Fr Stephen Smuts

Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

ISIS Blows Up Arch of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra

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Discovery News is reporting:

Islamic State extremists have blown up the famous Arch of Triumph in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s head of antiquities said Monday, as the jihadists press their campaign to tear down the treasured heritage site.

ISIS’ destruction of art in Iraq’s Mosul Museum generated a lot of outrage. Was there an ideological reason for the raid or was it vandalism?

“We have received news from the site that the Arch of Triumph was destroyed yesterday (Sunday). IS bobby-trapped it several weeks ago,” antiquities director Maamun Abdulkarim told AFP.

IS has carried out a sustained campaign of destruction against heritage sites in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq, and in mid-August beheaded the ancient city’s 82-year-old former antiquities chief.

The jihadists have already destroyed the shrine of Baal Shamin and the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel, regarded as Palmyra’s masterpiece, since overrunning the citadel in May.

The Arch of Triumph, situated at the entrance of the ancient ruins’ historic colonnaded street, was an “icon of Palmyra,” Abdulkarim said, warning that IS fighters have already laid explosives in other monuments.

“This is a systematic destruction of the city. They want to raze it completely,” he said.

“They want to destroy the amphitheatre, the colonnade. We now fear for the entire city,” he added, calling on the international community to “find a way to save Palmyra.”…

Rest here.

I’m afraid it may already be too late for the site by now.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 5, 2015 at 20:48

Mona Lisa’s Bones Found?

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It’s on Discovery News, so don’t get your hopes up…

Italian archaeologists trying to solve the mystery behind the identity of one of the world’s most famous models said Wednesday that they had found shards of bone which could have belonged to Mona Lisa.

The team is certain that Florentine Lisa Gherardini was the mysterious woman who sat for Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait, but after years of research on skeletons unearthed in the Tuscan city, they have just one bit of femur that might match — and even that is too damaged for DNA testing.

Shards of bone? They could belong to anyone. No, they’re grabbing at straws here, I’m afraid.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

September 24, 2015 at 19:37


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