Researchers find mysterious 9,000 year old structures in Western Australia

Archaeologists from the University of Western Australia have discovered evidence of one of the continent’s oldest settlements – circular stone houses dating back to shortly after the last ice age, making them between 8,000 and 9,000 years old, various media outlets have reported.

The discovery was made by Professor Jo McDonald and her colleagues at a site on the Dampier Archipelago, a chain of islands located off the coast of Western Australia. The houses were dated using the shells of edible mangrove gastropods found inside, according to The Australian.

In a statement, Professor McDonald called this “one of the earliest known domestic structures in Australia,” adding, “This is an astounding find and has not only enormous scientific significance but will be of great benefit to Aboriginal communities in the area, enhancing their connections to their deep past and cultural heritage.” Read more.


Herjólfsbærinn (Herjólfur´s farmhouse), Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland.

via Jack and Petra Clayton on Flickr

Description provided on Flickr:

“The farmhouse in Herjólfsdalur is a prototype of what might have been the oldest human habitation signs in Iceland.

The remains of the farm was discovered in 1924, when the first director of the National Museum was doing excavation work in Herjólfsdalur valley. He discovered 3 ruins; one long-house and two smaller houses. It seems like it was the long-house of Herjólfur Bárðarson, the first settler of Vestmannaeyjar islands. So the old remains might date back to the early 9th century.”

Segment of the Grœnlendinga saga, Chp. 2:


  1. Description from Flickr (see link above)
  2. Old Norse and English text from Grœnlendinga saga in Jesse Byock’s Viking Language 1: Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas, Lesson 1, pg. 46.

Dubbed terrorists, Mayans fight back against Guatemalan mining projects
September 8, 2014

The road between the Guatemalan towns of San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Quetzaltenango is guarded by a dozen thin, young, Mayan men in baseball caps and hooded sweatshirts, who mill around a truck parked across the road. “If you are from the mine,” the ringleader says, “you can’t come through.”

A mile or so away, the land falls away into a dust bowl, picked at by heavy machinery – the Marlin gold mine. All along the road, orange cliffs have collapsed onto the tarmac and the air is heavy with the stink of burnt clutches from the trucks that labour up the slope through the mountains, around 50km from Guatemala’s border with Mexico. The volcanic peaks are swaddled in gunsmoke drifts of cloud and patrolled by vultures; scattered settlements of adobe houses overlook a deep green patchwork of maize and coffee fields laid out across the ghosts of old Mayan terraces.

The Mayan Mam village of Agel hangs precariously over the edge of the pit. Crisanta Pérez’s house on the edge of the settlement clings to a steep slope that runs down to a long, turquoise tailings pond.

An intense, soft-spoken woman, “Doña Crisanta” is the figurehead of a peaceful resistance in San Miguel Ixtahuacán that has formed to protest the mine’s continued presence. Dubbed terrorists and enemies of progress by the state, the Frente de Defensa Miguelense is one of several Mayan-led protest groups across Guatemala that are facing down assassinations, detention and intimidation to stop their land becoming part of a continent-wide rush for resources.

“My family and I have been intimidated and criminalised,” Pérez says. “But I won’t give up. Who is going to do it, if not me?”

Pérez and her fellow community leaders say that the Marlin mine has contaminated the water sources that they use to wash and irrigate their crops and that the subterranean explosions have caused houses to collapse – charges that the mine’s owners, the Canadian firm Goldcorp, deny. Newsweek was shown evidence of skin conditions and severe neurological diseases that local health workers believe are the result of heavy metal poisoning, but, without independent medical assessment, their claims are hard to verify.

For the majority, the economic opportunities that the mine promised never materialised. Many, like the men manning the roadblock, sold their land and bought trucks, hoping to haul for the mine – their vehicles, daubed with religious icons, sit idle by the road. The Mayans’ anger goes deeper than individual grievances, however. The Mam, one of several Mayan nations in Guatemala, make up the majority in San Marcos. They number around 650,000 in the western highlands. On the other side of the mine, another nation, the Sipakapa, are also actively resisting the development. Both groups say that they were never consulted before work began on the pit, that their land was simply taken by a central government that does not represent them. This, they say, marks the continuation of centuries of marginalisation and discrimination – what rights they have won have proved secondary to the demands of commerce.

The Mam and Sipakapa see the mine, the government and private security firms as one entity that work together against them. “They have created a social monopoly. The mine comes to divide us, it causes conflict, psychological trauma, social repression,” says Rolando Cruz, a leader of the Movimiento de Resistencia Sipakapense, a resistance group in nearby San Isídro. “And they did not consult us.”

Téodora Hernandez was shot in the head and left blind in one eye by two men who came to ask her why she would not let a road pass through her land. Francisco Javier Hernandez Peréz, a leading voice opposing the development, was doused in petrol and set alight in 2011 by hooded men who identified themselves as supporters of the mine. His wife, Victoría Yóc, witnessed the attack; her neighbours heard her screaming across the mountains. Others have stories of near misses: Miguel Angél Bámaca, a health worker who has documented cases of suspected poisoning, was shot at in his home.The Mayans’ response has been escalating levels of protest and direct action. They have blocked roads, seized mine equipment and led demonstrations against company activities. Their campaign has been met with startling levels of violence.

Often, the violence is perpetrated by members of their own communities. The limited opportunities that the mine offers have created a powerful incentive for the few beneficiaries – Cruz calls them “traitors” – to crack down on dissent. The brutality has only hardened the resistance’s resolve.

“I’m never going to shut up,” says Victor Vicente Pérez, a Mam community leader. “I know I have the right to speak the truth … The [mineworkers] have tried to intimidate me with rumours that one day soon I’ll disappear, but I know I’m fighting for my rights and I’m willing to die for that.”

Marlin is one of over 100 metal mines currently operating in Guatemala. There are close to 350 active licences for exploration or production, with nearly 600 pending as the government, supported by the international financial institutions, promotes the sector as a way to raise revenues. Only 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is based on mining, and the government hopes that the sector may offer a chance at rapid economic growth. Around 75% of the population lives below the poverty line. Infant and child mortality rates are high, and around 50% of children are malnourished.

Full article
Photos: Doña Crisanta & Mayan People’s Council on strike in solidarity with Mayans resisting mining in Guatemala


A land of contrasts: Brunei Darussalam (by Bernard Bragg)

The Water Village (or Kampong Ayer in Malay) is a water settlement that houses some 30,000 people – half the population of Bandar Seri Bagawan. All the buildings are built over the Brunei River, stand on stilts and connected by some 36 km of boardwalks. Long wooden speed boats, (water taxis), serve as a means of rapid transport for the water village. From a distance the water village looks like a slum but it has mosques, restaurants, shops even a school and a hospital. It enjoys modern amenities such as electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, satellite television and Internet access.

Notice how vocal every single vocal Palestinian has been asked if they “hate Jews”.

I have been asked this by actual teachers and professors based purely on my outspoken criticism of Israel

Yet…how often are Israelis/Zionists asked if they hate all Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims [because they equate Palestinians with Muslims], despite very clear and outspoken anti-Palestinian, racist comments?

When someone can openly advocate for the expansion of illegal settlements that house a specific race and religious group on stolen land without having to face questions about whether or not they’re racist, while Palestinians who speak about their lives, history, and living situations constantly have to answer to “are you anti-Semitic?” as if we couldn’t POSSIBLY have any reason to oppose Israel and Zionists other than blatant racism…there’s a problem

Eleanor McMain, a settlement house worker and a progressive reformer who profoundly affected early twentieth-century New Orleans, born in 1868.

Eleanor Laura McMain was born on March 2, 1868, on a farm in East Baton Rouge Parish. Her parents were Jacob West McMain and Jane Josephine Walsh McMain, and Eleanor was one of their eight children. Having arrived from Philadelphia in the 1840s, her father became a prosperous planter and served in the Confederate Army, but lost much of his wealth during the Civil War. Eleanor moved with her family to Baton Rouge, where her father became dean and secretary of Louisiana State University. Reared in a household that encouraged reading, Eleanor attended a series of private schools. After teaching school in Baton Rouge, in the late 1890s she relocated to New Orleans, where she trained in the Free Kindergarten Association. This pioneering organization sponsored by city Episcopalian churches relied on innovative methods for teaching preschool children. In 1900, the directors of Kingsley House, a settlement house in the Irish Channel section of the city, chose her as head resident. To prepare, she spent a summer studying the settlement house movement at the University of Chicago. She also studied at two settlement houses, Chicago Commons and Hull House.

With McMain’s leadership, Kingsley House served as a community center for its working-class neighborhood. The settlement house provided a medical clinic as well as an array of educational opportunities, including a kindergarten, a night school, vocational classes, a circulating library, and the city’s first vocational school. In addition, concerts, dances, athletic events, clubs, annual summer camps, and the city’s first playground offered recreation, especially to children. Although the settlement house had been established by Trinity Episcopal Church, McMain transformed it into a nonsectarian facility to reach out to the entire community, regardless of religious affiliation.

McMain made Kingsley House a focal point for progressive reforms. The settlement hosted the initial meetings of the Woman’s League in 1905. As a founder and the organization’s first president, McMain called for an end to inadequate housing, unsanitary conditions, child labor, long work days, and deplorable schools. While working to remedy these conditions, she played a pivotal role in halting the yellow fever epidemic of 1905. With volunteers from Kingsley House, she went door to door, instructing local residents about preventive health measures. McMain’s activism also included participating in the Anti-Tuberculosis Association, chairing a Tenement House Commission, testifying before the state legislature about child labor, and collaborating with Sophie Newcomb College to open a school for social workers at Kingsley House. 

During World War I, McMain trained Red Cross nurses, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune awarded her its 1918 Loving Cup for community service. She helped organize the New Orleans Council of Social Agencies and served as its president. She died May 12, 1934, and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Baton Rouge.


An amazing trip through 4000 years  of settlement (late Neolithic houses, Bronze-Age village, Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, Norse longhouse, medieval farmstead, and 16th-century laird’s house) at Sumburgh Head and Jarlshof

Serbia. Novi Pazar. Roma settlement.
Photo © Nemanja Zdravkovic

Novi Pazar (Serbian: Нови Пазар / Novi Pazar) is a city located in southwest Serbia, in the Raška District. Novi Pazar is the cultural center of Bosniaks in Serbia and the historical region of Sandžak- Raška. A multicultural area of Muslims and Orthodox Christians, many monuments of both communities like the Church of St. Apostles Peter and Paul and the Altun-Alem mosque are found in the region. As of 2011 census, the population of the municipal area of Novi Pazar was 100,410, while the city itself had a population of 66,527.

serbian-refugee blog:

1 Jane Addams

Jane Addams was a woman who was so much more than anyone expected her to be. Jane Addams spent her life fighting for the rights of women, children, and anyone who she saw was vulnerable. She was the mother of social work in America and a fierce activist throughout her entire life. Supporting feminism, pacifism, the end of class divide, and democracy, she was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She founded the Hull House a settlement house in Chicago  which became a center for research, study, and debate, as well as a place that encouraged civil relations with the surrounding neighborhoods. Residents of Hull-house researched a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to, housing, midwifery, fatigue, tuberculosis, typhoid, garbage collection, cocaine, and truancy. It included a night school for adults, clubs for older children, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a gym, a girls’ club, a bathhouse, a music school, a drama group and a theater, apartments, a library, meeting rooms for discussion, clubs, an employment bureau, and a lunchroom. And the woman who created all of this, a haven for knowledge and progressive thought was exclusively in relationships with other women, and had long term committed relationships with two women that we know of.

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At its height, the Hull House was visited each week by around two thousand people. Its facilities included a night school for adults, kindergarten classes, clubs for older children, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a coffeehouse, a gym, a girls’ club, a bathhouse, a book bindery, a music school, a drama group, and a library, as well as labor-related divisions.(Thx for the reminder, Google.)