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Amanda Crum writing in WebProNews reports that –
News out of France concerning Prehistoric cave drawings that were animated by torch-light is taking the art history world by storm, and has overwhelmed this artist to the point of awe.
The cave drawings were found by archaeologist Marc Azema and French artist Florent Rivere, who suggest that Palaeolithic artists who lived as long as 30,000 years ago used animation effects on cave walls, which explains the multiple heads and limbs on animals in the drawings. The images look superimposed until flickering torch-light is passed over them, giving them movement and creating a brief animation.
“Lascaux is the cave with the greatest number of cases of split-action movement by superimposition of successive images. Some 20 animals, principally horses, have the head, legs or tail multiplied,” Azéma said.
Chimney Rock Archaeological Site: Image credit US National Forest Service
Writing in The Examiner on Friday, 21 September, Stacey Witting reports that –
Today, President Obama exercised his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a new national monument at Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in Colorado. The president’s decision provides this irreplaceable site — sometimes called “America’s Stonehenge” — with permanent protection and a designation equal to its historic and cultural importance. The 4,726-acre Chimney Rock Archaeological area located in San Juan National Forest which is a mecca for hikers.
President Obama’s decision—only the third time he has exercised his authority [in this way] — comes in response to a grassroots campaign conceived and led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which engaged a diverse coalition including a bipartisan group of local and statewide elected officials, Puebloan and tribal leaders and private citizens. In May, the National Trust named Chimney Rock a National Treasure, one of the irreplaceable places that epitomize the American story but face distinct threats.
The history and cultural significance of Chimney Rock predate the exploration and settlement of North America. Between A.D. 925 and 1125, the Chacoans built a residential and ceremonial village and inhabited the Chimney Rock mesa, establishing the most northeastern and highest known Chacoan site.
The ancient Chacoans were great engineers, architects and astronomers. Among their ceremonial and residential structures on the mesa is the Great House Pueblo which was likely used as an observatory for the rare Northern Lunar Standstill. During the standstill the moon aligns between Chimney Rock’s double spires. This extraordinary lunar alignment has earned Chimney Rock the nickname “America’s Stonehenge.”
Full article here.
Barry Cunliffe Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Oxford
Miranda Aldhouse-Green Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University
Justin Champion Professor of the History of Early Modern Ideas at Royal Holloway, University of London
Producer: Thomas Morris.
The equinox sun rising between two menhirs at Punkri Burwadih, India
For a full report on the restoration of the fallen menhir of Punkri Burwadih see our earlier report by Subhashis Das here.
This Initiative offers to the States Parties a possibility to evaluate and recognize the importance of this specific heritage, in terms of enrichment of the history of humanity, the promotion of cultural diversity and the development of international exchanges.
It provides an opportunity not only to identify the sites connected with astronomy but also of keeping their memory alive and preserving them from progressive deterioration, through the inscription on the World Heritage List of the most representative properties.
Why “Astronomy” and World Heritage”
The sky, our common and universal heritage, forms an integral part of the total environment that is perceived by mankind. Including the interpretation of the sky as a theme in World Heritage is a logical step towards taking into consideration the relationship between mankind and its environment. This step is necessary for the recognition and safeguarding of cultural properties and of cultural or natural landscapes that transcribe the relationship between mankind and the sky.
This touring exhibition has been developed in a partnership between Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums and the British Museum. More than 130 objects, some never before seen outside London, have been chosen by the venues to explore the myths and realities of kingship in ancient Egypt.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
14 July – 14 October 2012
Great North Museum: Hancock
Newcastle upon Tyne
16 July – 25 September 2011
Dorset County Museum, Dorchester
17 October 2011 – 22 January 2012
Leeds City Museum
10 February – 17 June 2012
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
7 July – 14 October 2012
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
3 November 2012 – 24 February 2013
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
15 March – 9 June 2013
Supported through the generosity of the Dorset Foundation. More here.
The Jonoyama Tomb excavation trench in Tainai, Niigata Prefecture where burial accessories including a bow and lacquered quiver from the 4th century CE were found.
Image credit The Mainichi Shinbun
The Mainich Shinbun reports that –
Burial accessories including a bow and lacquered quiver held as signs of influence from Japan’s Kinki [western] region have been unearthed from the fourth century Jonoyama tomb in Tainai, Niigata Prefecture — a sign that the authority of the Yamato government had extended to northern Niigata some 300 years earlier than originally thought.
The “Nihon Shoki” (Chronicles of Japan), a book of Japanese history completed in 720, states that the Nutari stockade, a symbol of the sphere of influence of the Yamato government, was built in 647 for the subjugation of the Emishi people from northern Japan. This is the oldest reference to the Yamato government’s influence along the Sea of Japan side of the country. The stockade is believed to have been erected in what is now northern Niigata city.
The latest discovery, however, suggests that influence of the Yamato government had spread north some 300 years earlier than thought. Previously, the furthest north such burial accessories had been found was in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, at the Kokubu Amazuka No. 1 and 2 tombs sites.
Full article here.
It will then travel to Canada where it will be placed on another important line the 49th parallel, at The International Peace Garden on the Manitoba, North Dakota border. The 49th parallel connects with the city of Paris so those who installed this border in 1866 were celebrating the link between Europe and the North American continent.
How can you share in this project? You have the opportunity to share by simply sending best wishes or you may even have the opportunity to touch the Bluestone at a place near where you live. (Itinerary coming soon).
Other rocks travelling round the USA and Canada at the same time will be placed either side of the British Rock and eventually rocks from all over the world will join them.
These rocks will then be placed in a special shape called a Catenary. This is the “angle of the dangle” as in a necklace and there are two reasons why we have chosen this shape. On its journey it will touch upon places where sacred geometry has been used including The International Peace Garden itself. Some of those geometries go back thousands of years but the Catenary was only discovered in the 18th Century, so we celebrate the ongoing development of such things.
The second reason is to honour the Native Indians, the First People of this special region, as part of their symbolic apparel was the necklace.
“War is good for us,” he says of the community of smugglers that regularly transit the nearby border. “We buy antiquities cheap, and then sell weapons expensively.” That business, he says, is about to get better. Fighters allied with the Free Syrian Army units battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have told him that they are developing an association of diggers dedicated to finding antiquities in order to fund the revolution. “The rebels need weapons, and antiquities are an easy way to buy them,” says Abu Khaled, who goes by his nickname in order to protect his identity.
A guest feature by Subhashis Das.
Subhashis Das is well known for his work recording and publicising the rich megalithic heritage of Indian. In this feature he describes how, with the help of local officials, friends and villagers, the fallen megalith of Punkri Burwadih was restored to its original position.
The Punkri Burwadih in all her glory
Punkri Burwadih is perhaps the most eminent megalith of India, yet it is not protected by the government. Here people gather to view the Equinox sunrises twice every year during the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes thereby making it the only megalith in India for this purpose.
The fallen menhir. Aloke Rana stands by (a depressed) me
The Equinox sun rising from between the two menhirs. The menhir M1 is a major stone as along with its partner M2 the Equinox and the Summer Solstice sunrises are visible through the “V” notch procured due to their positioning
7th August 11:30am.
On the morning of 7th August one of the Hindi National Dailies reported the falling of one of the menhirs at Punkri Burwadih. The news was also conveyed to me on Facebook. This was heart-wrecking. I, along with one of my co-workers Aloke Rana, dashed to the site some 23 kms from my hometown of Hazaribagh. What I saw there could not stop my tears from gushing out. One of the main menhirs, M1, which along with the other menhir, M2, enabled the creation of the “V” form, had fallen. Seeing me the villagers immediately gathered. I was told by Krishna Sao, my local help, that village children every day would climb or dash upon it after a race… this being done everyday, and with the earth around it becoming loose due to the heavy rains, were the factors which caused the menhir to fall.
We immediately rushed to the Block Office to meet the local Block Development Officer. He, being absent, the Circle Officer in charge had already read of the catastrophe in the papers and was expecting me. He assured me of immediate help and whatever else I needed. I requested the local administration to immediately have the menhir restored to her original position. The CO agreed to do this under my supervision and the date that was fixed for the job was the next day.
To have the menhir M1 to her earlier place, I was to keep a few things in mind:
1) The azimuth of the stone as it was oriented towards the Winter solstice sunrise.
2) Her incline towards the Summer Solstice sunset so much so that the peak of the Mahudi Hills in the southern horizon was perfectly viewed between the M1 and M2 menhirs.
3) The correct tilt to her left (North) so as to regain the “V” window to view the Summer Solstice and the Equinox sunrises once again.
Would I be able to do it?
8th August 10:00am.
The local administration in response to my plea of yesterday had sent a man named Chotu with a few helping hands. They had shovels, ropes, iron rods and a few other implements.
The villagers help in the digging
I was nervous but even felt blessed to be able to restore this menhir of the ancestors. Aloke kept cheering me saying that the endeavour would be successful. The digging began and soon the broken part of the menhir was exposed. A few more stones which were used to hold the stones at the desired angle too were visible. A small cinerary urn which housed two rusted “singhis” was exposed. These singhis contain the ashes and the bones of the dead. This artefact wasn’t old as it formed a part of the local “satbharwan” ritual.
One of the two singhis found in a broken cinerary pitcher. This was replaced during the cementing of the broken menhir
Aloke supervises while Chotu looks worried
Discussing the tilt and the incline of the megalith according to old photographs
The setting up of the megalith
The villagers too leant a hand hauling the heavy menhir, with Aloke supervising the entire process. Rope and logs of wood were used to restore the stone to its original position. I too meticulously ensured all the alignments I had earlier mentioned and attained the desired positions, only thereafter mortar was put in the pit to secure the stone and finally, by 3:30, she was set. Prior to the pouring of the cement, the broken urn and its contents along, with the excavated stones, were replaced.
The menhir finally stands on the broken segment of the megalith… and there you are… the fallen stone again sits pretty next to her lifelong partner
Part of the triumphant team
Everyone was exhausted after the ordeal but were happy and satisfied seeing the stone once again in her original position… a difficult job satisfactorily done with everyone’s assistance. I wondered how long it will remain safe but I knew I would have a good night’s sleep that night!
A full report on the restoration of the fallen menhir of Punkri Burwadih by Subhashis Das can be found on his Megaliths of India website. See also his Megaliths of India: Part I. Save Rola megaliths from destruction feature here, Megaliths of India: Part II, and Megaliths of India: Part III. The Enormous Megalithic Site of Chokahatu, the Land of Mourning.
We don’t really know why megaliths were arranged in a certain way but it seems likely that one reason had something to do with an interest in astronomy; another reason perhaps was to do with ceremony – a place were people gathered at certain times. As far as we know the rock gardens of the Far East have nothing to do with astronomical observations, nor were they places where large numbers of people gathered; they were used for quiet contemplation by individuals, or a place where a small group of individuals might gather for the same reason.
* Alan Booth. Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan. ISBN 1568361483.