Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Archive for June, 2014

Israel and Kurdistan is joining hands!

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

  Iraqi Kurds Send Israel First Oil Delivery From Disputed Kurdish Pipeline

 Iraqi Kurds Send Israel First Oil Delivery From Disputed Kurdish Pipeline

A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan’s new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer. The SCF Altai tanker arrived at Israel’s Ashkelon port early on Friday morning, ship tracking and industry sources said. By the evening, the tanker began unloading the Kurdish oil, a source at the port said.

The port authority at Ashkelon declined to comment. Securing the first sale of oil from its independent pipeline is crucial for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as it seeks greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq. But the new export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad’s federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights between the central government and the Kurds.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, does not support independent oil sales by the Kurdish region and has warned possible buyers against accepting the cargoes. Israeli leaders have been alarmed in recent months, however, by signs of a possible rapprochement between Washington and Iran. Officials said Israel was keen to build good ties with the Kurds, hoping to expand its limited diplomatic network in the Middle East and broaden options for energy supplies.

Israeli dairy farm planned in northern Iraq

Israeli dairy farm planned in northern Iraq

It sounds like an imaginary story, but the plan is already in action: Kibbutz Afikim in the Jordan Valley is planning to set up an Israeli dairy farm in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, with the hopes that Baghdad’s residents will get to enjoy its products in the future.

The project is currently taking place under a veil of secrecy as a delegation led by Kurdistan’s agriculture minister and vice president visited the offices of AfiMilk in the kibbutz recently.

The two officials expressed their interest in purchasing an advanced milking facility and receiving professional support in a bid to build a dairy farm in northern Iraq according to the successful Israeli model.

The AfiMilk company has a global reputation in this field and has so far built dairy farms in more than 50 countries. Three of them – Texas, Beijing, and Vietnam – are among the biggest in the world. The company has also established a modern day dairy farm in Mongolia and a camel milking facility in Dubai.

The Israeli dairy farm in Kurdistan is expected to be the biggest and most advanced in Iraq, and the plan is that the residents of Iraq will enjoy its products as well.

An Israeli delegation of dairy farmers and engineers is planning a visit to northern Iraq to begin implementing the plan in the next few weeks.

Execution: With brutal efficiency, ISIS has carved out a large chunk of territory that has effectively erased the border between Iraq and Syria and laid the foundations of its proto-state

Execution:

With brutal efficiency, ISIS has carved out a large chunk of territory that has effectively erased the border between Iraq and Syria and laid the foundations of its proto-state.

Announcement: ISIS militants (pictured) have formally declared the establishment of a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast stretches of the Middle East that have fallen under its control

Announcement:

ISIS militants (pictured) have formally declared the establishment of a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast stretches of the Middle East that have fallen under its control.

Caliphate: A map purportedly showing the areas ISIS plans to have under its control within five years has been widely shared online. As well as the Middle East, North Africa and large areas of Asia, it also reveals ISIS' ambition to extend into Europe. Spain, which was Muslim-ruled until the late 15th Century, would form part of the caliphate, as would the Balkan states and eastern Europe, up to and including Austria

Caliphate:

Upon declaring a caliphate, the Sunni militants proclaimed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (bottom right) the leader of the world’s Muslims under his new name Caliph Ibrahim. ISIS demanded allegiance from Muslims around the world to use social media to show their support.

A map purportedly showing the areas ISIS plans to have under its control within five years has been widely shared online. As well as the Middle East, North Africa and large areas of Asia, it also reveals ISIS’ ambition to extend into Europe. Spain, which was Muslim-ruled until the late 15th Century, would form part of the caliphate, as would the Balkan states and eastern Europe, up to and including Austria.

In an interview with Al-Akhbar, the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Antioch, Gregory III Laham, stressed that takfiris – radical Islamists who declare their opponents as apostates – target all Syrians, “but especially Christians as of late, being the weakest link.”

ISIL organized a book burning of Bibles and Christian books in front of the Greek – Catholic church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Raqqa, the Syrian city which has been for months under the control of anti-Assad militias.

Syrian Christians under ‘dhimmi’ in al-Raqqa

Al-Qaeda rebels in Syria extort Christians

Syria crisis: ISIS imposes rules on Christians in Raqqa

Syrian activists flee abuse in al-Qaeda-run Raqqa

Life in Raqqa in the Year Since the Regime Withdrew

ISIS enforces strict religious law in Raqqa

ISIL militants destroy historical mosque in Raqqa

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Support: Following ISIS' demands that Muslims around the world declare their allegiance to the caliphate, some already appear to be doing so. This photograph, apparently taken in the Netherlands, has been share online by ISIS supporters

Support:

Following ISIS’ demands that Muslims around the world declare their allegiance to the caliphate, some already appear to be doing so. This photograph, apparently taken in the Netherlands, has been share online by ISIS supporters.

The flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flutters on the pointed dome of the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sept. 28 (left). ISIL fighters entered the Armenian church, torched the furnishings inside, and destroyed a cross atop its clock tower (shown in photo on the right, taken Sept. 16), replacing it with the Islamist group’s flag.

Syria: Al-Qaida Islamist Rebels Storm Churches and Smash Crucifixes in Ar-Raqqah

Raqqa is considered ISIS’ main operational base

The Seleucid king Seleukos II Kallinikos (reigned 246–225 BC) founded ar-Raqqah as the eponymous city of Kallinikos. In the Byzantine period, the city was briefly named Leontoupolis (Λεοντόπολις or “city of Lèon”, in Greek) by the emperor Leo I (reigned 457–474 AD), but the name Kallinikos prevailed.

In 542, the city was destroyed by the invasion of the Persian Sasanid Shahanshah Khusrau I Anushirvan (reigned 531–579), but was subsequently rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (reigned 527–565).

In the 6th century, Kallinikos became a center of Assyrian monasticism. Dayra d’Mār Zakkā, or the Saint Zacchaeus Monastery, situated on the tell just north of the city, today’s Tall al-Bi’a, became renowned.

A mosaic inscription there is dated to the year 509, presumably from the period of the foundation of the monastery. Daira d’Mār Zakkā is mentioned by various sources up to the 10th century.

The second important monastery in the area was the Bīzūnā monastery or ‘Dairā d-Esţunā’, the ‘monastery of the column’. In the 9th century, when ar-Raqqah served as capital of the western half of the Abbasid Caliphate, this monastery became the seat of the Syriac Patriarch of Antioch.

In the year 18/639 the Muslim conqueror ‘Iyāḍ ibn Ghanm took the Christian city Kallinikos by contract. Since then, it figured in Arabic sources as ar-Raqqah, but still in Assyrian sources the name of Kallinikos remained.

In 20/640–1 the earliest congregational mosque in the Jazira was built in the predominantly Christian city. Many companions of the Prophet Muhammad used to live in ar-Raqqah. The Battle of Siffin took place here and thus the tombs of Ammar ibn Yasir and Uwais al-Qarni are located in ar-Raqqah.

The strategic importance of ar-Raqqah grew during the wars at the end of the Umayyad period and the beginning of the Abbasid regime. Ar-Raqqah lay on the crossroads between Syria and Iraq and the road between Damascus, Palmyra, the temporary caliphal residence Resafa, ar-Ruha’ and the Byzantine and Caucasian theaters of raids and wars.

Between 771–772 the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur built a garrison city about 200 metres to the west of ar-Raqqah for a detachment of his Khorasanian Persian army. It was named ar-Rāfiqah, “the companion”. The strength of the Abbasid imperial military is still visible in the impressive city wall of ar-Rāfiqah.

Ar-Raqqah and ar-Rāfiqah merged into one urban complex, together larger than the former Umayyad capital Damascus. In 796, the caliph Harun al-Rashid decided for ar-Raqqah/ar-Rafiqah as his imperial residence. For about thirteen years ar-Raqqah was the capital of the Abbasid empire stretching from Northern Africa to Central Asia, while the main administrative body remained in Baghdad.

Ar-Raqqah

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.timesofisrael.com/blogs/uploads/2014/01/raqqa01.jpg

The Remains of the historic Baghdad gate

The region of Raqqa was the scene of clashes between the army of Assad and the militias of the opposition in March. In March 2013, during the Syrian civil war, Islamist jihadist militants from Al-Nusra Front and other groups overran the government loyalists in the city and declared it under their control after seizing the central square and pulling down the statue of the former president of Syria Hafez al-Assad.

After the withdrawal of the government army, internal clashes between the anti-regime Free Syrian Army battalions and groups of the ISIL began. The stated purpose of this faction is the creation of an Islamic caliphate in the areas which have fallen under its control. To do this, civilians are subjected to campaigns of indoctrination and fanaticization – based on jiahdist ideology. The Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front set up a sharia court at the sports centre and in early June 2013 the ISIL said they were open to receive complaints at their Raqqa headquarters.

Since May 2013 the ISIS has been increasing its control over the city, at the expense of the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front. The ISIS has executed Alawites and suspected supporters of Bashar al-Assad in the city and attacked the city’s Shia mosques and Christian churches such the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs, which has since been converted into an ISIS headquarters. The Christian population of Ar-Raqqah, which was estimated to be up to 10% before the civil war began, has largely fled the city.

Already in September several videos circulating online had documented the vandalism committed against the two churches in the city of Raqqa by militants of ISIL, with the destruction of crosses, statues and sacred images.In Raqqa, in late July, the Roman Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio was kidnapped. As reconstructed by Fides Agency the main suspects in the kidnapping of father Paolo are the affiliates of ISIL.

According to Tim Whewell of the BBC News, Ar-Raqqah might be the “largest city in the world to ever be controlled by al-Qaeda”. On January 2014 it was reported that ISIS militants in the city gained control of the western part of a Syrian army base, while the group closed all educational institutions in the city, where it has withstood rebel assaults.

Protests: The group has called for Muslims around the world to swear their allegiance to the Islamic state. In Shi'ite-dominated Iran, however, there have been widespread demonstrations against the Islamist militants

Protests:

The group has called for Muslims around the world to swear their allegiance to the Islamic state. In Shi’ite-dominated Iran, however, there have been widespread demonstrations against the Islamist militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that the Tel Aviv regime is ready to expand its military operations in the besieged Gaza Strip. He said on Sunday that Tel Aviv was prepared to widen its operations in the besieged enclave, and that the almost-nightly strikes on Gaza could be expanded if need be.

The remarks come as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for the reoccupation of Gaza as Israeli military forces are gearing up for a possible all-out war on the impoverished territory. Israeli warplanes have already conducted a dozen airstrikes in central and southern Gaza since Saturday, injuring a number of Palestinians.

Besides this Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a fresh media campaign against Iran in an attempt to undermine a final deal between Tehran and the P5+1 over the country’s nuclear energy program, Reuters reported.

On Sunday, Netanyahu launched a media blitz against Iran in interviews with broadcasters from the six world powers involved in the talks with Tehran, including CNN, Britain’s Sky News, Germany’s ARD radio, China’s CCTV, France 24 and Channel 1 Russia. What doesn’t Israel do to hinder a country to develop?

When it comes to Iraq he expressed his opposition to widescale American intervention in the Iraq crisis, advising President Obama that “when your enemies are fighting one another, don’t strengthen either one of them. Weaken both.”

The Israeli regime seeks to divide Arab countries into sub-divisions on religious and ethnic grounds to gain legitimacy in the region, a political analyst tells Press TV.”The raison d’être of Israel is totally in conflict with the raison d’être of the Arab states,” Jamal Wakim, professor at the Lebanese International University, said in an intervjiewwith Press TV.

In Syria militants from ISIL have declared the captured territories from Iraq’s Diyala province to Syria’s Aleppo a new Islamic State – a ‘caliphate.’ In an audio recording distributed on extremist websites on Sunday, ISIL’s spokesman, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani declared the terrorist group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”.

The new Islamic State has marked its borders, spanning the territory captured by the group in a bloody rampage, from Iraq’s volatile Diyala province to Syria’s war-torn Aleppo. They removed ‘Iraq and the Levant’ from their name and urged other radical Sunni groups to pledge their allegiance.

ISIS announced that it should now be called ‘The Islamic State’ and declared its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as “the caliph” of the new state and “leader for Muslims everywhere,” the radical Sunni militant group said in an audio recording distributed online on Sunday.

This is the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 that a Caliph – which means a political successor to Prophet Muhammad – has been declared. The decision was made following the group’s Shura Council meeting on Sunday, according to ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani.

Obama has been backing al Qaeda jihadists in Syria since last year. ISIS in Syria has been enjoying US Aid long before their invasion of Iraq, so why would Obama want to continue to fund these slaughterers? History has shown that ISIS gets the aid. They have seized our military equipment in Iraq, as well as hundreds of millions in Iraqi bank assets. – See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/06/syrian-jihadists-fight-iraq-obama-seeks-500-million-congress-help-moderate-syrian-rebels.html/#sthash.tqwI18uh.dpuf

Obama has been backing al Qaeda jihadists in Syria since last year. ISIS in Syria has been enjoying US Aid long before their invasion of Iraq, so why would Obama want to continue to fund these slaughterers? History has shown that ISIS gets the aid. They have seized US military equipment in Iraq, as well as hundreds of millions in Iraqi bank assets.

Obama has been under strong pressure from some lawmakers, such as Republican Senator John McCain Of Arizona, to increase assistance to the rebels in Syria’s three-year-old civil war. Some lawmakers have accused Obama of being passive and indecisive for months, allowing Assad to repulse a threat to his government. Obama has now seeken $500 million from Congress to help “moderate” Syrian rebels.

Wayne Madsen, an American author and investigative journalist, says CIA director John Brennan who is “a known Saudiphile” has played a key role in the creation and rise of ISIL. Washington’s trainings and provision of arms and cash to militants in Iraq and Syria gave rise to the brutal militancy.

As with al-Qaeda whose origin is traceable to “the US war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan,” Madsen explained, “we’ve once again supported and trained and given cash to the same elements and now we’ve got the rise of ISIL in Iraq and Syria and possibly they’re going to take this war into Jordan and beyond because they’ve changed their name now to the Islamic caliphate, [or] the Islamic state.”

US support to terrorism both home and abroad is without comparisons, and the US policy in the world of today is like living in the Roman Empire under the rule of Rome, the Pax Americana they call it, but it is maybe be more correct to say The New world Order, since that is what it really is. The US has got the task to ensure the world system we have today, where 67 people own more than half of the world population etc.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden, who is also a retired four star general and a former director of the NSA, believes Iraq has ceased to exist as an actual country. “I think Iraq has pretty much ceased to exist,” said Hayden. “It’s divided into three parts. … I don’t see them getting back together and we need to deal with that reality.”

Hayden explained: “You’ve got Kurdistan which is quite healthy. You’ve got Sunnistan which right now is controlled by terrorists, and you’ve got the rough state of Iraq which I’ll call Shiastan which is the only part under [Iraqi Prime Minister] Nouri al’Maliki’s control.”

As terrorist juggernaut ISIS tears through Iraq and Syria on its quest to build a new caliphate, calls for Maliki’s resignation are getting louder. “The impression I have is that neither the United States or Europe or the Arab states want him anymore,” said Saleh al-Mutlaq, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq. “He did not lead an inclusive government, terrorism has increased and we reached the point where we are today.”

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on the other hand has reaffirmed the importance of strengthening cooperation among regional countries to combat terrorists, stressing that the era of violence and terrorism has passed.

“I hope that terrorists would realize the firm determination of regional Muslim governments in fighting terrorism and know that our era is not one of killing and terrorism,” President Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday.

He added that Iran and Qatar can make constructive efforts to restore peace and stability to the region in cooperation with each other. Who belive Qatar wants to do that? Nobody I think. However, Rouhani anyway suceed to make his point.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Damascus on Saturday that his country “will not remain passive” as jihadists push an offensive in Syria’s neighbour Iraq. “Russia will not remain passive to the attempts by some groups to spread terrorism in the region,” Ryabkov told journalists after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia has been quite passive, just looking at the terror and horror followingin the footsteps of the US imperialism. They don’t want more weapons and the surely don’t want war, but something have to be done, and the US, Israel, ISIL etc stopped. Russia has to gain powerful friends around the world and do what’s correct.

Obama has been under strong pressure from some lawmakers, such as Republican Senator John McCain Of Arizona, to increase assistance to the rebels in Syria’s three-year-old civil war. Some lawmakers have accused Obama of being passive and indecisive for months, allowing Assad to repulse a threat to his government. – See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/06/syrian-jihadists-fight-iraq-obama-seeks-500-million-congress-help-moderate-syrian-rebels.html/#sthash.tqwI18uh.dpuf

At the same time lawmakers in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for the creation of an independent Kurdish state, and that, “We should… support the Kurdish aspiration for independence.

Mardan Khadr Zebary, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK), thanked Netanyahu on Sunday, saying the Kurdistan region and Israel face the same enemies, while Bayar Tahir Dosky, also from the PDK, said the Israeli premier’s call made them happy, as he tried to “support us and give the Kurds and Kurdistan their rights.”

Earlier in the day, Kurdish Peshmerga forces seized heavy weapons and military equipment in Kirkuk governorate, claiming it as part of their own territory.

On Friday, Masoud Barzani, the president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said that the KRG will not return oil-rich Kirkuk to Baghdad. Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk after Iraqi troops entered a battle with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) earlier this month.

In recent years the KDP has been heavily criticized internally and from international NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Committee to Protect Journalists for corruption, nepotism, and violence against dissidents.

According to the Financial Times, both the KDP and PUK became wealthy recipients of Iraq’s oil money transferred to them in cash by Paul Bremer. On 10/12/2004 the Financial Times reported that Ed Rogers deposited $500 million in Swiss bank accounts on behalf of Massoud Barzani.

On Al-Jazeera’s “Inside Iraq”, London-based Kurdish dissident Kamal Majid, a professor emeritus at the University of Cardiff, said: — “When we talk about corruption, we are not talking about little things or little people. We are talking about Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani. When Massoud Barzani invests $500 million in the Swiss banks with the use of – with the help of Ed Rogers, an associate of President Bush, when he has Duhok as a center for smuggling cigarettes to Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran, when he makes deals with oil companies such as Talisman and receives $220 million, when a company like Nokan which is a PUK company controls 750 – 760 dunhams of land from Tooy-Malik in Sulaymaniyah to Goizja and a further 200,000 meters, when the government of Kurdis – KRG in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil take over land from major places like the Ministry of Defence, like the Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Trade and Education, we are not talking about small scale corruption, we are talking about large scale corruption committed by Massoud Barzani personally and Jalal Talabani personally.”

Most recently, when the Movement for Change called for the resignation of the Cabinet and the disbanding of the Kurdistan Regional Government following the 2011 Egyptian protests, the KDP responded to the accompanying protests against the Kurdistan Regional Government, by opening fire, killing two protesters and wounding several others. Later in the evening, they burnt down several buildings belonging to Movement for Change, including a TV and radio station.

This has led to more demonstrations and public outrage. Both governing and opposing parties criticized the party for causing unnecessary unrest, stating that there is no need for the Kurdish government to step down. Both Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch have urged for the protests to be allowed and for an independent investigation into the killings to be made.

To use the ongoing spectacle and horror now happening in southwest Asia to carv out a country for it self is not fair, and will be regretfull. In other words it seems that Israel and KDP not only share the same intersts, but also the same values and disrespect for human rights!

Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)

Netanyahu vows all-out war on Gaza

Kurds welcome Netanyahu call for Kurdistan independence

Israel’s Netanyahu Advises Obama On Iraq: ‘When Your Enemies Are Fighting Each Other, Weaken Both’

ISIL militants claim formation of Islamic caliphate

ISIS declares creation of Islamic state in Middle East, ‘new era of international jihad’

Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on ISIS offensive in Iraq

The ISIS map of the world

Saudiphile CIA director behind ISIL rise: Analyst

 

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Pre-Pottery Neolithic A – Shelf3D

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A – Shelf3D

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Roads of Arabia, Exebition

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

roadsofarabia

 Roads of Arabia

Saudi Archaeological Expo

Exebition

Saudi Voyager Magazine – Arabian Inspiration: Roads of Arabia Expo in US​

Klick on it:

Roads of Arabia

 

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Petroglyphs, pictographs and rock art, Arabia

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

Near Bir Hima, in Saudi Arabia’s southern Najran region, a parade of piebald long-horned cattle, ibex, ostrich and camel-riders marches above the surrounding plains. The frieze shows a variety of styles, suggesting it was carved by several artisans at widely differing times.

The region around the modern city of Najran, in southwest Saudi Arabia, has much to offer in terms of rock art research. The settlement of Najran was an important center along the Incense Route. Caravans originating at the source in Yemen passed through Najran before turning northward. The western branch was destined for Egypt, the Levant, Greece and Rome, while the eastern branch headed for Mesopotamia. The peak of the incense trade was between 800 BCE-600 CE.

Bi’r Hima

Petroglyph Valley, Bir Hima

A’Abar Harema morning, Bir Hima

Petroglyphs, Pictographs and Rock Art

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Discovery at al-Magar, Arabia

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

Horse

The Al Magar finds appear to show horse-like animals with the accessories of domestication

Recent archaeological discoveries on the Arabian Peninsula have uncovered evidence of a previously unknown civilization based in the now arid areas in the middle of the desert.

The artefacts unearthed are providing proof of a civilization that flourished thousands of years ago and have renewed scientific interest in man and the evolution of his relationship with animals.

The 300-odd stone objects so far found in the remote Al Magar area of Saudi Arabia include traces of stone tools, arrow heads, small scrapers and various animal statues including sheep, goats and ostriches.

But the object that has engendered the most intense interest from within the country and around the world is a large, stone carving of an “equid” – an animal belonging to the horse family.

According to Ali bin Ibrahim Al Ghabban, vice-president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, DNA and carbon-14 (radiocarbon) tests are continuing. But initial evidence suggests that the artefacts date back 9,000 years.

“These discoveries reflect the importance of the site as a centre of civilization,” he told BBC News. “It could possibly be the birthplace of an advanced prehistoric civilization that witnessed the domestication of animals, particularly the horse, for the first time during the Neolithic period.”

The crucial find is that of a large sculptural fragment that appears to show the head, muzzle, shoulder and withers of an animal that bears a distinct resemblance to a horse. The piece is unique in terms of its size, weighing more than 135kg.

Moreover, further discoveries on the same site of smaller, horse-like sculptures, also with bands across their shoulders, have opened the possibility that an advanced civilization here may already have been using the accessories of domestication – tack – in order to control horses.

The discoveries show that horses may first have been tamed as long ago as 7000 BC. “The procured evidence may potentially debunk a previously established theory that the domestication of horses originated 5500 years ago in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan,” the Vice-President of the Kingdom’s Commission for Tourism and Antiquities announced in a press conference in Jeddah.

This site shows us clearly, the roots of the domestication of horses 9,000 years ago,” said Ali Al Ghabban, citing human DNA evidence that allowed researchers to date the prehistoric civilization to the New Stone Age.

A number of other artifacts, including handicrafts such as arrowheads, scrapers, grain grinders, tools for spinning and weaving were also unearthed and suggest that the ancient Neolithic society may have had skills that were more diversified than just horse-taming.

“The Al-Maqar civilization is a very advanced civilization of the Neolithic period, Al-Ghabban noted. Although humans have been herding horses ever since they came into contact with the animal 50,000 years ago to use their meat, skins and milk, the domestication of horses didn’t come about until much later, becoming widespread in Europe, Asia and North Africa by 1000 BC.

“This discovery will change our knowledge concerning the domestication of horses and the evolution of culture in the late Neolithic period,” the Saudi archaeologist added.

This latest archaeological discovery in Saudi Arabia comes as the world’s largest oil exporter aims to step up its tourism industry and diversify its largely oil-dependent economy.

However, the Kingdom may just start to scratch the surface of what is speculated to be an uncovered treasure trove of archaeological remains. An armchair archaeologist made headlines in February this year for having allegedly discovered nearly 2000 potential archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia without ever having visited the country.

Dr. David Kennedy, a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Western Australia, claimed to have spotted 1977 tombs from the comforts of his office in Perth, Australia, using the high-resolution Satellite-imaging capability of Google Maps.

Kennedy, who led the research project at his university, professed that the aerial viewing service offered by Google could penetrate a ban by the Saudi government that forbids aerial photography of the country due to cultural and religious sensitivities, which has left much of Saudi’s archeology in the dark.

The archaeologist confirmed his findings based on ground view photographs he obtained of a few of the sites that matched structures he has seen in Jordan.

Kennedy further speculated that there may be up to a million such sites lying unexplored in the depths of the Arabian Peninsula.

Desert finds challenge horse taming ideas

Horses tamed earlier than thought

Reconstructing the origin and spread of horse domestication in the Eurasian steppe

Discovery at al-Magar

Saudi Aramco World : Discovery at al-Magar

Archeological Discovery – Al-Magar Civilization

Discovery points to roots of arabian breed

Haplogroup J1

In Genetic genealogy and human genetics, Y DNA haplogroup J-M267 (Haplogroup J1) is a subclade (branch) of Y-DNA haplogroup J-P209, (Haplogroup J) along with its sibling clade Y DNA haplogroup J-M172 (Haplogroup J2).

Men from this lineage share a common paternal ancestor, which is demonstrated and defined by the presence of the SNP mutation referred to as M267, which was announced in (Cinnioğlu 2004). This haplogroup is found today in significant frequencies in many areas in order near the Middle East, and parts of the Caucasus, Sudan and the Horn of Africa.

It is also found in high frequencies in parts of North Africa and amongst Jewish groups, especially those with Cohen surnames. It can also be found much less commonly, but still occasionally in significant amounts, in Europe and as far east as Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.

Since the discovery of haplogroup J it has generally been recognized that it shows signs of having originated in or near West Asia. The frequency and diversity of both its major branches, J1 and J2, in that region makes them candidates as genetic markers of the spread of farming technology during the Neolithic, which is proposed to have had a major impact upon human populations.

The first J1 men lived in the Late Upper Paleolithic, shortly before the end of the last Ice Age. Like many other successful lineages from the Middle East, J1 is thought to have undergone a major population expansion during the Neolithic period.

Chiaroni et al. (2010) found that the greatest genetic diversity of J1 haplotypes was found in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia and the Zagros mountains are the region where goats and sheep were first domesticated, some 11,000 years ago. Chiaroni et al. estimated that J1-P58 started expanding 9,000 to 10,000 years ago as pastoralists from the Fertile Crescent. Although they did not analyze the other branches, it is most likely that all surviving J1 lineages share the same origin as goat and sheep herders from the Taurus and Zagros mountains.

The mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, Anatolia and modern Iran, which wasn’t suitable for early cereal farming, was an ideal ground for goat and sheep herding and catalyzed the propagation of J1 pastoralists. Having colonised most of Anatolia, J1 herders would have settled the mountainous regions of Europe, including the southern Balkans, the Carpathians, central and southern Italy (Apennines, Sicily, Sardinia), southern France (especially Auvergne), and most of the Iberian peninsula.

Most J1 Europeans belong to the J1-Z1828 branch, which is also found in Anatolia and the Caucasus, but not in Arabic countries. The Z1842 subclade of Z1828 is the most common variety of J1 in Armenia and Georgia. There are also two other minor European branches: J1-Z2223, which has been found in Anatolia, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and Spain, and J1-M365.1, identified only in England and Spain at the moment.

Their very upstream position in the phylogenetic tree and their scarcity in the Middle East suggests that these were among the earliest J1 lineages to leave the Middle East, probably in the Early Neolithic, or possibly even as Late Paleolithic hunter-gatherers that wandered outside Anatolia and ended up in western Europe.

Within the Middle East, SNP analysis shows that the J1-L136 branch migrated south from eastern Anatolia and split in three directions: the Levant, the southern Zagros (and southern Mesopotamia?), and the mountainous south-western corner of the Arabian peninsula (mostly in Yemen), bypassing the Arabian Desert.

That latter group, consisting essentially of J1-P56 lineages, crossed the Red Sea to settle Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and northern Somalia. The climate would have been considerably less arid than today during the Neolithic period, allowing for a relatively easy transmigration across the Middle East with herds of goats.

Neolithic J1 goat herders were almost certainly not homogenous tribes consisting exclusively of J1 lineages, but in all likelihood a blend of J1 and T1 lineages. So much is evident from the presence of both J1 and T1 in north-east Africa, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, but also in the Fertile Crescent, the Caucasus and the mountainous parts of southern Europe. Maternal lineages also correlate. Wherever J1 and T1 are found in high frequency, mtDNA haplogroups HV, N1 and U3 are also present, as well as J, K and T to a lower extent (=>see Correlating the mtDNA haplogroups of the original Y-haplogroup J1 and T1 herders).

It is unclear whether goats were domesticated by a tribe that already comprised both J1 and T1 lineages, or if the merger between the two groups happened during the Neolithic expansion, when two separate tribes would have bumped into each others, intermixed, and thereafter propagated together.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a division of the Neolithic developed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region.

Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet. In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period.

Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia. The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.

Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period which existed between 8,200 and 7,900 BP. Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.

In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture, a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant (c. 3800–c. 3350 BC).

Considered to correspond to the Halafian culture of North Syria and Mesopotamia, its type-site, Tulaylat al-Ghassul, is located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in modern Jordan and was excavated in the 1930s.

The Ghassulian stage was characterized by small hamlet settlements of mixed farming peoples, and migrated southwards from Syria into Palestine Canaan. Houses were trapezoid-shaped and built mud-brick, covered with remarkable polychrome wall paintings.

Their pottery was highly elaborate, including footed bowls and horn-shaped drinking goblets, indicating the cultivation of wine. Several samples display the use of sculptural decoration or of a reserved slip (a clay and water coating partially wiped away while still wet). The Ghassulians were a Chalcolithic culture as they also smelted copper.

Funerary customs show evidence that they buried their dead in stone dolmens, a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants.[2] Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC).

Ghassulian culture has been identified at numerous other places in what is today southern Israel, especially in the region of Beersheba. The Ghassulian culture correlates closely with the Amratian of Egypt and may have had trading affinities (e.g., the distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in Crete.

J1 has several recognized subclades, some of which were recognized before J1 itself was recognized. With one notable exception, J-P58, found in a low frequency in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula, most of these are not common.

Kitchen et al. (2009) estimated through a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis that Semitic languages originated in the Levant around 3,750 BCE, during the Early Bronze Age. It evolved into three groups: East Semitic (an extinct branch that comprised Akkadian), Central Semitic (which gave rise to Aramaic, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew and Arabic), and South Semitic (South Arabian and Ethiopian).

J1-P58, the Central Semitic branch of J1, appears to have expanded from the southern Levant (Israel, Palestine, Jordan) across the Arabian Peninsula during the Bronze Age, from approximately 3,500 to 2,500 BCE.

Camels were domesticated in Somalia and southern Arabia c. 3,000 BCE, but did not become widely used in the southern Levant before approximately 1,100 BCE. Camels played an important role in the further diffusion of J1-P58 lineages, notably with the Bedouins in the desertic parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Bedouins now make up a substantial percentage of the population of Sudan (33%), Libya (15%), the United Arab Emirates (8%) and Saudi Arabia (5%).

The two most common Jewish subclades of J1 downstream of P58 are L816 and ZS227. The latter includes the Cohanim haplotype. Most of the other branches under P58 could be described as Arabic, although only P858 seems to be genuinely linked to the medieval Arabic expansion from Saudi Arabia.

The J-P58 marker which defines subgroup J-P58 is very prevalent in many areas where J1 is common, especially in parts of North Africa and throughout the Arabian Peninsula. It also makes up approximately 70% of the J-M267 among the Amhara of Ethiopia. Notably, it is not common among the J-M267 populations in the Caucasus.

Chiaroni 2009 proposed that J-P58 (that they refer to as J1e) might have first dispersed during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period, “from a geographical zone, including northeast Syria, northern Iraq and eastern Turkey toward Mediterranean Anatolia, Ismaili from southern Syria, Jordan, Palestine and northern Egypt.”

They further propose that the Zarzian material culture may be ancestral. They also propose that this movement of people may also be linked to the dispersal of Semitic languages by hunter-herders, who moved into arid areas during periods known to have had low rainfall.

Thus, while other haplogroups, including J2, moved out of the area with agriculturalists, that followed the rainfall, populations carrying J1 remained with their flocks (King 2002 and Chiaroni 2008).

According to this scenario, after the initial neolithic expansion involving Semitic languages, which possibly reached as far as Yemen, a more recent dispersal occurred during the Chalcolithic or Early Bronze Age (approximately 3000–5000 BCE), and this involved the branch of Semitic which leads to the Arabic language.

The authors propose that this involved a spread of some J-P58 from the direction of Syria towards Arab populations of the Arabian Peninsula and Negev. On the other hand, the authors agree that later waves of dispersion in and around this area have also had complex effects upon the distributions of some types of J-P58 in some regions.

Horse domestication mystery solved (?)

New research indicates that domestic horses originated in the steppes of modern-day Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan, mixing with local wild stocks as they spread throughout Europe and Asia. The research was published today, 07 May, in the journal PNAS.

For several decades scientists puzzled over the origin of domesticated horses. Based on archaeological evidence, it had long been thought that horse domestication originated in the western part of the Eurasian Steppe (Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan); however, a single origin in a geographically restricted area appeared at odds with the large number of female lineages in the domestic horse gene pool, commonly thought to reflect multiple domestication “events” across a wide geographic area.

In order to solve the perplexing history of the domestic horse, scientists from the University of Cambridge used a genetic database of more than 300 horses sampled from across the Eurasian Steppe to run a number of different modelling scenarios.

Their research shows that the extinct wild ancestor of domestic horses, Equus ferus, expanded out of East Asia approximately 160,000 years ago. They were also able to demonstrate that Equus ferus was domesticated in the western Eurasian Steppe, and that herds were repeatedly restocked with wild horses as they spread across Eurasia.

ScienceNOW also covers the new research, and reports on a contrasting viewpoint: Not all researchers are convinced, however. Archaeologist Marsha Levine of the University of Cambridge thinks using modern genetic samples to retrace horses’ evolution is a dead end. “There’s been mixing of cultures and mixing of horses in this region for many thousands of years,” she says. “And so when you’re looking at any modern horse, you just don’t know where it’s from.”

Bringing together many kinds of evidence is what will ultimately answer the whens and wheres of horse domestication, Levine says. “What we need to be doing is using material from excavations, sequencing ancient genes, and combining that with what we know from archaeological evidence about how animals were used in the past.”

The idea that ancient DNA will ultimately confirm/reject the model presented in the paper is understandable. Of course, it may be the case that the west Eurasian steppe was the place where horse domestication happened, but it is also the place where local horses may be descended from European, West Asian, and Central Asian breeds. To find out about this it is necesarry to see the admixture between western and eastern horse breeds on the steppe is.

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Genetic substrates in Afro-Asiatic language speaking populations

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

Some linguists’ proposals for grouping within Afroasiatic

Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic)

Afroasiatic Urheimat

Proto-Afroasiatic

What follows is a collection of factual observations about the population genetics of Afro-Asiatic language family speakers and populations in some ways related to or distinct from them, and some analysis of those facts.  It is a work in progress towards making sense of the hard to fit together puzzle pieces of a complex linguistic family’s origins:

Genetic substrates in Afro-Asiatic language speaking populations

Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian and traditionally Hamito-Semitic (Chamito-Semitic), is a large language family, of several hundred related languages and dialects. There are about 300 or so living languages and dialects, according to the 2009 Ethnologue estimate.

It includes languages spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel. It is generally assumed that Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken in some region where Afroasiatic languages are still spoken today. However, there is no consensus as to which part of the contemporary Afroasiatic areal corresponds to the original homeland.

The earliest written evidence of an Afroasiatic language is an Ancient Egyptian inscription dated c. 3400 BC (5,400 years ago). Symbols on Gerzean pottery resembling Egyptian hieroglyphs date back to c. 4000 BC, suggesting a still earlier possible date. This gives us a minimum date for the age of Afroasiatic.

However, Ancient Egyptian is highly divergent from Proto-Afroasiatic (Trombetti 1905: 1–2), and considerable time must have elapsed in between them. Estimates of the date at which the Proto-Afroasiatic language was spoken vary widely. They fall within a range between approximately 7500 BC (9,500 years ago) and approximately 16,000 BC (18,000 years ago).

According to Igor M. Diakonoff (1988: 33n), Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken c. 10,000 BC. According to Christopher Ehret (2002: 35–36), Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken c. 11,000 BC at the latest and possibly as early as c. 16,000 BC. These dates are older than dates associated with most other proto-languages. Culturally this falls within the period of the Halfan culture which may have been Proto-Afroasiatic.

The Halfan industry is one of the earliest known backed-bladelet industry in Eastern Africa and is dated to 18,000 and 12,500 BC in Nubia and Egypt. Christopher Ehret proposes that the Proto-Afro-Asiatic languages may have begun to spread from this area at about this time period, leading to the speculation that Halfan people may have spoken a variant of the Afro-Asiatic languages.

The most commonly cited genetic marker in recent decades has been the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son along paternal lines in un-mixed form, and therefore gives a relatively clear definition of one human line of descent from common ancestors.

Several branches of humanity’s Y DNA family tree have been proposed as having an association with the spread of Afroasiatic languages.

1. Haplogroup E1b1b is thought to have originated in Horn of Africa. In general, Afroasiatic speaking populations have relatively high frequencies of this haplogroup, with the notable exception of Chadic speaking populations. Christopher Ehret and Shomarka Keita have suggested that the geography of the E1b1b lineage coincides with the distribution of Afroasiatic languages.

2. Haplogroup J1c3 (Y-DNA), formally known as “J1e”, is actually a more common paternal lineage than E1b1b in most Semitic speaking populations, but this is associated with Middle Eastern origins and has apparently been spread from there after the original dispersion of Afroasiatic.

3. Haplogroup R1b1a (R-V88), and specifically its sub-clade R-V69, has a very strong relationship with Chadic speaking populations, who unlike other Afroasiatic speakers have low frequencies of Haplogroup E1b1b. This was announced in 2010 by Cruciani et al. The majority of R-V88 was found in northern and central Africa, in Chadic speaking populations. It is less common in neighbouring populations.

The authors also found evidence of high concentration in Western Egypt and evidence that the closest related types of R1b are found in the Middle East, and to a lesser extent southern Europe. They proposed that an Eastern Saharan origin for Chadic R1b would agree with linguistic theories such as those of Christopher Ehret, that Chadic and Berber form a related group within Afroasiatic, which originated in the area of the Sahara.

In contrast to the evidence from paternally inherited Y DNA, a recent study has shown that a branch of mitochondrial haplogroup L3 links the maternal ancestry of Chadic speakers from the Sahel with Cushitic speakers from Horn of Africa.

Other mitochondrial lineages that are associated with Afroasiatic include mitochondrial haplogroups M1 and haplogroup U6. Gonzalez et al. 2007 suggest that Afroasiatic speakers may have dispersed from Horn of Africa carrying the subclades M1a and U6a1.

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Circassian (Adygeyan) history

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

Circassian harmonica players

Home thoughts from abroad

Pictures

Map of the Caucasian Language Families

Circassian activists protest genocide and exile of 1864

The Adygeans (the people’s own name for themselves is Adyge) are an ancient native people of the Northwest Caucasus, better known in historical annals as Circassians (also Cherkessians). An agricultural and cattle-breeding culture arose in the Northwest Caucasus in the early Bronze age.

By 3000 B.C., the Dolmen culture, whose name comes from the distinctive megaliths used as grave markers, had arisen here and reached its peak; it lasted until the last quarter of the second millennium B.C. The area where the Caucasian dolmens are found is the ancestral home of the Adyge-Abkhaz tribes. Today, there are five dolmen fields in the republic with about 200 whole and partly ruined dolmens.

Circassian (Adygeyan) history

The Politics of Genocide Claims and the Circassian Diaspora

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Introduction to the Hurrian Language

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 30, 2014

Among the numerous languages of ancient near east, Hurrian is an important one, but incontrast to Akkadian or Hittite there are few investigations of this language, andsummary works documentingpresent knowledge are non-existent. The present“Introduction” shall then be interested in providing access to the grammar as reflected inpresent research.

Introduction to the Hurrian Language by Ilse Wegner

Who were the Hurrians

Who Were the Hurrians?

Semitic 4.4-5.1 thousand years before present

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The Hidden Pearl – The history of the Aramean people

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 29, 2014

The Hidden Pearl – The history of the Aramean people

Watch the complete documentary movie (197 minutes in HD) “The Hidden Pearl” in english and learn about the Aramean people before and after Christianity, about their language, their culture, their religion and traditions.

Portasar

Portasar (“Navel”) or Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”) is an archaeological site at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa. The tell includes two phases of ritual use dating back to the 10th-8th millennium BC.

During the first phase, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected. More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys. Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and a weight of up to 20 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock.

In the second phase (Pre-pottery Neolithic B (PPNB)), the erected pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. The site was abandoned after the PPNB-period. Younger structures date to classical times. The function of the structures is not yet clear. Excavator Klaus Schmidt believed that they are early neolithic sanctuaries.

The Halaf culture

The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 and 5500 BCE. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in south-eastern Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia.

The Ubaid period

The Halaf period was succeeded by the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (~5500 – 5200 cal. BCE) and then by the Ubaid period (~5200 – 4000 cal. BCE), a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia.

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvium although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.

It is showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north. The period saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq.

In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.

The Shulaveri-Shomu culture

Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture begins after the 8.2 kiloyear event which was a sudden decrease in global temperatures starting ca. 6200 BC and which lasted for about two to four centuries.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture and surrounding areas, which is assigned to the period of ca. 4000 – 2200 BC, and had close relation with the middle Bronze Age culture called Trialeti culture (ca. 3000 – 1500 BC). Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes.

Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The Kura–Araxes culture

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain.

The spread of their pottery, along with archaeological evidence of invasions, suggests that the Kura-Araxes people may have spread outward from their original homes, and most certainly, had extensive trade contacts. Jaimoukha believes that its southern expanse is attributable primarily to Mitanni and the Hurrians.

The Leyla-Tepe culture

The Leyla-Tepe culture is a culture of archaeological interest from the Chalcolithic era. Its population was distributed on the southern slopes of the Central Caucasus (modern Azerbaijan, Agdam District), from 4350 until 4000 BC.

They apparently buried their dead in ceramic vessels. Similar amphora burials in the South Caucasus are found in the Western Georgian Jar-Burial Culture. The culture has also been linked to the north Ubaid period monuments, in particular, with the settlements in the Eastern Anatolia Region (Arslan-tepe, Coruchu-tepe, Tepechik, etc.).

The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets. It has been suggested that the Leyla-Tepe were the founders of the Maykop culture (ca. 3700 BC-3000 BC), a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the Western Caucasus region of Southern Russia.

An expedition to Syria by the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed the similarity of the Maykop and Leyla-Tepe artifacts with those found recently while excavating the ancient city of Tel Khazneh I, from the 4th millennium BC.

In the south it borders the approximately contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture (3500-2200 BC), which extends into eastern Anatolia and apparently influenced it. To the north is the Yamna culture, including the Novotitorovka culture (3300-2700), which it overlaps in territorial extent. It is contemporaneous with the late Uruk period in Mesopotamia.

Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, whose views are highly controversial, suggest that the Maykop culture (or its ancestor) may have been a way-station for Indo-Europeans migrating from the South Caucasus and/or eastern Anatolia to a secondary Urheimat on the steppe. This would essentially place the Anatolian stock in Anatolia from the beginning, and only in this instance, agrees with Colin Renfrew’s Anatolian hypothesis.

Considering that some attempt has been made to unite Indo-European with the Northwest Caucasian languages, an earlier Caucasian pre-Urheimat is not out of the question. However, most linguists and archaeologists consider this hypothesis incorrect, and prefer the Eurasian steppes as the genuine IE Urheimat.

Hurro-Urartian

Urartian is closely related to Hurrian, a somewhat better documented language attested for an earlier, non-overlapping period, approximately from 2000 BCE to 1200 BCE (written by native speakers until about 1350 BCE). The two languages must have developed quite independently from approximately 2000 BCE onwards.

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centred on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. Scholars believe that Urartu is an Akkadian variation of Ararat of the Old Testament. Indeed, Mount Ararat is located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 km north of its former capital

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

Although Urartian is not a direct continuation of any of the attested dialects of Hurrian, many of its features are best explained as innovative developments with respect to Hurrian as we know it from the preceding millennium. The closeness holds especially true of the so-called Old Hurrian dialect, known above all from Hurro-Hittite bilingual texts.

Their metal goods were widely distributed, recorded in the Volga, Dnieper and Don-Donets systems in the north, into Syria and Palestine in the south, and west into Anatolia. It may have given rise to the later Khirbet Kerak ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

Hurrian and Urartian elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. Some authors subsume Hurrians and Urartians under Northeast Caucasian as well as part of the Alarodian theory. The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable.

Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are also highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.

Aratta

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. The name is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.

Aratta is described as follows in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It is remote and difficult to reach, and home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk, but is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Armanum

Armani, also given as Armanum, was an ancient kingdom mentioned by Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin of Akkad as stretching from Ibla to Bit-Nanib, its location is heavily debated, and it continued to be mentioned in the later Assyrian inscriptions. It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Armani is the earliest form of the name Armenia.

Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.

Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.

Subartu

The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit, and came to be known as the Hurrians or Subarians and their country was known as Subir, Subartu or Shubar.

Subartu was apparently a polity in Northern Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars accept Subartu as an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east, north or west of there.

Its precise location has not been identified. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites).

Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer. Subartu in the earliest texts seem to has been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.

Eannatum of Lagash was said to have smitten Subartu or Shubur, and it was listed as a province of the empire of Lugal-Anne-Mundu; in a later era Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani (Armenians) among the lands under his control.

Mitanni

Mitanni (Mi-ta-an-ni; also Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni) or Hanigalbat (Assyrian Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) or Naharin in ancient Egyptian texts was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC.

Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominantly Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.

The ethnicity of the people of Mitanni is difficult to ascertain. A treatise on the training of chariot horses by Kikkuli contains a number of Indo-Aryan glosses. Kammenhuber (1968) suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer (1974) has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.

The Mitanni kingdom was referred to as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat by the Assyrians. The different names seem to have referred to the same kingdom and were used interchangeably, according to Michael C. Astour.

Hittite annals mention a people called Hurri (Ḫu-ur-ri), located in northeastern Syria. A Hittite fragment, probably from the time of Mursili I, mentions a “King of the Hurri”, or “Hurrians”. The Assyro-Akkadian version of the text renders “Hurri” as Hanigalbat. Tushratta, who styles himself “king of Mitanni” in his Akkadian Amarna letters, refers to his kingdom as Hanigalbat.

Egyptian sources call Mitanni “nhrn”, which is usually pronounced as Naharin/Naharina from the Assyro-Akkadian word for “river”, cf. Aram-Naharaim. The name Mitanni is first found in the “memoirs” of the Syrian wars (ca. 1480 BC) of the official astronomer and clockmaker Amememhet, who returned from the “foreign country called Me-ta-ni” at the time of Thutmose I.

The expedition to the Naharina announced by Thutmosis I at the beginning of his reign may have actually taken place during the long previous reign of Amenhotep I Helck believes that this was the expedition mentioned by Amenhotep II.

Arameans

The Arameans, or Aramaeans were a Northwest Semitic people who originated in what is now present-day central Syria (Biblical Aram) during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

There are limited mention of Arameans in Mesopotamian inscriptions supplemented by a few later descriptive situations associated with Rebekah from Aram-Naharaim in the book of Genesis in the Bible, which lists Aram, the son of Shem, and grandson of Noah, as their forbear.

The toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at Ebla listing geographical names, and the term Armi, which is the Eblaite term for nearby Idlib (modern Aleppo), occurs frequently in the Ebla tablets (ca. 2300 BC).

One of the annals of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BC) mentions that he captured “Dubul, the ensí of A-ra-me” (Arame is seemingly a genitive form), in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains. Other early references to a place or people of “Aram” have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC).

There is little agreement concerning what, if any, relationship there was between these places, or if the Aramu were actually Arameans; the earliest undisputed mention of Arameans as a people appears in the inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser I (c. 1100 BC).

Nomadic pastoralists have long played a prominent role in the history and economy of the Middle East, but their numbers seem to vary according to climatic conditions and the force of neighbouring states inducing permanent settlement.

The period of the Late Bronze Age seems to have coincided with increasing aridity, which weakened neighbouring states and induced transhumance pastoralists to spend longer and longer periods with their flocks.

Urban settlements in The Levant diminished in size, until eventually fully nomadic pastoralist lifestyles came to dominate much of the region. These highly mobile, competitive tribesmen with their sudden raids continually threatened long-distance trade and interfered with the collection of taxes and tribute.

The Arameans appear to be one of the Ahlamû. Ahlamû appears to be a generic term for a new wave of Semitic wanderers and nomads who appeared during the 13th century BC across the Near East and Egypt.

The term appears equivalent to the Egyptian term Shasu (Shsw = wanderer), who replaced the outlaw ‘Apiru (cuneiform SA.GAZ) as the major source of instability in the Egyptian Levantine empire from the reign of Tutankhamun onwards, although the Shasu in relation to Egypt are generally believed to be Canaanite Semites.

They are first mentioned in the el-Amarna letters alluding to the Kassite king of Babylon. The presence of the Ahlamû are also attested during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365-1020 BC), which ruled the lands in which the Ahlau arose, in Nippur and even at Dilmun (modern Bahrain). Shalmaneser I (1274-1245 BC) of Assyria is recorded as having defeated Shattuara, King of the Mitanni and his Hittite and Ahlamû mercenaries.

In the following century, the Ahlamû cut the road from Babylon to Hattusas, and Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244-1208 BC) of Assyria conquered Mari, Hanigalbat and Rapiqum on the Euphrates and “the mountain of the Ahlamû”, apparently the region of Jebel Bishri in northern Syria.

The people who had long been the prominent population within Syria (called the Land of the Amurru during their tenure) were the Amorites, a Canaanite speaking group of Semites who had appeared during the 25th century BC, destroying Ebla and founding Babylon in southern Mesopotamia.

However, they seem to have been displaced or wholly absorbed by the appearance of the Ahlamu by the 13th century BC, disappearing from history.

For the first time, an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 BC) refers to subjugating the “Ahlamû-Aramaeans” (Ahlame Armaia) and shortly after, the Ahlamû rapidly disappear from Assyrian annals, to be replaced by the Aramaeans (Aramu, Arimi).

This indicates that the Arameans had risen to dominance amongst the nomads, however it is possible that the two peoples had nothing in common, but operated in the same area. By the late 12th century BC the Arameans were firmly established in Syria, however they were conquered into the Middle Assyrian Empire, as had been the Amorites and Ahlamu before them.

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Armenia: The forgotten paradise

Posted by Fredsvenn on June 29, 2014

The Biblical account of the garden of Eden has for long preoccupied the minds and imaginations of theologians, believers and countless adventurers of the past.

Many have attempted to identify the location of the garden and put forward theories ranging from the underground, the north pole and even the surface of the moon. However if the location of the terrestrial paradise is to be understood according to scriptures, there is only one place that fits the description. That place is historic Armenia.

To download all the maps in the video and more, and to read the entire story go to:

Armenia: The Forgotten Paradise

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