Saudi Heritage Commission Announces New Discovery in Umm Jirsan Cave

The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA
The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA
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Saudi Heritage Commission Announces New Discovery in Umm Jirsan Cave

The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA
The Saudi Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah Region. SPA

The Saudi Heritage Commission has announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan cave "Harrat Khaybar", located in Madinah Region.

The research was conducted by the Heritage Commission of the Ministry of Culture with the participation of some archaeologists from the commission and in collaboration with King Saud University, the Max Planck Institute, and the Saudi Geological Survey through the "Green Arabian Peninsula project," which focuses on multidisciplinary field research, the Saudi Heritage Commission said in a statement.

According to the statement, the study was published in the journal "PLOS ONE," the first comprehensive study of archaeological research in caves in the Kingdom.

The study involved archaeological surveys and excavations in Umm Jirsan cave, revealing ancient evidence of human occupation dating back to the Neolithic period, around 10,000-7,000 years ago, encompassing the Copper Age and Bronze Age periods.

The cave was shown to have been utilized by pastoral groups, using Radiocarbon c14 that supported the discovery of animal remains such as bones dated back to 4100BC, as well as human skulls dated back to 6000BC, and other artifacts including wood, cloth fragments, and stone tools. In addition to rock art facades depicted scenes of grazing animals and hunting activities.
The discoveries provided evidence of human occupation within the cave, which remarkably preserved thousands of animal bones, including those of striped hyenas, camels, horses, deer, caribou, goats, cows, and wild and domestic donkeys, in good condition despite the passage of time. Furthermore, an analysis of human skeletal remains using radioactive isotopes indicated a dietary shift over time, with ancient human groups primarily relying on a meat-based diet and gradually incorporating plants, suggesting the emergence of agriculture.
The study also highlighted the feeding habits of animals such as cows and sheep, which primarily consumed wild grasses and shrubs, and the region exhibited significant animal diversity throughout different historical periods.
The scientific study underscored the importance of caves utilized by ancient human groups and the ancient volcanic magma paths within Saudi Arabia.



Colombia’s Congress Votes to Ban Bullfights, Dealing a Blow to the Centuries-Old Tradition 

An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
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Colombia’s Congress Votes to Ban Bullfights, Dealing a Blow to the Centuries-Old Tradition 

An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)
An animal rights activist holds a puppy while taking part in a demonstration demanding the approval of a law that prohibits bullfights, cockfights and events where animals are abused, in Bogota, Colombia, October 5, 2022. (Reuters)

Colombia’s congress voted Tuesday to ban bullfights in the South American nation, delivering a serious blow to a centuries-old tradition that has inspired famous songs and novels but has become increasingly controversial in the countries where it is still practiced.

The bill calls for the banning of bullfights in a three-year span, making the tradition illegal by the start of 2028. The new law now needs to be signed by President Gustavo Petro, who has been a longtime opponent of these events.

Bullfighting originated in the Iberian Peninsula and is still legal in a handful of countries, including Spain, France, Portugal, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico.

It was once a popular event, broadcast live by multiple television networks. But the tradition has come under increased scrutiny as views change about animal welfare, and many find it unacceptable to see an animal suffer for entertainment's sake.

“This ban is a huge victory for organizations that have worked to transform society and reject violence against animals," said Terry Hurtado, an animal rights activist and city council member in Cali, who has been leading protests against bullfights since the 1990s. “I feel relieved that bulls and horses (which also participate in some bullfights) in Colombia will no longer be tortured, and that children will no longer be exposed to this spectacle.”

In bullfights, a matador faces bulls that are bred to be aggressive. The matador taunts the bull with a red cape and kills the animal with the blow of a sword after it has been injured with lances and daggers, and is tired of charging at the matador in a circular arena.

In Colombia, where bullfights have been held since colonial times, less than two dozen municipalities continue to hold these events, although the annual bullfights in the city of Manizales still draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Bullfighting aficionados described the ban as an assault on the freedoms of minorities as well as a problem for cities where these events draw thousands of visitors.