BATTIR, West Bank — In this scenic Palestinian village in the West Bank hills near Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem, a week is said to last eight days, not seven. That is because Battir’s eight extended families take daily turns watering their crops from the natural springs that feed their ancient agricultural terraces, a practice they say has worked for centuries.
The water flows through a Roman-era irrigation system down into a deep valley where a railway track — a section of the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway built in Ottoman times — roughly marks the 1949 armistice line between the West Bank and Israel. The area is dotted with tombs and ruins upon ruins of bygone civilizations.
When the World Heritage Committee of Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — meets in St. Petersburg, Russia, over the next two weeks, this pastoral area will be thrust into the spotlight at least momentarily as the villagers and conservation experts fight to save what they say is a unique living cultural and historical landscape. Read more.
Several archaeological finds have been unearthed as work continues on clearing the debris following the flooding of the village of Bisser in southern Bulgaria, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said.
At least eight people died and dozens had to be evacuated as the village was flooded because of a burst wall in the nearby Ivanovo dam. The flood destroyed several houses.
It was unclear whether the finds had been unearthed by the water flow or carried by the water, archaeologists from the Harmanli historical museum said.
The stone slab appeared to be part of a Roman-era public building, while the hexagonal column was specific for the early Ottoman era. A similar column had been found near the village in the 1960s, BNT said. Read more.
The team headed by Mr. Alaa al-Saleh uncovered several archeological finds dating back to Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods, while excavating an area near the Roman bathhouses in Bosra.
“The finds include a channel made of basalt stones and parts of the western yard’s pillars, in addition to two clay-made lanterns dating back to the Byzantine area and a basin in front of the street which leads to the theatre,” said Mr. al-Saleh to the Syrian Arab News Agency.
Archaeologists also found some traditional walls dating back to the Ottoman era.
“The goal of the excavation works is to prepare the site for renovation and for receiving visitors and tourists,” explained Mr. al-Saleh.
“The excavation project at the southern Roman bathhouses came within the Department’s plan for the last season to complete the excavation, which started in the previous seasons with the aim of discovering more about the bathhouses”, added Wafaa al-Audi, Director of Bosra’s Antiquities Department. Read more.
Archaeologists working at Bulgaria’s ancient sacred site of Perperikon have found a mausoleum, with a sarcophagus inside containing a human skeleton believed to be that of a 14th century Ottoman conqueror, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
The building is oval, with a diameter of eight metres.
The skeleton was found to have been laid out in accordance with Muslim custom, the report said.
The remains are said to be those of Izrail, who in the 14th century led to a force of 300 soldiers to the site, then one of the most powerful fortresses in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains. Read more.