ISIS destruction of Palmyra, Syria not total


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Raw: Drone Footage Captures Palmyra Ruins, City

27 March 2016

Russian state television footage from Palmyra on Sunday, as well as drone video obtained from the Syrian Military Media Centre, showed aerials of what remained of the ancient city after the Islamic State group (IS) was forced from the area.

From Associated Press:

By Albert Aji and Philip Issa

DAMASCUS, Syria — Mar 28, 2016, 1:25 AM ET

The recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra by Syrian government forces scores an important victory over Islamic State fighters who waged a 10-month reign of terror there and marks the first major defeat for the extremist group since an international agreement to battle terrorism in the fractured nation took effect last year.

The city known to Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert” is famous for its 2,000-year-old ruins that once drew tens of thousands of visitors each year before the Islamic State group destroyed many of the monuments.

The extent of the destruction remained unclear after government troops took the town in central Syria on Sunday. Initial footage on Syrian state TV showed widespread rubble and shattered statues. But Palmyra’s grand colonnades appeared to be in relatively good condition. …

International airstrikes have pounded IS territory, killing two top leaders in recent weeks, according to the Pentagon. Those strikes have also inflicted dozens of civilian casualties. …

IS drove government forces from Palmyra in a matter of days last May and later demolished some of its best-known monuments, including two large temples dating back more than 1,800 years and a Roman triumphal archway.

State TV showed the rubble left over from the destruction of the Temple of Bel as well as the damaged archway, the supports of which were still standing. It said a statue of Zenobia, the third century queen who ruled an independent state from Palmyra and figures strongly in Syrian lore, was missing.

Artifacts inside the city’s museum also appeared heavily damaged on state TV. A sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena was decapitated, and the museum’s basement appeared to have been dynamited, the hall littered with broken statues.

Still, state media reported that a lion statue dating back to the second century, previously thought to have been destroyed by IS militants, was found in a damaged but recoverable condition.

Extremists beheaded the archaeological site’s 81-year-old director, Riad al-Asaad, in August after he reportedly refused to divulge where authorities had hidden some of the treasures before the group swept in. IS militants view the ruins as monuments to idolatry. …

Maamoun Abdulkarim, director of the museums and antiquities department in Damascus, said Palmyra’s Great Colonnade had suffered only minor damage. “We will rebuild what you have destroyed,” he said, addressing IS.

USA: Kerry sought to ‘send a message’ to Assad via cruise missile strikes against Syrian government positions but Obama refused proposal: here.

Russia is withdrawing from Syria – and the U.S. should follow suit: here.

Dutch ancient fort and wildlife


In this 3 March 2016 Dutch video, wildlife rangers Marcel and Hanne are at Fort Kijkuit, a nineteenth century, originally military, building. Today the fort is important for wintering bats and insects like ladybirds. Outside the fort are birds including kingfishers.

Architecture, hermit crabs and migrants


This 2013 video from Japan is called Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs?” AKI INOMATA.

This 2015 video from Japan is called AKI INOMATA: Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? -White Chapel.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Japanese woman says hermit crabs deserve artistic homes

Today, 18:10

A Japanese artist has presented a special project with live hermit crabs. Aki Inomata made with a 3D printer transparent cabins for the aquatic animals in the form of well-known buildings.

“Why would we allow the hermit crabs no shelter,” the art project is called. “I want the crabs all over the world to have homes,” says the artist from Tokyo, “and also to make it possible for them to move to other cities.” One of her crab houses represents a windmill in [Dutch open air museum neighbourhood] Zaanse Schans.

With this project, Inomata wants to draw attention to the themes of immigration and national identity.

Wildlife bridge saves animals’ lives


This video says about itself:

Animal Bridges – Life Saving Wildlife Crossings

8 October 2014

Collisions with automobiles claim the lives of incalculable numbers of animals every year, especially in areas where roads cut across the natural habitats of numerous species. Since humans aren’t exactly likely to cede our roads to the animal kingdom any time soon (as much as some of us would be okay with that), we have to come up with other solutions. Wildlife crossings built to allow land-based creatures to pass safely from one side of the road to another make a huge difference for all sorts of species, and they’re beautiful, too.

Banff National Park Alberta, Canada
Modular Green Wildlife Bridge Concept
ARC International Wildlife Crossing Competition
Highway A50, Netherlands
Wildlife Crossing, France
Birkenau, Germany
E314, Belgium
Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana
Borkeld, The Netherlands
Watchung Reservation, New Jersey
Keechelus Lake, Washington

Warden Albert Henckel in Drenthe province in the Netherlands writes today about the new wildlife bridge, linking nature reserve Terhorsterzand with Dwingelderveld national park.

Before the wildlife bridge had been built, animals had to cross the dangerous A28 motorway. Henckel used to see many animals killed by the traffic there. Dead badgers, pine martens, roe deer, red squirrels, rabbits, adders, a wild boar. Also, a dead raccoon dog and a dead beech marten.

Already during its construction, roe deer discovered the new bridge. Badgers, rabbits, martens and red foxes followed.

Probably, many more animals, including, eg, amphibians, will discover this wildlife bridge.

Dwingelderveld wildlife bridge: here,

With climate change forcing many species to shift their distributions, improving connectivity among key sites and policy responses to make the wider countryside more biodiversity-friendly are helping species to cope with climate change: here.

Egyptian Queen Nefertiti buried in Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb?


This video says about itself:

25 March 2014

Queen Nefertiti – Greatest Mystery of Ancient Egypt (History Documentary)

LOVED BY A KING. HATED BY AN EMPIRE. ERASED FROM HISTORY. SHE COULD BE THE BIGGEST FIND SINCE KING TUT. Has the famed Egyptian beauty, Queen Nefertiti, been found in a secret chamber deep in the Valley of the Kings? A Discovery Channel Quest expedition, led by Dr. Joann Fletcher and a team of internationally renown scientists from the University of York Mummy research Team, hopes to find out.

If they’re right, the finding will be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since Nefertiti’s stepson – King Tutankhamen – was discovered in 1922. “Great Royal Wife” of the “renegade” pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefertiti was a mother of six who helped lead a religious revolution that changed Egypt and the world forever. Yet after her death, her enemies destroyed all evidence of Nefertiti’s life.

Now, drawing on 13 years of research, Fletcher and her team bring Nefertiti’s turbulent reign to life as never before using cutting-edge computer animations to recreate ancient Egypt’s great temples; x-rays to reveal the telltale signs of foul play on her mummy; and forensic graphics to recreate the mummy’s face. Have they found the ancient world’s greatest beauty?

From the Egyptian Streets site:

’90 Percent Chance’ King Tutankhamun’s Tomb Holds a Hidden Chamber: Egypt’s Antiquities Minister

November 28, 2015

There is a 90 percent chance a hidden chamber lies behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Damaty announced at a Saturday press conference in Luxor.

According to Damaty, the scans, conducted by Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu, covered the southern, western and northern sides of the pharaoh’s burial chamber.

“The primary results of the scan gave us very positive results, very good results,” Damaty said. “We have here something behind the west and the north walls…We believe that there could be another chamber.”

The findings, which lend credence to British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves’ theory that Queen Nefertiti’s tomb is hidden behind that of King Tutankhamun, may lead to “one of the most important finds of the century,” Damaty said.

However, these findings are only preliminary and need more work to yield accurate results, the minister stressed. Damaty said the scans will be sent to Japan for further analysis, which will take around one month to complete.

Reeves had publicized his hypothesis in July, after which the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities invited him to Egypt to present his theory to antiquities officials.

In October, the panel of experts approved using radars to search inside King Tutankhamun’s tomb for a hidden chamber.

Based on the detailed scans and photographs of Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor which were published last year by Factum Arte, a Spanish specialist in art and replication, Reeves noted that beneath the layers of paint, the texture of walls revealed cracks which may suggest the presence of two doors leading to passageways.

While the first door likely leads to a storage room which has already been discovered, the other passageway situated at the north wall of the burial chamber is speculated to lead to a bigger room which may be Nefertiti’s tomb.

The archaeologist also believes Tutankhamun’s tomb and death mask were originally made for Nefertiti, who is strongly believed to be his stepmother. According to Reeves, Tutankhamun’s sudden death likely resulted in his “hurried” burial in a mausoleum that had not been intended for him.

Not only was Nefertiti famous for her beauty, which remains evident through her world-renowned 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust housed at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, but she was also the Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief consort.

Nefertiti’s burial site has long been a mystery as archaeologists have so far failed to find the queen’s tomb.

King Tutankhamun’s tomb was found in 1922 under the supervision of another British archaeologist and Egyptologist, Howard Carter.

What the discovery of Nefertiti’s tomb would mean for the Egyptian economy.