“Terrified mother and child’s final moments preserved in ash after Pompeii volcano blast 1,900 years ago”

“Terrified mother and child’s final moments preserved in ash after Pompeii volcano blast 1,900 years ago”

by Kirstie McCrum via “The Mirror

A terrified mother and child’s final moments after the devastating Pompeii volcano have been unearthed for the first time in 1,900 years.

Restoration work on the bodies of those who died when the eruption of Mount Vesuvius engulfed Pompeii in Italy in AD79 have brought out some shocking finds like this scene.

One of the most catastrophic and damaging volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen, it claimed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killed unknown thousands of Romans.

SplashExcavations of Pompeii
History at work: A restorer works on petrified victim with arms reaching out in the laboratory of the Pompeii excavation site

The pieces are soon to be shown at a Pompeii and Europe Exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy.

Molten rock rained down on the surrounding landscape at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second in an eruption thought to have released 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima bombing.

In recent years, archaeologists used hollows in the volcanic ash where victims’ bodies fell and decayed. They have filled these cavities with plaster to see the outline of their final resting places.

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Curled up: A volcanologist said that the contorted poses were “a consequence of heat shock on corpses”

There has been much excavation work of the area, with more than 1,000 casts of bodies being made in Pompeii alone.

In 2010, studies showed that a surge reached temperatures of 300°C in Pompeii.

Volcanologist Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo, who led the study said: “(It was) enough to kill hundreds of people in a fraction of a second”.

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Looking back: After a long restoration, casts of forms of people who died 18 centuries ago will be revealed to the public

In reference as to why the bodies were frozen in suspended action, Giuseppe explained: “The contorted postures are not the effects of a long agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses.”

The eruption was foreshadowed at the time by smaller earthquakes in the preceding days, but nothing was done by authorities.

A Roman poet Pliny the Younger, who was 17 at the time, recorded much of what happened during the eruption, but it is thought that a horrific cloud of ash, volcanic gas and stones spewed from the volcano to a height of around 21 miles. . . . .


History in shambles: World Heritage sites after the Nepal earthquake

“History in shambles: World Heritage sites after the Nepal earthquake”

by Brian Ries via “Mashable


History in shambles: World Heritage sites after the Nepal earthquake

A handout photo provided by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) on 26 April 2015 of rescue workers sifting the ruins of a building for possible survivors in Kathmandu, Nepal, 25 April 2015.


The centuries-old monuments spread throughout the Kathmandu Valley were heavily damaged in the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, a United Nations official said on Monday. Some of the sites suffered “extensive and irreversible damage.”

Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said she was “shocked” by the earthquake’s devastating impact on Nepal’s cultural heritage in the country, in particular the “extensive and irreversible damage at the World Heritage site of Kathmandu Valley.”

A photo shows devastation at the World Heritage site in Kathmandu after a earthquake toppled monuments and temples on April 25, 2015.

The sites are made up of seven separate groups of monuments. They include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist “stupas” of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.

The Nepalese government describes the seven sites as “medieval royal palace complexes” or “religious temple complexes,” calling them “archaeologically, historically, culturally and religiously very important” to the Kathmandu Valley.

The Kathmandu Valley was removed from the UN’s list of World Heritage in Danger in 2007, and the government has undertaken a series of conservation efforts to protect them from encroaching development since then.

Three of the sites were “almost fully destroyed”

According to a preliminary assessment done by the organization, the Durbar Squares of Patan, Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu) and Bhaktapur, were “almost fully destroyed” in the earthquake.

Basantapur Durbar Square
A general view of the Basantapur Durbar Square that was damaged in Saturday’s earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Some of that destruction was captured by Kishor Rana, who flew a drone above the sites in the hours after the earthquake struck.

 “These are desperate times but we must all unite together in times like these,” said Kishor Rana on Facebook, who has pledged to shoot more of the sites. “Out of respect to the victims family, I did not take footages of live rescues taking place. We not only lost many lives and homes but we lost many pieces of our cultural heritage, our history.”


World Cultural Heritage: Khajuraho Group of Monuments in India

“World Cultural Heritage: Khajuraho Group of Monuments in India”

by Yamei Wang via “Xinhuanet”



Kingdom, First Among Arab Countries To Set Up Monuments System

Kingdom, First Among Arab Countries To Set Up Monuments System

via “Arab News


 General Supervisor of King Abdullah Cultural Heritage Project and vice president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) Ali Al Ghabban said Saudi Arabia is one of the first Arab countries to set up a monuments system with the aim to protect the heritage sites in the Kingdom for their cultural significance and their value as an economic resource.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the first Arab countries to set up a system for monuments,” Al Ghabban said in a press statement issued yesterday.

Applauding the issuance of the new system of monuments, museums and architectural heritage which was issued by the Council of Ministers recently, Al Ghabban asserted that the new system of monuments enhances the protection of national heritage sites as resources for economic benefit.

He added that the former system was issued 40 years ago but it was necessary to effect some changes in light of an evolution in the government’s interest in preserving architectural and urban heritage including museums to develop a system for the protection of monuments.

He revealed that the new system had been under study for a long time with concerned partners prior to being released with requirements which would enhance the process of preservation, protection and investment.

“The new system focuses on the importance of monuments, their preservation and as an important area of investment to benefit the country’s economy,” Al Ghabban underlined.

He further said the new system devotes a special chapter to urban heritage and museums and takes care of investment in national heritage. It also ensures economical benefits with regard to the sunken monuments and seeks cooperation from scientific missions, exploration operations and archaeological surveys to cope with new developments.

It further classified the architectural heritage, which is recorded as a national heritage with various categories and also supports the creation of a fund to support urban and general heritage, the SCTA deputy said.

“All of these combine to make the new system an important step toward the protection and development of the national heritage and culture,” Al Ghabban asserted.

According to him, the important additions of the new system are in the area of protection where government agencies including the ministries of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Agriculture, Transport, Petroleum and Mineral Resources and other agencies are obliged to operate in locations that are earmarked for developmental projects to ensure there are no sunken or visible monuments there.


“Over 1,000 Ancient Buddha Statues Uncovered in China”

“Over 1,000 Ancient Buddha Statues Uncovered in China”

by April Holloway via “Epoch Times

“Archaeologists have discovered more than 1,000 ancient Buddha statues in three stone caves on a cliff-face in Yangqu County, in north China’s Shanxi Province, according to a report in Although official dating has not yet been carried out, it is believed that the statues date back to the Ming Dynasty.

The Ming dynasty, was the ruling dynasty of China for 276 years (1368–1644 AD) following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming, described by some as “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history”, was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. The creation of stone Buddha statues reached its peak during the period from the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), so it is rare to find stone Buddha statues from the Ming Dynasty.

According to traditional accounts, Buddhism was introduced in China during the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) after an emperor dreamed of a flying golden man thought to be the Buddha. Although the archaeological record confirms that Buddhism was introduced sometime during the Han dynasty, it did not flourish in China until the Six Dynasties period (220-589 AD). The year 67 CE saw Buddhism’s official introduction to China with the coming of the two monks Moton and Chufarlan.

The latest finding including stone statues carved into the cave walls and measuring 12 to 25 centimetres long, said Yang Jifu, director of the county’s cultural heritage tourism bureau. Yang said two of the caves had been restored in the Ming Dynasty, according to the record on two steles in the caves. . . . .”