08 JANVIER 2018 NEWS: Balkh - Old Deer -
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AFGHANISTAN – Balkh - Balkh, Afghanistan: In the white dusty plains of northern Afghanistan, archaeologists are seeking to unravel the secrets of one of the oldest mosques in the world, whose structure is still standing after a thousand years of solitude. The Nine Domes Mosque, named for the cupolas that once crowned its intricately decorated columns, glimmers with remnants of the blue lapis lazuli stones that encrusted it.Carbon dating results in early 2017 suggests the ancient structure in Balkh province was built in the eighth century, soon after Islam swept into Central Asia — but exactly when, and who by, remains a mystery. The very survival of this modest square of just 20 by 20 metres has beguiled experts.The delicate vine leaves etched onto the pillars resemble those seen at Samarra, Tonietti said, referring to the powerful ninth century Islamic capital city that ruled the Abbasid Empire extending from present day Tunisia to Pakistan.But the mosque at Balkh could be even older, with the carbon dating and historical sources suggesting it could have been built as early as the year 794. “This means that the mosque of the Abassid Empire has been influenced by Afghanistan, not the other way around,” said Julio Sarmiento-Bendezu, director of the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan, who is leading excavations at the site
ROYAUME UNI – Old Deer - Evidence of a lost monastery, where one of the most important texts in Scottish Gaelic was written, has been found in Aberdeenshire, archeologists believe. The Book of Deer is the first written evidence of the language, recorded by monks around the 10th century. A Pictish monastery where it was created had never been uncovered – until now. The Book of Deer Project have found items near Old Deer, 30 miles north of Aberdeen, which could locate it, including a hearth, fireplace and old charcoal dated between 1147 and 1260. Although the book contains the gospels in Latin, monks used blank spaces and margins to record land transactions and other notes in Gaelic. The book has been held at Cambridge University library since 1715.