Libyan artists in danger


This video says about itself:

Tadrart Acacus, UNESCO World Heritage Site

21 July 2009

Tadrart Acacus is a desert area in western Libya and is part of the Sahara. It is situated close to the Libyan city of Ghat. Tadrart means ‘mountain’ in the native language of the area (Tamahaq language). It has a particularly rich array of prehistoric rock art. The Acacus has a large variation of landscapes, from differently coloured sand dunes to arches, gorges, rocks and mountains. Major landmarks are the arches of Afzejare and Tin Khlega.

Although this area is one of the most arid of the Sahara, there is vegetation, such as the callotropis plant. The area is known for its rock-art and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 because of the importance of these paintings and carvings. The paintings date from 12,000 BC to 100 AD and reflect cultural and natural changes in the area. There are paintings and carvings of animals such as giraffes, elephants, ostriches and camels, but also of men and horses. Men are depicted in various daily life situations, for example while making music and dancing.

Now, four years after the making of this video, both this ancient Libyan art, and today’s Libyan art and its makers are in danger.

After George W Bush invaded Iraq, 90% of that country’s artists were killed or fled to other countries.

Something similar happens now as the consequence of another so-called ‘humanitarian’ war, the NATO war on Libya in 2011.

From Magharebia (Washington DC, USA):

Libya Chaos Impacts Artists

By Asmaa Elourfi, 17 April 2014

Interview

Benghazi — With Libya’s capital of culture facing daily bombings and assassinations, artists are left in a perilous position.

To get a handle on the situation, Magharebia met in Benghazi with Ahmed Bouakeula al-Obeidi, a 42-year-old actor, playwright and songwriter. He began his theatre career in the ’90s, before later performing at events in Tunisia and Morocco.

As al-Obeidi explains, Benghazi’s “chaos and insecurity” is taking a toll on the city’s famed cultural and literary activities.

Magharebia: As an artist, how do you see the situation in Libya now?

Ahmed Bouakeula al-Obeidi: Writers, poets and intellectuals fully realise the deteriorating security situation and have their own visions about it. They only wait for calm to prevail to present their ideas on how to deal with these issues.

This is because artists are the closest ones to the street; in my opinion, they are the real mirror of the street.

Magharebia: What’s keeping writers and actors from proceeding with their careers in Libya?

Al-Obeidi: There are many obstacles, but the fact that theatres are not fully prepared for theatrical troupes is the main obstacle.

Writers have their own very profound imaginations, but the entities concerned with writers are not playing their roles as they should. For example, Benghazi, which is the cultural capital, has its own literary experiences and elements, and is known for its art, creation and culture, but its literary production is very modest.

Magharebia: What are your latest works?

Al-Obeidi: I’m now writing another play titled “I’m without Address”, a monodrama depicting the condition of Arab citizens following the revolutions, the ambiguity they live in, the concepts that have changed and the schizophrenia they live. The play is being rehearsed now by al-Mashhad al-Masrahi theatrical troupe in Morocco. I’ve also released, at my own expense, my first collection of lyrics and popular poetry.

Magharebia: What do you see for your country’s future?

Al-Obeidi: Building Libya is not an impossible wish. We have to reach national reconciliation and put aside hatreds and clean our hearts before we can talk about building the state or institutions.

We as Libyans are Arabs, and we depend too much on traditions, habits and tribes, and this is a double-edged weapon.

If we can utilise all of these capabilities, we’ll reach the shore of safety and the country and future generations will rest. However, if we proceed with retaliations, hatred and double standard policies, we’ll continue in this dark tunnel.

Magharebia: What part does an artist play in this?

Al-Obeidi: Their role is important and vital. They have to work day and night to get their ideas across using all peaceful means. They have to embody their visions through their works of art because the street is now looking for an alternative to solve the crisis, and here comes the role of the pioneering artist who can reach all categories of society with his/her distinguished style.

This is because the artist is loved by all, and stands at the same distance from all; therefore, the artist shouldn’t deal lightly with his assigned role in society, as he is responsible before history.

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Bronze age bracelet discovery in the Netherlands


Bronze age bracelet, photo by Limburgs Museum

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Palette bracelet found from Bronze Age

Tuesday 8 April 2014, 22:03 (Update: 09-04-14, 08:05 AM)

An amateur archaeologist has found a palette bracelet from the late Bronze Age (1000-800 BC) in Limburg province. Palette bracelets from this time are rare. In the Netherlands there had never previously been found one, though some were in Belgium and France.

The man found the object during a years-long search on a field in the municipality of Echt-Susteren. In total he found 85 objects in the ground: bracelets, rings, beads and wire in a spiral shape. The Limburg Museum aquired them last year.

The museum assumes that the objects were buried as offerings or to keep them out of the hands of an enemy.

Restored

It is not certain whether the jewelry was used as a bracelet. It may also have been worn on an ankle.

The museum has restored the items. From May 3 on, people will be able to see them in the museum.

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Pre-Inca archaeological discoveries in Peru


This video says about itself:

8 March 2014

Archaeologists uncover human remains dating back about 3, 000 years in Peru.

From Peru this Week:

Archaeologists find 3,000-year-old graves in Cusco, Peru

19 Hours ago

By Rachel Chase

Experts say the artifacts and skeletal remains come from the pre-Inca Marcavalle culture.

Excavators working in the city of Cusco have discovered a burial site containing five individuals from the Marcavalle culture, a pre-Inca society.

Andina news agency reports that the skeletal remains date back to around 1,000 BC. The burial site, which contained two double graves and one single grave, was found on land owned by a Cusco center for juvenile rehabilitation. Three of the individuals found at the site were adults at the time of their deaths, while one was a child and the other an adolescent.

In addition to the skeletal remains, some of which were buried wearing beaded necklaces. Tools made from obsidian and camelid bones also accompanied the bodies, as did ceramic fragments bearing artistic motifs known to be associated with the Marcavalle culture.

Andina reports that investigations related to this find go back as far as 1960. No intact human remains of the Marcavalle culture had previously been found.

This most recent dig began in late 2013. Archaeologists are now planning to continue excavations in the area to learn more about the Marcavalle. According to Andina, researchers are hoping for a budget of S/. 1,000,000 to continue their work in Cusco.

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Spanish Costa Blanca civil war atrocities history


This video from Spain says about itself:

Spanish Civil War mass grave excavation reveals remains of 17 women

25 January 2012

Gerena (Spain), 25 Jan (EFE), (Camera: Juan Ferreras). Archaeologists found the first bones on Tuesday in a mass grave belonging to women known as the ‘17 roses‘, who were executed by firing squad during the Spanish Civil War 74 years ago for being related to republican militants.

By Geoff Martin in Britain:

Spain‘s past casts a sinister shadow

Friday 21st February 2014

Costa Blanca is a favourite destination for tourists but it also holds some dark secrets. GEOFF MARTIN investigates

As the planes deliver thousands of tourists to Alicante airport to begin their holidays in Benidorm and other resorts along the Costa Blanca, I suspect only a tiny number know anything of the brutal past of the area which still sits well within living memory.

My own research into the civil war on the Costa Blanca began by chance just behind the lighthouse at El Faro on the headland at the southern tip of Alicante’s huge bay.

Walking the hills, and taking in the superb view across the Med to the island of Tabarca, I came purely by chance upon some disused anti-aircraft gun emplacements and a derelict barracks and munitions block.

I guessed that they must have been civil war era and after some inquiries in a nearby bar established that they were republican positions designed to repulse Italian and German fascist bombing raids on Alicante and the surrounding area.

I didn’t need any more than that. My journey into the dark and hidden past of the Costa’s sunshine resorts had begun.

My travels since then have taken me to remote corners of the area by train and bus and on foot as I’ve followed up leads and tried to piece together fragments of information and history to gain a proper understanding of what took place in the area over 75 years ago and why so much remains buried deep under the rocks and sandy soil.

They’ve taken in Benissa, with its military hospital and fantastic International Brigades memorial, the dockside in Alicante where the final republican surrender to Italian fascist forces descended into brutality, torture and murder and the last remnants of the Mediterranean Wall’s defences.

I’m still on the trail but probably the most harrowing experience so far has been the visits to the sites of the two concentration camps close to Alicante.

Campo de los Almendros (Field of Almond Trees) was a makeshift concentration camp just north of the main city. It was there that the thousands of republicans rounded up on the dockside were taken by Franco’s forces when Alicante became the final stronghold of the Spanish republic to fall to the nationalists on March 31 1939.

Today it remains a desolate place, hemmed in by a wire fence and located just behind a shopping centre. There is little to mark its significance, apart from a symbolic olive tree regularly subject to neofascist vandalism. There are a couple of small signs, but they say nothing of what terror took place in this small corner of the Costa Blanca.

Estimates suggest that up to 30,000 prisoners passed through in its short time of operation. There was no food and no water and other reports say that up to 2,000 may have died, some machine-gunned by Italian troops on the slopes of the nearby hill.

The Los Almendros camp was dismantled on April 6 1939. The prisoners were dispersed, mainly to the labour camp at San Isidro/Albatera which is a short train ride south out of Alicante’s main terminal.

Today, the site of the San Isidro camp sits within the shadow of the high-speed rail route being built down to the south of the country and to reach it you have to pick your way through the building works.

A monument was erected by survivors in 1995 and its twin iron beams, wrapped at the top with broken chains, stand proud against the backdrop of palm trees.

All that remains of the original camp is a small brick shed that was close to the gatehouse, now used as tool store. It is estimated that 25,000 people died at the San Isidro camp. During the night, falangists would arrive from all over the country to drag away and torture and shoot prisoners.

In 2011 the Spanish Ministry of Justice, after years of pressure from the historical memory campaigners and counter-pressure from the far-right Manos Limpeas, finally produced a map of known sites of mass graves from the civil war period.

It’s an important resource that goes some way to exposing the scale of the far-right butchery and to offering some hope of closure for the many surviving friends and relatives of the victims.

But, despite the fact that thousands were murdered at San Isidro and with many buried adjacent to Albatera railway station, this location was left off the official map even though it is thought to be the one of the largest mass graves in the country. Nobody has explained why. A campaign to recognise the terror, brutality and mass murder at San Isidro rages on and deserves international support.

That support for the campaigning groups in Spain like the Historical Memory Commission isn’t just important in terms of what happened in the past, it’s crucially important in terms of what is happening in the country right now.

After years of EU-imposed austerity and corruption scandals involving the elite and the upper-echelons of the political class, the far-right is once again on the march.

Fascist attacks on left-wing and multi-cultural events are on the rise and the Movement Against Intolerance, a monitoring organisation, says that Spain is experiencing its worst wave of far-right extremism since the mid 1990s, a previous period of economic and political crisis.

The connection between those who not only want to keep the truth of the Spanish civil war buried and locked away but who also seek to tear down the few memorials to the International Brigades and others who fought and struggled for democracy and progress and a resurgent far-right is brutally clear. The only people who benefit from hiding the past are those whose bloodline tracks back to the same ideology and ethos as Franco’s butchers.

The efforts of all of those fighting for truth and justice, including formal political prisoners from the years up to 1975, deserve nothing less than our full support. La lucha continua!

Geoff Martin is head of communications at the RMT union. More information on the Costa Blanca during the civil war can be found on the blogsite www.costablancacivilwar.blogspot.co.uk.

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Ancient sarcophagus discovery in Luxor, Egypt


This video is about sarcophaguses and coffins in ancient Egypt.

From Ahram Online in Egypt:

Rare wooden anthropoid sarcophagus discovered in Luxor

A 17th dynasty painted sarcophagus belonging to a top governmental official was unearthed at Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor‘s west bank

Nevine El-Aref, Thursday 13 Feb 2014

A Spanish-Egyptian archeological team working on Luxor’s west bank has discovered a rare wooden human-shaped sarcophagus from the 17th dynasty.

The find came during routine excavation work at the tomb of Djehuty, treasure holder for Queen Hatshepsut, at Dra Abul-Naga necropolis.

The sarcophagus is important for the detailed depictions of bird feather shapes and sizes painted on its lid, motifs that have earned it the title of Feathers Sarcophagus, according to Egypt’s antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

The 2 metre long, 42 cm tall sarcophagus is in very good condition, Ibrahim said, and also engraved with titles of the deceased, which archeologists have not yet been able to identify.

Studies reveal that the sarcophagus belongs to a top governmental official from the 17th dynasty, whose mummy was enclosed inside, said Ibrahim.

The archeological team found two other burials at the site, which were both empty. It is believed that they were robbed in antiquity.

The Spanish mission began excavation work at Djehuty’s tomb 13 years ago, when many artefacts from New Kingdom dynasties were found.

Last year the team unearthed a sarcophagus of a 17th dynasty child, along with a number of clay pots and ushabti figurines wrapped in linen.

Excavation at the site remains in full swing, said Gose Galan, head of the Spanish team.

Archaeologists working in the western desert of Egypt have discovered a school dating back about 1,700 years that contains ancient Greek writings on its walls, including a text about ancient drug use that references Homer’s “The Odyssey”: here.

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Prehistoric human discovery in England


This video from Britain says about itself:

The earliest human footprints outside Africa found in Norfolk | Natural History Museum

7 Feb 2014

A series of footprints that were left by early humans over 800,000 years ago have been discovered by a team of scientists led by the British Museum, Natural History Museum and Queen Mary University of London.

The footprints left in ancient estuary muds were found at Happisburgh in Norfolk and are direct evidence of the earliest known humans in northern Europe. Find out more about the discovery: here.

Archaeological finds from Happisburgh and other locations around the country feature in our Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story exhibition, open between 13 February and 28 September 2014: here.

From Associated Press:

Million-year-old footprints found

Last updated 15:42 08/02/2014

They were a British family on a day out — almost a million years ago.

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of human footprints in England that are between 800,000 and 1 million years old — the most ancient found outside Africa, and the earliest evidence of human life in northern Europe.

A team from the British Museum, London’s Natural History Museum and Queen Mary college at the University of London uncovered imprints from up to five individuals in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on the country’s eastern coast.

British Museum archaeologist Nick Ashton said the discovery — recounted in detail in the journal PLOS ONE — was ‘‘a tangible link to our earliest human relatives.’’

Preserved in layers of silt and sand for hundreds of millennia before being exposed by the tide last year, the prints give a vivid glimpse of some of our most ancient ancestors.

They were left by a group, including at least two children and one adult male. They could have been be a family foraging on the banks of a river scientists think may be the ancient Thames, beside grasslands where bison, mammoth, hippos and rhinoceros roamed.

University of Southampton archaeology professor Clive Gamble, who was not involved in the project, said the discovery was ‘‘tremendously significant”.

‘‘It’s just so tangible,’’ he said. ‘‘This is the closest we’ve got to seeing the people. ‘‘When I heard about it, it was like hearing the first line of (William Blake’s hymn) Jerusalem — ‘And did those feet, in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green?’ Well, they walked upon its muddy estuary.’’

The researchers said the humans who left the footprints may have been related to Homo antecessor, or ‘‘pioneer man,’’ whose fossilised remains have been found in Spain.

That species died out about 800,000 years ago. Ashton said the footprints are between 800,000 — ‘‘as a conservative estimate’’ — and 1 million years old, at least 100,000 years older than scientists’ earlier estimate of the first human habitation in Britain.

That’s significant because 700,000 years ago, Britain had a warm, Mediterranean-style climate. The earlier period was much colder, similar to modern-day Scandinavia. Natural History Museum archaeologist Chris Stringer said that 800,000 or 900,000 years ago Britain was ‘‘the edge of the inhabited world.’’

‘This makes us rethink our feelings about the capacity of these early people, that they were coping with conditions somewhat colder than the present day,’’ he said.

‘‘Maybe they had cultural adaptations to the cold we hadn’t even thought were possible 900,000 years ago. Did they wear clothing? Did they make shelters, windbreaks and so on?

”Could they have the use of fire that far back?’’ he asked.

Scientists dated the footprints by studying their geological position and from nearby fossils of long-extinct animals including mammoth, ancient horse and early vole.

John McNabb, director of the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins at the University of Southampton — who was not part of the research team — said the use of several lines of evidence meant ‘‘the dating is pretty sound.’’

Once uncovered, the perishable prints were recorded using sophisticated digital photography to create 3-D images in which it’s possible to discern arches of feet, and even toes.

Isabelle De Groote, a specialist in ancient human remains at Liverpool John Moores University who worked on the find, said that from the pattern of the prints, the group of early humans appeared to be ‘‘pottering around,’’ perhaps foraging for food. She said it wasn’t too much of a stretch to call it a family.

‘‘These individuals travelling together, it’s likely that they were somehow related,’’ she said. Research at Happisburgh will continue, and scientists are hopeful of finding fossilised remains of the ancient humans, or evidence of their living quarters, to build up a fuller picture of their lives. The footprint find will form part of an exhibition, ‘‘Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story,’’ opening at the Natural History Museum next week.

The footprints themselves, which survived for almost 1 million years, won’t be there. Two weeks after they were uncovered, North Sea tides had washed them away.

The oldest human footprints ever discovered outside of Africa have already been washed away: here.

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Emperor Charlemagne was really ‘great’


This video is called Dynasties: The Holy Roman Empire (part1/5).

Dutch news agency ANP reports on research by Swiss professor Frank Rühli on the bones of Emperor Charlemagne, buried in Aachen in Germany in 814 AD.

The conclusion is that the emperor was 1 meter 84 centimeter tall; much taller than average height in the ninth century.

The emperor was not fat, weighing about 78 kilogram.

Charlemagne’s Bones Displayed at German Cathedral Are Likely Authentic: here.

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Black Skinned Blue-Eyed Boys, anti-war song


After the pro-peace song written by Pete Seeger, sung by Marlene Dietrich, here is a music video, from Britain, by The Equals – Black Skinned Blue-Eyed Boys. Written by Eddy Grant, from Guyana.

The lyrics are:

Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys

People: white is white
What’s black ain’t clover

Together we’ll be
When the war is over.
You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys

They ain’t gonna fight no wars
Oh no.

Cool is school
But the teachers beat yer

When they see
That they can’t reach yer.

You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys
They ain’t gonna fight no wars
Oh no.

They ain’t got no country
They ain’t got no creed
People won’t be black or white
The world will be half-breed.
The world will be half-breed.
The world will be half-breed.

You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys
they ain’t gonna fight no doggone wars.

They ain’t got no country…
It’s a brand new day
With brand new people
In one big world
We’re just one people.
You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys

They ain’t gonna fight no wars. Oh
no.
Baby
you know that we hate fighting.

Recent research about people in Europe, in the Mesolithic age, ten thousands of years after their ancestors had immigrated from Africa:

A 7,000-year-old man whose bones were left behind in a Spanish cave had the dark skin of an African, but the blue eyes of a Scandinavian. He was a hunter-gatherer who ate a low-starch diet and couldn’t digest milk well — which meshes with the lifestyle that predated the rise of agriculture. But his immune system was already starting to adapt to a new lifestyle.

Europeans may have evolved lighter skin in past 5,000 years: here.

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