Sad news

22 May 2014 04:45 pm
mediaevalist: (WTS)
I prefer to post news of new discoveries being found and artefacts preserved, but tragically, that doesn't always happen.

Radical Islamists take hammer to Syrian artifacts

Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a radical militia that controls a large swath of eastern Syria, confiscated and destroyed illegally excavated antiquities from an ancient Mesopotamian site.

In an act of cultural genocide strikingly similar to the Taliban’s demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, the ISIL fighters appear – in pictures recently uploaded by a group working to protect Syria’s rich historical heritage — to smash a 3,000-year-old Neo-Assyrian statue illegally removed from a nearby archaeological site. Another image shows a man placing his foot — an act of disrespect in Arab culture — on the face of the Assyrian statue before its destruction.


However, there is hope that the statues might have been copies.

It was not immediately clear from the photographs whether the statue that was smashed was genuine. A Tel Aviv Assyriologist who preferred anonymity said that, based on the photos, the statue appeared to be authentic, “although it could be a copy placed outside the museum [in Hasakeh],” he added with due caution.
mediaevalist: (crossdressing)
Technically, these are back from different days of last month, but it's been a good day to learn about them.

Smuggled Out: Most Timbuktu Manuscripts Saved from Attacks

Far more of Timbuktu's priceless ancient manuscripts were saved from Islamist attacks than previosly thought, according to information from the German Foreign Ministry.

More than 200,000 of the documents, or about 80 percent of them, were smuggled to safety, says the ministry, which aided in the operation.
The ministry said many of the manuscripts, some of which date back to the 13th century, were driven out of Timbuktu in private vehicles and taken to the Malian capital, Bamako. Some of them were hidden under lettuce and fruit in an operation led by the head of the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library, Abdel Kader Haidara.


And back over in Scotland...

Selkirk water works unearth medieval village remains

The remains of a medieval village in the Borders have been uncovered during the laying of a new water main.

Scottish Water was carrying out the works at Philiphaugh on the outskirts of Selkirk.

It was laying new pipes between Howden and Yarrowford water treatment works when the discovery was made.

Initial studies suggested it was an Anglo-Saxon settlement, but closer inspection indicated it may have been the site of a medieval village.

Archaeologists found evidence of a number of stone buildings with stone floors across the entire area, with cobbled sections in between.


And finally...

Richard III tomb design proposed by society

A design for Richard III's tomb has been unveiled by an enthusiasts' group.

The Richard III Society said the 7ft (2.1m) long limestone monument would blend modern and medieval style decorations to reflect the king's life.

The group was closely involved in the project to find the lost king's remains, which was confirmed last week.

Leicester Cathedral, where Richard is expected to be reinterred in 2014, said it would consider ideas but no decision had yet been made.
mediaevalist: (Now THIS=a good feminist reimagining)
This journal has a fair bit of dust on it, doesn't it?  Time for some linkage:

Roman gladiator cemetery found in England

Scientists have found 80 skeletons in the "unique" cemetery under the city of York, northern England, since 2003.

They announced their discoveries on Sunday, ahead of a documentary about the site due to air in Britain on June 14. This was one of two big archaeological developments, with Israeli scientists announcing the discovery of a huge cache of ancient religious objects.

They first thought the graveyard might contain the remains of criminals or political purges.

But that doesn't explain the teeth mark.
Did the Crusaders have a Muslim ally in the First Crusade?

A new article is examining the relationship between Islamic states and the Crusader army during the First Crusade (1096-99) and suggests that the Fatimid kingdom of Egypt did attempt to ally with the Crusaders.

...

Abu-Munshar also questions the assumption that the Fatimids were ignorant of the Crusader's ultimate goals. He writes, "How could the Fatimids misunderstand the crusaders’ aim when we know that the latter started their journey from Europe and took months, even years, to arrive in the east, with the clear aim of regaining Islamic Jerusalem from the Muslims? It is possible that most Muslims, Saljuqs and Fatimids alike, were at least partially aware of the crusaders’ intentions."

Ivy offers protection for historical buildings, study says

English Heritage commissioned a team of Oxford University academics to research the likely effects of ivy on historic buildings. In the three-year project, Oxford researchers analysed the effects of ivy growing on buildings in five different parts of England and discovered that the plant plays a protective role. They found that an ivy canopy was like a thermal shield, combating the extremes of temperature which often cause walls to crack.
mediaevalist: (WTS)
Five months (having forgotten this thing even existed), and I'm afraid all I have for you is this.

Pub evacuated, Holy Grenade of Antioch responsible

Buildings were evacuated, a street was cordoned off and a bomb disposal team called in after workmen spotted a suspicious object.

But the dangerous-looking weapon turned out to be the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, made famous in the 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail.


Well you never know. There could have been a Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog around the premises.
mediaevalist: (crossdressing)
Fascinating article in Slate today about the economic causes of witch hunts.  Now, as an archaeologist and mediaevalist, economics really aren't my forte.  But it is precisely what we need to examine to have a clearer picture of history in general and the mediaeval period in particular.

Why it's dangerous to be a witch in a recession )
mediaevalist: (Default)
Recreating the sound of Aztec 'Whistles of Death'.

Scientists were fascinated by the ghostly find: a human skeleton buried in an Aztec temple with a clay, skull-shaped whistle in each bony hand.

But no one blew into the noisemakers for nearly 15 years. When someone finally did, the shrill, windy screech made the spine tingle.

If death had a sound, this was it.

Roberto Velazquez believes the Aztecs played this mournful wail from the so-called Whistles of Death before they were sacrificed to the gods.

The 66-year-old mechanical engineer has devoted his career to recreating the sounds of his pre-Columbian ancestors, producing hundreds of replicas of whistles, flutes and wind instruments unearthed in Mexico's ruins.

Make sure to check out the sample of the sounds these things make.  Creepy doesn't even begin to describe it.

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