Sunday, January 27, 2019


Mohenjo Daro’s historical ruins are fast losing their originality due to climate change, rains, water-logging and salinity as the site’s bricks, which are thousands of years old, are decaying day by day. According to a PPI survey, only 20 per cent bricks are safe at the moment and 80 per cent have been damaged due to lack of interest of the Sindh government.

Despite the fact that new bricks were used by the artisans by replacing old ones but even then, neither basic work has been done on a permanent basis nor annual works have been carried out to safeguard this treasure which is cherished globally.

According to experts, work must continue around the year to conserve the heritage but since last six months, it has been stopped for want of funds. Mud slurry has not yet been carried out and no work has been done since the past 30 years on walls due to which cracks have started developing in these ancient walls and many walls have been given support.

About 500 walls of the monuments have lost the originality and out of 700 wells, only 10 are available at the moment. The international experts had advised cheap local measures to protect the ruins from damage but the Sindh government has constantly shown non-serious attitude to save the historical ruins from collapse.

Several international seminars and workshops have also proved to be useless for the preservation of these monuments of Indus Civilization which has so far attracted thousands of foreign tourists who have visited this unique site. A dry core drilling work report has also been submitted to the government but the demarcation of the site is still awaited.

Mohenjo Daro could be saved with local expertise, which includes mud, water and labor. “If work is carried out, 12 months of a year and sanctioned funds are utilized properly then there would be no harm to the monuments,” he said. Proper drainage system must be built to save the monuments, adding that workshops were not needed as only practical works could ensure conservation for which local people should be recruited and trained properly.


The director of the British Museum has appeared to rule out returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece. The 2,500 year-old marble sculptures were brought over to Britain in the early 19th century and bought by the Government who passed them on to the British Museum where they remain one of the most prized exhibits. Debate over where the sculptures should be located has raged for decades.

In an interview with Ta Nea, Greece's daily newspaper, British Museum director Hartwig Fischer said: "The Trustees of the British Museum feel the obligation to preserve the collection in its entirety, so that things that are part of this collection remain part of this collection."

Asked if he thinks the Greeks are right to want the Parthenon sculptures back, he told the newspaper: "I can certainly understand that the Greeks have a special and passionate relationship with this part of their cultural heritage. "Yes, I understand that there is a desire to see all of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens."

Asked about Jeremy Corbyn's pledge to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece if he became prime minister, Mr Fischer told Ta Nea: "I think that this is Mr Corbyn's personal view on the question, that you take note of. "Obviously, that is not the stance and the view of the Trustees of the Museum."

Mr Fischer was asked if he would accept that Greece is the legal owner of the Parthenon Sculptures, and he replied: "No, I would not. The objects that are part of the collection of the British Museum are in the fiduciary ownership of the Trustees of the Museum." In a statement, the British Museum said: "Hartwig Fischer was stating the long-standing position of the British Museum. We believe there is a great public benefit in being able to see these wonderful objects in the context of a world collection.


Luxor city on Thursday will celebrate the end of the Egyptian-American project seeking to restore and protect the tomb of King Tutankhamun, in the Valley of the Kings at the West Bank of Luxor.

The project is the largest of its kind inside the tomb, which was discovered 96 years ago by British archaeologist Howard Carter. The restoration project has been working for the past ten years. The ceremony will include documentary films, pictures and explanations on the stages of work done on the Golden Pharaoh’s tomb.

According to sources within the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, the restoration and protection work carried out by a GCI team and a team from the Ministry included lighting and ventilation works, wooden floors inside the tomb, metal floors for the exterior entrance and restoration of the inscriptions, drawings and colors of the tomb.

On November 4, 1922, Carter found the first stone leading to the tomb of King Tutankhamun and its treasures left intact and untouched by thieves, which included statues of the king, golden jewelry and pots made of porcelain.
The contents of the tomb gave archaeologists a unique opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the nature of life in the 18th dynasty, a period of great importance in the history of ancient Egypt.


Last year, in a cave above the Inya River’s middle reaches, scientists discovered 20,000-year-old sewing needles. Despite their prehistoric origin, the needles are sophisticated. Not only are they sharp enough to perforate thick animal hides, they possess a needle “eye,” which would have allowed early tailors to thread the needle and sew.

In a new study, published in the December issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, a team of researchers has pieced together what we know about prehistoric garment making using needle artifacts collected around the world, including from the site by the Inya River. Sewing, the analysis reveals, can offer a portal into human technology and cognition in the Upper Paleolithic, a period stretching from 50,000 to 10,000 years ago.

“Many of the needles we discovered were not simply used to manufacture clothes but for embroidery and ornaments. There was an aesthetic role,” says Francesco d’Errico, an anthropologist at the University of Bordeaux in France and a co-author of the study.

In other words, prehistoric humans were not only concerned with finding warmth in wintry weather—they also may have dressed in order to communicate social identity, display tribal affiliations, and, indeed, to look good.

The researchers found that humans developed eyed sewing needles in what is now Siberia and China as early as 45,000 years ago. In Europe, clothing fabrication likely began around 26,000 years ago; it probably began some 13,000 years ago in North America.

For the new study, the research team examined Paleolithic period needles from a dig site in China. In addition, d’Errico and his colleagues uncovered evidence of extensive production sites for needles and garments. For example, at a site in the northern deserts of China, researchers extracted needles that were more than 10,000 years old, along with tools that may have aided their creation. Some of the needles are wide and flat, perhaps used to stitch thick hides. Others are narrow and circular, which may indicate they were used for delicate work such as embroidery.

The researchers also discovered that some of the world’s most sophisticated early stitch work may have come from North America. Sites in eastern Wyoming and central Washington yielded 13,000-year-old needles that have a striking level of refinement and suggest what the researchers call a “never previously achieved mastery” in needle production.

There’s other evidence for decorative dress in the Upper Paleolithic. For example, in a previous project, d’Errico and his colleague Marian Vanhaeren, an anthropologist at the University of Bordeaux, identified shells on the remains of a child in the Madeleine Cave in France, a site they attribute to the late Magdalenian period, around 10,000 years ago. Tiny holes hint that someone stitched these ornaments to the child’s clothing, though the textile itself has since disintegrated.

At the same time that the needle unleashed an aesthetic revolution in clothing, it might have signaled two other developments integral to human prehistory: the ability to travel long distances and the capacity for complex thought.


This new dating study of Bajondillo Cave, instead calibrates the replacement of Mousterian industries by Aurignacian ones there to between ~45-43,000 years ago, raising questions about the late survival of Neanderthals in southern Iberia. Further research is necessary to determine whether the new Bajondillo dating indicates an earlier replacement of Neanderthals across the whole of southern Iberia, or in fact, an altogether more complex scenario of co-existence over several millennia.

Co-author Jimenez-Espejo explains that the takeover by modern humans at the site at Bajondillo was not associated with a Heinrich (severe cooling) event, "Heinrich events represent the harshest and most variable climate conditions in Western Europe at the millennial scale, but at least in this Mediterranean coastal region, they did not control the Mousterian to Aurignacian transition."

Professor Chris Stringer, Research Leader at the Natural History Museum and co-author of the study, said 'Finding such an early Aurignacian from a cave so close to the sea adds to speculation that the Mediterranean coast could have been used by modern humans dispersing into Europe. This dating also fits with growing evidence that Homo sapiens had already spread rapidly across much of Eurasia more than 40,000 years ago'.

Considering the importance of coastal regions, co-author Arturo Morales-Muñiz suggested that the Bajondillo evidence also revives the idea that the Strait of Gibraltar could have been a potential dispersal route for early modern humans out of Africa.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


A stone circle in Aberdeenshire (Scotland) initially thought to be thousands of years old has been identified as a modern replica. An investigation into the site at the parish of Leochel-Cushnie found the stones to be about 20 years old.

It was originally thought to be the site of a recumbent stone circle - until the man who built it came forward.

The findings sparked excitement among experts and were widely reported, including our article here. They were initially celebrated as an authentic recumbent stone circle by Adam Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council's Archaeology Service. Further archaeological analysis of the stones was being conducted when a former owner of the farm contacted Mr Welfare to say he had built the stone circle in the 1990s.

"These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date. For this reason we include any modern replicas of ancient monuments in our records in case they are later misidentified. We always welcome reports of any new, modern reconstructions of ancient monuments, especially those built with the skill of this stone circle..."

Edited from BBC News, The Independent (21 January 2019)
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Sunday, January 20, 2019


A decision by Taiwan's National Palace Museum to lend a rare calligraphy to Japan's Tokyo National Museum has sparked outrage across China. On paper it seemed like a straightforward cultural exchange, so why has this prized masterpiece created 1,200 years ago caused so much anger today?

The calligraphy, titled Requiem to My Nephew, was painted by Yan Zhenqing - considered to be one of the greatest calligraphers in China. He lived between 709 to 785 AD. Yan Zhenqing wrote the piece in 759 AD, after he found that his nephew had died. "He's a household name in China," Fine Arts professor Tong Kam Tang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong told the BBC. Mr Tong said the piece of work was a draft by Yan Zhenqing, and so carried markings and scribbles written by the author, making it even more prized. The final piece has long been lost.

The artwork was preserved in China for centuries until it was taken to Taiwan in the 1940s - along with other Chinese antiquities - when Chinese nationalists defeated by communist forces fled to the island. It's been since kept securely in Taiwan's National Palace Museum - this is only the second time the work has been loaned overseas.
It was lent in 1997 to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, but has remained in Taiwan ever since.
The work is now being displayed in Tokyo as part of an exhibition titled "Unrivalled Calligraphy: Yan Zhengqing and His Legacy".

News of the loan shocked many users on Chinese social media site Weibo, many of whom reacted with anger. As of Tuesday, the hashtag "Requiem to My Nephew" has been read more than 260 million times on Weibo. Many people mentioned Japan and China's wartime history and the Japanese occupation, which remain raw subjects in China.

Chinese state media outlet the Global Times did not directly address any political concerns, but instead spoke to an expert who said that the relic was "in jeopardy while being transported", saying that sunlight would harm the ancient paper. According to the Global Times, Chinese law also does not allow "valuable cultural relics, especially paintings and calligraphy" to leave the country.


Nineteen years ago, the British government passed one of its periodic laws to manage how people move through the countryside. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act created a new “right to roam” on common land, opening up three million acres of mountains and moor, heath and down, to cyclists, climbers, and dog walkers.

It also set an ambitious goal: to record every public path crisscrossing England and Wales by January 1, 2026. The British Isles have been walked for a long time. They have been mapped, and mapped again, for centuries. But that does not mean that everything adds up, or makes sense.

Between them, England and Wales have around a hundred and forty thousand miles of footpaths, of which around ten per cent are impassable at any time, with another ten thousand miles that are thought to have dropped off maps or otherwise misplaced. Finding them all again is like reconstructing the roots of a tree.

In 2004, a government project, named Discovering Lost Ways, was given a fifteen-million-pound budget to solve the problem. It ended four years later, overwhelmed. “Lost Footpaths to Stay Lost,” the Daily Telegraph reported. Since then, despite the apparent impossibility of the task, the 2026 cutoff has remained on the statute books, leaving the job of finding and logging the nation’s forgotten paths to walkers, horse people, and other obsessives who can’t abide the muddled situation.

A couple of days into the New Year, with the deadline now only seven years off, I met Bob Fraser, a retired highway engineer, in a parking lot a few miles outside Truro, in Cornwall, in the far west of England. Fraser grew up in Cornwall and returned about thirty years ago, which is when he noticed that many footpaths were inaccessible or ended for no reason. “I suppose that got me interested in trying to get the problem sorted out,” he said. Since he retired, seven years ago, Fraser has been researching and walking more or less full time; in the past three years, he has applied to reinstate sixteen lost paths.

Fraser is a member of the Ramblers, the United Kingdom’s largest walking organization, and we were joined by Jack Cornish, who is in charge of the group’s Don’t Lose Your Way campaign. Cornwall is thought to be missing around two thousand public routes of one sort or another, and Fraser, who has a white beard, a quiet manner, and an easy, nimble gait, planned to show us a few he was working on. It was a flat, gray afternoon. Fraser led the way out of the parking lot, which faced a large sofa store, and onto the edge of a busy road.

In England, public paths are made by walking them. You can make a new, legally recognized footpath by simply treading up and down it, with a few friends, for a period of twenty years. Paths that weren’t recorded properly in the fifties have suffered the same fate in reverse. “Cross-field paths are a classic,” Cornish said. Most people who have attempted to walk across farmland in England are familiar with the experience of climbing over a stile into a plowed field, or rows of head-high corn, and having no idea where to go next. If a path isn’t labelled clearly on a map, or walked much, then landowners can be tempted to further confuse the situation, leaving the odd tangle of barbed wire, or a homemade sign, lending the route what Fraser described as “a private feel.” Until 2026, any public path can be reinstated, as long as there is documentary evidence that it used to exist. But, after the deadline, old maps and memories won’t matter any more. “This is a one-shot thing, really,” Cornish said. “So we need to make sure we do it right.”

Until last year, when Fraser applied for the path to be recorded, the owner of a nearby house had a gate across it, which was now gone. When you attempt to open an old path, you have to inform landowners who might be affected. “He said, ‘You’re just a troublemaker, you are,’ ” Fraser recalled. “And he stanked off.” “Stank” is a Cornish word for walk. Britain’s byways have their own language, too. One of the best sources for lost paths are old maps of the countryside made for tax purposes. Public rights of way show up between parcels of land called “hereditaments.” A valid claim to reinstate a lost path is known as “a reasonable allegation.” Campaigners refer to the 2026 deadline as the Extinguishment.

We followed the path until it ran alongside a house, where we found it blocked by a stone wall. Ahead of us, the outline of the track, framed by the sycamores, went up a hill, but the way was filled in with undergrowth. Fraser had evidence that it was a public path until 1910. He came across it, and the rest of the Maze, while walking on his lunch break. (His office was in an industrial park not far away.) I asked Fraser if he had been trying to get anywhere in particular. “Well, I roam about all over the place,” he said. He took out the map to try and explain. The Maze showed up as a tangle of white, indeterminate lines. “You go up here, and you go down this one,” Fraser said, his finger wandering across the countryside. “You can go out here to this one, or link up with this one.” Destination wasn’t the point. “There are all sorts of opportunities.”


haeologists have found evidence of early human activity at a submerged prehistoric forest in the Western Isles.
Lionacleit in Benbecula is one of more than 20 recorded sites of ancient woodland that once grew in the islands.
The remains included an early butchery site and stone tools used for preparing food. Archaeologists have described the discoveries at Lionacleit as "extra special". They found the remains of the area where animals had been butchered for food during studies of the site last year. Bone was also found with a piece of quartz from a stone tool and a quern stone, which was used for grinding food.

The Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (Scape) Trust, a charity that works out of the University of St Andrews, was alerted to the remains by local resident Ann Corrrance Monk. Joanna Hambly, a research fellow at Scape, said: "An unexpected discovery during the fieldwork was the realization that archaeological remains survived in the intertidal zone.

"These include a wall, the possible remains of sub-circular stone structures which could be houses, a quern stone and butchered animal bone associated with struck quartz tools. "To find the remains of a butchery site is incredibly rare - the survival of a single action in prehistory preserved in intertidal peats."

The sub-fossil trees at Lionacleit are the remnants of woodland that was once widespread across the Western Isles. Sub-fossils are matter that has been partially rather than fully fossilised. Scape said the forest was at its peak about 10,000 to 7,000 years ago and was a rich mix of birch, hazel, willow, aspen, rowan, oak, Scots pine, alder, ash and elm. From 6,000 to 4,500 years ago the woodland declined, and by about 2,800 to 2,500 years ago the isles "were more or less treeless", said Scape.

"None of these factors is unique to the Western Isles, but the trees growing here were at the limit of their environmental tolerance and so unlike other places, the forest didn't regenerate," said Dr Hambly. As well as the archaeological finds, more than 300 trees were mapped, sampled and identified. The majority of the trees were willow, with the occasional birch and Scots pine.

Archaeologists believe the site includes the possible remains of dwellings
The site at Lionacleit, along with others in the Western Isles, is at risk of coastal erosion.
She added: "When the radiocarbon dates have been processed, we will write up the story of Lionacleit and review what further research could be done at this fantastic site - or at similar sites.



Around 11,500 years ago, in what is now northeast Jordan, people began to live with dogs and may also have used them for hunting, according to a new study by archaeologists from the University of Copenhagen and University College London. They suggest that the introduction of dogs as hunting aids may explain the dramatic increase of hares and other small prey in the archaeological remains at the site.

Dogs were domesticated by humans as early as 14,000 years ago in the Near East, but whether this was accidental or deliberate remains unclear. The new research may suggest that humans valued the tracking and hunting abilities of early dogs more than previously known.

A study of animal bones from the 11,500-year-old settlement Shubayqa 6 in northeast Jordan not only suggests that dogs were present in this region at the start of the Neolithic period, but that humans and dogs likely hunted animals together. "The study of the large assemblage of animal bones from Shubayqa 6 revealed a large proportion of bones with unmistakable signs of having passed through the digestive tract of another animal; these bones are so large that they cannot have been swallowed by humans, but must have been digested by dogs," explained zooarchaeologist and the study's lead author, Lisa Yeomans.

Yeomans and her colleagues have been able to show that Shubayqa 6 was occupied year-round, which suggests that the dogs were living together with the humans rather than visiting the site when there were no inhabitants:

"The dogs were not kept at the fringes of the settlement, but must have been closely integrated into all aspects of day-to-day life and allowed to freely roam around the settlement, feeding on discarded bones and defecating in and around the site." Hares were hunted for their meat, but Shubayqa 6's inhabitants also used the hare bones to make beads. The team think that it is likely that the appearance of dogs and the increase in hares are related.

"The use of dogs for hunting small, fast prey such as hares and foxes, perhaps driving them into enclosures, could provide an explanation that is in line with the evidence we have gathered. The long history of dog use to hunt both small as well as larger prey in the region is well known, and it would be strange not to consider hunting aided by dogs as a likely explanation for the sudden abundance of smaller prey in the archaeological record," said Lisa Yeomans.

Read more at:

Sunday, January 13, 2019


“It’s really the history of our species that’s at risk in a lot of ways,” says Meghan Howey. She’s an archaeologist at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Humans have lived near the coast for thousands of years. In that time, they created and left behind many cultural sites that hold pieces of the past. These are famous places such as Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the central Pacific Ocean and the canal city of Venice in Italy. But they also include many smaller and lesser known sites. They range from Native American villages to early colonial settlements. If rising seas destroy these sites, “we’re going to lose [those people’s] stories too,” Howey says.

A rise of one meter (39 inches) in sea level threatens more than 13,000 U.S. archaeological sites in the Southeast alone, according to one 2017 report. David Anderson is an archaeologist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “If you want to learn about what people did in the past, archaeology is the best way to do that,” he says.

Anderson and other researchers recently used online data sets to look at the dangers posed by rising seas to cultural sites in the southeastern United States. A one-meter (39-inch) rise in sea level could destroy more than 13,000 of those places, they found. These include some well-known historical sites found in Jamestown in Virginia, St. Augustine in Florida, and Charleston, S.C. Many Native American sites also are at risk. That study looked at just one region. But elsewhere around the world, countless other sites also face risks from climate’s impact on sea level.

Howey did a similar count in New Hampshire. Up to 14 percent of the state’s heritage sites could be lost to sea level rise, she found. Studies have also found similar risks — in the range of 15 to 20 percent — globally, she notes. “And that’s only what we know about,” she adds.

Climate change is underway. So now is the time to start thinking about sea-level rise, Anderson says. “How are we going to protect the important places in the landscape? We need to know what’s out there and what’s threatened.” Otherwise, it may become too late to save at least some of these sites.

Efforts to limit the worst impacts from climate change, including sea level rise, will require cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, for example. And maybe taking steps to limit flooding in important areas. Another approach might be to move cultural treasures. But projects like that are often costly. It’s unlikely that funds to do that will be available for every site. And some treasures simply can’t be moved.

But high-tech tools might help preserve knowledge of those treasures before physical sites are lost, says Mark McCoy. He’s an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He recently suggested how this might be done at many sites in Polynesia. That’s an area composed of many Pacific low-lying islands.

Rising seas endanger many of those islands — and their cultural treasures. If researchers used only traditional methods to map those places, “most would be gone before you got to them,” he says. Satellites with cameras and other remote-sensing tools, however, can more quickly and easily find and map many of these sites, he says. Those data can also help researchers assess the risks to particular spots.


Following several international exhibitions, the belongings of the most famous pharaoh, Tutankhamun, are to roam six European countries in 2019, after they are displayed in France in March. The exhibition, named King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, will find a new temporary home in Paris, after it has been resting in Los Angeles, California, from March 2018. The France exhibition will kick off from 23 March to 15 September 2019.

Subsequently, it is planned to journey to six other countries, including Japan, the UK, Australia, and South Korea, where they are to be revealed in 10 cities. The temporary exhibition witnessed a huge success in the United Stated. Local media reported that it attracted more than 500 million visitors since it opened in March.

The exhibit will open its doors in the Grande Halle at La Villette, in cooperation with the Grand Exhibition Museum, which will hold its soft opening this year.

King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh will display: ‘150 fascinating original objects found in 1922 in the tomb of the most famous pharaohs, the majority of which have never left Egypt before,’ according to the Paris official website of the convention and visitors bureau. The ministry of antiquities previously stated that the exhibitions includes 166 relics belonging to King Tutankhamun, yet some of them are redundant.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany had formerly said the value of insurance coverage for the 166 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s belongings which will be exhibited abroad is estimated at $862m.

King Tutankhamun’s showcased belongings were originally transferred from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. The relics include alabaster pots, wooden boxes, and statues of the pharaoh.

The increase in the temporary exhibitions abroad is an effort on the part of the Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany to revive tourism in Egypt, and create a source of income for the ministry.

Local media reported that the ministry’s income from the past LA exhibition reached $5m, with four dollars going to the ministry for every ticket sold.

Anany explained the reason behind choosing Tutankhamen’s belongings to journey across Europe is that people have a love story with the young king pharaoh.

Before the museum opened its doors to the public in March, all 3,500 tickets of the exhibition were sold out, which led the museum to extend its opening time for three additional hours after the official working period, as regulations forbid hosting over 100 persons inside the museum at a time.

The first exhibition showcasing Egyptian artifacts in a foreign country, as part of the minster’s new policy, kicked off in Toronto, Canada, last year, and displayed the heritage and monuments of the Egyptian Fatimid era, while another demonstrated the artifacts of the cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were accidentally discovered under water after being lost for 1,000 years, whereas a third exhibition will soon be inaugurated for jewelry from ancient Egyptian eras.


Rare Stonehenge-Like Monument in Scotland Has Single 'Recumbent' Stone.

The ancient stone circle near the village of Alford, west of Aberdeen, was unknown to archaeologists until recently – but well-known to local people.

The ancient monumental structure — thought to be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old — consists of 10 stones, each about 3 feet (1 meter) high, standing in a circle about 25 feet (7.7 m) across.

The stone circle is located in a remote patch of farmland near the village of Alford, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Aberdeen.

The monument is an example of a "recumbent" stone circle, a style unique to the northeast of Scotland and the south-west of Ireland. This style has a large "recumbent" stone lying on its side between two upright stones, or "flankers," in the southwest of the circle. A member of the Aberdeenshire Council archaeological team, Neil Ackerman, told Live Science that the stone circle was "discovered" by archaeologists only in November of last year, after the land where it was located was sold.

"It really doesn't get much better than this," Ackerman said. "A lot of the recumbent stone circles that people have known about for a very long time only have two or three stones left — so to have one that is complete is quite unusual."


In the National Museum of Damascus, archaeologist Muntajab Youssef works on an ancient stone bust from Palmyra, one of hundreds of artifacts his team is painstakingly restoring after they were damaged by Islamic State.

Centuries-old statues and sculptures were wrecked by the jihadists when they twice seized control of the old city in central Syria during the country’s war, which will go into its ninth year in March. The 1,800-year-old bust of a bejewelled and richly clothed woman, The Beauty of Palmyra, was damaged during the first offensive on the city by Islamic State fighters in 2015.

After Syrian government forces took back the city with Russian military support in March 2016, the bust, alongside other damaged ancient monuments, was taken to Damascus and archived in boxes. When restoration work on it began last year, Youssef said it was in pieces. “The hands and face were lost completely, also parts of the dress and there are areas that are weaker,” Youssef, who has been working on the bust for two months, said.

Youssef is one of 12 archaeologists working on the arduous restoration job, which first began with the of moving the damaged pieces to Damascus. Mamoun Abdulkarim, the former Head of Syrian Antiquities, said that in some cases broken artifacts were transported in empty ammunition boxes provided by the Syrian army in Palmyra. How many artifacts there are in total is difficult to say, given the state they were found in.

“A big part of the documentation in the Palmyra museum, was damaged with the antiquities and computers,” archaeologist Raed Abbas said. “A statue needs pictures … in order to be rebuilt.”

Friday, January 11, 2019


It was called Camulodunum, which is a Romanisation of its Iron-Age name: the Fortress (-dunum) of Camulos, God of War.

Camulodunum was a hugely important site in pre-Roman times. It was most likely the royal stronghold of the Trinovantes, on whose behalf Julius Caesar invaded in 55 and 54 BC.

Colchester became Britain's first ever city.

In 60 or 61 AD, while the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus was leading a campaign in North Wales, Boudicca's Iceni warriors rebelled, defeating the Roman Ninth Legion and destroying the capital of Roman Britain, Colchester