Threat to South African archeological treasure

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first_img30 July 2015By Lyn Wadley, University of the WitwatersrandSibudu, a rock shelter above the uThongathi River in KwaZulu-Natal, is one of South Africa’s most important archaeological sites. Its recent nomination for World Heritage status demonstrates that it is of universal value, with heritage that belongs to all humanity.A housing development has been approved next to the rock shelter, threatening the fragile archaeological site.The fate of the cave has drawn global attention with international scientists and scientific associations offering to help support its survival. For South Africans, the site creates tensions between a desire to save a precious heritage site and the sensitive issue of providing homes for the poor.Why Sibudu deserves to be preservedThe ancestors of all humanity evolved culturally at sites like Sibudu. Early modern humans developed complex thought patterns and symbolic behavior in southern Africa. Among its prolific finds, Sibudu has some of the earliest examples in the world of sea-shell beads, a wide variety of bone tools, bone arrowheads for hunting, use of herbal medicine, and preserved plant bedding – all about 70 000 years old.Archaeobotanists have identified seeds and charred wood from trees not found in the area today, and some plants that are valued for their medicinal properties. This establishes the antiquity of South Africa’s profound indigenous knowledge. Hunters brought the remains of many animals including extinct giant horse and buffalo to the shelter. It is therefore an environmental as well as a cultural archive.Recently, chemical and protein analyses identified a mixture, probably from powdered red ochre mixed with wild bovid milk. This may have been body paint or something for decorating clothing or objects. The site is well-dated and has large collections of stone tools.Between 1998 and 2011, Wits University directed the excavations, and since 2011 excavations have been directed by a German university.Sibudu is on the Unesco list as part of a serial nomination for World Heritage status together with five other South African Stone Age sites. These sites inform us about the way early modern humans developed complex behaviour of the kind performed by people today. The South African Heritage Resources Agency nominated Sibudu as a National Heritage site. It was further nominated by the South African national government for World Heritage status.The Unesco document of July 2013, the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, defines a World Heritage site thus:“The cultural and natural heritage is among the priceless and irreplaceable assets, not only of each nation, but of humanity as a whole. The loss, through deterioration or disappearance, of any of these most prized assets constitutes an impoverishment of the heritage of all the peoples of the world.”There is a considerable contradiction between South Africa’s national nomination of Sibudu as a World Heritage site and the provincial granting of development rights nearby.Development threatens SibuduA South African development company plans to build on sugar cane fields which it owns. The KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development, tourism and environmental affairs has authorised the building project. A low income subsidy housing estate with approximately 370 homes will be built on about 32 hectares within 300 metres of the centre of Sibudu.Archaeologists are concerned about the effects of an increased footprint at the site because its dry, loose sediments are located on a slope and are susceptible to damage by trampling.Other archaeological sites have been destroyed or heavily vandalised when housing developments were built nearby. Peers Cave in the Western Cape is an example. People perceive it as a secret area within a public place, where they can hold unnoticed parties or meetings. Fencing is an unsatisfactory option. Experience elsewhere suggests that intentional exclusion of people causes curiosity and invites vandalism.The most sustainable way to protect archaeological sites is to have caretakers who see them as resources. If Sibudu becomes a World Heritage site, there will be full- time custodians. If wisely cared for, it can become an important archaeo-tourism destination and educational centre. A site museum and theme park could be of economic benefit to the local community.When deciding on a course of action, South Africans must be cognisant that Sibudu cannot be moved in order to preserve it. It also has a non-renewable heritage resource that is only ours for as long as we cherish and protect it. Lyn Wadley is Honorary Professor, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at University of the Witwatersrand. She receives funding from the National Research Foundation.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img

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Scenes from Episcopal Youth Event 2014

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Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceOne of the many prayers that filled a nine-panel prayer wall that greeted Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants when they entered the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceThree Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants kick along to the prelude for EYE14’s closing Eucharist July 12 inside the Pavilion at Villanova University. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceDirector Walt Blocker asks for more from the St. Thomas Gospel Choir of Philadelphia during Evening Prayer July 11 that was part of the Episcopal Youth Event 2014 at Villanova University. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceThe HighLite Vibes of the Diocese of Long Island praise God in song during Evening Prayer July 11 that was part of the Episcopal Youth Event 2014 at Villanova University. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceEYE14 participants from St. John’s in Lodi, California, in the Diocese of San Joaquin added their prayers to a nine-panel prayer wall that greeted Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants when they entered the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceDiocese of Indianapolis Bishop Cate Waynick blesses an Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participant during the EYE14 opening Eucharist July 10. During the distribution of communion Waynick got clipped on her stole by another EYE member. Rather than give away diocesan pins, some delegations clipped people with clothes pins on which they had written blessings, prayers and welcome messages. Some groups urged recipients to add the name of their diocese and then clip someone else with the pin. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceSammy Fusco of Stillwater, Minnesota, finishes the detail work on a Common Loon, the state bird of Minnesota, that Johannah Frisby of St. Paul drew on one of the nine panels that formed a prayer wall that greeted Episcopal Youth Event 2014 participants when they entered the Pavilion at Villanova University for worship and plenary sessions. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News ServiceThe Pavilion at Villanova University rocked during Episcopal Youth Event 2014 worship. The backdrop for worship was a quilt created by 13 Nigerian women who are HIV-positive. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America loaned the quilt to EYE14. 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Off-licence chain selects children’s hospice

first_img  20 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Off-licence chain selects children’s hospice Howard Lake | 9 May 2006 | News About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.center_img Local wine distributors and off licence chain, Winemark, has chosen the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice as their charity of the year. The target is to raise £30,000 for the local charity which provides care to life limited children both at hospice and in their home.An innovative fundraising strategy has been put in place by the local company who are planning individual and store wide fundraising events. Paul Hunt, Chairman of Winemark, believes that the partnership further reinforces their commitment to the local community. Winemark are delighted to announce the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice as our chosen charity for the coming year. We aim to raise £30,000 for the charity which is the only children’s hospice in Northern Ireland. The Winemark team are looking forward to the implementation of our innovative fundraising events as well as organising some events of their own, Mr Hunt said. Advertisement Siofra Healy, Fundraising and Marketing Manager for Northern Ireland Hospice Care, said:Partnership fundraising initiatives like this one gives the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice an opportunity to plan for the future and guarantee care to life limited children and support to their families both in hospice and at home.”The charity receives no government funding and depends on the support and generosity of the public to help maintain and provide its services. Tagged with: Irelandlast_img

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