Ancient Mexican palace discovery


This video about archaeology in Mexico is called Palenque (New Documentary 2014).

From Science News:

Palace remains in Mexico point to ancient rise of centralized power

Ruler ruled, lived in, maybe even performed ritual sacrifices in 2,300-year-old structure

By Bruce Bower

3:10pm, March 27, 2017

Remnants of a royal palace in southern Mexico, dating to between around 2,300 and 2,100 years ago, come from what must have been one of the Americas’ earliest large, centralized governments, researchers say.

Excavations completed in 2014 at El Palenque uncovered a palace with separate areas where a ruler conducted affairs of state and lived with his family, say archaeologists Elsa Redmond and Charles Spencer, both of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Only a ruler of a bureaucratic state could have directed construction of this all-purpose seat of power, the investigators conclude the week of March 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The royal palace, the oldest such structure in the Valley of Oaxaca, covered as many as 2,790 square meters, roughly half the floor area of the White House. A central staircase connected to an inner courtyard that probably served as a place for the ruler and his advisors to reach decisions, hold feasts and — based on human skull fragments found there — perform ritual sacrifices, the scientists suggest. A system of paved surfaces, drains and other features for collecting rainwater runs throughout the palace, a sign that the entire royal structure was built according to a design, the researchers say.

El Palenque’s palace contains no tombs. Its ancient ruler was probably buried off-site, at a ritually significant location, Redmond and Spencer say.

Saudi bombs destroy Yemeni homes


This video says about itself:

UNESCO Director-General condemns the destruction of Bani Matar Mosque in Yemen

5 September 2016

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has condemned the destruction of a 9th century mosque located in Bani Matar, Sana’a Governorate.
“I am deeply concerned about the continuing destruction of Yemen’s unique cultural heritage. This is a direct attack against the country’s historical sites, and on the people’s history and identity that will affect the society over the very long term. This senseless violence must stop immediately” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General.

Several reports from the General Organization of Antiquities and Museums (GOAM) and the General Organization for the Preservation of Historic Cities (GOPHCY) in Yemen, notably, have confirmed the destruction of the mosque by an air strike on Thursday August 25, 2016.

By James Tweedie:

Yemen: Homes bombed ahead of ceasefire

Thursday 17th November 2016

Saudi-led coalition continues onslaught a day before ceasefire

SAUDI-LED invasion forces bombed civilian homes in Yemen yesterday, the day before a new US-agreed ceasefire is due to take effect.

The aircraft of the nine-nation coalition hit the Bani Matar district of Saada province, south-west of the capital Sanaa, with three strikes, destroying private homes and public property in the village of Yazel.

Ibb University condemned the coalition after it bombed the faculty of medicine.

The same day, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he had agreed a truce, to begin today, with the Supreme Political Council (SPC) government in Sanaa.

It pledged to abide by the ceasefire provided the coalition and its Riyadh-based puppet government, led by former president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, did the same.

The SPC also said it was willing to participate in a unity government to be formed by the end of the year.

The deal was struck in neighbouring Oman, which has remained neutral in the war between the SPC and Washington’s Gulf Arab allies.

“There is a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, (not) just serious security and economic and political and humanitarian challenges,” Mr Kerry said after flying out.

“All the parties we talk to agree that there’s no military solution,” he stressed. “So if that’s the fact, you’ve got to get into: What is the political solution?”

But the Hadi faction immediately rejected the peace deal, calling it “unilateral.”

Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhalfi tweeted angrily: “The government doesn’t know and is not concerned with what Kerry announced.

“This shows a desire to foil peace efforts by trying to reach a deal with Houthis away from the government.”

But the US is not neutral in the war on Yemen, having sold arms to Saudi Arabia and other belligerents and provided in-flight refuelling support to more than 5,000 air raids.

Last month, US navy ships launched cruise missiles at the Yemeni coastline, supposedly in response to missile attacks — denied by the Republican Guard.

That came a week after the Saudis bombed a funeral in Sanaa, slaughtering some 150 mourners, in revenge for the sinking of an Emirati warship a week earlier.

Modern classical music in medieval Dutch church


Choir in Hooglandse Kerk, 10 September 2016

This photo shows the Leids Kamerkoor choir performing in the Hooglandse Kerk, St. Pancras church in Leiden, the Netherlands. Like all photos in this blog post, this is a cellphone photo.

We heard the choir there on 10 September 2016, Heritage Day.

Hooglandse kerk windows, 10 September 2016

The church was built in the late middle ages. It is in Gothic style, as one can see from the tall windows.

Buildings through Hooglandse kerk windows, 10 September 2016

Through the windows, one can see the buildings around the church; many of them ancient as well.

Tombstone, 10 September 2016

On the church floor, many tombstones, from, eg, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some of them still legible; some so worn that they are now illegible; some in which a few letters are still legible, like on the left of this photo. The window reflects on the church floor in this photo.

Light through windows, 10 September 2016

Beautiful late summer light through the windows.

The Leids Kamerkoor choir on this 10 September sang twentieth and twenty-first century classical music, from, eg, Dutch and Canadian composers.

In this 2015 video from a concert in Tampere, Finland, the Leids Kamerkoor sang nineteenth century music: “Die Nachtigall” (The Nightingale), by Mendelssohn.

Neanderthal constructions discovered in French cave


This video says about itself:

175,000-Year-Old Stone Circles Built By Neanderthals Have Been Found In French Cave

25 May 2016

Modern humans often regard Neanderthals as dim-witted, sluggish sorts, but, once again, evidence to the contrary has emerged. It turns out they were likely behind the building of a number of accomplished yet perplexing stone circles found inside France’s Bruniquel Cave decades ago, reports The Atlantic. A recently published study about the site reveals those structures date back about 175,000 years.

That places their making firmly in the time of the Neanderthal, notes National Geographic. According to Discovery News, a team led by French archaeologist Jacques Jaubert, a professor at the University of Bordeaux, also found evidence of fire, another indication of builders’ skills and resourcefulness. One probable reason for the use of fire is that it was used as a light source. Beyond that, why the blazes were started remains unknown. Given the great number of mysteries about the site that remain, researchers are eager to launch the next phase of exploration – digging into the ground below.

From Nature:

Early Neanderthal constructions deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwestern France

25 May 2016

Very little is known about Neanderthal cultures1, particularly early ones. Other than lithic implements and exceptional bone tools2, very few artefacts have been preserved. While those that do remain include red and black pigments3 and burial sites4, these indications of modernity are extremely sparse and few have been precisely dated, thus greatly limiting our knowledge of these predecessors of modern humans5.

Here we report the dating of annular constructions made of broken stalagmites found deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwest France. The regular geometry of the stalagmite circles, the arrangement of broken stalagmites and several traces of fire demonstrate the anthropogenic origin of these constructions.

Uranium-series dating of stalagmite regrowths on the structures and on burnt bone, combined with the dating of stalagmite tips in the structures, give a reliable and replicated age of 176.5 thousand years (±2.1 thousand years), making these edifices among the oldest known well-dated constructions made by humans. Their presence at 336 metres from the entrance of the cave indicates that humans from this period had already mastered the underground environment, which can be considered a major step in human modernity.

Modern humans beat Neanderthals because we can happily breathe in toxic smoke from cooking meat, scientists say: here.

Why Did Humans Prevail [over Neanderthals]? Here.