When first excavated in 1932, the exquisitely crafted, bi-facially fluted hunting implements of the Clovis people were thought to have been made by the first humans to populate North America. But, there was still much ice covering most of present-day Canada and dipping into the northern U.S. Voyager I, launched in 1977, is now the furthest man-made object from Earth, currently about 10 billion miles away in the far reaches of the outer solar system beyond Pluto. This time of climate change and extinction is now known as the boundary between the 2.6 million years of the Pleistocene and the current, interglacial Holocene epochs. After a few thousand years, agriculture and animal domestication slowly replaced the hunter-gatherer lifestyle for much of humanity. Barely a moment later, mankind discovered the awesome power of the atom, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon, Carl Sagan launched humanitya€™s greetings toward the stars, and our challenges became ever more complex.
Diamonds are formed when carbon is subjected to intense heat and pressure, usually over very long periods of time. Critics of the Clovis-impact hypothesis cite a shortage of independently replicated and verified results, the lack of a definitive impact crater matching such a huge event, insufficient charcoal in lake sediments, and the possibility that evidence might have been overly concentrated by water seepage. One particularly interesting Clovis site is Murray Springs in the southern Arizona town of Sierra Vista. Other possibly supporting evidence includes strange geologic structures called Carolina Bays that are found along the eastern U.S. While a high altitude airburst of a comet would have thrown extra-terrestrial material across the continent, these structures may represent a splatter pattern of material ejected from an actual collision. What caused the sudden reversal from 3,000 years of fairly steady warming to a return of ice age temperatures?
The sudden cooling would then have reinforced itself by causing more sea ice to form, further blocking the flow of warm water to the north. Another recent hypothesis may actually tie together the extinctions, loss of human populations, and the sudden climate change all in one concise, but controversial package. The black mat itself is a thin, carbon-rich layer composed of organic matter, especially dried algae strands, essentially pond scum that was left by stagnant water.
In a geologic flash a€” and perhaps literally in a flash a€” some 35 species of large mammals, including American camels and horses, mastodons, woolly mammoths, rhinos, giant ground sloths, tapirs, dire wolves, short-faced bears and saber-toothed cats all went extinct across North America.The only large survivor was the bison.
Based on stylistic comparisons such as striations inside body contours and the presentation of horns in twisted perspective, several Paleolithic art experts, including the first curator of the Chauvet Cave, Jean Clottes, have accredited the Portuguese friezes to the early Solutrean of about 20,000 years ago3. In Portugal, the government did the opposite a€“ plunging ahead with a project destined to destroy the nationa€™s oldest cultural heritage by completing a 300-million-dollar dam whose reservoir will flood a valley packed with dozens of art sites spread over at least 17 kilometers.
Yet construction continues - even on holidays - and the water is about to rise another hundred meters. A male ibex with his head shown in two positions, as if he were turning to watch the female behind him. As we drove up to a sentry box perched on the lip of a road into the vast, unnatural gashing of mountains at Foz CA?a, it was hard to tell if the young guard blocking us in a crisp red and gray uniform represented a well-heeled security service or an elite military unit - but it was plain that bluff and sweet talk wouldn't get us far. The next time the car eased over the knuckles of a road crisscrossed by up-ended strata, past empty huts built just of stacked slabs, and jostled between overhanging and plunging cliffs until an avalanche of tailings from an old quarry almost blocked the path. Here was one of the places of grandeur where our ancestors had first grasped visions and then concretized them by hewing - and sometimes painting - images into rock panels.
As I pushed forward and the river grew shallower, turtles became so numerous that their stacks toppled like circus acts from the brinks of submerged cliffs.
As a draftsman, I could feel empathy for the beast flowing into the hands that had etched her.
This first frieze stood at a fitting point, practically where the reservoir yielded to the original rapids and long pools of the virgin river. Far away across the moonscape of rutted ramps, knots of men stood before tunnels as fleets of dump trucks, made so tiny by distance that they only gave away their magnitude by over-sized wheels, eased to the brink of platforms, and added avalanches to tailings. Above us, the titanium-white cleanliness of the cement plant's towers stood in bold contrast to the devastation, like a phalanx of gigantic chess-rooks bunched for the kill. According to press articles, the dam-builders had recognized him as the true discoverer of Portugal's first reported Paleolithic engravings, at nearby Mazouco, even though the doctoral student's mentor, Professor Vitor Oliviera Jorge, had stolen his thunder.7 They had given Rebanda a job as their obligatory salvage archaeologist when the new doctor somehow couldn't get a position on a faculty.
In return, all he'd had to do was wait till their concrete curtain had gone up and its reservoir had risen into a sea so voluminous and costly that its drainage would have been unthinkable. My goateed interlocutor smirked as he told me I could try looking for the doctor at the complex built for the previous dam, 15A kilometers downstream.
But I'd hit pay dirt: the fact that I might hear Rebanda's mea culpa was more than Ia€™d hoped for. Sebastian elected to wait outside and embarked on Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth as I knocked at the locked door. Still, I complimented her on her English, sympathized with them for having to put up with this hierarchical bother, and kept spinning innocuous questions, while she kept waiting for me to go. When Rebanda's secretary came out again, to see if she could get either me a€“ or her boss - to give up as the wait grew embarrassingly long, I asked her what the round silos with tipped roofs on the hills had been used for.
But the next time, after they had gotten used to my rounds, I stepped inside and admired a sequence of two eight-foot-tall maps full of pins.
Something was wrong: in addition to the constellations of pins extending for 17 kilometers upstream from the construction site, there were dozens downstream, along the reservoir behind the dam just outside!
Finally, so many hours had passed, and she'd informed the doctor so many times that I was still hanging around, that I was forced by the sheer need for new scenery to vary my route, and drifted through empty rooms.
The only thing the reports agreed on was that Rebanda had somehow discovered the flooded portion of Canada do Inferno by the previous autumn22 a€“ asking the EDP to lower the Pocinho reservoir by just 3 meters in November 1994 so he could study the engravings.23 a€?They told me it was too expensive,a€? Rebanda had told the New York Times.
So who had shot these photographs, which looked like they had been taken when the sites were dry vegetated hillsides instead of among the muck and bare banks below a fallen waterline? I realized that the photos of the dry sites might have been taken before the Pocinho Dam, which had flooded them, had even been completed a€“ over 12 years before! UNESCO had suggested Clottes, who, in an uncanny convergence of good and bad karma, was taken on a whirlwind tour of the tip of the iceberg at Canada do Inferno, then immediately whisked to a press conference in Vila Nova do Foz CA?a on Dec 16th, 199428 a€“ just two days before the discovery of the Chauvet Cave that catapulted him, as its first interpreter and protector, from the summit of the French archaeological establishment to world fame.
But Clottesa€™ judgement was mixed, confirming that the art could be dated on stylistic grounds to the early Solutrean or even late Gravettian of twenty to twenty-four thousand years ago while suggesting that flooding the valley might be the best way of protecting it, since Portugal was ill-equipped to protect such widely dispersed panels from vandals!29 a€?There is no easy solution,a€? he told a reporter. What the press forgot to emphasize with quite as much fervor was the fact that Clottes had prefaced his Solomonic verdict by saying, a€?Whatever happens, the engravings must be preserved and not be damaged.a€? Clottes might have felt that he could safely pass the buck because no art conservationist could honestly guarantee the engravingsa€™ fate once they were subjected to currents carrying abrasives, burial under the petrifying alluvia that accumulates behind dams,33 and the worlda€™s most destructive solvent a€“ water, which would dissolve pigments and destabilize rock that had proven its resistance to aerial conditions over tens of millennia.
While chatting up the gaunt fellow traveller at the construction site, Ia€™d pretended to make small talk by asking engineering questions, including one about the depth of the sediment that had accumulated behind the Pocinho dam. The irony of it was that Clottesa€™ efforts to be honest without irritating his hosts had been the spark that the French diplomats had dreaded. Despite the fact that the great prehistoriana€™s reputation would remain largely intact, and with good reason, in much of the rest of the world,34 the Portuguese intelligentsia began to shun him. A€ propos of CA?a, two Portuguese rock art researchers, who couldna€™t stomach Clottes after his press conference, ironically echoed him by telling me, confidentially, that flooding the engravings could still be a blessing since it would save them from graffiti and those boogeymen of archaeologistsa€™ dreams, prowling collectors. My guess is that he was so beleaguered by advisers that he was just trying to get out of an awkward situation as quickly, judiciously and diplomatically as possible. I mentioned to Rebanda that I had just attended the lecture on Chauvet, that I even had a videotape of it right there in my camera. So it's true, I thought, drowning the site was Rebanda's solution to the problem of ownership of photographic rights.
But then, what about Rebanda's self-serving talk of photo credits, not to mention the engravings already submerged by the dam at the doorstep a€“ and his belief that the engravings were doomed to be flooded? Strangely enough, I could again see it being both ways, since the roots of tragedy are self-deception and entwined motives.
He must have realized that I was rooting for him to pull himself out of his tailspin, because suddenly he decided.
Upon leaving, Sebastian asked to check out the Pocinho dam, so I drove round an interchange into an empty parking lot with planters. As the sun slanted over the plateau into the wilderness of the CA?a valley, I decided to sneak into a side-valley to the north of our campsite that Rebanda's map had cluttered with pins. Then, after breaching a wall of rushes, we broke to the reservoir's edge - and were met by a horned skull stuck on a stake. Suddenly, I remembered what Rebanda had said about the engravings' association with witchcraft. Being obstinate (or perhaps because of the prehistoric setting), I started whittling stone, knapping a microlithic surgeon's kit, and then bent single-mindedly to my task - failing till I was disgusted with myself and worried for my victim (which I had bizarrely associated with Rebanda).
This time there were two guards behind an overhanging military fence crested by barbed wire. The guard who beckoned us in was rearing a guard-dog puppy, which scampered around, tumbling over ledges and using its chin to lever itself over steps. Our guide was a decent young man who couldn't help feeling uneasy blocking access to these bold masterpieces at the source of all our arts.
Still, these guards were actually tame as the locals poured down to catch a glimpse of the animals through the fence.
After he'd hastened to take up his time-clock again, I wandered if there might not be even more testimonials of man's attraction to this classical Eden with its islets and fords in the flowery river, and browsed through a plowed orchard, along a contour which I judged would have been the valley floor half a million years ago. We knew the next dawn would be our last, so we broke camp in blue light to explore the teeming side-valley beyond the first auroch.
Not Portugal's - OURS - because this art is so old, despite its elegance, that we share the blood and genius of those distant ancestors who awoke to the universe, whether our cavalcade of ancestors migrated around the Old World or came across the Bering Straits 14,000 years ago.
Footnotes have been added to the internet version of the article to provide historical perspective and more detail about sources than the versions that were published & distributed in 1995. 1 The three discoverers of the Chauvet Cave were Eliette Brunel Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, and Jean-Marie Chauvet. 2 The IPPAR announced the existence of the valleya€™s engravings on November 19, 1994 but a video was made of them in 1993. 10 Bahn 1995 for a re-capitulation of the same accusations against the IPPAR & Rebanda. 33 Bednarik & Jaffe have been the most outspoken spokesmen about delusions concerning the protective qualities of reservoirs a€“ which not only inundate art panels with water but deep alluvial deposits that make their later recovery dangerous and impractical. 34 Interestingly, a few years after this appeal was written, Clottes came under fierce attack and even ridicule by many representatives of the French intelligentsia, including some of the countrya€™s most prominent prehistorians, after he and David Lewis-Williams published a€?The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and magic in the painted cavesa€? in 1996. As soon as their results indicating that the art might be only 3,000 to 6,500 years old (if not even younger) were announced a€“ which actually made the engravings even more astonishing, potentially rewriting the history of rock art or even making Portugal the last bastion of the Paleolithic tradition a€“ the most important Portuguese right-wing weekly screamed that the direct-dating results proved that stylistic daters like Clottes had perpetrated a a€?FRAUDa€? (O Independente, 7 July 1995). It should also be noted that the individuals who participated in the debate were often somewhat unwittingly drawn into playing secondary or tertiary roles in a struggle between the Portuguese Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Industry.
40 In November 1995 - six months after this call-toa€“arms was published and circulated to Prehistoric Art Emergencya€™s volunteers (who Ia€™m glad to report included a young actor, Yann Montelle, who went on to earn a doctorate in prehistory) - a book edited by Jorge called a€?Dossier CA?aa€? appeared with 20 contributions by him or his wife. 44 After writing this article in May 1995, it occurred to me that I might have missed one of the main reasons for eliminating Rebanda from Portugala€™s archaeological milieu a€“ the fact that he was so effective at finding rock art that drew international attention, first to Mazouco, then to CA?a.
49 When I wrote the article, I assumed that the two young men were Rebandaa€™s subordinates and referred to them as a€?draftsmena€?.
50 After initially denigrating both the art and the idea of extracting it, the EDP later adopted the idea as one of its three strategies for overcoming opposition to the dam project. Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.[1] The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa,[2] its perimeter is almost equal to 405 metres (1,328 feet). Under the Aghlabids (9th century), huge works gave the mosque its present aspect.[7] The fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. But because of the specific nature of the land, crossed by several tributaries of the wadis, the urban development of the city stretched southwards. At the foundation of Kairouan in 670, the Arab general and conqueror Uqba Ibn Nafi (himself the founder of the city) chose the site of his mosque in the center of the city, near the headquarters of the governor. Under the rule of Aghlabid sovereigns, Kairouan was at its apogee, and the mosque profited from this period of stability and prosperity. The current state of the mosque can be traced back to the reign of Aghlabidsa€”no element is earlier than the ninth century besides the mihraba€”except for some partial restorations and a few later additions made in 1025 during the reign of Zirids,[27] 1248 and 1293-1294 under the reign of Hafsids,[28] 1618 at the time of mouradites beys,[29] in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Several centuries after its founding, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the subject of numerous descriptions by Arab historians and geographers in the Middle Ages. A« He built in the mosque of Kairouan the cupola that rises over the entrance to the central nave, together with the two colonnades which flank it from both sides, and the galleries were paved by him.
Among the Western travelers, poets and writers who visited Kairouan, some of them leave impressions and testimonies sometimes tinged with emotion or admiration on the mosque. A« The Great Mosque is dedicated to Uqba, where there is a famous college where we will study the remotest corners of this kingdom : are taught reading and writing of Arabic grammar, laws and religion. A« Is there a more beautiful than this still preserved old tower, the minaret, in Islamic architecture ? Today, the enclosure of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is pierced by nine gates (six opening on the courtyard, two opening on the prayer hall and a ninth allows access to the maqsura) some of them, such as Bab Al-Ma (Gate of water) located on the western facade, are preceded by salient porches flanked by buttresses and surmounted by ribbed domes based on square tholobate which are porting squinches with three vaults.[12][37] However, Arab geographers and historians of the Middle Ages Al-Muqaddasi and Al-Bakri reported the existence, around the tenth and eleventh centuries, of about ten gates named differently from today. The portico on the south side of the courtyard, near the prayer hall, includes in its middle a large dressed stone pointed horseshoe arch which rests on ancient columns of white veined marble with Corinthian capitals. The combination formed by the courtyard and the galleries that surround it covers an immense area whose dimensions are about 90 meters long and 72 meters in width.[44] The northern part of the courtyard is paved with flagstones while the rest of the floor is almost entirely composed of white marble slabs. The door giving access to the minaret is framed by a lintel and jambs made of recycled carved friezes of antique origin.[49] There are stone blocks from the Roman period that bear Latin inscriptions.
The interior includes a staircase of 129 steps, surmounted by a barrel vault, which gives access to the terraces and the first tier of the minaret.
The Mosque has several domes, the largest being over the mihrab and the entrance to the prayer hall from the courtyard. The prayer hall is located on the southern side of the courtyard ; and is accessed by 17 carved wooden doors. The central nave, a sort of triumphal alley which leads to the mihrab,[62] is significantly higher and wider than the other sixteen aisles of the prayer hall. In the prayer hall, the 414 columns of marble, granite or porphyry[68] (among more than 500 columns in the whole mosque),[69] taken from ancient sites in the country such as SbeA?tla, Carthage, Hadrumetum and Chemtou,[59] support the horseshoe arches.
The covering of the prayer hall consists of painted ceilings decorated with vegetal motifs and two domes : one raised at the beginning of the central nave and the other in front of the mihrab. The painted ceilings are a unique ensemble of planks, beams and brackets, illustrating almost thousand years of the history of painting on wood in Tunisia. The boards painted under the Hafsid period (during the thirteenth century) offers a floral decor consists of white and blue arches entwined with lobed green. The mihrab, which indicates the Qibla (direction of Mecca), in front of which stands the imam during the prayer, is located in the middle of the southern wall of the prayer hall. The mosque's mihrab, whose decor is a remarkable witness of Muslim art in the early centuries of Islam, is distinguished by its harmonious composition and the quality of its ornaments. It is surrounded at its upper part by 139 lusterware tiles (with a metallic sheen), each one is 21.1 centimeters square and they are arranged on the diagonal in a chessboard pattern. The wall of the mihrab is covered with 28 panels of white marble, carved and pierced, which have a wide variety of plant and geometric patterns including the stylized grape leaf, the flower and the shell. The maqsura, located near the minbar, consists of a fence bounding a private enclosure that allows the sovereign and his senior officials to follow the solemn prayer of Friday without mingling with the faithful.
The library is near located, accessible by a door which the jambs and the lintel are carved in marble, adorned with a frieze of floral decoration. The Mosque of Uqba, one of the few religious buildings of Islam has remained intact almost all of its architectural and decorative elements, is due to the richness of its repertoire which is a veritable museum of Islamic decorative art and architecture.
From the library of the mosque comes a large collection of calligraphic scrolls and manuscripts, the oldest dating back to the second half of the ninth century.
Among the finest works of this series, the pages of the Blue Qur'an, currently exhibited at Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art, from a famous Qur'an in the second half of the fourth century of the Hegira (the tenth century) most of which is preserved in Tunisia and the rest scattered in museums and private collections worldwide. Other works of art such as the crowns of light (circular chandeliers) made in cast bronze, dating from the Fatimid-Zirid period (around tenth-early eleventh century), originally belonged to the furniture of the mosque. At the time of its greatest splendor, between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, Kairouan was one of the greatest centers of Islamic civilization and its reputation as a hotbed of scholarship covered the entire Maghreb.
In addition to studies on the deepening of religious thought and Maliki jurisprudence, the mosque also hosted various courses in secular subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine and botany. These ancient people were believed to have crossed the Bering Land Bridge fri??om Asia about 13,500 years ago. Older, pre-Clovis human sites have since been found across the continent dating back nearly 50,000 years. By whatever means the special tools came to be in North America, they served those we now call the Clovis well for over 350 years near the end of the ice age, which was at least the fifth in repeating cycles of warming and cooling of the Earth. At the height of the ice age, Chicagoa€™s skyscrapers (had they existed) would have been buried under at least a mile of ice.
These ancient people were believed to have crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Asia about 13,500 years ago.
The very dark layer is the precise dividing boundary between the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs.
The glassy, top surface of this specimen, found in one of the Carolina Bays, is thought to have formed when cellulose was heated at 3200A? C. This Arizona landmark was formed when a school-bus sized iron meteorite crashed into the Earth. Trees were scorched and flattened in a a€?butterfly patterna€? by the shockwave caused as an extraterrestrial object exploded high in the atmosphere above a remote area in Siberia. The cover of Voyager spacecraft compartment containing recorded sounds, pictures and greetings from the people of Earth. Even with new discoveries and exploratory techniques a€” such as tracing the spread of ancestral RNA a€” the human journey through antiquity will always include both science and mythology.
Stone tools gave way to metal a€” initially copper and iron a€” and then bronze, the first of many more man-made materials to come.
However, nanodiamonds have a different molecular structure (hexagonal) and are formed quickly under extreme conditions such as that caused by an extraterrestrial collision with the Earth or the atmosphere.
Indeed, over 80 tons of extra-terrestrial materials fall on our planet every day, primarily as fine dust. Some also question Firestone and West for previously speculating about solar flares, galactic waves and algal nerve toxins as extinction causes. The lack of a a€?smoking guna€? crater argues against a large, solid asteroid, but not necessarily against a comet a€” which is composed of ice and frozen gases as well as rocks a€” or even a loosely formed asteroid which would also break up high above the surface. It was here that Clovis artifacts, mammoth tracks and fossilized remains of large mammals were discovered in direct contact with the black mat. The alignment of the Bays points toward the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay indicating a possible collision with the Laurentide ice-sheet. Greenland ice core evidence shows that the 3000-year warming trend at the close of the ice age came to an abrupt end with average temperatures suddenly dropping 10A? to 20A? F.
Even if humans had managed to hunt all of the large mammals to extinction a€” all at once across the entire continent a€” they could not possibly have caused the new deep freeze. The steady melting of ice sheets had formed a giant lake a€” Lake Agassiz a€” that was some 700 miles wide.
Although the disruption of the Atlantic Conveyor is now widely accepted as the cause of the Younger Dryas cooling, questions remain about the exact source of the fresh water. In May, 2007, Arizona geophysicist Allen West, James Kennett of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Richard Firestone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, presented evidence to the American Geophysical Union that a comet had broken up in the atmosphere with the force of multiple nuclear detonations, instantly igniting anything that could burn as a superheated shockwave rushed across North America. At the very base of this layer is a narrow band coinciding with the beginning of the Younger Dryas. In 1967, Archeologist Paul Martin proposed his a€?overkilla€? hypothesis that the Clovis hunters were responsible for the extinctions through their hunting.
Mammoths, mastodons and other large mammals roamed the continent we have since named North America. Not only were frescoes of rhinos, horses and lions over 30,000 years old found in a cave in the Ardeche on Dec. Although theya€™re probably right, ita€™s worth noting that these same specialists used similar criteria to ascribe the animals of Chauvet to the same period - until carbon 14 results pushed their age back over 10,000 years, shattering the notion that prehistoric art had evolved linearly, like technologies.
In France, the Ministry of Culture placed its new treasure under the most draconian protection, despite the fact that the country already has the lion's share of Paleolithic art. Standing right in front of some of the most spectacular engravings, the Secretary of State for Culture dismissed them as being nothing more than a€?childrena€™s doodlesa€? a€“ whereupon the students from Foz CA?aa€™s high school turned the official into a laughing-stock by presenting him with a schist slab covered with their own scribblings4.


It's now or never, the author of the following article decided in April 1995, as he set out to evaluate the engravings, find out the truth, and propose solutions.
My 13-year old son and I had flown to Porto in Portugal and driven far up the Douro valley into the northeastern mountains, prepared to maneuver around obstructions whether by negotiation or hiking through the back door. Still, here was our first encounter with the powers that be, so I took this opportunity to probe, and get a first step up the hierarchical ladder. So I explained how Sebastian and I had come so far to see the Paleolithic glories that Portugal would be displaying with pride, spoke of credentials, and placed us (and our pen) in his hands.
Still, we had our bearings, and drove off into the late afternoon to penetrate the heart of the forbidden zone. We were getting closer, very close now, and could spy loops of a trail among the folds of a distant ridge.
And here too was the arena where one of the greatest feuds between discoverers and custodians of the past had exploded since the conflict between Othniel Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope over the fossils of extinct giants in Sioux territory during Custer's battles. With swifts swirling in up-drafts around our heads, we scrambled and picked our way among sheer precipices and ledges. Its tight horseshoe of cliffs and rubble made the perfect hiding place for our car and tent from the gray guards roaming the surrounding crests with binoculars.
Sebastian snuggled tighter into his sleeping bag, so I set out to reconnoiter alone, systematically working quadrants and contours between our quarry at Fariseu and Piscos brook. Somewhere among the jumble of a thousand rock faces would be an ancient image - perhaps masked by lichen or so faint one had to trace its parts before seeing it whole. The numbed waters suddenly spangled upstream with glitter and so many flowery white tresses of water plants that the currents looked like sudsy pastures.
After all the noisy demonstrations against the dam in Lisbon, how were they to know how much clout a nosy prehistorian might have? Whatever was going to happen to him afterwards in the backwater of Portuguese archaeology had surely been inconsequential, since experience proved that nobody made much fuss over sites that were out-of-sight and out-of-mind - especially with archaeologists beholding to dam-builders and political appointees for access and records. According to the insinuations, he could have continued his documentation right up to the headwaters as his masters worked their way upstream step by step. I sensed that this crowd felt their doctor deserved to be the one to tell fellow archaeologists that they might as well ask to visit Atlantis. Sure enough, there was the 12 year-old Pocinho dam sweeping the valley with a clean curtain.14 But the silos of this former construction site's cement plant were speckled with rust, the ranks of its offices and dormitories were deserted and almost every window was broken. Fortunately, Sebastian was becoming ever more engrossed in Verne's book, spelunking towards the planet's core, so I began to gravitate down halls for exercise and companionship, coming to the door of the room where the secretary was braiding the blind's cord while two laconic draftsmen labored over tracings of horses, ibexes and aurochs. It has been insinuated that Rebanda probably discovered Rock 1 at Canada do Inferno as early as November 1991.18 In Dec.
So, quixotically, he had proposed building a dry-dock around the outcropping, and, failing that, underwater exploration. If so, the power utility may have known of incredibly rich sites years before the first blueprint for the new dam! Clottes was the worlda€™s reigning prehistorian a€“ the man who had risen to the pinnacle of the French archaeological establishment and held the only keys to the holy grail of art caves - the unbelievably strong and ancient Grotte Chauvet. After inspecting the 15% of the art that remained above water at the site in the rising dama€™s shadow, because the EDP had hardly felt it necessary to lower the water for the visit of the foreigner sent by the now antagonistic IPPAR, Clottes stepped before a highly polarized press corps. The dam-builders and their government backers felt vindicated while much of Portuguese public was crestfallen or furious. The dam had become a poisonous political issue in a national election with the President and his fellow Socialists attacking the center-right Prime Minister for its willingness to sacrifice both the nationa€™s patrimony and vineyards to a flaky building scheme. As if the owners of villas built around the new lake would really allow it to be drained 100 meters to its bottom - where almost all of the known panels would soon be drowned a€“ once every decade! Suddenly, the Portuguese public felt that the dam-builders were not only destroying the nationa€™s most ancient claim to world grandeur and civilization, but that they were in league with a man who would never have been so cavalier with Paleolithic masterpieces in his own country!
When I later asked Portuguese archaeologists if they were going to attend an up-coming conference organized by Clottes, they recoiled.
First, because Clottesa€™ retinue of hosts, diplomats and reporters was rushing him and putting him in a bind a€“ even if his stature, pride, and role as UNESCOa€™s expert on rock art had led him into it.
They even echoed his faith in getting dam operators to regularly empty the vast lake a€“ despite the glaring evidence of the EDPa€™s behavior at CA?a itself. No sooner had Clottes triggered a public outcry, than he began to explain away his tepid defense of the CA?aa€™s importance by saying that he had not been shown enough art to form a true idea of the valleya€™s richness.35 But the truth is, he was shown Rebandaa€™s trove of drawings from submerged sections and sites upstream36 and could have been more demanding. After all it was a lot of money, the government was inflexible, the controversy had become a campaign issue a€“ which meant that his advice would seem like foreign meddling - and the elections were still far off. When, in fact, the long-term rights for the cave in France would belong to its Ministry of Culture a€“ which was already attacking its discoverer, Chauvet, for the pittance hea€™d received for his pictures. But I could hardly hold my tongue: why on earth had he invited people from this caste of academics back into his life - and the valley - when at least one of them had apparently abused him?
The picture was compelling: SimAµes and her husband angelically insisting that the world must be told, while the hireling screamed demonically over the fire, accusing university archaeologists of trying to hog the credit yet again.
If Rebanda had known SimAµes and Jaffe were going to paint him into a corner, wouldn't he have raced for the exit?
Both Rebanda and SimAµes de Abreu could have been traitors and saviors at once, and as long as I was with this archaeologist, I felt bound to encourage the savior in him. It must have seemed like an insult to him after all his efforts, so with an anarchic gesture, he announced, what the hell, he'd photocopy their fax when it came, so we could enter a second.
Huge black derricks hulked atop the dam beside a row of gate-lifting pistons that looked like Big Berthas.
We bagged the warning or omen, caught and released a giant water beetle - the kind that injects deliquescing enzymes into living frogs, then sucks out their juice - and worked our way along what was actually the upper tier of a disappearing cliff.
When art panels are located in the CA?aa€™s side valleys, they are apparently concentrated on northern slopes. I was a willing guide as we skewered corn kernels on hooks, lashed lines around a log and threw the lethal leashes into the dark.
They were a hundred yards apart, making perpetual rounds as they kept time clocks happy by cranking them every few paces with keys chained to the fence.
It was probably his first job after military service, but he was intelligent enough to realize that hea€™d been hired as a pawn in a vast conspiracy to keep Portugal's greatest cultural wonders out of sight and out of mind, till they could be obliterated. One, because any plan to remove the friezes not only meant assigning a value to them, but keeping the controversy alive. The mountainous dirt road forked, meandered and even skirted an imposing castle,51 but several classes of children were making the long dusty pilgrimage on foot while carloads of adults in their Sunday best made the excursion to see the only engravings to have escaped the censors - either because the site at Penascosa was so far from Lima Montiero's spyglass or because the valley was gentler here and had always been farmed.
I hadn't passed the first olive tree when I happened upon a well-knapped hand-axe, and then another! On-line commentary entitled a€?Some corrections about the CA?a petroglyphsa€? in TRACCE no. While Chauveta€™s name was given to the cave itself, the names of his co-discoverers were given to two of its large chambers. Mila SimAµes de Abreu and Ludwig Jaffe were the founders of the APAAR (AssociaA§ao Portuguesa de Arte e Arqueologia Rupestre), which has been a member of IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organisations) since Sept. In an on-line commentary, Jaffe denounced what he perceived as a continuation of the scandal under new management: a€?In December 1994 IPPAR passed the responsibility for the rock art in the Coa valley to Mario Varela Gomes and Antonio Martinho Baptista. Their critics often subscribe to the doctrine that modern ethnographic evidence cannot be used to interpret ancient cultures. Although Bednarik was one of the earliest crusaders for CA?a - calling for the EDP to stop building the dam in Nov.
The leftist press and Portuguese archaeological milieu reacted with just as much reflection, ignoring both Bednarika€™s qualifiers and his pioneering role in organizing the world campaign to fight for the whole valleya€™s salvation (see Dossier CA?a p. Of the 66 contributions written by individuals, not one is by Nelson Rebanda, whose ghost a€“ to anyone interested in intellectual property a€“ haunts every line.
After the CA?a scandal served its purpose as an electoral issue that helped the Socialists to win power, the new government kept its campaign promise by protecting the CA?a Valley but used the goodwill engendered by the decision to blunt criticism while flooding other huge assemblages of rock art. 3; Catherine Vincent, writing in Le Monde on March 11, 1995, goes into much more detail about one particular vineyard, Ervamoira, that would have been lost, along with its exceptional Port wine. The first was to prove that the engravings were not Paleolithic a€“ an effort that entrapped researchers who wanted to apply experimental direct-dating techniques. This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. Then there are the upheavals of Kairouan following Hilalian's invasions in 449 AH (or 1057 AD) and which led to the decline of the city.
More than a defensive role, the buttresses and towers full serve more to enhance the stability of the mosque built on a soil subject to compaction.[13] Although a seemingly harsh, the external facades, punctuated with powerful buttresses and towering porches, some of which are surmounted by cupolas, give to the sanctuary a striking aspect characterized by majestic sobriety.
Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed[15] during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers, originally conducted by Kusaila. The stories concern mainly the different phases of construction and expansion of the sanctuary, and the successive contributions of many princes to the interior decoration (mihrab, minbar, ceilings, etc.).
In the history of Art, its three-storey minaret is considered such a masterpiece and a model among the most prestigious monuments of Muslim architecture. This reflects the fact that, unlike the rest of the mosque, the enclosure has undergone significant changes to ensure the stability of the building (adding many buttresses).
This porch of seven meters high is topped with a square base upon which rests a semi-spherical ribbed dome ; the latter is ribbed with sharp-edged ribs. Near its center is an horizontal sundial, bearing an inscription in naskhi engraved on the marble dating from 1258 AH (which corresponds to the year 1843) and which is accessed by a little staircase ; it determines the time of prayers.
It consists of three tapering levels, the last of which is topped with a small ribbed dome that was most probably built later than the rest of the tower.[48] The first and second stories are surmounted by rounded merlons which are pierced by arrowslits. Their use probably dates to the work done under the Umayyad governor Bishr ibn Safwan in about 725 AD, and they have been reused at the base of the tower.[49] The greater part of the minaret dates from the time of the Aghlabid princes in the ninth century. The courtyard facade (or south facade) of the tower is pierced with windows that provide light and ventilation,[51] while the other three facadesa€”facing north, east and westa€”are pierced with small openings in the form of arrowslits.[47] The minaret, in its present aspect, dates largely from the early ninth century, about 836 AD. The dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame.
Wooden brackets offer a wide variety of style and decor in the shape of a crow or a grasshopper with wings or fixed, they are characterized by a setting that combines floral painted or carved, with grooves.
It is formed by an oven-shaped niche framed by two marble columns and topped by a painted wooden half-cupola. Divided into two groups, they are dated from the beginning of the second half of the ninth century but it is not determined with certainty whether they were made in Baghdad or in Kairouan by a Baghdadi artisan, the controversy over the origin of this precious collection agitates the specialists. Behind the openwork hint, there is an oldest niche on which several assumptions were formulated. Jewel of the art of woodwork produced during the reign of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis and dated from the first half of the eleventh century, it is considered the oldest still in place in the Islamic world.
Most of the works on which rests the reputation of the mosque are still conserved in situ while a certain number of them have joined the collections of the Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art ; Raqqada is located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan. Featuring kufic character suras are written in gold on vellum dyed with indigo, they are distinguished by a compact graph with no marks for vowels. These polycandelons, now scattered in various Tunisian museums including Raqqada, consist of three chains supporting a perforated brass plate, which has a central circular ring around which radiate 18 equidistant poles connected by many horseshoe arches and equipped for each of two landmarks flared. During this period, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was both a place of prayer and a center for teaching Islamic sciences under the Maliki current. The transmission of knowledge was assured by prominent scholars and theologians which included Sahnun ibn Sa'id and Asad ibn al-Furat, eminent jurists who contributed greatly to the dissemination of the Maliki thought, Ishaq ibn Imran and Ibn al-Jazzar in medicine, Abu Sahl al-Kairouani and Abd al-Monim al-Kindi in mathematics. Human populations across the continent all but disappeared as well, at a time that should have been ideal for continued growth and expansion. Perhaps we can draw parallels between the explosive climate and environmental changes so long ago and the changes we face today: challenges we now interpret with a mixture of science, supposition, belief, hope, fear, denial and always through the personal filters of our own biases. Their unique hunting points have since been found at over 50 sites across all of North America. Among the Clovis sites, some of those in what is now the southeast United States are older than those in the west, and the very oldest of the distinctive artifacts come from a site in southern Chile, throwing into question an orderly migration from Asia to Alaska and then across America. The climate prior to the extinctions seems to have been cooler and wetter than today a€” but with at least two periods of extended drought. Clovis tools and the bones of mammoths are found in the lower sediments but not within the black boundary or above. The starburst pattern at the lower left shows relative distances from our sun to easily identifiable quasars. Indeed, the controversial Firestone and West also speculate that the collective memory of such momentous events as atmospheric explosions may survive in human mythology, perhaps as the Thunderbird of Native American culture. The Clovis culture was gone but was then replaced by the Folsom culture, people who hunted bison instead of mammoths and left behind their own distinctive artifacts. Nanodiamonds are typically found inside meteorites and at impact craters, but have not been associated with volcanic eruptions. After years of controversy, science has now pretty conclusively established that dinosaurs and about half of all animal species of the time were destroyed 65 million years ago by the impact of an asteroid that was over seven miles in diameter leaving a crater 120 miles wide and 1.5-mile-deep in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
The upper surface of a mammoth fossil in that excavation was found to be highly magnetic and radioactive but the lower surfaces of the same fossil were not, leading to speculation that the mammoth was suddenly buried while actually in the process of being butchered.
Fifteen of these structures were investigated by Richard Firestone and found to contain markers similar to Clovis sites, including nanodiamonds. Broecker proposes that geologic structures holding that water may have broken loose sending a huge pulse of fresh water through what is now the St. Also, evidence of a sufficient flood channel has not been identified, although more recent channels are clearly visible across eastern Canada. Their evidence is found within the very base of that mysterious black mat that is often just above Clovis artifacts.
That band contains charcoal, soot, carbon spherules, and glass-like carbon, all materials associated with intense wild fires. Another researcher, Ross MacPhee, countered that the extinctions could have been caused by a new a€?hyper-diseasea€? spread through contact with colonizing humans. The climate had been warming for about 3,000 years and an advanced prehistoric human culture a€” the Clovis a€” had been thriving for 350 to 500 of those years. 18th1, but Europea€™s biggest open-air gallery of Paleolithic animals was reported just a month earlier in the CA?a Valley of northeastern Portugal2. Regardless of how old the CA?aa€™s art turns out to be, it is unique in its richness above ground and astonishing in its illustrations of movement - with animals tossing their heads with the same stop-action dynamism found at Chauvet and only millennia later in photography and Futurist painting. The Chauvet Cavea€™s prehistoric bestiary was proudly splashed across magazines around the world.
Soon, the guard turned into a regular lad, wrote down the chief engineer's name and pointed beyond the ramp-laced moonscape - into the wilderness. In this walled garden, the conflicting passions of archaeologists had exploded around a campfire, set a president and prime minister against each other, and cowed the emissaries of UNESCO. Lizards skidded into fissures, a rusty blade wedged in a nook beside a sliver of cliff garden spoke of an emigrant who had never returned, but the walls seemed barren. Over and over again, the scene seemed set, the rock stretched, but its lines were just fractals. I yanked myself up to a platform less than a step wide and a ten-foot long cow - an auroch!
By holding the animal's form and movement vividly in mind, the maker had poured himself into its body and experienced a power beyond abstraction, beyond even tool-making, to thrill to the new power of passing through the looking-glass into another being. A stream, running pure as its springs over crisp cresses between alternating bull rushes and crags, almost made it to the river unaltered, but met it just below the threshold and sank into an estuary. We had arrived at Pandemonium and would try to insinuate ourselves into an audience with the Chief Engineer himself.
Only one was so spotless and redolent of perks, though, with its rolled lawn incongruous in the desert, that we knew right where to head among forking roads. I was hardly surprised when these well-fed pros passed the buck to the only gaunt and partially toothless fellow traveler among them. So they decided to play it safe by dumping me on their pet nemesis, the organizationa€™s own archaeological a€?hirelinga€?, Dr.
He could have added to his hoard of exclusive photos and measurements, imposed interpretations, and generally lorded it over his peers - for who could have naysayed him with his treasures locked a hundred meters deep in so many great watery safes?10 And to think that all the dam-builders' pet archaeologist and his accommodating superiors at the Portuguese Institute for Architectural and Archaeological Heritage (IPPAR)11 in Lisbon - to whom Rebanda had reported his discoveries at least twice12 - had had to do to pull off this economically patriotic (not to say mutually beneficial) stunt was keep their mouths shut!
After having suffered at the hands of his mentor, Professor Jorge, why had Rebanda put himself at the mercy of two similar academics and representatives of an international body to boot - Mila SimAµes de Abreu and her archaeologist husband, Ludwig Jaffe, who represented the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO)?
At least such nuisances would keep him from getting up to more mischief by turning up new discoveries.
But, finally, a secretary answered my summons and let me into a vestibule empty except for a display of postcard-sized photographs of some of the engravings, and a cartoon caricaturing the scandal - which I reckoned had been knowingly posted to co-opt criticism.
I couldn't quite make out the man's features through the crack, but it was obvious he was gushing recriminations - and no wonder: the entire archaeological profession had ganged up on the pariah.
We all knew I had crossed a threshold, but, after all, I had paid my dues, and in any case, I padded off to the foyer again. Yet they'd prattled to the press that they had found the art a year ago, and then more like two years ago, and now, word had it, a€?onlya€? three years ago25 - when it was always somehow too late to stop the process leading up to construction, which had only started in September a€™94.26 The gall! Instantly, I whipped out paper and scribbled the fastest copy of the main map that my hand could draw. After SimAµes de Abreu and Jaffe had unleashed the scandal by revealing the conspiracy to flood Europea€™s richest assemblage of open-air Paleolithic art, the IPPAR and Portuguese Ministry of Culture had scrambled to get their own expert witness a€“ and, in a further twist, had asked UNESCO to recommend an expert to challenge the power companya€™s growing efforts to prove the art wasna€™t Paleolithic but recent27 a€“ in which case, the EDP seemed to think that the public would drop the subject as being the relatively recent work of peasants drawing their cows.
For all their heightened sensitivity to having CA?aa€™s fate evaluated by a foreigner, the Portuguese press viewed Clottes as a referee and expected a verdict.
Then, as fate would have it, Clottes was back in the headlines within the week, announcing drastic measures to protect Francea€™s new crown jewel, Chauvet.
And as if anyone could even find new art during the two weeks a lake might be emptied (every hundred years) while everything was coated with algae and grime!
Opposition editorialists had a field day with Clottesa€™ apparent hypocrisy and dismissiveness towards Portugal - and demonstrators flooded the streets. Two, because people are often driven to produce their greatest work and worst mistakes by similar drives.
Rebanda was even fooling himself on this score, I thought - after all, the Foz CA?a photographs would probably end up belonging to Portugala€™s own ministry or even the EDP. Scientists - like lawyers - ply an adversarial trade, but the chance to put Portugal into the archaeological heavens a€“ and to boost their own reputations with it - had given many researchers more ulterior motives than usual. Personally, I couldn't see anybody bedding down for the night and traipsing out the next morning with people who had announced that they were going to expose him.
In essence, my heart a€“ if not my mind - had taken his side for the moment; he was the underdog, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and I was concerned that he might even attempt suicide. If I didn't mind coming back at 9 the next morning, he apologized, the approval should be there. But basically the dam was a streamlined machine without much need for local intervention or maintenance. My unequivocal certification of their global importance only made him uneasier, as he didn't know whether to feel flattered or upset. We peered into a dovecot, a squat white tower lined inside with empty compartments like a city after a plague. Suddenly, a deeply hammered auroch on the rock stood out boldly as a road sign - alerting us to an entire herd. The geology, erosion, & silica skins protecting engravings all seem similar on both slopes, so I theorize that this positioning is not simply a taphonomic illusion created by the disappearance of engravings on the southern slopes.
I wasn't expecting anything when I ambled down at dawn, but there it was: a big mound under the bank! From what I could tell, even his draftsmen had decided to take the day off 49, once they realized the coast was clear.
By God, I thought, if the flooders don't save them, I hope the townspeople storm the valley!
If the guards hadn't been under strict orders not to sell admissions, they'd have made a killing; but then any financial association with the art is anathema to the dammers: the next thing they knew, they'd have a revolt on their hands!
And like the first guard, when he realized that I had somehow gotten authorization despite my evident opposition to the reservoir, he let out his pent-up indignation - for we were insiders.


As we passed the threshold between the deadened depths and virgin current with its billowing water-foliage, we had to skirt and climb over a sheer wall blocking the side-valleya€™s entrance. The intertwined couple, spanning the length of a single real horse, was still necking in Eden after twenty millennia. Rock Art and the CA?a Valley Archaeological Park: A case study in the preservation of Portugal's prehistoric parietal heritage. Although it is true that one must be extremely circumspect about doing so, such evidence often opens new perspectives that have more in common with the subsistence systems of ancient cultures than does our own, and the two authors showed considerable originality and courage in exploring it.
1994 - most Portuguese archaeologists with access to the CA?a sites now shun him as thoroughly as they do Clottes and Rebanda. 539, for a resolution, written in defense of CA?a, by Bednarik, in a book filled with vitriole against him).
These retractions confirmed that some of ZilhA?oa€™s criticisms of the direct dating attempts were well founded, but dona€™t necessarily reflect on other matters raised in his disputes with Bednarik and Jaffe. In the English sections, Jorge generously credits numerous associates and generations of Portuguese prehistorians by full name, while studiously avoiding any mention of Rebanda except where it is unavoidable, and then only with his last name between brackets.
The second was to make casts of panels for a museum a€“ which may have damaged some panels. For all these reasons, the mosque (which occupies the same place since its founding in 670) is not any more situated in the center of the medina, and is thereby positioned on the extremity, near the walls.
Among the authors who have written on the subject and whose stories have survived[31] are Al-Bakri (Andalusian geographer and historian who died in 1094 and who devoted a sufficiently detailed account of the history of the mosque in his book Description of Septentrional Africa), Al-Nuwayri (historian who died in Egypt, 1332) and Ibn Nagi (scholar and historian of Kairouan who died around 1435).
The rainwater collector or impluvium, probably the work of the Muradid Bey Mohamed Bey al-Mouradi (1686a€“1696), is an ingenious system that ensures the capture (with the slightly sloping surface of the courtyard) then filtering stormwater at a central basin furnished with horseshoe arches sculpted in white marble.[45] Freed from its impurities, the water flows into an underground cistern supported by seven meters high pillars. According to the German archaeologist Christian Ewert, the special arrangement of reused columns and capitals surrounding the mihrab obeys to a well-defined program and would draw symbolically the plan of the Dome of the Rock.[71] The shafts of the columns are carved in marble of different colors and different backgrounds.
The oldest boards date back to the Aghlabid period (ninth century) and are decorated with scrolls and rosettes on a red background consists of squares with concave sides in which are inscribed four-petaled flowers in green and blue, and those performed by the Zirid Dynasty (eleventh century) are characterized by inscriptions in black kufic writing with gold rim and the uprights of the letters end with lobed florets, all on a brown background adorned with simple floral patterns. These tiles are mainly decorated with floral and plant motifs (stylized flowers, palm leaves and asymmetrical leaves on bottom hatch and checkered) belong to two series : one polychrome characterized by a greater richness of tones ranging from light gold to light, dark or ocher yellow, and from brick-red to brown lacquer, the other monochrome is a beautiful luster that goes from smoked gold to green gold.
If one refers to the story of Al-Bakri, an Andalusian historian and geographer of the eleventh century, it is the mihrab which would be done by Uqba Ibn Nafi, the founder of Kairouan, whereas Lucien Golvin shares the view that it is not an old mihrab but hardly a begun construction which may serve to support marble panels and either goes back to work of Ziadet Allah I (817-838) or to those of Abul Ibrahim around the years 862-863.[79] Above the marble cladding, the mihrab niche is crowned with a half dome-shaped vault made of manchineel bentwood.
The upper edge of the minbar ramp is adorned with a rich and graceful vegetal decoration composed of alternately arranged foliated scrolls, each one containing a spread vine-leaf and a cluster of grapes. The beginning of each surah is indicated by a band consisting of a golden stylized leafy foliage, dotted with red and blue, while the verses are separated by silver rosettes. The three chains, connected by a suspension ring, are each fixed to the plate by an almond-shaped finial. One may conceivably compare its role to that of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.
The warming trend came to an abrupt end over a very few years as the climate chilled rapidly.
We humans, along with all of our living neighbors, exist in a fragile, ever changing environment that is occasionally buffeted by sudden, catastrophic shifts followed by yet another new equilibrium. Another curiosity is that identical flaking and grinding techniques were used thousands of years earlier in southern France, Spain and Portugal, but not in Asia.
As the glaciers retreated, sea levels rose and the a€?land bridgea€? between Asia and North America disappeared under water.
The sample is consistent with material that would be left if a tree were impacted by a fast-moving, high-temperature shockwave.
The remaining ice sheets retreated as the Earth continued to warm, a trend which has extended to the present with only minor fluctuations. Earlier extinctions have also been linked to possible collisions, and there is believed to have been an atmospheric explosion of a comet over Asia 750,000 years ago. Perhaps even more telling: the much larger Shoemaker-Levi comet impacting Jupiter in 1994 broke into over 20 pieces as it approached that planet. This extreme cooling ushered in a 1,400-year return to near ice age temperatures known as the Younger Dryas period.
According to Broecker, the newer channels may have obliterated earlier evidence, or the a€?big flusha€? might have flowed under the remaining ice sheets. They initially investigated sediments at Clovis and other sites across North America and in Europe, and have since analyzed more. The same layer also contains nanodiamonds, magnetic grains, and higher-than-normal levels of iridium, uranium, and thorium as well as a unique isotope of extra-terrestrial helium that is trapped within carbon fullerenes. Both theories point toward the Clovis hunters as being responsible for the extinctions and the destruction of their own environment. While the paintings in the French cave, which became known as the Grotte Chauvet, often have engraved contours, the Portuguese menagerie may also have been painted, but, being outdoors, their pigments have usually weathered away. As shadows welled from the valley, we turned from the scarps and trundled downwards into the cleavage, till the road turned into a path to the water through a profusion of poppies. Finally, I discerned a flock ambling down through dry brush, then a shirt flashed a white dot, and we converged within hailing distance on opposite banks. Even ideal panels on either side of a fig tree bulging titanically from a small cave were barren.
A stand of poplar trees crackled like Chinese New Year with small birds, abundant as leaves. It was a good thing we had his name, Lima Monteiro, because the Securitas guard on this side meant business.
Our compact car slid in among Mercedes and I stepped into glare, drawing cool stares from fleshy faces.
My interlocutor explained that the Chief Engineer was powerless to help me, so he couldn't be bothered to give me an audience. Of course, the stories went, the honorable witnesses had refused to become accomplices and had immediately denounced the whole plot a€“ writing open letters to the Portuguese President, Vice President and Director of IPPAR - with carbon copies for the press.13 If only his employers had known that Rebanda was so naive! She announced that it was no use disturbing the doctor, who I could see through a jarred door talking to someone over the phone with peevish vehemence.
Finally, I suggested that she didn't need to keep me company while I waited for the good doctor to get off the phone. That's strange, I thought as I wandered off again, mulling over a mental photograph of the site distribution. And here were others, even closer to the construction site, at "RA?go de Vide", which had been submerged by the same old dam! Still, she caught me; whereupon I went on elaborating it, asking questions, and then padded back to the foyer again to continue my vigil.
After all, the archaeologists and reporters had allowed the Tagus petrogylphs to be drowned with hardly a whimper. Not only did the contrast with his actions in Portugal now smack of a double standard, but there was a piquant irony. With stakes this high, both parties unleashed their opinion-making machines, making hash of Clottesa€™ carefully weighed words as quickly as theya€™d vilified Rebanda. Clottesa€™ words may have been earnest, but with stakes this high and politicized they were about as reasonable as Pontius Pilatea€™s attempts to keep the peace. I prefer to think the latter, and that his only mistake was thinking that people on both sides were lucid and reflective enough to interpret his verdict correctly. In Rebanda's place, I'd have calmed down and let the traitors fall to sleep, but then I'd have snuck away - trekking fast through the dark, picking myself up when I fell, but getting out - bloody knees and all - and calling that alarm first!
Furthermore, I had no doubt - whatever pacts he'd struck - that he would make up for them if only approached constructively. After we'd faxed it, I was sorry to see him having to still recall and refax, as he nudged the request repeatedly through the unyielding bureaucracy. Sebastian and I scrambled and tacked among the carious cliffs, till there was nothing left but rock overhanging the water itself.
But a huge horse, leaning over the depths, was both more graceful and cryptic, for someone had wedged a rusty horseshoe into a crack between its hooves.
No sooner had I chipped the thin device and steadily shoved each curve straight, than the hook slipped smoothly free. Only Rebanda's long-suffering secretary had to keep her post and occupied herself by taking up the relay of calling and faxing. These red and gray devices were not only customized to match the guards' uniforms, but showed off the latest in high-tech materials and molding.
As we wound our way down towards the reservoir among towering red cliffs, he took quiet pride in pointing out the hidden elements of scattered engravings. But then Piscos Brook ran between trees, pastures and cane-groves, with cliffs full of shelters and stone panels at each bend. La Pintura, The Official Newsletter of the American Rock Art Research Association (Member of IFRAO) Volume 21, Number 3, Winter.
In the same book, which Jorge compiled to record the campaign he was spear-heading to save CA?a a€“ a laudatory effort, if there ever was one, that made Jorge synonymous with yet another of Rebandaa€™s finds - Bednarik is repeatedly dismissed as a a€?charlatana€? (pp. Jaffe accused the trio, who had taken over responsibility for the archaeological resources of the valley, of endangering art panels and refusing to allow qualified foreign researchers or even Dr. Whatever the case may be, the problem of rock art conservation is still as far from resolution in Portugal as it is in most other places in the world. Those in white marble come from Italy,[59] some shafts located in the area of the mihrab are in red Porphyry imported from Egypt,[72] while those made of greenish or pink marble are from quarries of Chemtou, in the north-west of current Tunisia.[59] Although the shafts are of varying heights, the columns are ingeniously arranged to support fallen arches harmoniously. The coating around them is decorated with blue plant motifs dating from the eighteenth century or the first half of the nineteenth century. Other scrolls and calligraphic Qur'ans, as that known as the Hadinah's Qur'an, copied and illuminated by the calligrapher Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq for the governess of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis at about 1020 AD, were also in the library before being transferred to Raqqada museum. Could the Clovis people have somehow migrated across the Atlantic from what is now Europe, perhaps along a northern route following the edge of the much denser ice packs of the time? Had the collision been with Earth, it is possible that none of those fragments would have actually produced a crater, although the atmospheric explosions would have spread fiery destruction over vast areas, just as the proponents of the Clovis-impact hypothesis assert. The less dense fresh water then disrupted deep-water circulation and cut off the northward flow of warm salt water.
Very recently, Mark Bateman of the University of Sheffield, UK, identified the Mackenzie River as the likely path flood waters followed into the Arctic Ocean. The highest concentrations of these materials are found at the northern sites, and the same band has been identified in Greenland ice. Surviving humans reverted to the earlier, more sustainable hunter-gatherer lifestyles until agriculture finally came along at least a thousand years later. All that remains, where jagged outcroppings of schist jut from brushy slopes - exposing terminal facets perfect for murals - are hauntingly sinuous outlines of deer, horses, ibexes, and wild cattle called aurochs.
The first flurry of press articles had mentioned that many of the engravings were already submerged by the cofferdam holding the river back for the more monstrous wall rising downstream from it. I sent greetings and the shepherd expostulated and gestured animatedly upstream towards towering slabs. For me, all of mankind's later accomplishments, all our later experience of good and evil only become possible after such art.
The irrelevant exchange had sparked sympathy as we both waited - and waited, in similar irrelevance to someone too consumed to give us heed.
I would have to go to Lisbon, and no, it wouldn't do any good for him to fax; he didn't have an iota of authority.
Despite all the insinuations about Rebanda and IPPAR, they were actually the first to try blocking the philistines with the clout of an institution as important as UNESCO. About thirty years before, Francea€™s equivalent to the EDP had taken the entire Ardeche Gorge, where the Chauvet Cave had just been found, from its entrance at Sauze to a rainbow-huge, natural arch - Vallon Pont da€™Arc, next to Chauvet - by eminent domain, to build a dam.
These conscientious people know that theya€™re barely tolerated by the forces of Mammon - scraping crumbs from the tables of vast enterprises armed with dynamite and bulldozers - and make compacts all the time with them, telling themselves, for instance, that the alluvial strata that cement plants exploit are always too tumbled to contain intact Acheulian hearths.
If only he'd announced the discovery, co-opted his employers, and splashed masterpieces across magazine covers while the art's existence was still fresh, he might have won honor, fame, a very small fortune (and maybe even kept his job). Within weeks, local academics had begun signing their names to Rebandaa€™s discoveries, tracings, and interpretations while forgetting to cite him. I'd have been the one to announce the existence of the largest gathering of open-air Paleolithic engravings in Europe to the world.
Slate slabs, thoughtfully laid into a wall as steps, led down through a canopy of fig trees into a cavernous wallow between cliffs.
I woke Sebastian in time to see the beast lumber over the bank and glide away, and then it was high time we checked out our other line at the doctor's office.
Noon passed as we still waited together like an old couple, talking about the doctor's misery, Australian rock art, translations; whatever.
The guards stiffened as Sebastian and I had the gumption to breach a forbidden zone and stride blithely forward. There were so many warblers piping and whistling, there must have been a dozen species with overlapping territories. Botha€? - Baptista and Gomes a€“ a€?were closely involved in the rationale to submerge the rock art (to 'protect it from vandals'); in fact, on 8 November Baptista spoke of how sedimentation behind dams should protect rock arta€? - my italics. After our departure, Bednarik and three other researchers (Alan Watchman from Canada, plus Fred Phillips and Ronald Dorn from the USA), who believed that they had found ways to date rock art directly, studied some of the CA?aa€™s engravings during separate visits.
1995 that was led by Mounir Bouchenaki, the IPPAR formed a scientific committee consisting of Antonio BeltrA?n, Emmanuel Anati and Jean Clottes, who came back for a second round.
Their edges, obtained from the lower parts of ancient cored columns,[46] support the string grooves back the buckets. The horseshoe arch of the mihrab, stilted and broken at the top, rest on two columns of red marble with yellow veins, which surmounted with Byzantine style capitals that carry two crossbeams carved with floral patterns, each one is decorated with a Kufic inscription in relief. Although more than eleven centuries of existence, all panels, with the exception of nine, are originals and are in a good state of conservation, the fineness of the execution of the minbar makes it a great masterpiece of Islamic wood carving referring to Paul Sebag.[83] This old chair of the ninth century is still in its original location, next to the mihrab. This collection is a unique source for studying the history and evolution of calligraphy of medieval manuscripts in the Maghreb, covering the period from the ninth to the eleventh century.
No Clovis artifacts or skeletal remains of the large mammals have ever been found within that black-mat layer or above it. Very recently, on June 30, 1908, a presumed comet or low-density asteroid exploded over the remote region of Tunguska in Siberia leveling tens of thousands of trees, scorching the land, sending out a shockwave that circled the Earth twice, and putting so much dust into the atmosphere that people 6,000 miles away in London could read newspapers at night from the diffused light.
This climate change affected most of the planet including Europe and Asia, with evidence of the shift found as far away as New Zealand.
Broecker, an earth scientist at Columbia University, supports a now widely accepted theory: rapid climate change was caused by the disruption of the Great Atlantic Thermohaline Conveyor. And so, forgive me, but in comparison to these ancient windows, cathedrals seem to have anti-climatic and overwrought power. Except for the absence now of bigger species, this was how Solutreans had experienced the world - with whistling, mooing, barking, roaring and trumpeting not just on the Serengeti, but to the frozen north! So much will go unrecorded because of all this fuss.a€? a€“ So, Rebanda is resigned to the inevitability of the flooding, I thought.
If the dam had been built, a dozen known art caves would have been flooded or affected by rising water tables. So rather than condemn Clottes, perhaps the Portuguese should simply admit his diplomacy opened the debate, even if one might wish that hea€™d been a crusader. From Chauveta€™s pinnacle, its gatekeeper was probably right to dismiss the scratchings, which I too thought could have been the kneading of bears, but the contrast between the levels of encouragement was striking. Although they granted him the discovery of Hella€™s Canyon (in footnotes), other sites that Rebanda had already noted were soon claimed by competitors as Rebanda was effectively silenced. And Vitor and his wife, Susanaa€? - was it my imagination or did her name stick in his craw? Their stingy hypocrisy and philistinism revolted me: they wouldn't spend a penny on protecting such discoveries, but they'd drown the world up to its headwaters to keep driving Mercedes. Goldfinches sparked into the air, a crested hoopoo flashed orange and black, and the shaggy canes were a tumult of avian chatter.
Jaffe was also the IFRAO representative of the SocietA  Cooperativa Archaeologica, Le Orme della€™Uomo, Italy (Bednarik 1994). But not before signing controversial non-disclosure agreements with the EDP, which was hoping that their techniques would yield dates so recent that they could be used to ridicule stylistic daters who had identified the engravings as Paleolithic (Baptista & Fernandes 2007, p. Another possibility is that the unique tools may represent a technology that was widely traded among Paleolithic cultures, or that individuals independently discovered the same special techniques in isolated locations over the span of many thousands of years. Others again came to the a€?New World,a€? perhaps first in Viking longboats, then with Columbus, followed by Pizarro and Cortez seeking their mythological streets of gold.
Some researchers even estimate that this climate disruption may have delayed human development by well over a millennium.
This is the ocean current that cycles warm gulf-stream water from the tropics up to the northern latitudes. Intermittent splashes smacked echoes off the walls, a frog croaked and some beast keened a cry we had never heard.
When I asked if they could intercede on our behalf, she said one had to apply in person, in Lisbon, and have connections. In fact, paw prints indicated that we had missed cornering another feral dog or fox in its lair.
Surgically, it was a nightmare: I'd have to pry its head out, keep its neck extended, wedge open its powerful beak and finally thrust the treble barbs down its throat, so as to carefully extract their burr, without snagging them again! Finally, they agreed that one of them would walk parallel to us, down the fence-line, to let us in the distant gate. At our feet, frogs skipped like pebbles and painted turtles rowed earnestly in tangled water blossoms - all for the taking. Unless you and I and all of us together add our voices to those of the Portuguese citizenry trekking down for a last look, and reclaim what is OURS!
The story of the denunciation is from Bednarik (1994) and Simons in the New York Times (1994). As so often happens, the newcomers killed and mated with the original inhabitants, overpowering the existing cultures through military strength and foreign beliefs. Such a disruption could have occurred had there been a sudden, large influx of fresh water into the Atlantic. Even the Chauvet Cave, which was unknown, might have been threatened by the changing water table!
Unfortunately, Bednarik, who is one of the worlda€™s most encyclopedically informed, accomplished, and bold prehistorians, walked right into the trap. Jorgea€™s utter dismissal of Bednarik was clearly motivated by the lattera€™s implicit condemnation of the way that Jorge had appropriated Rebandaa€™s earlier discovery at Mazouco, instigating Rebandaa€™s secrecy that was one component of the CA?a a€?cover-upa€? (Bednarik 1994, p. The transformation was not just one way, however, as even the conquerors wereA  changed into something new. Later, Bednarik spear-headed another campaign to save a Portuguese rock-art assemblage from inundation a€“ this time behind a dam in the Guadiana Valley - and noted that a€?None of this helps the rock art of the Guadiana, condemned to inundation under billions of tonnes of lake sediment as the reservoir silts up over the next 70 yearsa€? a€“ again, my italics. Do you think I'm such a fool as to invite the man who deprived me of the credit for my first discovery, to come see my greatest wonders if it wasn't because I needed all the allies I could get; if it wasn't because I even needed the universities to help save them. Ironically, the mandarin in Porto would come out smelling like roses for his campaign while the roles of several well-meaning prehistorians, if I may insist upon the word, were simplified so as to make them better scapegoats. First, because his dating system, which was based on determining the degree of micro-erosion undergone by a rock face, had been developed in Australia, where climate and geological conditions are different from Portugala€™s. This odd statement flies in the face of Bednarika€™s consistent defense of both the CA?aa€™s art and other assemblages, suggesting that it was a ploy to get the EDP to allow them to test their methods. Even though both men concluded that their observations proved that the art was no older than the Neolithic, Bednarik did not repeat the notion, when announcing his results, that a relatively recent vintage diminished the arta€™s importance or the need to protect it a€“ quite the contrary.



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