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Showing posts from July, 2012

Explain to Me: British Mandate of Palestine

This video is designed for people who are completely new to the topic and it is extremely brief so mind you, there are loads of stuff that aren't in it. Use this video as a start-up point for reading about Palestine.

(From David Charles)

Primary Documents:
The Balfour DeclarationThe Sykes-Pikot Agreement (1916)The Palestine MandateBritish White Paper of 1922British White Paper of 1939UN Resolution of the division of Palestine (UN General Assembly Resolution 181)

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post IX)

Tonnes of news over the past week, here are the highlights.

Three Kingdoms' Tomb Holding Warrior Discovered:

About 1,800 years ago, at a time when China was breaking apart into three warring kingdoms, a warrior was laid to rest.

Buried in a tomb with domed roofs, along with his wife, he was about 45 years old when he died. Their skeletal remains were found inside two wooden coffins that had rotted away. Archaeologists don't know their names but, based on the tomb design and grave goods, they believe he was a general who had served one or more of the country's warring lords, perhaps Cao Cao and his son Cao Pi.

His tomb was discovered in Xiangyang, a city that, in the time of the Three Kingdoms, was of great strategic importance. Rescue excavations started in October 2008 and now the discovery is detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Chinese Archaeology. (The report had appeared earlier, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu.)

Live-Science covers the issue well…

A History of Bahrain through the National Museum

Yesterday, I visited the Bahrain National Museum in Manama for the first time in a year and I can just tell you, it was brilliant. The museum had sections on Dilmun (Bahrain's earliest name, discussed in previous posts here and here),  Tylos (Bahrain's Greek name), Islamic-era Bahrain.The arts & crafts section details life in Bahrain in the pre-oil era prior to the 1930s. The ancient document & manuscripts section was my favourite, to be honest. From gold-covered Qur'ans to documents from the Bahrain Theatre's charity night and Bahrain's first newspaper, I was truly amazed. Perhaps the spookiest but most-visited section of the museum is the 'Hall of the dead', a room with reconstructed (and actually-moved) burial mounds.

I've taken loads of photos from my phone (and tweeted them), so mind you the quality isn't brilliant. Feel free to reuse the images, I'm releasing them into the public domain.

World's Oldest Natural Pearl found in Arabia

French researchers have unearthed the oldest natural pearl ever found at a Neolithic site in Arabia, suggesting that pearl oyster fishing first occurred in this region of the world.

Discovered in the Emirate of Umm al Quwain, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the pearl was believed to have originated between 5547 and 5235 BC.
"Gemmologists and jewellers have popularised the idea that the oldest pearl in the world is the 5000-year-old Jomon pearl from Japan. Discoveries made on the shores of south-eastern Arabia show this to be untrue," Vincent Charpentier, Sophie Méry and colleagues at the French Foreign Ministry's archeological mission in the UAE, wrote in the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.
Some 7,500 years old and 0.07 inches in diameter, the newly discovered pearl  is just the last of a series of findings at archeological sites in the Arabian Peninsula.

Over the years, researchers unearthed a total of 101 Neolithic pearls, coming from the larg…

Alfonso de Albuquerque: History Figure of the Month (July 2012)

So after going through the nominations in the previous History Figure post, the choice for this month is the Portuguese military genius, Alfonso de Albuqueque. Be sure to nominate a history figure for August 2012 in the comment section below!

Alfonso de Albuquerque (b.1453-1515) was a Portuguese admiral, and a strategy genius, credited with founding the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean, with conquests in the Persian Gulf (in fact, it was a later-commanding colleague of Alfonso who conquered Bahrain from the Arabs) , India, the Red Sea and the Malay peninsula.

He also planned and built a series of strategically-placed forts around the Indian Ocean, to prevent access to the ocean from the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and the Pacific Ocean.

Early conquests: India, the Omani coast and the Persian Gulf

Alfonso's first oversea trip in the service of the Portuguese crown was in 1503, when he and his cousin led an armada to the Indian west coast, defeating the native forces in Cali…

Bahrain Pearling Trail is now a World Heritage Site!

For those of you who don't know, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) converged this past week (still ongoing till July 5), and just yesterday morning, they've announced that they've added two new additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List ; The Mosque of Isfahan and the Bahrain Pearling trail.

What is this trail ? A dirt road ?

Not exactly a dirt road, it's an area that consists of 17 buildings in the island of Muharraq (to the north-east of Bahrain) , three offshore oyster beds, part of the seashore and the Qal’at Bu Mahir fortress (which has, over the years, worn down to a single pillar) on the southern tip of Muharraq Island, from where boats used to set off for the oyster beds.This site was used by the many generations of pearl divers (pearl diving in Bahrain was first recorded in 2000 BC!) right until the early 1930s, when cultured Japanese pearls were introduced to the global market, effectively destroying the pearl ma…