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Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond
Pre-modern for Africa, North Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond
Curated by diana buja
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The Archaeology News Network: Egyptians reject fatwa calling to destroy pyramids, Sphinx

The Archaeology News Network: Egyptians reject fatwa calling to destroy pyramids, Sphinx | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Al-Gohari, a member of a Salafi jihadist group, said he wants these antiquities demolished, just as Prophet Mohammed destroyed the idols he found upon his conquest of Mecca.

During an interview that aired on Egyptian satellite channel Dream TV, al-Gohari likened the Egyptian landmarks to the Buddha statues that were demolished in Afghanistan.

He also equated those who work in the tourism sector to those who work "in prostitution and debauchery" and demanded that the tourism ministry be abolished.

The Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar rejected the fatwa, saying antiquities are part of the country's culture.

Dr. Mahmoud al-Jabali, sharia law professor at Al-Azhar University, said the fatwa and others like it have no basis in religion.

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Roman food refuse: urban archaeobotany in Pompeii, Regio VI, Insula 1 - Online First - Springer

Roman food refuse: urban archaeobotany in Pompeii, Regio VI, Insula 1 - Online First - Springer | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Although world-renowned as an archaeological site, there have been few research projects in Pompeii looking at the spatial and chronological patterning of plant food use from an archaeobotanical perspective. The recent 12 years of archaeological excavations (1995–2006) by the Anglo-American Project in Pompeii have provided a rare opportunity to investigate a whole city block (Regione VI, Insula 1). This included a blanket sampling strategy of all contexts where archaeobotanical macro-remains, both carbonised and calcium phosphate replaced material, have been recovered, the results from which are reported here. The low density scatters of recurrent taxa from the majority of contexts examined in this study suggest that they were composed of table waste and kitchen food preparation waste and represent an expected ‘background noise’ of Roman cooking and consumption. This includes the standard ‘Mediterranean package’ of olives, grapes, figs, cereals and pulses. The general lack of evidence for crop-processing within the insula suggests that this was probably carried out elsewhere, probably within the city’s hinterland. These results support the established view that Pompeii was a fully urbanised city in the 1st century b.c. There appears to be an increase in olive consumption in the 1st century a.d., which may be suggested to correlate with ‘Romanisation’ and an increase in olive growing in the region.

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Caesar wars helmet found near Canterbury? ~ Roman News and Archeology

Caesar wars helmet found near Canterbury? ~ Roman News and Archeology | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
At his house he produced a box and opened it up to reveal a late Iron Age brooch in very good condition along with what was indeed a bronze helmet of the same period. There was also a fragment of burnt bone which he said he had found with the helmet and brooch, and he remarked that more bone had been present at the find spot. It therefore seemed probable that the finds were derived from a cremation burial. We agreed that, if possible, it would be best to carry out a small excavation of the find spot to learn as much as we could about the context of what was indeed a ‘significant find’. The finding of two prehistoric base metal objects together in the same place made the finds potential Treasure so on my return to the Trust I reported the discovery to the Coroner, Finds Liaison Officer for Kent and the Treasure Registrar. Discussions with colleagues and with the landowner, tenant, FLO, British Museum and others then followed and it was agreed that a speedy excavation of the immediate find spot was the best course of action.
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Reconstructing the diet of African hominid Australopithecus anamensis

Reconstructing the diet of African hominid Australopithecus anamensis | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

The diet of Australopithecus anamensis, a hominid that lived in the east of the African continent more than 4 million years ago, was very specialized and, according to a new study, it included foods typical of open environments (seeds, sedges,...

 

Traditionally, the reconstruction of the diet of Australopithecus anamensis was carried out by means of indirect evidence (specifically, studies of microstructure and enamel thickness, and the dental size and morphology). In this new study, the team of the UB analyzes the pattern of microstriation of the post-canine dentition, from microscopic traces that some structural components of plants (phytoliths) and other external elements (sand, dust, etc.) leave in the dental enamel during the chewing of food. It is, therefore, a direct analysis of the result of the interaction of the diet with the teeth.

 

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The Archaeology News Network: Evolution highly predictable for insects eating toxic plants

The Archaeology News Network: Evolution highly predictable for insects eating toxic plants | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Similar processes with a certain breed of goat that inhabits extremely arid regions of n.e. Africa - ability to eat 'toxic' plants.  Not much else available.

 

A study published online July 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that in the case of insects that developed resistance to a powerful plant toxin, the same adaptations have occurred independently, in separate species in different places and times. 

The paper examines 18 insect species across four orders -- beetles, butterflies and moths, flies, and true bugs -- that all feed on plants containing powerful toxins called cardenolides. 

Common to milkweeds and foxglove, cardenolides are lethal to nearly all insects and function effectively as a defense against pests. Cardenolides work by binding to a cell's sodium pump, one of the most fundamental systems found in all animal cells. The sodium pump works when an essential enzyme (Na,K-ATPase) carries important elements, sodium and potassium, across the cell membrane. Cardenolides bind to the enzyme and disable it, thereby shutting down cells, which results in severe damage. 

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Archaeology News : Cheers! One of world's earliest 'micro-breweries ...

Archaeology News : Cheers! One of world's earliest 'micro-breweries ... | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Archaeology Press Releases and Archaeological News : Archaeologists working in Western Cyprus are raising a glass to the discovery of a Bronze Age 'micro-brewery', one of the earliest ever found.

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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Conversion and Empire: Byzantine Missionaries, Foreign Rulers, and Christian Narratives (ca. 300-900)

Conversion and Empire: Byzantine Missionaries, Foreign Rulers, and Christian Narratives (ca. 300-900) | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
For a broader modern audience today, if taken somewhat journalistically, Pusicius’ story is an example that cuts along cultural and religious lines that presumably originate in ancient, political divisions and confirm a “clash of civilizations”...
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Illicit Cultural Property: UNESCO Director General Bokova on Protecting Cultural Heritage during conflict

Illicit Cultural Property: UNESCO Director General Bokova on Protecting Cultural Heritage during conflict | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

In an op-ed for the IHT UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova discusses the damage done to cultural sites in northern Mali, Syria and elsewhere. She argues that "Culture stands on the frontline of conflicts, deliberately targeted to fuel hatred and block reconciliation." That's exactly right I think. The challenge will be what the rest of the world can do to prevent and repair this destruction.

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The Salman Rushdie Case by Zoë Heller | The New York Review of Books

The Salman Rushdie Case by Zoë Heller | The New York Review of Books | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

More troubling, however, than his exaggerated claim to naiveté is the case that Rushdie seems to be making for fiction’s immunity from political or religious anger. In a departure from the standard, liberal notion that literature must be free to offend, he proposes that literature, properly understood, cannot offend.

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Aleppo: How Syria Is Being Destroyed by Charles Glass | The New York Review of Books

Aleppo: How Syria Is Being Destroyed by Charles Glass | The New York Review of Books | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

This year, Aleppo will produce no soap. The late-medieval souks in which craftsmen fashioned blocks of the famous olive oil and laurel savon d’Alep succumbed to a conflagration during battles at the end of September. The Jubayli family’s soap factory inside the Mamelukes’ thirteenth-century Qinnasrin Gate survived the inferno, but relentless combat has left it inaccessible to workers and owners alike. By late November, following the harvest in the groves west of Aleppo, residue from the olive oil presses should be boiling in vats and poured onto carpets of wax paper stretched over stone floors. Sliced into two-by-three-inch blocks, the bars would be stacked to dry for six months before being sold. Deprived by war of the soap, fabrics, processed foods, and pharmaceuticals its region has so long produced, Aleppo is drawing on reserves of basic commodities, as well as cash and hope. All three are dwindling rapidly.

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How Pompeii Perished | Rosetta Stones, Scientific American Blog Network

How Pompeii Perished | Rosetta Stones, Scientific American Blog Network | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

I can only imagine what it must have been like inside, listening to those rocks hit the roof: the quiet roar of thick pumice falls, the sharper thuds of denser stones. Pitched roofs shed their loads, filling the courtyards and streets with deeper drifts of the bubbly stone. It was falling at a rate of 15 centimeters (6 inches) per hour. Flat and less steeply pitched roofs, which couldn’t shed the load, collapsed within hours. People taking shelter within those rooms were crushed and killed. The rooms, now open to the sky, filled with pumice: some rooms with 1 meter (3 feet), some up to 5 meters (16 feet).

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Secrets of Manchester’s mummies revealed by a trip to the hospital

Secrets of Manchester’s mummies revealed by a trip to the hospital | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Pioneering research brings new stories of Egyptian life and death to revamped Ancient Worlds gallery at city museum...
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Unwrapping the mummy – performance and science

Unwrapping the mummy – performance and science | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Public “unwrappings” of mummified human remains performed by both showmen and scientists heightened the fascination, but also helped develop the growing science of Egyptology...
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Home - Amarna Project / the short-lived capital built by the ‘heretic’ Pharaoh Akhenaten

Home - Amarna Project / the short-lived capital built by the ‘heretic’ Pharaoh Akhenaten | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
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On etruscan language - Paperblog

On etruscan language - Paperblog | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

In the last 70 years, in Italy, with regard to Etruscan language, several and authentic linguistic “obviousnesses” have been ignored, neglected and contradicted.

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Dar al-Hajar – A Palace on the Rock | The Wondrous Design Magazine

Dar al-Hajar – A Palace on the Rock | The Wondrous Design Magazine | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Dar al-Hajar is an historical palace that was constructed in the village of Souk Al Wadi.  Now Dar al-Hajar is considered one of the symbols of Yemen.
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'Darwinian Agriculture' explains how evolution can improve agriculture - Phys.Org

'Darwinian Agriculture' explains how evolution can improve agriculture - Phys.Org | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
 Analyzing the implications of evolutionary tradeoffs, Denison argues in Darwinian Agriculture that biotechnology and breeding efforts should sometimes reverse the results of past evolution that are inconsistent with present goals. For example, the ratio of photosynthesis to water use is greater for a plant in the morning when humidity is higher; it would therefore sometimes be better for crop yield if plants simply shut down in the afternoon. Why then, Denison asks, have plants not naturally evolved to do so? The answer, he states, is competition among plants: if one plant sacrifices its water intake for an afternoon, a neighboring plant will use water saved by the former. As a result, past natural selection favored individual growth at the expense of the plant community.
"Drought resistance is great when needing to get through a week without rain," Denison says. "In agriculture, however, simply surviving is not enough – a crop actually needs to produce a grain or fruit. What we need is a plant able to produce more with a given amount of water. This is much more difficult, but that also means there may be more opportunity for us to improve on what evolved naturally."
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Scotland, Africa fete explorer Livingstone on 200th - Reuters

Scotland, Africa fete explorer Livingstone on 200th - Reuters | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Scotland, Africa fete explorer Livingstone on 200th - Livingstone's explorations took him across Africa and he was the first white man to see the majestic Victoria Falls on the Zambezi river on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe...

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Les routes de la Gaule romaine 1/9 ~ Roman News and Archeology

Les routes de la Gaule romaine 1/9 ~ Roman News and Archeology | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

C’était grâce à ces routes que notre pays servait de trait d’union entre le Nord et le Midi, le Centre et l’Occident du monde européen. Elles étaient les marches, aplanies et embellies, du seuil que la Gaule formait entre toutes les provinces de l’Empire occidental.

Au croisement des plus populaires de ces voies, surgissait toujours Lyon. Il n’était donc pas seulement la capitale des Gaules, mais le lieu de rencontre des hommes de nom latin ; et c’est pour cela que tous les prétendants à l’Empire ont voulu, après Rome, tenir Lyon[9].

Camille Jullian - Histoire de la Gaule, Tome V

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Pompeii: Still giving up its secrets

Pompeii: Still giving up its secrets | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

As early as the 18th century, excavators applied varnish to wall-paintings in an attempt to prevent their decay; different types of conservation work have taken place on site ever since. However, the collapse of part of the Schola Armaturarum in 2010, and subsequent minor collapses, have highlighted the problem to the world and today it has become a politically important issue. The challenge now is to ensure the preservation of these sites while continuing investigations into the town, its inhabitants, and its history. How can we preserve Pompeii’s past for our future?

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Illicit Cultural Property: Dallas Museum of Art Announces 6 Repatriations

Illicit Cultural Property: Dallas Museum of Art Announces 6 Repatriations | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

In a press conference today Max Anderson, the new director at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) announced an agreement with Turkey to return this 2nd Century AD Roman Mosaic, and other objects. The mosaic was acquired in 1999 at a public auction at Christie's in 1999 for $85,000. According to the DMA, after noting on Turkey's cultural heritage ministry website that there had been an Orpheus mosaic missing, Anderson contacted Turkish officials. He was given photographic evidence showing the and comparing the mosaic with a border, being removed by looters near ancient Edessa, modern Sanliurfa in Southern Turkey.

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Hitler’s Logical Holocaust by Timothy Snyder | The New York Review of Books

Hitler’s Logical Holocaust by Timothy Snyder | The New York Review of Books | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

As Donald Bloxham suggests in his Final Solution, the Holocaust can be seen, among many other things, as the final catastrophe accompanying the breakdown of what some historians call the first globalization, the expansions of world trade of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It collapsed in three stages: World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. Its fatal flaw was its dependence upon European empire.

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Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains: Scientific American

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains: Scientific American | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
The connection between mother and child is ever deeper than thought...stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades. What impact they may have had is now only a guess, but this study revealed that these cells were less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they may be related to the health of the brain.
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Adopt a Village - CSDi

Adopt a Village - CSDi | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it

Most recent iteration of the Adopt a Goat programs -

Through your desire to Adopt a Village by providing support for a student who wants to help a village—1,000 villagers will have the opportunity of participating in this program and begin the rise out of poverty.

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Pictures: Oldest Pharaoh Rock Art Rediscovered in Egypt

Pictures: Oldest Pharaoh Rock Art Rediscovered in Egypt | Pre-Modern Africa, the Middle East - and Beyond | Scoop.it
Rare pictures of what may be Egypt's founding king, Narmer, have been found near Aswan a century after their first discovery.
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Yangchen Lhamo's curator insight, January 30, 2014 3:00 PM

I am wondering how could first explorer foget about this Oldest Pharaoh...