2,200-year-old turquoise mining site unearthed in Xinjiang

Chinese archaeologists said they have discovered the largest ancient turquoise mining site so far in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

2,200-year-old turquoise mining site unearthed in Xinjiang
Ruins of ancient village in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
[Credit: TripAdvisor]

The Heishanling turquoise mining relic site, which covers an area of 8 sq km, is in an uninhabited area at the junction of Yizhou District, Hami City and Ruoqiang County in the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin in eastern Xinjiang.

More than 1,200 turquoise items have been unearthed in the area during the excavation work from September to November last year, according to the Xinjiang Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute.

Archaeologists found the ancient site was comprised of separate function zones for processing of tools, mining, mineral separation and living. A large amount of pottery and bronze items, stone and bone implements, textile and animal skin products were excavated.

The relic site, also close to the ancient Silk Road route, was discovered in 1981. Its first archaeological survey began in 2016. Archaeologists from the regional archaeology institute, Northwest University in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province and Beijing Science and Technology University, participated in the excavation work.

Based on the dating studies of the relic items, archaeologists believe mining activity took place here between the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C) and the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.).

The discovery of the turquoise mining relic cluster gave clues to the ancient industrial exchange between Xinjiang and other parts of China, said Xian Yiheng from Northwest University.

The mining and living relics showcased the ancient industrial process and enriched the sources of China’s turquoise production, he added.

The excavation of the mining relic will continue this year.

Source: Xinhua [February 09, 2019]



Rain destroys 16th century church in Nicosia’s buffer zone

Torrential rains in recent days caused the collapse of the bell tower and part of the wall of the derelict 16th century church of Ayios Iakovos in the Nicosia buffer zone, the Greek Cypriot head of the technical committee on cultural heritage, Takis Hadjidemetriou, said on Saturday.

Rain destroys 16th century church in Nicosia’s buffer zone
The collapsed church [Credit: Takis Hadjidemetriou/Cyprus Mail]

Hadjidemetriou announced the collapse in a post on his Facebook profile, arguing that had the committee been given permission when it requested to work on supporting the structure, the damage may have been avoided.

“Unfortunately,” Hadjidemetriou said, “we don’t always have good news.”

The church, he said, is in a hard to reach area which is under the control of the Turkish military. The church is estimated to have been built between the 15th and 16th centuries although it has several subsequent interventions such as the bell tower.

“Ayios Iakovos is included in the programme of the technical committee and we were waiting for the green light for the reinforcement works to begin,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the start was delayed on the excuse that demining was needed. We are now facing a disaster.”

I hope that this dramatic situation will allow immediate intervention and to the extent that reparation is possible.”

Rain destroys 16th century church in Nicosia’s buffer zone
Photo of Ayios Iakovos church taken last October for Europa Nostra
[Credit: Roman Robroek]

He said that the technical committee, that is scheduled to meet soon with President Nicos Anastasiades, will propose that the Ayios Iakovos church is put on the agenda of his upcoming meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. Anastasiades and Akinci are to have an informal meeting at the Chief of Mission’s residence in the United Nations Protected Area on February 26.

Akinci had visited the church area, Hadjidemetriou said, and it appears that he is “positively inclined”.

“After 45 years, the list of churches and monuments all over Cyprus that face collapse is very long,” he said, adding that in these cases the only obstacle is financial.

Hadjidemetriou said that the committee is looking forward to Anastasiades’ annual donation of €500,000 but also hopes for donations by anyone who “aches for the state of the monuments”.

Last November, following a conference in Nicosia on the occasion of the 5th Anniversary Conference of the 7 Most Endangered programme, Europa Nostra  appealed to the two leaders “to give the political impetus to the urgently needed reinforcement” of two churches located in the buffer zone, of Ayios Georgios and Ayios Iakovos.

“The condition of these important historic monuments is particularly alarming and it is necessary to start the rescue works without any further delay to avoid any irreparable loss,” the organisation had said.

In 2013, Europa Nostra had identified the buffer zone of Nicosia as one the most endangered heritage sites in Europe because of its symbolic and historical significance but also for its authenticity and the cultural, social and economic potential it represents.

Author: Evie Andreou | Source: Cyprus Mail [February 09, 2019]