The village of Umm el-Jimal, which dates back to the first century AD, is in the poorest and least developed regions of Jordan. Women are particularly disenfranchised: they have traditionally played little role in the area’s economy, and unemployment among women is twice the rate of men.
The Turkish government plans to reconstruct a demolished madrasa (religious school) next to Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Museum, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1985. But the local branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) strongly protests these plans, calling the proposed construction a “new fake historic monument” that would undermine the area’s significance.
To celebrate the end of Medina’s year as Islamic Capital of Culture in 2013, the British Museum has helped organise an exhibition in the Saudi Arabian city that opened earlier this month. Since non-Muslims are not allowed to visit Medina, the show is held at the Meridian Hotel Complex, outside the forbidden zone.
Following accusations of vandalism and theft at the Great Pyramid of Giza, two researchers are under investigation in Germany and six individuals have been detained in Egypt, including the head of a tour company, archaeologists and local guards. Officials with the Ministry of Antiquities responsible for the pyramids have reportedly already been transferred to other positions as punishment for negligence.
An unexpected surprise appeared in the post today: the Japanese edition of The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign. This is the first time that one of my books has been translated into another language, and I was completely unaware that it was in the works. According to the cover, it has been translated by famous Egyptologist Jiro Kondo, which is also a great honour. So, if you know anyone in Japan who loves Egypt and has a birthday coming up, this would make the perfect gift!
New evidence could prove that a 8,600-year-old painting in central Turkey is the world’s oldest known landscape or map. The three-meter wide mural, which appears to show an erupting twin-peaked volcano above the plan of a village, has been dated to around 6600BC, and was discovered inside a mud-brick house excavated in the 1960s at Çatalhöyük, one of the world's best-preserved Neolithic sites. It is now kept in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara, Turkey.
A collection of Egyptian jewellery worth £40,000 has been stolen from the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. According to the newspaper the Leicester Mercury, the items were stolen in May 2012, but the theft was not revealed to the public until a recent Freedom of Information request. The thieves, who apparently broke a latch on a display case to gain access to the artefacts, have so far evaded arrest and none of the pieces have been recovered.