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15th April 2019: Day of grief for France, the EU, Christianity and World Heritage. 20 April: Day of hope and remedy

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Photo credit: Sky News (News.sky.com)

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I waited for a few days for this tribute post on the destruction of a part of Notre Dame (the building’s spire and most of its roof had collapsed, and its upper walls had been severely damaged; extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed). As a European I grieve for this misfortune but I’m also so optimistic about its instauration: Tomorrow, I am sure that the Day of Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (according to the Catholic calendar – I happen to be an Orthodox) will also mark the start of the resurrection and total remedy of Notre Dame.

Taking into account the aspect of engineering, the damages are definitely repairable and that is the fortunate element in this misfortune for France and the EU.

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The earliest modern humans outside Africa

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Republication from science.sciencemag.org

Earliest modern humans out of Africa

Recent paleoanthropological studies have suggested that modern humans migrated from Africa as early as the beginning of the Late Pleistocene, 120,000 years ago. Hershkovitz et al. now suggest that early modern humans were already present outside of Africa more than 55,000 years earlier (see the Perspective by Stringer and Galway-Witham). During excavations of sediments at Mount Carmel, Israel, they found a fossil of a mouth part, a left hemimaxilla, with almost complete dentition.

The sediments contain a series of well-defined hearths and a rich stone-based industry, as well as abundant animal remains. Analysis of the human remains, and dating of the site and the fossil itself, indicate a likely age of at least 177,000 years for the fossil—making it the oldest member of the Homo sapiens clade found outside Africa.

Science, this issue p. 456; see also p. 389

 

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Half the population of the Viking-town Sigtuna were migrants

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Republication from Stockholm University

New analysis of the remains of 38 people who lived and died in the town of Sigtuna during the 10th, 11th and 12th century reveals high genetic variation and a wide scale migration. The study is the largest of its kind so far in Sweden and a combination of several methods, including DNA analysis and Strontium isotope analysis of teeth. The results are published in a new article in Current Biology.

Sigtuna is well known as one of the earliest actual cities in the area and was formally founded around 980 AD. More unknown is the fact that the picturesque town, which today is home to around 10 000 people, was a distinctly cosmopolitan place back then.

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Fortification plan of Vincennes, French fort of 14th century

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Fortification and architectural plan of Vincennes, French fort of the second half of 14th century.

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Πάλα (σπάθη) και Γιαταγάνι: δύο αγχέμαχα όπλα της Ελληνικής Επανάστασης 1821

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Στη σύζυγο μου Νέλλυ, για την έμπνευση και την ενθάρρυνση που μου προσφέρει.

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pala

Η πάλα του Νικηταρά του Τουρκοφάγου. Η οδοντωτή λεπίδα της ήταν ιδιαίτερα φονική και ανήκει σε αραβικό τύπο σπάθης.

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Περικλής  Δεληγιάννης
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Τα παρακάτω αγχέμαχα όπλα χρησιμοποιήθηκαν κατά την Επανάσταση του 1821-1829 τόσο από τους Ελληνες μαχίμους όσο και από τους Αλβανούς, Τούρκους και Αιγύπτιους αντιπάλους τους.
Η «πάλα» ήταν κυρτή σπάθη κεντροασιατικής απώτερης προέλευσης, συχνά με ευρεία λεπίδα. Ο μαχητής την έφερε σε «θηκάρι» (ξιφοθήκη) το οποίο άλλοτε στερεωνόταν στο «σελάχι» του και άλλοτε αναρτάτο στην αριστερή πλευρά του με τελαμώνα, ο οποίος στηριζόταν στον δεξιό ώμο. Κυρίως οι ναυτικοί την αναρτούσαν με τον δεύτερο τρόπο, αλλά τη χρησιμοποιούσαν σπάνια.

giatagani1

Διάφοροι τύποι γιαταγανιων.  Η κόψη της λεπίδας βρίσκεται στην κοίλη πλευρά, όπως στην περιπτωση της αρχαίας κοπίδος ή φαλκάτας. Το τρίτο από πάνω γιαταγανι της εικόνας ανήκει σε έναν υστερότερο τύπο με σχεδόν ευθεία λεπίδα.

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Yamnaya nomadic herders may have swept into Bronze Age Europe, transforming the local people

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Republication from www.sciencemag.org

 

[map of Yamnaya culture from Wikimedia commons]

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Call it an ancient thousand man march. Early Bronze Age men from the vast grasslands of the Eurasian steppe swept into Europe on horseback about 5000 years ago—and may have left most women behind. This mostly male migration may have persisted for several generations, sending men into the arms of European women who interbred with them, and leaving a lasting impact on the genomes of living Europeans.

“It looks like males migrating in war, with horses and wagons,” says lead author and population geneticist Mattias Jakobsson of Uppsala University in Sweden.

 

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