Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, the territory of Austria covers 83,879 km2. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps, only 32% of the country is below 500 m. The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, from the time of the Reformation, many northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion. Following Napoleons defeat, Prussia emerged as Austrias chief competitor for rule of a greater Germany, Austrias defeat by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, cleared the way for Prussia to assert control over the rest of Germany.
In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary, Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919, in 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies, in 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna, other major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,724, the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2014 was ranked 21st in the world for its Human Development Index.
Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. The German name for Austria, Österreich, meant eastern realm in Old High German, and is cognate with the word Ostarrîchi and this word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976, the word Austria is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean the same as Ostarrîchi and Österreich, the Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern-day Austria, around 15 BC. Noricum became a Roman province in the mid-first century AD, heers hypothesis is not accepted by linguists. Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate, about 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes, most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. The first geologist to distinguish limestone from dolomite was Belsazar Hacquet in 1778, like most other sedimentary rocks, most limestone is composed of grains. Most grains in limestone are skeletal fragments of organisms such as coral or foraminifera. Other carbonate grains comprising limestones are ooids, peloids and these organisms secrete shells made of aragonite or calcite, and leave these shells behind when they die. Limestone often contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or siliceous skeletal fragment, some limestones do not consist of grains at all, and are formed completely by the chemical precipitation of calcite or aragonite, i. e. travertine.
Secondary calcite may be deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters and this produces speleothems, such as stalagmites and stalactites. Another form taken by calcite is oolitic limestone, which can be recognized by its granular appearance, the primary source of the calcite in limestone is most commonly marine organisms. Some of these organisms can construct mounds of rock known as reefs, below about 3,000 meters, water pressure and temperature conditions cause the dissolution of calcite to increase nonlinearly, so limestone typically does not form in deeper waters. Limestones may form in lacustrine and evaporite depositional environments, calcite can be dissolved or precipitated by groundwater, depending on several factors, including the water temperature, pH, and dissolved ion concentrations. Calcite exhibits a characteristic called retrograde solubility, in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases. Impurities will cause limestones to exhibit different colors, especially with weathered surfaces, Limestone may be crystalline, granular, or massive, depending on the method of formation.
Crystals of calcite, dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock, when conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together, or it can fill fractures. Travertine is a banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams, particularly there are waterfalls. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the leaves a solution supersaturated with the chemical constituents of calcite. Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls, coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral or shells. During regional metamorphism that occurs during the building process, limestone recrystallizes into marble
The Minatogawa people are a prehistoric people of Okinawa, represented by four skeletons, two male and two female, and some isolated bones dated between 16,000 and 14,000 years BCE. They are among the oldest skeletons of hominids yet discovered in Japan, the skeletons were found at the Minatogawa limestone quarry, located 10 km south of Naha, near the southern tip of the island. In 1968 Oyama reported the finding of a bone at the quarry to Hisashi Suzuki. A team led by Suzuki excavated the site during three seasons and their finds were described in 1982. The skeletons are now in the Anthropology Museum, Tokyo University, suzukis excavation was limited to the part of the fissure that was exposed on the quarrys face,5 m high and 20 m above the present sea level, and extended about 6 m into the cliff behind. The bones recovered from that fissure belonged to between 5 and 9 distinct individuals, mixed with over 200 fragments of deer and boar bones, the finds lay on a diagonal band extending down and forward by about 6 meters within the fissure.
The lowest-placed skeleton was standing upside-down, but his bones were mostly in their anatomical positions, the other skeletons were found with their bones all mixed up and scattered over several meters. Suzuki conjectures that the individuals were killed with spears or arrows by enemies who cannibalized their victims and threw the remains into the fissure, which had been used as a trash dump. The individuals were rather short and their capacity was close to the lower end of the range of the latter prehistoric Jōmon. The teeth were worn out, suggesting an abrasive diet. In one of the mandibles, the two median incisors had been knocked out at the time, well before death—a custom that is known to have been practiced by the Jomon people. Geologists have estimated that the fissure was created by an uplifting that bent and fractured the rock layers. Charcoal fragments in the fissure have been carbon-14-dated to about 16,000 and 18,000 years ago, yamashita Cave Man Pinza-Abu Cave Man History of the Ryukyu Islands
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals and other organisms from the remote past. The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossiliferous rock formations and sedimentary layers is known as the fossil record. The study of fossils across geological time, how they were formed, such a preserved specimen is called a fossil if it is older than some minimum age, most often the arbitrary date of 10,000 years. The observation that fossils were associated with certain rock strata led early geologists to recognize a geological timescale in the 19th century. The development of dating techniques in the early 20th century allowed geologists to determine the numerical or absolute age of the various strata. Like extant organisms, fossils vary in size from microscopic, even single bacterial cells one micrometer in diameter, to gigantic, such as dinosaurs, Fossils may consist of the marks left behind by the organism while it was alive, such as animal tracks or feces.
These types of fossil are called trace fossils, as opposed to body fossils, past life leaves some markers that cannot be seen but can be detected in the form of biochemical signals, these are known as chemofossils or biosignatures. The process of fossilization varies according to type and external conditions. Permineralization is a process of fossilization that occurs when an organism is buried, the empty spaces within an organism become filled with mineral-rich groundwater. Minerals precipitate from the groundwater, occupying the empty spaces and this process can occur in very small spaces, such as within the cell wall of a plant cell. Small scale permineralization can produce very detailed fossils, for permineralization to occur, the organism must become covered by sediment soon after death or soon after the initial decay process. The degree to which the remains are decayed when covered determines the details of the fossil, some fossils consist only of skeletal remains or teeth, other fossils contain traces of skin, feathers or even soft tissues.
This is a form of diagenesis, in some cases the original remains of the organism completely dissolve or are otherwise destroyed. The remaining organism-shaped hole in the rock is called an external mold, if this hole is filled with other minerals, it is a cast. An endocast or internal mold is formed when sediments or minerals fill the cavity of an organism. This is a form of cast and mold formation. If the chemistry is right, the organism can act as a nucleus for the precipitation of minerals such as siderite, if this happens rapidly before significant decay to the organic tissue, very fine three-dimensional morphological detail can be preserved. Nodules from the Carboniferous Mazon Creek fossil beds of Illinois, USA, are among the best documented examples of such mineralization, replacement occurs when the shell, bone or other tissue is replaced with another mineral
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie
The Magura Cave is located in north-western Bulgaria close to the village of Rabisha,25 km from the town of Belogradchik in Vidin Province. Guided visits are conducted by the staff of Belogradchik municipality, to which the management of the cave was transferred in 2012 by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, in 1984 the site was induced into UNESCOs tentative list of World Heritage. The total length of the 15 million year old cave is 2.5 km, the average annual temperature of the cave is 12 °C, except for one room where the temperature is always 15 °C. The air humidity reaches 80% and the displacement -56 m, the Magura cave was formed in the limestone Rabisha Hill. The morphology of the consists of one main gallery with six various-sized halls. The very spacious site allows for music concerts to be held during Christmas, the inner temperature is constantly 11-12 °C. During the summers of 1974 and 1975 the cave was used for speleotherapy. Thirty patients slept in the cave for twelve nights, taking advantage of allergens absence, constant humidity.
A part of the cave is now used for ageing sparkling and red wines, labelled Magura, bones from different prehistoric species like cave bear, cave hyena, wolf, wild cat and otter have been discovered in the Magura Cave. Today, constant inhabitants of the cave is the collembola, as well as four types of bats, Cave paintings dating from the Epipaleolithic, late Neolithic and early Bronze Age decorate some of the caves walls. The paintings have been estimated to be made between 10.000 and 8.000 years ago, the drawings represent important events of the society that had occupied the Magura cave, religious ceremonies, hunting scenes and depictions of deities which are unique on the Balkan peninsula. The Fertility Dance and the Hunting Ceremony rank among the most noteworthy paintings, one grouping from the Bronze Age has been interpreted as a solar calendar. The cave paintings allowed storing information about regional solar calendar, religious festivals, contemporary imitations of possible fertility rites are reported — inscriptions in Latin and paintings made by treasure-hunters.
The medium used to create the art was bat guano, more than 750 images have been identified. Painted signs can be organised into four groups, zoomorphic, geometric. For the first group, there are bitriangular silhouettes with raised rounded arms, ithyphallic figures, regarding zoomorpic items, there are caprids, dogs, ostrich-like animals and schematic linear quadrupeds. Few rayed circle figures, mainly the two unica of the so-called calendar scene, likely represent a sun depiction, taking count of some associated figures, it is possible to recognize dancing and mating scenes. In the so-called Cult Hall a large dance and hunting scene is depicted, arranged in two main rows, these are the best known and most reproduced Magura Cave images
Devetàshka cave is a huge karst cave around 7 km east of Letnitsa and 15 km northeast of Lovech, near the village of Devetaki on the east bank of the river Osam, in Bulgaria. The site has continuously occupied by Paleo humans for tens of thousands of years. Devetashka cave is located approximately 2 km from the village of Devetaki, a narrow path by the river lead from the village to the cave. It can be accessed directly via Road 301 along a 400 m long dirt road, the site is 35 m wide and 30 m high at the entrance. The cave widens after around 40 m, forming a hall with an area of 2,400 m2. Earliest traces of human presence back to the Middle Paleolithic around 70,000 years ago. The site contained one of the richest sources of Neolithic cultural artifacts, besides significant archaeological findings, Devetashka cave is provides a habitat for a wide diversity of faunal residents. During the breeding season of mammalian species in the cave from early June to the end of July, thirty-four species of mammals, four of which are included in the Red List and fifteen species of bats are to be found at the Devetashka cave.
Devetashka cave was shown in the action movie The Expendables 2, the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria declared that several activities during filming violated Bulgarias environmental regulations. A contractor hired by The Expendables crew was subsequently fined for trimming the shrubbery in front of the site, after a fatal accident during the filming of a stunt, the production team again clashed with the authorities over damages to the cave. Loud noises, bright lights, crowds of people and fires in close proximity to the cave might have caused the displacement of large numbers of bats from the cave, however, by late 2012, the majority of the bats had returned to the cave. Media related to Devetashka cave at Wikimedia Commons Devetashka Cave
Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes
The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic between 4,300 and 2,200 BC. Declared to be remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction the site, discovered in 1843, the first excavations were undertaken during railway construction in 1867 and intermittent excavations have been carried out up to the present day. The Mines of Spiennes cover some 100 ha of downland four miles south-east of the city of Mons, the site is dotted with millions of scraps of worked flint and numerous mining pits, that Neolithic settlers have gradually turned into vertical mine shafts to depths of over 10 m. Research has illustrated Neolithic techniques for the cutting of the flint and the extraction of large slabs of flint, the nodules were extracted using flint picks. The stones were knapped into rough-out shapes of axes, the SILEXS Interpretive Centre has opened in spring 2015. The rough-outs were exchanged over an area, about 150 km. Polishing strengthens the product, making the axe- or adze-head last longer.
The smooth surface aids the cutting action by lowering friction with the wood, the axes were used initially for forest clearance during the Neolithic period, and for shaping wood for structural applications, such as timber for huts and canoes. The site has been compared with Grimes Graves and Cissbury in the United Kingdom, and Krzemionki in Poland, different hard rocks were used for the polished stone axes. Examples include the Langdale axe industry and Tievebulliagh, guillaume, Ph. Lipinski & A. Masson, Les mines de silex néolithiques de la Meuse dans le contexte européen. Musées de la Meuse, Sampigny 1987, F. Gosselin, Un site dexploitation du silex à Spiennes, au lieu-dit Petit-Spiennes. F. Hubert, Une minière néolithique à silex au Camp-à-Cayaux de Spiennes, F. Hubert, Lexploitation préhistorique du silex à Spiennes. Ministère de la Région wallonne, Direction générale de lAménagement du Territoire, du Logement et du Patrimoine, R. Shepherd, Prehistoric Mining and Allied Industries. Société de recherches préhistoriques en Hainaut, Minières néolithiques à Spiennes,1997 ICOMOS evaluation Collet, H.
Les mines néolithiques de Spiennes, état des connaissances et perspectives de recherche. Section 10, The Neolithic in the Near East and Europe, actes du XIVème congrès UISPP, Université de Liège, Belgique,2 –8 septembre 2001 H. Collet, A. Hauzeur & J. Lech,2008. The prehistoric flint mining complex at Spiennes on the occasion of its discovery 140 years ago In P. Allard, F. Bostyn, flint mining in Prehistoric Europe, Interpreting the archaeological records. European Association of Archaeologists, 12th Annual Meeting, Poland, 19–24 September 2006, H. Collet,2014. Les minières néolithiques de silex de Spiennes
Spy Cave is located near Spy in the municipality of Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, province of Namur, Belgium above the left bank of the Orneau River. Classified as a premier Wallonian Heritage site of the Walloon Region, the cave consists of numerous small chambers and corridors. Since the first amateur investigations during the late 19th century numerous amateur and professional archaeologists have carried out excavations, the excavation was conducted by Liège, archaeologist Marcel de Puydt and geologist Max Lohest. Paleontologist and zoologist Julien Fraipont published the description in the American Anthropologist journal. The assemblages of the oldest excavations have been mixed, that makes the interpretation of the palaeoenvironment difficult, in addition publications of de Puydt and Fraipoint disagree on the number of layers of knapped flints. The hominid skeletons discovered during the first excavations have been named Spy I, a female, and Spy 2 and these were dated to around 36,000 years BP, although a Bayesian analysis in 2014 concluded that they were probably more than 40,000 years old.
The identification of the remains of a Neanderthal child, Spy VI, was published in 2010, almost 12,000 faunal remains of the Pleistocene were discovered, including mammoth, cave hyena, woolly rhinoceros and cave bear bones. All levels contained mammoth remains, including a number of molars. It has been suggested that the Neanderthal occupants brought mammoth heads to the site and ate the brains, because many of the molars were unworn, these would have been very young or newborn calves, killed in early spring, when plant food would not yet have been available. Evidence of occupation by Upper Paleolithic anatomically modern humans has found at Spy. Pendants and perforated beads made from ivory, presumably by modern humans, were found in the cave. Goyet Caves Media related to Spy Cave at Wikimedia Commons
University of the Ryukyus
The University of the Ryukyus, abbreviated to Ryūdai, is a national university of Japan in Okinawa Prefecture. It is located in the Senbaru neighborhood of the town of Nishihara and it is the westernmost national university of Japan and the largest public university in Okinawa Prefecture. It was established under the guidance of Michigan State University and it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands in 1966. Ryūdai became a Japanese national university on May 15,1972, the university moved to its current locations during 1975 and 1984, allowing for the restoration of the castle. The university was a university from 1972 until 2004, when it was reclassified as a national university corporation under the Japanese governments changes to the national university system. Since 1988, Ryudai and the University of Hawaii have had a sister-university relationship, in January 2013, the University of the Ryukyus began a research exchange program with South Koreas Mokpo National University
The Areni-1 cave complex is located near the Areni village in southern Armenia along the Arpa River. In 2010, it was announced that the earliest known shoe was found at the site, in January 2011, the earliest known winery in the world was announced to have been found. Also in 2011, the discovery of a straw skirt dating to 3900 BC was reported, in 2009, the oldest brain was discovered
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek