Antequera Dolmens & El Torcal Mountains of Andulusia, Spain

 

Antequera Dolmens & El Torcal Mountains of Andulusia, Spain

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017

About the Site:

The site comprised three megalithic monuments: the Menga and vVera dolmens and the Tholos of El Romeral. Pictured above, is the entrance to the Menga Dolmen and below the interior.

These monumental stone tombs were constructed in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The Structures contain chambers with lintelled roofs or cupolas and are buried beneath their original earth tumuli. They comprise some of the best examples of their kind.

The site, in addition, includes two mountains: The mountains known as El Torcal, below:

and La Peña, de los Enamorados, a mountain known as “Lover’s Leap,” below:

 

 

Libya Remains on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Danger

All five of Libya’s World Heritage Sites were put on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in Danger in 2016 and they remain there. The reason is the high level of instability in Libya and damage due to looting and armed conflucts in and around the sites. These include: the Rock Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus, the archaological sites of Leptis Magna, Cyrene and Sabratha and the Old Town of Ghadamès.

The Rock Art of Tadrart Acacus

These sites are found in the Acacus Mountains, a rocky compact mountain range that is part of the Sahara Desert. The rock art found here exhibits a variety of styles dating from 12,000 BCE to 100 C.E. (See photo below by Roberto D’Angelo). The various rock art within the site suffered under Muammar Gaddafi and the endangered status of the site encompassed this era of neglect and included past looting along with vandalism that continues.

Picture of a cave painting

The Archaeological Site of Sabratha

Sabratha was a Phoenician trading post eventually rebuilt by the Romans during the 2nd and 3rd C.E. It is notable for its numerous temples, including one dedicated to the goddess Isis, who was considered to be the protector of ships and sailors. The Mausoleum of Bes is another notable sacred site within the ancient city. There is an excellent gallery of phots on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Archeaological Site of Cyrene

picture of Cyrene and a crumbling edifice

Cyrene, founded in the 7th C BCE, was one of the prominent Greek cities of the Hellenic world. Later, it became Romanized until a large earthquake destroyed it in 365 c BCE. O

ver a thousand years of history can be found at this site (Photo above, The Temple of Zeus, by Giovanni Boccardi). The Temple of Zeu is almost as large as the Parthenon in Athens.

 

 

The Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna

picture of Leptis Magna and crumbling edifices

Leptus Magna, founded by Septimius Severus, the first Emperor from Libya, was an important city in the Roman Republic from about 111 BCE. The emperor used his wealth to erect elegant buildings, including temples (See photo below of the Severan Basilica by Sasha Coachman), throughout the city. Statues of Medusa, a fertility goddess, were found in public squares all over the city.

 

 

Burro Flats

The Site:

Burro Flats Rock Shelter and Cave Paintingspicture of a cave painting

The Location:

Undisclosed Location, Ventura County, California, U.S.A.

The Site’s Status:

National Register of Historic Places, 1979

Who considers it sacred?

The ancestors of the Chumas and the Gabrielino Tribes, and the Fernandeno Tatavian Band of Mission Indians.

Why is it sacred?

The Burros Flat is a calendric site that marks the Winter Solstice

Description:

It is on 2,849 acres of land that once was owned by Boeing for what was known as the Santa Susana Field Lab; leased to Rocketdyne aerospeace company, along with another tenant, the U.S. Department of Energy. The site was used as a nuclear research facility and for testing rocket engines. The Chumas sacred site was closely guarded and even employees did not know its location, making it one of the best-preserved rock paintings in the country.

The U.S. Department of Energy & NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had to do extensive cleanup to rid the site of nuclear waste from nuclear meltdowns, carcinogenic dioxins, and heavy metals. The cleanup by the North American Land Trust and is protected as open space. The 2300 acres of land is restricted from farming, hunting, housing along with ranching and any other kind of development.

The Santa Ynez Chumash tribe manages the site and its location; they strictly control who may visit this sacred site. It is a ceremonial site and is only visited by Chumash head holy healers and tribal leaders.

 

Australian Aboriginal Sacred Site Rediscovered After 70 Years

Elder's Survey the Site Photo: Central Land Council

Elders Survey the Site
Photo: Central Land Council

A Sacred Site, called Kurlpurlunu, seemed lost for over 70 years, as elders had unsuccessfully searched the Tanami Desert. They were recently flown over the land and an elderly pair recognized the site, which had a distinctive rock and tree.

82-year-old Jerry Jangala said it was the rock he used to visit when little. He recognized  two prominent sand mounds and a waterhole. He began singing the song of the place and then cried, proclaiming that this was a place for making rain called Kurlpurlunu.

News Source: abc australian news

An Ancient Sacred Burial & Barrow Site Destroyed in The Netherlands

Neolithic barrow or tumulus sites are being lost at an alarming rate in the Netherlands. Development projects for housing and industrial use employ archaeologists who excavate these ancient sites, often leveling them in the process before they are paved over to accommodate the development.

Photo copyright by Sacred Sites International

Dalfsen Mound Leveled Photo Copyright Sacred Sites International

Such is the case in Dalfsen, located in the province Overijssel, where during the process of building a housing project, 120 graves were discovered from the Funnelbeaker culture. The acidic soil had long ago eaten away at the skeletal remains leaving only shadowy, ghostlike images. The people buried here lived between 3400 to 2700 BC and they were the makers of hunebeds, or dolmens.  Beside the burials were grave goods including the elaborately decorated pottery for which the culture was known.

Funnelbeaker Pot

Funnelbeaker Pot
Photo Copyright by Sacred Sites International

According to ADC Archeo Projecten (ADC), the archaeological firm chosen for the dig, the burial site measured approximately 120 X 20 meters wide and and included remains of an earthen monument, which was marked by an oval ditch measuring around 30 X 4 meters wide or approximately 98 X 13 ft. The earthen mound was located in the center of the burial ground. The monument would have looked like a dolmen or hunebed, but not made of stone. A remarkable and very rare, ritual platform was on top of the central mound and was likely used for staging rites connected with the burials. All finds were south of a 5000-year-old sand road, the so-called Middenweg, which disappeared during the 1960’s due to land consolidation. Along this road the dead were transferred for burial. Postholes indicate a Stone Age farmhouse, measuring approximately 12 meters long, with a burial found near the mound. The oldest finds at Dalfsen are Mesolithic flints dating from between 8800- 4900 BC.

Daan Raemaekers, of the University of Groningen, commented on the importance of the discoveries at Dalfsen. His colleague, Henk van der Velde, manager of ADC Archeo Projecten, a firm that conducts about 500 excavations a year, stated on Dalfsen.net, “The discovery of this graveyard is not only important for Dalfsen and Overijssel, but it even transcends the national interest.” Although this was presented as the largest grave field of the Funnelbeaker culture in North-West Europe, the site was not be saved. Neither Raemaekers, nor ADC Archeo Projecten, with Niels Bouma as Project Director, recognizes the earthen monument as sacred, despite the fact that it was a burial site.  The cost to excavate and level the sacred mound was estimated at US $720,870, the amount paid to ADC Archeo Projecten.

Municipal authorities and Dutch archaeologists usually do not inform the wider public until after an excavation is finished, so there is no process for voicing opposition to the development project. The discovery of such a large Funnelbeakers burial ground in Dalfsen changed all that, and the news was reported on television while the dig was ongoing. The finds at Dalfsen were presented as new discoveries, however, the excavation appears to have been started earlier in the Spring of 2015, the first Funnelbeakers having already been dug up during February. If the public had known about this important site in February, then perhaps it could have been stopped and the site preserved. The lead archaeologist from ADC, Henk van de Velt, reported that they kept the excavation secret because of the fear of looting.

Once the news broke on Dutch television there was such a large interest by the public, that authorities felt compelled to open the site for a one-time only public viewing.

A Sacred Sites member  journeyed to the Funnelbeaker site, and on the way visited the forest of Veluwe, (province Gelderland) where there are  two preserved barrows that are part of an approximately, 6-km-long alignment, that is probably lunar oriented. This visit was designed to view barrows that were naturally and respectfully preserved in contrast to what had been done at the newly excavated Funnelbeaker site in Dalfsen.

 

Tumulus at Grafheuvelweg near Niersen

Tumulus at Grafheuvelweg near Niersen
Photo Copyright by Sacred Sites International

Detail of Veluwe Barrow on the Right

Detail of Veluwe Barrow on the Right
Photo Copyright by Sacred Sites International

There were thousands of people who flocked to the site on visiting day, which was advertised thusly, “Ontdek het grootste grafveld van de hunebed bouwer”s (Discover the largest gravefield of the hunebed builders). What did the visitors see at the dig? Well, nothing, for the archaeologists had destroyed all visible traces of the ancient monument.

Crowds at the “Visitors’ Day” Photo Copyright Sacred Sites International

ADC Archeo Projecten, despite being a professional archaeological firm, had contracted with students to do the physical labor involved in the archaeological excavation. There were some young students from the University at Groningen digging a trench, and recording information for teaching purposes or merely just for show, however, the actual excavation was over. Other students participating in the excavation were from Saxon High School and the Missing Link Mangers for Archaeology.

Daan Raemakers from the Archaeology Department at Groningen is also involved with the Funnelbeakers site which may indicate the elaborately decorated pottery found at the site will be studied at his University, along with the amber chains, polished axe, and flints.

The Visitors’ Day included a slide lecture that was given on the findings by Henk Van de Veld. To the side stood glass cases with some of the relics taken from the site, amber beads, stone axes, and the amazing Funnelbeakers pots, of which 120 were excavated.

Henk Van de Veld, Archaeologist, on Visitor's Day Photo Copyright by Sacred Sites International

Henk Van de Veld, Archaeologist, on Visitor’s Day
Photo Copyright by Sacred Sites International

In fact, Mr. Van de Veld appeared at a television talk-show where he actually passed around some of the pots for participants to hold. Of particular interest was a very small, decorated pot that was taken from a child’s grave. Imagine what would have happened if someone had dropped the fragile, low-fired pots. See link below for a Dutch TV broadcast.

Passing around very fragile ancient pottery from the Delfsen Burial Site

When the presentation over, Mr. Van de Veld was asked whether anything would be saved or consolidated for posterity. He replied, “That’s impossible.” A good example of consolidation is at Woodhenge in England which was consolidated by pouring concrete in the ancient postholes. This, at least, leaves a sense of what was there and preserves the orientation and layout of the site.

Woodhenge, England Photo: Wikicommons.org By GothamNurse

Woodhenge, England
Photo: Wikicommons.org
By GothamNurse

When asked whether he had contacted the Mayor of Dalfsen, to discuss with him the possibility of consolidating the ritual platform, sacred center of the Stone Age site? Surely the plans for houses and new neighborhood could be modified somewhat, so that the ancient memorial heritage would be saved? Van de Veld became very nervous, then evasive, his speech blurred, and then he walked off.

The path to destruction took years and involved a covenant with the Province of Overijssel which had the final approval over the development plans. It began on September 27, 2010 when the Municipal Council of Dalfsen presented their “Structural Vision” for building 900 houses. The municipality of Delfsen noted that the housing site had “high archaeological expectations.” For four weeks, the municipality of Dalfsen provided the citizens with insight to their development and building plans and ultimately concluded that the project had sufficient public support and the Municipal Council agreed upon the project.

According to Dalfsen’s Archaeology Policy, because of “high archaeological expectations,” archaeologists had to be employed as required by the Treaty of Malta.

Dalfsen drafted an Archaeology Policy in 2012 that stipulates:

a)     The commitment to meet technical regulations by which archaeological values in the ground can be preserved.

b)    The commitment to carry out an excavation.

c)     The commitment for the work or workings that lead to ground disturbance should be guided by an expert in the field of archaeological care of monuments which meets the standards set by the mayor and high municipal officials for the permit to meet specific qualifications.

ADC Archeo Projecten, the firm chosen to perform the excavation of the building site, presented the Municipal Council with three options for their dig and when asked by the Council which would be best, ADC recommended the second of the three, US $720,870. – the most expensive option.

A ground plan for the sacred site before has, so far, not been released to the public. The ritual mound may have been oriented to either the sun or moon, and though this is quite possible, we are unable to confirm this, as sadly, the archaeological ground plan is beyond reach, hidden in the Archis database, only accessible to archaeologists.

Ancient Burial & Barrow Site after Archaeological Destruction Photo Copyright By Sacred Sites International

Ancient Burial & Barrow Site after Archaeological Destruction
Photo Copyright By Sacred Sites International

 

 

 

Nazca Lines Damage Update

NazcaLHummingbirdUnukornoNazca Lines Hummingbird  Photo source: WikiCommons by Unukorno

Peru’s Minister of Culture, Diana Álvarez-Caldrón, continues to pursue the highest legal measures against Greenpeace, who seriously damaged the hummingbird figure, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nazca Lines, one of Peru’s great cultural treasures. She is holding Greenpeace responsible for illegally entering a restricted area and placing large yellow letters spelling out a message urging climate action during a Global Climate Summit held in Peru in December of 2014.

Representatives of Greenpeace have continued to say the stunt was a mistake, not illegal activity. Greenpeace has suggested that they will send a team to evaluate and repair the damages. The Ministry of Culture will not allow this and they have already undertaken steps to evaluate and complete a Site Management Plan for the hummingbird. A Peruvian team will be visiting the site to see if the damage can be repaired.

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Volunteer Day at the Ohlone Village Site (Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, California)

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, California
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 2 – 4:30pm

Join Sacred Sites International as we care for a 2000-year-old Ohlone Indian village site. We will help clean, weed, and renew structures at the site. The park staff will make a presentation about the historical and cultural significance. There will be snacks, water, gloves and tools provided. This free event is open to individuals older than 12 years of age and registration is required: 888-327-2757. Tell us you’re coming and we will bring a free tee shirt!

Contact us at sacredsite1 AT gmail.com