are located in the Brazilian State of Acre. Nearly 500 sites have already been registered and have been included on the Brazilian State Party’s Tentative List for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The construction period and use, span the time period of approximately 3000-1000 BP. The earthwork ditches form geometric patterns, such as squares, circles, U-forms, ellipses and octagons. They can be several meters deep and enclose areas of hundreds of square meters.

Members of the community interacted with the environment

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland, has conducted research with indigenous peoples in the study area for a long time. Sanna Saunaluoma, Post Doctoral researcher at the São Paulo University, Brazil, is specialized in Amazonian archeology and made her doctoral dissertation on Acre’s earthwork sites. Their article published in the American Anthropologist (119[4], 2017), already in early view, examines pre-colonial geometric earthworks from the point of view of indigenous peoples and archaeology.

The study shows that the sites were once important ritual spaces where, through the geometric designs, certain members of the community communicated with various beings of the environment, such as ancestor spirits, animals, and celestial bodies. Thus people were constantly reminded that human life was intertwined with the environment and previous generations. People did not distinguish themselves from nature, but nonhumans enabled and produced life.

The geometric earthwork sites were especially used by the experts of that era, who specialized in the interaction with the nonhuman beings. The sites were important for members of the community at certain stages of life, and the various geometric patterns acted as “doors” and “paths” to gain the knowledge and strength of the different beings of the environment. Visualization and active interactions with nonhuman beings were constructive for these communities.

Contemporary indigenous peoples of Acre still regard earthwork sites as sacred places

The geometric patterns inspired by characteristics and skin patterns of animals still materialize the thinking of indigenous people of Amazonia and are also present in their modern pottery, fabrics, jewelry, and arts. As the theories of Amerindian visual art also show, geometric patterns can provide people with desired qualities and abilities, such as fertility, resistance, knowledge, and power.

Contemporary indigenous peoples of Acre still protect earthwork sites as sacred places and, unlike other Brazilian residents in the area, avoid using the sites for mundane activities, such as housing or agriculture, and therefore protect these peculiar ancient remains in their own way.

UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

People may have lived in Brazil more than 20,000 years ago

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

People hunted giant sloths in the center of South America around 23,120 years ago, researchers say — a find that adds to evidence that humans reached South America well before Clovis hunters roamed North America roughly 13,000 years ago.

Evidence of people’s presence at Santa Elina rock shelter, located in a forested part of eastern Brazil, so long ago raises questions about how people first entered South America. Early settlers may have floated down the Pacific Coast in canoes before heading 2,000 kilometers east to the remote rock shelter, or they might have taken an inland route from North America, archaeologist Denis Vialou of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and his colleagues report in the August Antiquity. Other South American sites reportedly occupied by Stone Age humans lie much closer to the coast than Santa Elina does.

 

Could Ancient Roman Concrete Stop Rising Seas?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

The recent events and flooding of Texas and Louisiana coasts are further evidence that sea levels rise and shorelines erode and our shores and coastal regions are continuously impacted by water.  Two thousand years ago, Romans constructed vast sea walls and harbor piers. The concrete they used outlasted the Roman Empire and we still see evidence of that around us.

Today,  the modern concrete that we use in our buildings could corrode within decades but the materials that the Romans used was a marvel of engineering according to experts and engineers.  DuPont engineers have examined the material and believe that what the Romans built has been the most durable building material in human history according to an article published last month (July 2017) in the Washington Post and several other news outlets. 

Therefore, the mystery is what the Romans made the ancient concrete from (what is the recipe) and how they made it.  According to a scientific paper published in the Journal of American Mineralogists, a team of University of Utah scientists have examined the concrete and believe that the rocklike concrete behaves very much like volcanic deposits. Roman concrete is filled with tiny growing crystals. The crystals, like tiny armor plates, may keep the concrete from fracturing as the scientists report. The scientists subjected the concrete samples to a battery of advanced imaging techniques and spectroscopic tests. The tests revealed a rare chemical reaction, with aluminous tobermorite crystals growing out of another mineral called phillipsite.  However, the big surprise was that the recipe needed a key ingredient and that proved to be sea water.  The experts believe that as the seawater percolated within the tiny cracks in the Roman concrete, it reacted with the phillipsite naturally found in the volcanic rock and created the tobermorite crystals.

 

The question now is if we can learn from this study and what we have learned about the ancient Roman concrete and build better future concrete to protect our cities and shorelines.

Ancient warehouses found in Turkey’s Antalya

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Two-thousand-year old shops and warehouses were revealed at an excavation site of the ancient Aspendos city, located in the Serik district of Turkey’s touristic Antalya province.

Excavations in the the area where the ancient warehouses and shops were found started in 2008 with surface surveys, and turned into a ministry approved excavation site in 2014.

Associate Professor Veli Köse from Haceteppe University, who oversees the excavations, said he believes valuable materials were sold and stored in the recently discovered area, and that some of the sites might have been used as offices. The proximity of the shops to the city center support his views, he said.

Professor Köse also said that a wealth of coins dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, a glass amphora, oil, pieces of perfume bottles, candles, bronze belt buckles, bone hair pins, plenty of nails, rings and gems were found during excavations at the site.

Köse said that the coins, made in the 5th century B.C., were widely used during the Hellenistic period.

The ancient city of Aspendos is one of the most frequented destinations for tourists visiting Antalya.

Aspendos has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015

From daily sabah history

Texas museums brace for full impact of Hurricane Harvey

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter south-eastern Texas with torrential rain, potentially displacing thousands of residents in Houston and the surrounding area. Most museums across the region remain closed and many took precautions before the storm to protect their collections and staff. This page will be updated with replies from institutions as they come in.

The Museum of Fine Art Houston (MFAH) closed its main campus, Bayou Bend, Rienzi and Glassell School locations on Friday. It has posted on its website that “our collections are safe, but the Museum remains closed to the public for now. Our thoughts are with our fellow Houstonians.”

On Monday, a museum spokesperson said the museum’s collections “have not been impacted at all, and there have been only limited issues with our facilities.” She added: “Advance planning—for sandbags, emergency water pumps, and the floodgates that are installed at various critical points around the campus—has largely mitigated potential issues.”

A spokesperson from the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), says: “Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by Harvey and our fellow Houstonians during the on-going storm. We are thankful to our crew who prepared CAMH for the storm and who continue to monitor the museum.” The museum will release further updates via its social media channels.

The Menil Collection has maintained a 24-hour security presence on its campus since Friday. Museum employees have been “making regular checks on our basements in the main building” as well as periodic checks on other buildings, including the Menil Drawing Institute construction site, according to a spokesperson.

“At this time, and thankfully, our buildings have not been impacted by the storm. Our director, conservation, and registration departments, which includes art handling services, are receiving regular updates about building status.”

The Rockport Center for the Arts in Corpus Christi appears to have “sustained serious external damage,” according to a Facebook post from its executive director, Luis Purón, who has seen pictures of the building.

“One image demonstrates that the front porch is completely gone and a roof structure in the front of the building is exposed and thus compromised,” Purón wrote. “It is entirely possible that additional damage to the roof exists, yet only an onsite inspection will reveal that.”

The Houston Center for Photography (HCP) “has experienced no visible damage to our facility that we have been able to locate during a brief visit before the heavy rains began again,” says its director, Ashlyn Davis. “No artwork has been damaged and our library is still in good shape. We are very lucky.”

Davis added: “There are several artists in the HCP community though who have taken direct hits and are in real need of support. They’ve all evacuated to dry homes with their small children and are safe, but HCP’s community of artists will likely need major support in the weeks ahead.”

The Texas-based publication Glass Tire has video from the owner of the Cardoza Fine Art Gallery in Houston that shows extensive flooding in his home and gallery. According the the publication: “Cardoza says that although his building has been damaged, most of the art in the gallery was out of harm’s way. As of this morning, water in the area has been receding.” The journal also has a list of emergency resources for artists.

The city of Austin has missed the brunt of Hurricane Harvey, but institutions like the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas and the San Antonio Museum of Art were prepared nonetheless.

“Whenever something like this in on the horizon, we monitor the weather very closely and watch for alerts from the University of Texas emergency notification system, which is very responsive,” says a Blanton Museum spokesperson. “When it’s raining, our gallery staff frequently check all levels of the museum for any signs of leaks.”

Although the museum is closed Mondays, it will be open and free the rest of the week for anyone who has been displaced by the storm.

Necessary precautions were also taken at the San Antonio Museum of Art, says William Rudolph, the museum’s chief curator.

“We are in an area prey to flash flooding and unexpected torrential rainfall and lived through a catastrophic hailstorm in 2016 so we have a very good knowledge of any trouble spots,” Rudolph says. “We did monitor the storm in advance and to that end, we moved particularly vulnerable objects out of harm’s way and made protective modifications, such as draping cases with plastic, etc., by the end of the work day on the Friday that the storm made landfall.”

He added: “We luckily were spared any of the worst of Harvey, due to its impact being mainly to the south and east of our city.”

As reported in The Art Newspaper