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International Mother Earth Day April 22

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International Mother Earth Day was established in 2009, by the General Assembly under Resolution A/RES/63/278. The Resolution was introduced by The Plurinational State of Bolivia and endorsed by over 50 member states. It recognizes that “the Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and that “it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.” The term Mother Earth is used because it “reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit”. It is decided to designate April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.

International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance.

Tourists Vandalizes the Colosseum

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When you visit Rome, the very first place on your list of World Heritage places to see, is of course the Colosseum. But the 2,000-year-old amphitheater is a magnet for tourists and vandals alike. It has recently been reported that the police in Rome have ticketed yet another tourist for vandalizing the Colosseum.

This recent incident involves an Ecuadorian visitor who decided that it was a good idea to carve the names of his wife and child onto the ancient site, as reported by the Associated Press. An official tour guide for the Colosseum found the defacement in progress and reported it to the local authorities. Fines for this type of vandalism have ranged, carrying up to a 20,000 euro fine, or approximately $21,000, according to AP. The tourist will have his day in court and a judge has will decide what the fine will be.
The Colosseum is one of the most-visited attractions in the world, and it has been reported that the World Heritage site usually welcomes nearly 7 million people annually. Colosseum is an ancient Roman amphitheater that served as a center of entertainment starting in the first century according to experts. Local residents would come to the Colosseum to watch gladiators fight each other or wild animals to the death. The 2,000-year history of this structure, and in particular its violent displays, has long drawn people from around the world who want to learn about life under ancient Roman rule.

It has also been reported that just a couple of months ago, in February a French tourist was arrested for carving her name into the Colosseum using an ancient coin she found. Two Brazilian men attempted to break into the Colosseum just one month earlier, with one man falling 13-feet and breaking his hip. All of these incidents come after the Colosseum recently opened its doors again after a three year renovation.

Celebrating World Heritage Day on April 18th

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On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS in Tunisia, the holding of the “International Day for Monuments and Sites” to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the world was suggested. This project was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organise this day.

The idea was also approved by the UNESCO General Conference who passed a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18 April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”. This has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day.

ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites makes a number of suggestions on how to celebrate the World Heritage Day:

  • Visits to monuments and sites, and restoration works, possibly with free admission
  • Articles in newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio broadcasts
  • Hanging banners in town squares or principal traffic arteries calling attention to the day and the preservation of cultural heritage
  • Inviting local and foreign experts and personalities for conferences and interviews
  • Organising discussions in cultural-centres, city halls, and other public spaces
  • Exhibitions (photos, paintings, etc)
  • Publication of books, post-cards, stamps, posters
  • Awarding prizes to organisations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject.
  • Inaugurate a recently restored monument
  • Special awareness raising activities amongst school children and youth
  • Promotion of “twinning” opportunities between organizations, defining areas for co-operation; exchange of speakers; organisation of meetings and seminars, or the editing of joint publications.

The Earliest Directly Dated Rock Paintings from Southern Africa

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image description

Rock art worldwide has proved extremely difficult to date directly. Here, the first radiocarbon dates for rock paintings in Botswana and Lesotho are presented, along with additional dates for Later Stone Age rock art in South Africa. The samples selected for dating were identified as carbon-blacks from short-lived organic materials, meaning that the sampled pigments and the paintings that they were used to produce must be of similar age. The results reveal that southern African hunter-gatherers were creating paintings on rock shelter walls as long ago as 5723–4420 cal BP in south-eastern Botswana: the oldest such evidence yet found in southern Africa.

World Health Day

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The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 1948, the WHO held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day

Depression is a major challenge to health in the WHO European Region and is the focus of World Health Day 2017. The theme “Depression: let’s talk” recognizes that depression is a treatable condition and seeks to address the fact that, despite this, about 50% of cases of major depression still go untreated. The high personal, social and economic costs and the large proportion of people who are not receiving any treatment, despite the availability of cheap and effective care, underscore the importance of overcoming this challenge.

For example, since 2008 England has significantly increased the provision of evidence-based talking therapy to people with depression and anxiety through a large-scale programme called “Improving access to psychological therapies”, available through the National Health Service. By 2012 the programme had treated more than 1 million people, of whom 680 000 completed the full course of treatment. The recovery rates of the 680 000 people were consistently above 45%, as was expected from the research evidence.

The theme of World Health Day 2017 was announced on 10 October 2016, World Mental Health Day. The campaign website contains a wide range of materials and background information.

Declaration on UN Security Council’s Resolution 2347 In regards to the protection of heritage

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On Friday March 24, 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2347 for the protection of heritage, deploring the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage and affirming that such attacks might constitute a war crime and must be brought to justice (1). The resolution can be a serious action against “cultural cleansing” in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

During the discussions on this action, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, calling the resolution a historical document, said that “the destruction of cultural heritage was a war crime and tactic of war, and that defending that heritage was a security imperative”.

As far as Pasargad Heritage Foundation (PHF) is concerned, we consider the passing of this resolution a very hopeful step. PHF has been active in the field of preserving the cultural heritage for 12 years and wrote an open letter to UNESCO 10 years ago (November 2007), suggesting that:

– “UNESCO must become more proactive in its responsibilities and more sensitive to the desires of peoples rather than the governments.

“Although all above proposals require further study and collaboration for making them acceptable and operable, we believe that the time has come for the cultural crimes dealing with human civilization be treated as being not less important than the physical crimes dealing with lives” (2).

 

Now that this historical resolution has been announced, one can hope that UNESCO would go further and substitute the opinion of governments on cultural heritage issues with that of experts and activists in this field who have the support of their people. The reason is that all the totalitarian governments, especially in the Middle East, have shown that the condition of cultural heritage in their countries is of no concern to them, and they rather play an obvious role in the demise of such heritage and consider “cultural cleansing” (of the past) a part of their policies.

Shokooh Mirzadegi

On behalf of the PHF

3.27.2017

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1. http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1648

2-http://www.savepasargad.com/November/Reform%20in%20UNESCO-English.htm

 

www.wchv.org

The personality of the year 1396/2017 in the field of “Cultural and Historical Heritage”

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Dr. Youssef Madjidzadeh, an archaeologist, researcher, professor of archeology and art history at several Iranian universities, member of the scientific council of the Journal of archeology and history of “Markaze Nashre Daneshahi”, is selected as the personality of the year 1395, in the field of “Cultural and Historical Heritage”, for:
– His tireless and life-long efforts in preservation of historical and cultural heritage of Iran
– Teaching archeology and art history to many generations of Iranian students
– Directing the excavations in Qazvin Plain and Tepe Qabristan excavations,
– Directing the excavations at Prehistoric Site of Uzbaki in the County of Savojbolagh of Tehran Province.
– Directing the excavations at the Prehistoric Site of Konar sandal in the city of Jiroft in the Kerman province.
– And all of his invaluable research on Iranian history and culture.
Dr. Majidzadeh received his training in pre-historic Mesopotamian archeology from the Oriental Institute of Chicago University and directed research and extensive excavations in Qazvin, Tehran and especially in Kerman. His contribution to the history of Iran is unrivaled. The excavation in Jiroft under his supervision proved that Iran was one of the first cradles of civilization, with urban life and government circa 5000 BC, i.e., long before the pre- Achaemenid period. In addition to his influential role in shedding light to forgotten period of Iranian history, Dr. Majidzadeh’s is a popular figure due to his social life and demeanor. His students, his colleagues and the local people of areas where his excavations have taken place, all believe that he has a humble, esteemed and lovable character and personality.

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Biography of Dr. Youssef Madjidzadeh
Dr. Youssef Madjidzadeh was born in the year 1315 (1936)in Tabriz, and finished his undergraduate education in Tehran. In 1341(1962), he graduated with the degree of B.A. from Tehran University in the field of archeology as the top student. Upon receiving a scholarship he continued with his studies in the field of Near Eastern archeology specializing in prehistoric archeology of Mesopotamia and Iran in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in the United States starting in 1344 and graduated with the degree of Ph.D. in 1976 (1355). He started working at Tehran University as assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at the Faculty of Literature and Humanities in 1350 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1356 (1977). Dr. Madjudzadeh was later elected as the chairman of the Department of Archaeology and History of Art and the director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tehran University. He was also appointed a member of the Council of appointments and promotions of the Faculty of Tehran University during the earlier months of Islamic Revolution for 3 years before he retired in 1367 (1988).
Scientific activities outside the university:
Member of the Scientific Council of the Journal of archeology and history of Markaze Nashre Daneshahi since 1366
Archaeological excavations at Tepe Chogha Mish in the province of Khuzisgtan for three seasons.
Participation in the excavations of Qazvin Plain and the director of Tepe Qabristan for eight seasons.
General Director of the Excavations in Qazvin Plain and the director of the Tepe Qabristan excavations for two seasons.
Director of excavations at Prehistoric Site of Uzbaki in the County of Savojbolagh of Tehran Province from 1377 (1998) to 1381 (2002).
Director of excavations at the Prehistoric Site of Konar sandal in the city of Jiroft in the Kerman province from 1381 (2002) to 1387 (2008).

The list of international technical and scientific publications in English
1. “The Land of Aratta”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies35, No. 2 (1976).
2. “Correction of the Internal Cronology for the Sialk III Period on the Basis of the Pottery Sequence at Tepe Ghabristan”,Iran 16 (1978).
3. “The Development of Pottery Kiln in Iran from Prehistoric to HistoricalPoeriod”,Paleorient 3 (1955-77).
4. “An Early Prehistoric CoppersmithWorkshop at Tepe Ghabristan”,Aktendes VII Internationalen Kongress für Iranische Kunst und Archaologie, 1979.
5. “Sialk III and the Pottery Sequence at Tepe Ghabristan: The Coherence of the Cultures of the Central Plateau of Iran”,Iran19 (1981).
6. “Lapis Lazuli and the Great Khorasan Road”,Paleorient8/1 (1982).  
7. “An Early Industrial Proto-Urban Center On the Central Iranian Plateau:Tepe Ghabristan”, A. Leonard Jr. and B. B. Williams (eds.),Essays in Ancient Civilization Presented to Helene J. Kantor, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago(Studies in Ancient Civilization, No. 47) ,Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1989.
 8. “The Arjan Bowl”,Iran30 (1992)
9. “The Oldest Narrative Pictorial Phrase on a Pottery Vessel from Tappeh Qabristan”, Iranian World, Essays on Iranian Art and Archaeology, Presented to Ezat O. Negahban, eds. A. Alizadeh, Y. Majidzadeh, S. Malek Shahmirzadi, Iran University Press, 1999.
10. “A Sumerian Statue from Khark Island on the Persian Gulf,” in N.F. Miller and K. Abdi, eds., Yeki bud, yeki nabud: Essays on the Archaeology of Iran in Honor of William M. Sumner, Los Angeles, 2003, pp. 152-55.
11. “Les fouilles d’Ozbaki (Iran). Campagnes 1998-2000,”  Paléorient  27/ 1, 2001, pp. 141-145.
12. “Au berceau de la cvilisation Oriéntale,” Archéologia 399, Avril 2003, pp. 36-45.
13. “Un litige à propos d’un achat du Louvre,” Archéologia 405, Novembre 2003, pp. 4-6.
14. “La première campagne de fouilles à Jiroft dans le bassin du Halil Roud (janvier et février 2003),” Jiroft fabuleuse découverte en Iran Dossiers d’Archéologie 287, octobre 2003,  pp. 64-75.
15. Jiroft, the Earliest Oriental Civilization. Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization, Tehran 2003.
16. “La découverte de Jiroft,”  Jiroft fabuleuse découverte en Iran Dossiers d’Archéologie, n° 287, octobre 2003,  pp. 18-63.
17. “L’ ancêtre des ziggourats à Jiroft,” Archéologia 413, Juillet-Août 2004, pp. 14-25.
with Jean Perrot
18. “Découvertes récentes à Jiroft (sud du plateau iranien),”  Académie des Inscription et Belles-lettres, Comptes Rendus des séances de l’année 2003 (juillet octobre), Paris 2003.
19. “Récentes découvertes à Jiroft (Iran): résultats de la campagne de fouilles excavation 2004,” Académie des Inscription et Belles-lettres, Comptes Rendus des séances de l’année 2004 (juillet octobre), Paris 2004.
20. “L’iconographie des vases et objets en chlorite de Jiroft,” Paléorient 31/2, 2005, pp. 123-152.
21. “À travers l’ornementation des vases et objets en chlorite de Jiroft,” Paléorient 32/1, 2006, pp. 99-112.
The list of publications in English language published in the Journal of Archaeology of Tehran University
1. “The Excavations in Tepe Ghabristan, The First Two Seasons, 1970-71”,Marlik2 (1977).
2. “The Oldest Pictorial Phrase on the Pottery from Tepe Ghabristan”,Surveyand Excavation3(1979).
3. “A Sumerian Fragmentary Statue from Khark,” in Iranian Journal of Archaeology and History, vol. 11, nos. 1-2 (Autumn-Winter 1996 and Spring-Summer 1997, Nos. 21-22), August 1998, p. 2 (in English), pp. 14 (in Farsi), 23 figs.

The personality of the year 1396/2017 for “Preservation of Environment and Natural Heritage”

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Dr. Hossein Sedghi, a hydrologist, geologist, and university professor is selected as the personality of the year 1389, in the field of “Natural Heritage and Environment” for:
– His invaluable efforts in expanding education and awareness of the environmental and natural heritage amongst the people in Iran.
– Training experts in the environmental fields
– Publishing many articles and papers and participating in interviews relevant to the natural heritage.
– Giving timely warnings and notice of changes related to the preservation of Iranian heritage and environment to the authorities and activists.

In the current critical and ever worsening conditions of natural and environmental heritage of Iran, and while most of the activists are either completely absorbed by the governmental agencies or have chosen to be silent, Dr. Hossein Sedghi is one of the rare activist in the field who has continued his activities in both informing the public and also the authorities regarding the damages that are being inflicted to the Iranian heritage. With the courage and honesty that is expected from a distinguished expert, and with keen and educated observation, Dr. Sedghi has warned and explained about the catastrophic conditions that have developed in Uromieh, Khuzestan and many other parts of Iran.

Archeologists discover statue in Cairo slum

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Archaeologists in Egypt discovered a massive statue in a Cairo slum earlier this month as reported by a number of news outlets.  The experts believe that the statute may be of Ramses II, one of the ancient Egypt’s most famous and longest ruling pharaohs.

As reported a large portion of the head of the statute was pulled from mud and groundwater by a bulldozer was around eight meters (26 feet) high.  The large portion of the head which was removed from the ground was near a street market in the slums of Cairo.  However, the experts believe that it will be very difficult to excavate the area further as there are structures and buildings where people live.

The team of German-Egyptian archaeologists have said that this is an impressive find.  Ramses II, who took the throne in his early 20s as the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. He is credited with expanding ancient Egypt’s reach as far as modern Syria to the east and modern Sudan to the south. The expansion earned him the title “Ramses the Great.”   Historians believe that Ramses II ruled Egypt for 60 years and besides his military exploits is known for being a great builder whose image can be seen at a string of sites across the country. Massive statues of the warrior-king can be viewed in Luxor, and his most famous monument is in Abu Simbel, near Sudan.

In November last year, Egyptian archeologists discovered a village and cemetery used by officials tasked with building royal tombs. The findings at the site some 250 miles (390 kilometers) south of Cairo included 15 large tombs dating back to the Early Dynastic Period, more than 4,500 years ago.

Happy Nowruz – March 20, 2017

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Nowruz is first day of Spring and the beginning of the Iranian year.  Nowruz is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, on 20th March or the previous / following day depending on where it is celebrated.  Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian people as well as several other countries across Asia including Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan and many more.   The new year starts at the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day or exactly when the Earth has completed one cycle around the Sun.

The celebration has its roots in Ancient Iran. Due to its antiquity, there exist various foundation myths for Nowruz in Iranian mythology.  The Shahnameh dates Nowruz as far back to the reign of Jamshid, who in Zoroastrian texts saved mankind from a killer winter that was destined to kill every living creature.  In the Shahnameh and Iranian mythology, Jamshid is credited with the foundation of Nowruz.  In the Shahnama,  Jamshid constructed a throne studded with gems. He had demons raise him above the earth into the heavens; there he sat on his throne like the sun shining in the sky. The world’s creatures gathered in wonder about him and scattered jewels around him, and called this day the New Day or Now-Ruz. This was the first day of the month of Farvardin (the first month of the Persian calendar).   On Nowruz, families gather together to observe the rituals and celebrate the beginning of the new year.

In addition, it is believed that originally the celebration was the holiest Zoroastrian festival, and Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin.  Since the Achaemenid era, the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox.

International Nowruz Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/64/253 of 2010, at the initiative of several countries that share this holiday (Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.