A Travellerspoint blog

Ancient History: Return to Cyrene

Libya opens its doors to the past. (Abstract only; full article requires small fee.)

Drought gripped the Aegean island of Thera in the middle of the seventh century B.C. Desperate, the islanders sent an embassy to Delphi, to ask the oracle of Apollo for advice. The priestess told them to found a colony in Libya. Whether the story is legend or fact--it is recorded variously by poets, historians, and on ancient inscriptions--a Greek colony was established at Cyrene around 630 B.C. on an exceptionally fertile, well-watered plateau eight miles from the coast. The colonists flourished and, for a thousand years, their city was a leading center of commerce and culture in the eastern Mediterranean.

Now, for the first time since 1981, when archeological fieldwork there was suspended because of deepening hostilities between the United States and Libya, the country is open to study and tourism. Archeology magazine presents a special report.

Posted by Rapp 14:04 Archived in Libya Comments (0)

Nature: Elephants Can Alter Their Come-Hither Scents

Don't drink and drive

Like Christmas, musth comes but once each year. And for the male elephants that go through it, that's a good thing, reports the NY Times. For during musth, a period of heightened sexual activity marked by extremely high testosterone levels, males become very aggressive and can work themselves into a frenzy. (The term, first described in Asian elephants, is derived from a Persian word meaning "drunk.")

Posted by Rapp 13:35 Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Evidence Found for Canals That Watered Ancient Peru

Discovery adds a new dimension to understanding the origins of civilization in the Andes.

In the Andean foothills of Peru, not far from the Pacific coast, archaeologists have found what they say is evidence for the earliest known irrigated agriculture in the Americas, reports NYTimes' John Noble Wilford.

An analysis of four derelict canals, filled with silt and buried deep under sediments, showed that they were used to water cultivated fields 5,400 years ago, in one case possibly as early as 6,700 years ago, archaeologists reported in a recent issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Posted by Rapp 13:26 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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