View Full Version : North African Amphoras in England

Monday, August 12th, 2002, 11:07 PM
"Nevertheless the honor of building the world's earliest sewage system was not claimed by one of the great urban centers of the ancient world: instead it belongs to the Neolithic villages of the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. At the beginning of the third millennium B.C. the inhabitants of sites such as Skara Brae had built drains fourteen to twenty-four inches high, lined with stone slabs, running from toilets in separate small rooms within their houses. It seems as though the drains ran away under the settlement to the nearby cliff, where they discharged their contents into the sea.[...]

Some of the oldest furniture in the world comes from Stone Age Scotland, around 3000 B.C. The beds made by the inhabitants of the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, may not look all that impressive, but they were probably very comfortable. They were built on the ground against the houses' thick stone walls, with the ends and side away from the wall formed by thin stone slabs. The interiors were filled with soft mosses. The inhabitants of these prehistoric villages also made dressers or sideboards from thin stone slabs, placed so that they were the first thing a visitor saw on stepping through the door into the house. One of these Orcadian sites, Skara Brae, has also produced the world's earliest known lavatories and sewage-disposal system, a tribute to how seriously the inhabitants took their domestic comforts.[...]

What are probably the world's earliest lavatories, dating to around 2800 B.C., have been found at the picturesque Late Stone Age village of Skara Brae, on the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. Recesses in the stone walls of the houses appear to be toilets, since they are connected to drains running away from the houses."

P. James & N. Thorburnpe, Ancient Inventions, (London: Michael O'Mara Books, 1995), pp. 359, 428, 442.

There is an interesting book on this Neolithic site, which contains further information about Skara Brae:

V. G. Childe, Skara Brae, (London: Kegan Paul, 1931).

The following websites may also be of interest:



Wednesday, May 21st, 2003, 04:19 PM

Friday, December 5th, 2003, 04:02 PM

Stone warrior delights experts

By Paul Rincon

BBC News Online science staff

Archaeologists are delighted by a 2,500-year-old stone statue that
offers a rare insight into life in western Europe before the Roman

The stone torso, unearthed at Lattes in southern France, is one of
just a few detailed figurines considered to have been made by the
ancient Celts.

The statue of a male warrior wears a style of armour worn in Spain and
Italy and was life-size when it was complete.

The "Warrior of Lattes" is described in the scholarly journal

It is around 79 centimetres in height and was discovered in the wall
of an Iron Age house where it had been used as a building stone.

Some time after it was created, the statue was mutilated to be re-used
in a door opening. The head was removed, the left leg and arm hacked
off and the crest of the warrior's helmet smoothed away.

The statue's pose is also unusual for Iron Age sculptures from
southern France. Most are shown cross-legged, but the Lattes sculpture
was in a crouched position - a pose reminiscent of some Greek

Experts say the statue provides a unique insight into early
interactions between the inhabitants of western Europe and the
classical world prior to the Roman conquest.

The style of armour worn by the warrior is similar to that found in
graves and on statues associated with the Iberian culture of ancient
Spain. However, the Iberians may have adopted this style of armour
through links with Italy.

This is unusual because the people of the eastern Languedoc region of
France, where the statue was found, are generally thought to have had
a Celtic culture, different from people from the Iberian zone to the

Michael Dietler, of the University of Chicago, US, and Michel Py of
the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Lattes, France,
propose that a cultural elite in the eastern Languedoc may have
adopted exotic customs, while the majority of the people held on to
their old ways.

Professor Greg Woolf, a historian at the University of St Andrews in
the UK, told BBC News Online: "I can't think of anything to compare it
to. But this could be the result of a broad range of interaction [in
the Mediterranean]."

He added that the statue was not necessarily a depiction of someone
indigenous to that region.

"Are they sure it's not a god? Not all pictures are self-portraits."

Wednesday, April 14th, 2004, 10:04 AM
Taiwan has several indigenous groups, and their relationships are considered.

Five Taiwanese populations were used, and compared first with each other. Then they were compared with outside populations which included Neomongoloids, Australoids, and other groups that mignt be most expected to be related to the the inhabitants of Taiwan.

Of the Taiwanese, Babuza, Shi San Hang and Pazeh are the most similar of the to one other, while the Atayal and Bunun are more distant.

Wednesday, April 14th, 2004, 10:31 AM
The results are that the first division in the dendrogram, is between Australoids and the rest. The Australians are a seperate group from other Australoids, and include Tasmanians as the most distant lineage). Their closest relations can be thought of as Melanesians, but Micronesians are within this group.

Mongolia diverges next, and then three of the Taiwanese (Shih San Hang, and Babuza with Pazeh). The Polynesids are the next to seperate, and then the Bunun (one of the Taiwanese), and then there is a division between what can be considered as a Malay or Paleomongoloid branch, and North-East Asians. Atayal (also Taiwanese) are in this group closest to Anyang, Korea, Hainan and the more recent wave of immigrants to Taiwan.

Evidence supports that Taiwan may be the origin of Polynesians.

Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 07:45 PM
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Thursday, April 22nd, 2004, 08:29 PM
Social Analysis of Mortuary Evidence in German Protohistoric Archaeology

Heinrich Härke

Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AA, United Kingdom

Received 29 January 1998; revised 29 September 1999; accepted 24 January 2000. ; Available online 25 March 2002.

German early historical archaeology has witnessed since the 1960s an intensive debate on the social analysis of mortuary remains. It started out with the question of archaeological criteria for the inference of social status in early medieval cemeteries. In the 1970s, attention shifted from quantitative to qualitative analyses of grave goods and to the use of data on labor investment and skeletal data. In the last decade or so, younger colleagues have tried to overcome the weaknesses of traditional inferences from grave goods (status, religion, ethnic affiliation) by looking at the implications of ritual, and new methods of analyzing biological kinship have been applied to identify families in prehistoric and early medieval cemeteries. The German debate shows similarities to as well as differences from the Anglophone debate. It is suggested that we may learn from these parallel developments, but we should also learn from the fact that two scholarly debates on the same subject could ignore each other for 3 decades.

friedrich braun
Tuesday, October 5th, 2004, 02:50 PM
German folk trio strike gold

By Ray Furlong
BBC correspondent in Gornau, Germany

Hundreds of fans were crammed into the large white tent, pitched in a damp field in the village of Gornau in south-eastern Germany.

As the rain fell outside, steam rose from the mud. But inside, a sense of expectation was rising.

De Randfichten gave up their everyday jobs for folk stardom
The crowd were waiting for De Randfichten, a trio of folk musicians who have become Germany's unlikeliest new stars.

This summer they won national fame with their hit single "Holzmichl", which reached number three in the charts - unheard of for folk music.

"If you go to Majorca, go to a party, you will listen to the Holzmichl. On the other side if you go to an old people's home you will find they use it for physiotherapy," says the band's marketing manager Mark Zumkeller.

De Randfichten are three ordinary blokes with accordions, a guitar, and questionable dress sense.

They've already been a hit for several years in this remote corner of Germany, the picturesque Erzgebirge region near the border with the Czech Republic.

"It's nice to go to the concerts, it's a great atmosphere," says 17-year-old fan Isabell Otto. "The lyrics have meaning. They speak about the life of the people, everyday life."

One example of this is a song about going across the border to buy cheap goods, during which the fans gleefully wave cartons of cigarettes in the air.

"It's a problem that many people in our region have no work and very often they are depressed - but this music changes everything," adds another fan, 46-year-old English teacher Steffi Kraus.

"They sing, and when they sing at the concert they maybe forget their worries and their sorrows... But it's very hard to get tickets."

The band's lyrics are unashamedly feel-good. As one of their songs puts it: "Forget all your troubles today, and sing with us!"

But the band members themselves are surprised by the speed at which they have been propelled from a depressed East German backwater to national stardom.

"So many people have left our region for other parts of Germany, in search of work, I think they've spread our name across the country," says accordionist Michael Rosting, a 42-year-old former insurance salesman.


"People tell us they find us authentic," says Thomas Lauterbach, who gave up his job as a music teacher to play guitar with the band. "This is part of the reason for our success."

In any case, the band provides the rest of Germany with at least one positive image from a region that is only associated with bad news like economic gloom or the success of the far-right in the recent state elections.

But not everyone is so impressed.

"It's very, very popular, and it has no notion of coolness. That makes a big difference to normal pop music," says music critic Tobias Rapp.

"But sometimes this lack of coolness can be cool just because it's different. Maybe that's why a strange group like De Randfichten can play on a glamourous TV show like Top of the Pops."


Monday, October 11th, 2004, 12:57 AM

English - German <~

~> The main interests are Sciences in and around Europe in Bronze Age and late Neolithic Times.

~> Das primäre Ziel ist es, eine Diskussionsrunde zu führen, deren vorrangige Interessen im Forschungsbereich "Europa während des Spätneolithikums & der Bronzezeit" liegen.


Monday, October 25th, 2004, 03:06 AM

Monday, December 20th, 2004, 11:34 PM

Archaeologists strike gold in secret spot

Eleven small, golden reliefs have been unearthed at an archaeological dig somewhere in eastern Norway. Officials won't say where, because they think more of the 1,400-year-old gold objects will be found at the site.
Professor Heid Gjøstein Resi with one of the small gold reliefs found in eastern Norway.


The most intact object found in October depicts a couple, maybe the mythological figures Frøy and Gerd.


"This is a tremendously unique and exciting discovery, the kind an archaeologist makes only once in a lifetime," professor Heid Gjøstein Resi told newspaper Aftenposten. Resi, who's tied to the Oslo museum housing Viking treasures (the Oldsakssamlingen at the Kulturhistorisk Museum), has been leading the excavation where the gold objects were found.

They were first unearthed in October, before digging was forced to stop for the winter. Resi said they found on the excavation's first day, and the thrill intensified when no less than 10 more were found later.

The archaeologists call the small reliefs gullgubber, which basically translates to "golden old men." That's because the first of their kind found in Scandinavia depicted men with beards, even though those found this fall depict a man and a woman.

They date from 600-700 AD, are only about 1.1 centimeters in size and are believed to have been used as a form of payment or offering at rituals. The last ones found in Norway were unearthed at Borg on Lofoten in the 1980s. They also were found under Mæhre Church in Trøndelag in the 1960s and at Klepp in Rogaland in the 1800s.

The biggest collection, around 2,300, was found on the Danish island of Bornholm. The so-called gulgubber also have been found in Sweden.

Archaeologists will resume digging at the site in the spring, and its location is expected to be made public next year.

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004, 01:50 AM
Megalithic Site:


Thursday, January 6th, 2005, 01:59 AM
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Saturday, January 8th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Tuesday, February 15th, 2005, 11:48 PM
Archaeologists on Tuesday started one of the biggest projects ever undertaken in Europe, hoping to rewrite the 2 000-year history of Cologne.

The diggers have four years to shift 100 000 cubic metres of soil, looking for foundations and artefacts that will go on display at the city museum.

The Romans founded "Colonia" and it was one of European biggest cities in late Roman times and the Middle Ages. Past digs have yielded Roman mosaics, tombstones and oil lamps.

Chief archaeologist Hansgerd Hellenkemper said his team would try to discover why the Roman river port silted up and how Cologne was affected by a drastic change in the world's climate 1 800 years ago.

The team are to dig up to 13 metres under the surface at sites that have been reserved for an underground railway. When the 100 archaeologists leave, the engineers will move in.

Friday, February 25th, 2005, 05:39 AM
When an engraved stone was dug up nearly a century ago on a building site, it didn't excite many. But now an archeologist has determined that it's actually part of Germany's oldest throne, sat in by Emperor Charlemagne.

Usually the western city of Aachen gets all the press -- at least when it comes to Charlemagne. It was the favorite residence of the emperor and served as the principal coronation site of Holy Roman emperors and German kings from the Middle Ages to the Reformation.

But now Aachen's been upstaged somewhat since an archeologist at the Roman-Germanic Museum in Mainz has uncovered part of an armrest that supported Charlemagne's royal left arm when he was visiting the city of Mainz.

The piece was actually discovered in 1911 when it was dug up while a clothing store was being constructed. It was handed over to museum officials, who apparently were not that impressed. It was catalogued, briefly described and promptly put away to gather dust in a museum storeroom.

Decades later, the piece was pulled out of cold storage because a museum archeologist, Mechthild Schulze-Dörrlamm, was researching stone monuments from the Carolingian period. After seeing the engravings on the piece, she realized she had more than a medieval signpost on her hands.

Further research and comparisons with other royal artifacts showed that the object supported the royal arm in the year 790 at the latest, making it older than the marble throne in Aachen which dates from around 800. That royal chair previously held the record for the oldest extant throne, but has now been knocked off its perch.

Thursday, May 19th, 2005, 08:52 PM
The Azilian techno-complex is a poorer and less polished, generally
far inferior remnant of the Magdalénians: rooted in Europe, thus, in
contrast to the Capsians and Natufians of the Levantine
The eponymous site is located at the Pyrenees.
Occitania and Liguria from the Mesolithic into the Early Neolithic
is vastly racial stable.
Traditionally is thought that the Cardials were seafaring Atlanto-
Mediterreneans but a village site in South France brought doubt this
generally accepted theory:


Interestingly the Mesolithics in Occitania belonged to a subrace
close to the Atlanto-Mediterrenean race , albeit slighter finer-

While the use of microliths might have been introduced by Capsians
and the Azilian arose from mutual contacts, other sources point out
that southern influences degraded in later stages by greater use of
bone material and rapid regionalisation of this industry.

Here is a photo with a collection of skulls pertaining to the
Azilians, also harpoons and lettered pebbles and a distribution map
(icl. the Tardenoisin):

http://geology.cwru.edu/~huwig/cata...des/758.H.1.jpg (http://geology.cwru.edu/%7Ehuwig/cata...des/758.H.1.jpg)

http://geology.cwru.edu/~huwig/cata...des/756.J.2.jpg (http://geology.cwru.edu/%7Ehuwig/cata...des/756.J.2.jpg)

http://geology.cwru.edu/~huwig/cata...des/756.J.1.jpg (http://geology.cwru.edu/%7Ehuwig/cata...des/756.J.1.jpg)

The Magdalénians dispensed to a certain degree lithic material for
manufacturing bone kits.
They hunted reindeers and horses over great distances, they show a
remarkeable fitness to svelte mobility and wander treks over vast
territories. From the moment the glaciers retreated, they took full
advantage of the free coming lands to migrate due north, covering
Great Brittain, Germany and the North European Plain.
Anyway, the wide distribution of the Magdalénian tribes didn't
inhibite them to maintain long distance contacts and exchanges(e.g.
prestige gifts, cult objects...).

The Azilians continued the traditions of their ancestors.

Microliths were important insofar it granted greater control and
manipulation of the environment, small game replaced megafauna that
by the cataclysms of the Younger Dryas was lead to extinction in
It suited a survival strategy, induced a shift in subsistence and
new resources came in their scope.
Microliths tells us more than anything else on socio-economic
problems in that era.

As a side note, the beginnings of microliths are now searched in the
Iberomaurisians, though the Capsians elaborated the technique.
The origin of the Magdalénians is a bit clouded in mystery, some
regard it as a sudden transformation from Gravettian, others hint
that it's initial distribution overlaps the Solustréan.
The Solustréans disappeared all the sudden, one theory says they
crossed the Atlantic Ocean, very much like the travel mode of
Eskimos, along the board of glaciers, and landed in North America,
where they would give rise to the Clovis culture.
Others could have remained closer to home.
Tanged and barbed pressure-flaked points of the North African
Atherian have been found in Solustréan deposits.
Why wouldn't they dare to seek refuge in North Africa and take
possession of the Atherian industry?
Maybe this is the source of the Iberomaurisians....SW European

Crossing the Street of Gibraltar and remaining stuck in Iberia is
not really a big untertaking and maybe some residual racial memory
lingered in their mind, the need to return to their point of origin.
Eventually, they passed on more their techniques and products of
workmanship over to the natives than anything else.

Coon states that the Neolithic population of North Africa beared
more resemblance to Téviec and Mugem than with e.g. the Nile Delta
The wanderlust of Solustréans and Magdalénians knowing, it's time to
contemplate the obscured waves of UP and Mesolithic Europeans due

The Capsians must have send out prospecting missions before they
ever engaged to break away for Europe or their ancestry somehow is
linked with Europe.
It's alerting that they likely entered Iberia along the Atlantic
coast, it shows familiarity with the "terrain", the Iberian Atlantic
coast is tricky due its difficult tidal waters, it acquires native
seamanship and use of appropiate boat build.

Mesolithic living is grounded in exploiting the known environment
and making optimal use of the avaliable resources, it derives from
exhaustive knowledge of the local habitat and observing, studying
and controlling the resource distribution(cfr. Stephen J.Mithen's
chapter on the Mesolithic Age, in Prehistoric Europe.An Illustrated

John Gray regards hunter-gathering communities as highly mobile,
but "their life does not require continious movement into new
territory. Their survival depends on knowing a local milieu down to
its last details. Farming multiplies human numbers. It thereby
compels farmers to expand the land they work.
Farming and the search for new lands go together."(Straw Dogs.
Thoughts on humans and other animals).

Interestingly, H-G communities live according a pattern of fusion
and fission.
The community gather together in the winter months on the lowlands
and seperate in small bands during the Summer, scattering over the
It's a seasonal movement, however since it concerns the community as
a whole one could it describe as seasonal and communal, although the
latter is reserved for the Neolithic farming columns(cfr. founding
fathers, etc...).
Yet in reality, a sharp division cant be drawned as explained here
The Cardials or Impressed Ceramic People of the Early Neolithic are
also characterized by seasonal and communal movement, and their
susbsistence relied still for a greap part on a riparian diet and
hunting small game but also bears and deers.

Saturday, October 15th, 2005, 11:28 AM
Semperoper (Goethe statue)http://forums.skadi.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=40726&d=1129372107

Friday, July 7th, 2006, 01:32 AM
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Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 07:55 PM
Goethe: Klassiek Liberaal

Door Hans-Hermann Hoppe

In dit jaar (1999) valt de 250ste geboortedag van Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. De meeste Europeanen kennen hem als de belangrijkste Duitse schrijver en dichter en als een der grootsten in de wereldliteratuur. Minder bekend is het feit, dat hij een standvastig klassiek-liberaal was, die volhield, dat vrije handel en vrije culturele uitwisseling de sleutels zijn tot het welzijn van een volk en vreedzame internationale integratie. Hij bestreed de uitbreiding, centralisatie en samenvoeging van bestuur met het argument, dat deze tendensen slechts kunnen leiden tot beperking van de economische ontwikkeling en culturele bloei. Wegens zijn betrokkenheid met de vordering van de Europese eenwording, zou ik Goethe willen voordragen als Europeaan van het millennium.

Goethe werd geboren in 1749 in de vrije keizerlijke stad Frankfort aan de Main uit ouders uit de hoge middenklasse. Hij studeerde rechten in Leipzig en Straatsburg. Hoewel hij na het behalen van zijn graad enige tijd als advocaat werkzaam was, maakte hij als dichter, dramaturg, romanschrijver, kunstenaar en architectuur-, kunst-, literatuur- en muziekcriticus furore. Hij deed ook aan natuurwetenschappen, studeerde anatomie, botanie, morphologie en optiek. Nog steeds is hij het symbool van genialiteit, met zijn complete oeuvre van meer dan 60 boeken, met inbegrip van Faust, geschriften als Goetz von Berlichingen, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, Tasso, Egmont, Iphigenie, Clavigo, Stella, Hermann und Dorothea, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Wilhelm Meisters theatralischer Sendung, Römische Elegien, Westöstlicher Divan, Die Wahlverwandtschaften, Xenien, Metamorphose der Pflanzen, en Farbenlehre.
Op uitnodiging van de graaf Carl-August van Sachsen-Weimar bezocht Goethe Weimar en vestigde hij zich daar tot zijn dood in 1832, hoewel zijn verblijf aldaar werd onderbroken door veelvuldige reizen door geheel Duitsland, Zwitserland, Italië en Frankrijk. Ongetwijfeld groeide zijn liberale politieke visie tijdens deze reizen.
Sinds het verdrag van Westphalen tot de Napoleontische oorlogen bestond Duitsland uit 234 landjes, 51 vrije steden en ongeveer 1500 onafhankelijke ridderlijke landerijen. Van deze veelheid van onafhankelijke politieke eenheden stelde slechts Oostenrijk een belangrijke politiek macht voor, terwijl Pruisen, Beieren, Saxen en Hannover op het politieke schaakbord invloed hadden. Sachsen-Weimar was een van de kleinere en armere gebieden, dat slechts een paar dozijn dorpen en kleine steden omvatte.
De conventie van Wenen in 1815, die volgde op de nederlaag van Napoleon, zorgde voor een teruggang van het aantal politiek onafhankelijke Duitse gebiedjes tot 39. Sachsen- Weimar groeide met ongeveer een derde van zijn oorspronkelijke grootte tot het Groothertogdom Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach. Toch bleef het een van Duitsland´s kleinere, armere, en politiek minder invloedrijke landen.

De hoofdstad, Weimar, was een stadje van nog geen 6000 inwoners, toen Goethe er kwam wonen, en ten tijde van zijn dood in 1832 was het pas gegroeid tot 10.000 zielen. Goethe was naar Weimar gekomen als de protégé van Carl-August. Hij reed paard samen met de Graaf, vierde feest met hem, en ging met hem op jacht.
Op instigatie van Carl-August kreeg Goethe het aristocratische ere-voorvoegsel "von" van de keizer Joseph II. Bij diverse gelegenheden kreeg Goethe, in het kader van zijn lidmaatschap van de Geheimer Legationsrat, het bevel over het 600 man sterke leger van het hertogdom (hij bracht het aantal terug naar 293), de zorg voor de wegen en mijnen, de zorg voor de financiën (hij verlaagde de belastingen), de verantwoording voor het hoftheater, en het toezicht over de nabij gelegen universiteit van Jena, waaraan in die tijd Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Schiller, Humboldt en de gebroeders Schlegel verbonden waren.
Hoewel hij al alom gewaardeerd werd, toen hij zich in Weimar vestigde, steeg zijn roem in de jaren daarna tot ongekende hoogten. Bijna iedereen, zoals Ludwig van Beethoven, keizerin Ludovica van Oostenrijk en Napoleon, zocht contact met hem, of hij nu in Weimar was of op reis. Tegen het eind van zijn leven werden Weimar en hij vereenzelvigd met Duitse cultuur, en Weimar en Goethe´s huis werden doelwit van pelgrimages van leden van het Duitse Bildungsbürgertum (de hoger opgeleide bourgoisie).

In een gesprek, opgeschreven door een van zijn vereerders, Johann Peter Eckermann, gaf Goethe, in de laatste fase van zijn leven, commentaar op het verband tussen de Duitse politieke eigenaardigheid (Kleinstaaterei) en de cultuur. Ten tijde van dit gesprek, op 23 october 1828, kwam Duitsland in toenemende mate in de ban van democratische en nationalistische gevoelens, ten gevolge van de Franse Revolutie en daarop volgende Napoleontische periode. De meeste Duitse liberalen waren democraten geworden en pleitten voor een verenigde Duitse volksstaat.
Als klassiek-liberaal, stond Goethe, wijs en met een bewonderenswaardig vooruitziende blik, goeddeels alleen met zijn ferme oppositie tegen deze vervorming van van de liberale overtuiging. Volgens hem was democratie onverenigbaar met vrijheid. "Machthebbers en revolutionairen, die gelijkheid en vrijheid tegelijk beloven", schreef hij in zijn Maximen und Reflexionen, "zijn psychopathen of oplichters." Politieke centralisatie zou leiden tot de ondergang van de cultuur, legde Goethe uit in zijn gesprek met Eckermann.
"Ik ben niet bevreesd, dat Duitsland niet één zou worden; onze uitstekende wegen en toekomstige spoorwegen zullen hun effect hebben. Duitsland is één in zijn vaderlandsliefde en zijn weerstand tegen vijanden van buitenaf. Het is verenigd, omdat de Duitse Taler en Grosschen door het gehele rijk dezelfde waarde hebben, en omdat ik mijn koffer mee kan nemen door alle zesendertig staten, zonder hem verplicht te moeten openen. Het is een geheel, omdat de gemeentelijke reisdocumenten van een inwoner van Weimar overal worden geaccepteerd, en gelijkgesteld aan de paspoorten van de burgers van zijn machtige buitenlandse buren. Met betrekking tot de Duitse staten, wordt niet langer gesproken van binnen- of buitenlands. Verder is Duitsland één op het gebied van maten en gewichten, handel en migratie, en nog een honderdtal zaken, die ik hier niet hoef op te noemen.
Men vergist zich echter als men denkt, dat de Duitse eenheid tot uiting zou moeten komen door de stichting van een grote hoofdstad, en dat deze grote stad de grote massa ten goede zou komen op dezelfde manier als een paar vooraanstaande individuen daarvan zouden profiteren." Voegde hij daar nog aan toe.

Als toch de hedendaagse Brusselse bureaucraten dat eens zouden begrijpen! De verenigde EU-markt heeft de 15 lidstaten de open grenzen - voor mensen, goederen en kapitaal - gegeven, die Goethe in 1828 prees. Vrije handel en verkeer zijn een feit. Maar een "grote hoofdstad" of een regulerende federale staat, die het leven extra compliceert, hebben we niet nodig.
Goethe zag in, dat de culturele en politieke scheppingskracht bij het volk zelf lag, en niet bij de bureaucraten. Hij zei tegen Eckermann, dat "wat Duitsland groot maakt is haar bewonderenswaardige volkscultuur, die tot alle uithoeken van het rijk gelijkelijk is doorgedrongen. En zijn het niet juist de vele verschillende vorstelijke residenties, waaruit deze cultuur ontspringt, en die haar schragen en onderhouden? Stel je voor, dat eeuwenlang slechts de twee hoofdsteden Wenen en Berlijn in Duitsland hadden bestaan, of zelfs maar een van beide. Ik vraag me af wat er dan met de Duitse cultuur en de welvaart, die daarmee gepaard gaat, zou zijn gebeurd.
Denk aan steden als Dresden, München, Stuttgart, Kassel, Braunschweig, Hannover, en dergelijke; denk eens aan de energie, die deze steden vertegenwoordigen; denk eens aan de invloed, die ze hebben op het omringende platteland, en vraag je af, of dat allemaal zou bestaan, als deze steden niet gedurende lange tijd de residenties van vorstelijke personen zouden zijn geweest.

Frankfort, Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck zijn groot en bruisend, en hun uitwerking op de welvaart in Duitsland is niet in cijfers uit te drukken. Maar zouden ze kunnen blijven wat ze zijn, als ze hun onafhankelijkheid zouden verliezen, en als provinciale steden zouden worden opgenomen in één groot Duits rijk? Ik betwijfel het ten zeerste. Hoewel de Duitsers Goethe hebben aanbeden als een nationale held, hebben ze zijn adviezen gedurende deze eeuw in de wind geslagen, zelfs aan het einde van de Koude Oorlog nog. Ook heeft bijna niemand naar zijn waarschuwingen m.b.t politieke centralisatie geluisterd. Goethe´s inzichten op het vlak van sociale en politieke fundamenten van cultuur vragen onze aandacht en zijn nu nog even toepasselijk als toen ze werden opgeschreven.

bron: libertarian.nl (http://www.libertarian.nl/NL/archives/000023.php)

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 07:09 PM
In the new age of energy scarcity, geography shapes politics. That's why Jonas Gahr Store travels with his own maps. Not for Norway's foreign minister the standard picture of a Europe centered on the Alps and the warm south. When starting talks with his European counterparts, Store likes to place on the table a very different map. At its center: the northernmost tip of the Scandinavian peninsula and the chilly waters of the Barents Sea high above the Arctic Circle. His message is simple. This is the geopolitical world as Norwegians see it.

That's not patriotism; it's a handy means of illustrating some new realities. Back during the cold war, the Barents—shared uneasily by Russia and Norway—was best known as a home for the prized Arctic cod and for hide-and-seek games between American and Soviet submarines. Today it's set to become Europe's energy Klondike, a last untapped pool of natural resources. Beneath the seabed lies not only oil but enough natural gas to meet much of the continent's needs for decades. And it's Norway that's heading the exploration race, with a first field due to come on stream later this year. "This whole region is re-emerging as something new on the European radar screen," says Store. "We have to go out with our maps and explain what it's all about."

He can expect an enthusiastic audience with European leaders ever more anxious for access to fresh energy supplies from friendly neighbors. These days Russia ranks as Europe's principal source of natural gas, and evidence of the Kremlin's readiness to use its status for political leverage has become frequent, whether it's in pricing spats with Ukraine last winter or with Belarus last month. "What has changed is that Russia has begun using energy as a political tool," says Dmitry Kisilev of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Strategic Studies Center. "Europeans fear that they will be next."

The dwindling of the EU's own gas supplies only intensifies those fears. The once abundant reserves in the North Sea are now in steep decline. Within 20 years, Britain could be 90 percent dependent on imported gas. The big consumers of Western Europe can look to other suppliers in the Middle East or North Africa—notably Algeria—to ease their dependence on Russia. But who wants to rely on distant countries of doubtful stability?

Small wonder, then, that Norway looks ever more attractive as a partner. Oslo has pledged that it won't abuse its strength to play politics. Says Store: "We don't take Russia as our role model." A nation heavily dependent on its oil and gas revenues can't afford to make enemies or relax its efforts to exploit its strengths. Last month its two biggest players in the oil and gas industry, Norsk Hydro and Statoil, announced a $30 billion merger to form the world's biggest offshore operator.

Europe can indeed take comfort from Norway's record. It's not only a big player in the oil market but also the world's third largest exporter of natural gas after Russia and Canada, doubling its foreign sales in the last six years. Exports to Europe are slated to rise by almost 50 percent over the next 15 years. These days it's meeting some 25 percent of the needs of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and expansion continues. Last summer saw the opening of the world's longest undersea gas pipeline, at 1,200 kilometers, to carry supplies from the North Sea to a depot on the English coast. By 2011, Norway has promised to provide Europe with 135 billion cubic meters of gas a year, a rise of almost 50 percent on today's figure.

Much may flow from the so-far-untapped Barents. In the midwinter polar darkness, workers on an island just off the port of Hammerfest—the northernmost settlement in Europe—are now busily completing a terminal to receive gas from the Snohvit (Snow White) field some 140 kilometers offshore, the first venture in the region. By the end of 2007, the plant will be receiving a steady flow of gas to be frozen and liquefied for export to Europe and the United States. "This is just the start," says Sverre Kojedal of Statoil, the company responsible for the Snohvit field. "We think of the Barents Sea as Europe's new oil and gas province."

Sure, even the most determined optimist won't pretend that Norway can match Russia as a long-term supplier. Quantity alone gives the Russian energy giant Gazprom unrivaled clout. "Russia is sitting on a quarter of the world's natural gas," says Bjorn Brunstad of Econ, the Nordic economic consultancy. Russia's known reserves are estimated at 47.82 trillion cubic meters, compared with Norway's total of just 2.41 trillion. Its gas field in the Barents, Shtokman, which is still awaiting exploitation, could be 10 times the size of Norway's Snohvit. The wastelands of Siberia are believed to conceal still more generous reserves.

Besides, Norway is hindered by a tricky mix of political and ecological concerns that keep its operators away from what could be the richest patches of seabed. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Barents is Europe's "last unspoiled marine environment," and worries over its possible pollution last summer persuaded the Oslo government to impose a five-year moratorium on exploring a promising area off its northern coast. At the same time, Norway and Russia are still struggling to resolve a 30-year dispute over their exact maritime border in the Barents that has so far kept rigs from both countries out of a 155,000-square-kilometer "gray zone."

Nevertheless, if the outcome of future exploration matches the geologists' best hopes, output from the Norwegian sector of the Barents could double by 2014. The technology is already moving ahead, fast opening up new possibilities. Forget rigs and costly plant above the water surface; thanks to some smart innovations, the Snohvit field will be drained by equipment resting on the seabed and operated remotely from onshore. In time, advances in technology may even allow for exploration beneath the polar ice. All that's certain, as Foreign Minister Store well knows, is that the definitive map of Europe's energy resources has still to be drawn.

Source (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16408290/site/newsweek/page/2/)

Monday, January 8th, 2007, 11:28 PM
Turning green gunk to gold, anti-cancer gold

source (http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/print.php?htdocs/releases/plainstory.php?id=3088&html=)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Combining synthetic chemistry techniques with a knowledge of the properties and actions of enzymes, scientists have been able to produce an exciting class of anti-cancer drugs originally isolated from blue-green algae.

This accomplishment is expected to make it possible to produce enough of the promising drugs for use in clinical trials.
In a study featured on the cover of the January issue of the journal ACS Chemical Biology, a scientific team lead by University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute Research Professor David H. Sherman and researcher Zachary Q. Beck found the trick to turning the green gunk into gold—cancer fighting gold.

"It was simply too difficult to use the native blue-green algae for high-level production using traditional fermentation approaches," said Sherman. But the compound, called cryptophycin 1, held so much promise as an anti-cancer drug that organic chemists got busy trying to find ways to make a synthetic form of the compound in large enough quantities for clinical trials.

Developing an efficient synthetic route to natural product compounds and their analogs is often an essential step in drug development. With drugs such as penicillin and tetracycline, it can easily be done, but cryptophycins present more of a challenge. Sherman's team realized that with all cryptophycins, the most difficult step came very late in the synthesis, at the point at which a key part called an epoxide—a highly strained, three-membered ring oxygen-containing group, crucial for the drug's anti-cancer activity—becomes attached to the molecule.

The epoxide group can be attached in two configurations, designated as alpha and beta. Scientists have known for several years that the beta configuration was absolutely required for the anti-cancer properties of the drug, but were unable to devise efficient synthetic strategies that favored that configuration.

Sherman's team accomplished this by isolating the entire set of biosynthetic genes and key enzymes and developing a new, efficient method to manufacture the broad class of cryptophycin natural products, including important analogs with clinical potential. This included characterization of an enzyme, cytochrome P450, that always introduces the epoxide in the desired beta configuration.

Sherman, who is also the John G. Searle Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, believes that this approach will allow effective new cryptophycin analogs with low levels of side effects to be created for clinical trials.

"This issue represented an exciting target that offered not only an interesting scientific problem, but the potential to do something of practical importance in creating a promising anti-cancer drug," he said.
"Biosynthetic Characterization and Chemoenzymatic Assembly of the Cryptophycins. Potent Anticancer Agents from Nostoc Cyanobionts" by Magarvey N. A.; Beck Z. Q.; Golakoti T. ; Ding Y. ; Huber U. ; Hemscheidt T. K.; Abelson D. ; Moore R. E.; Sherman D. H. appeared online Dec.15 and is the cover story in the print version of ACS Chemical Biology January, 2007.

Related Links:
ACS chemical biology (http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/acbcct/asap/abs/cb6004307.html)
U-M Life Sciences institute (http://www.lsi.umich.edu/)

Dr. Solar Wolff
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 04:36 AM
And let us hope these pills are as cheap as the government allows birth control pills to be.