Sunday, January 27, 2008

Irbil as tourist attraction

Irbil in northern Iraq -- or if you prefer, Kurdistan -- is the best existing example of how continuous occupation of sites resulted in the creation of "tells," hills made up of the rubble of previous layers of settlement. Irbil (sometimes spelled Arbil) is one city that after maybe 8,000 years is still sitting perched on all that rubble.

Alas, Irbil, at least the old central part of the city, is crumbling and few of the buildings there are still occupied. Bet that's happened before! The municipal authorities, according to this Associated Press/MSNBC story, see an opportunity here. Given a certain amount of investment and peace and quiet, this could be a unique tourist attraction!

I'd go in a heartbeat.

Thanks to Explorator for bringing this to my attention.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

From Explorator, May 2007

I have on occasion recommended the long-standing resource Explorator, an e-mail newsletter on archaeology and ancient history that comes out most Sundays. I often find the most amazing stuff there.

This past weekend had two topics that amazed me. One was out of Norway, where someone last August, high in the mountains, found a leather shoe in a snowdrift. First opinions were that it was a thousand years old!

Wrong!

They now think it is 3400 years old!

More searching of the ground led to finding arrows and a wooden spade.

Fallout from global warming?

Explorator also pointed me to a story from Britain, where the A-level exam in Ancient History was on the chopping block. That would mean that what North Americans call high school students could no longer specialize in that topic. Fans of ancient history fought back and won the day. One thing that helped is that they won the sympathy of the cabinet minister in charge of schools, who sits in the Lords. His title is Lord Adonis.

How could they lose with divinity intervening for the cause?

Image: A terra-cotta "Dying Adonis" from the second or third century BC.

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