Mesopotamia: the sources of the first advanced civilizations threaten to dry up

By Sameer Ibrahim and Michael Seifert The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are among the largest rivers in the world and have numerous large and small tributaries. This makes Iraq one of the few countries that has a large amount of water despite its small area. The control of the rivers and the irrigation of the landscape were the decisive factors for the emergence of the first civilizations in human history in Mesopotamia. Starting in Anatolia, people settled here for the first time and developed agriculture and animal husbandry. City states and kingdoms emerged. This required the invention of writing and… Read More

About homesickness and a second home

By Ute Kaiser Lobna Alhindi has recurring nightmares. In them, the Syrian woman sits in a rubber dinghy with her young son, as she did at the end of 2014—on a hasty flight from Turkey to Greece. What the tuenews INTERNATIONAL employee and her colleagues Oula Mahfouz and Batool Hadous reported at Wildermuth-Gymnasium got under the skin of the eleventh-graders on the social studies course. Joseph, who has already spoken to refugees on the bus, in cafés or at events, had a new experience: talking to someone who „fled in a rubber dinghy“. He wasn’t the only one who was… Read More

Particularly vulnerable: queer refugees in the district of Tübingen

By Ute Kaiser The very first time they meet, they make a statement: The rainbow flag is stuck to the cover of the service mobile phone. It symbolises a “protected space”, says Steffen Müller-Mychajliw from the specialist service for refugees at the Tübingen district office. The refugee sitting opposite him or other employees of the specialist service can rest assured: “The counselling is anonymous, open and characterised by trust and acceptance,” says Müller-Mychajliw in an interview with tünews INTERNATIONAL. He is the head of the Tübingen regional team and the contact person for all colleagues from the specialised service on… Read More

Unique ancestral image of the Maori: from New Zealand to Tübingen

By Michael Seifert A globally unique wooden stele from the Maori culture in New Zealand is currently on display to the public for the first time in the Tübingen City Museum. The 32 x 90 centimeter carving is a Poupou (pronounced PaU-PaU) and represents a female ancestor figure. The famous British navigator and explorer James Cook brought it back with him from a voyage to England in 1771, during which he searched for the fifth continent, Australia, on behalf of the English king. Around 100 years earlier, Dutchmen had been the first Europeans to set foot on New Zealand, but… Read More

Migration brought light skin to Europe

By Michael Seifert Have people in Europe always had light skin? A young scientific discipline, paleogenetics, can provide an answer to this question. tuenews INTERNATIONAL spoke to the expert Cosimo Posth, Junior Professor of Archaeo- and Paleogenetics at the University of Tübingen. “Our aim is to reconstruct the genetic diversity of people in the past and to explain historical changes caused by migrations, intermixing and the extinction of human groups. To do this, we take a tiny amount of organic matter from archaeological bone finds or teeth and can thus isolate the DNA, the human genetic material. In the last… Read More

An ancient coin as a source for the history of Gaza City

By Stefan Krmnicek In our series on ancient coins, an ancient coinage from Gaza City in the coin collection of the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Tübingen is presented in more detail today. Gaza City was one of the most important port cities in the region in antiquity and was conveniently located as the end point of the trade routes for the incense trade from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The importance of the city is also underlined by the famous mosaic in the Church of St George in Madaba (Jordan), the oldest surviving cartographic representation… Read More

Natural disasters sometimes lead to archaeological discoveries

By Youssef Kanjou Archaeological monuments are threatened by natural disasters, floods, fires, earthquakes – often as a result of climate change. On the other hand, natural disasters have particularly preserved historical sites, making them ideal witnesses of the past for archaeologists. For example, volcanic eruptions on Santorini and Mount Vesuvius have preserved the important settlements of Old Thera and Pompeii for posterity. What is less well known is that natural disasters have also led to the discovery of particularly interesting archaeological sites. Currently, disasters in Turkey and Libya, for example, have helped to uncover previously unknown archaeological remains. In February… Read More

November 9, 1938: Pogroms in Germany

By Wolfgang Sannwald On the evening of November 9, many parliaments, cities, communities and people in Germany commemorate the night of November 9-10, 1938, when the leaders of National Socialism in Germany directly and deliberately attacked Jewish people and the facilities of Jewish communities. Some historians refer to this so-called Reichspogromnacht as the beginning of the systematic persecution and extermination of European Jewry. Between 1939 and 1945, the Nazi-controlled German Reich had more than six million people murdered across Europe, mainly through mass shootings and in concentration camps. The terms “Holocaust” or “Shoah” usually refer to the approximately six million… Read More

The Khans: meeting places of East and West

By Youssef Kanjou Communication between the East and the West began a very long time ago for various reasons, mainly because of trade. This has been evidenced by various phenomena, especially historical buildings that have been preserved until today despite the wars. Among the most important of these buildings are the khans (caravanserais). The word khans comes from Persian or Turkish and means: hostels for travelers, which today have mostly been replaced by hotels. Khans were widespread in the great cities of the East, characterized by their flourishing trade and international relations, such as Aleppo, Damascus, Cairo and Istanbul. There… Read More

Development Aid for Europe—800 Years of Muslim Culture in Andalusia

By Oula Mahfouz and Michael Seifert Tourists who visit Andalusia in southern Spain to see the architectural and artistic remains of an empire that was ruled by Islam for 800 years are amazed. They realise how much of Europe’s medieval culture is due to the inhabitants of this Muslim empire in the south of Europe. The purpose of this article is to trace important historical foundations for this and to name examples. The Arabic name “al-Andalus” (Andalusia) refers to a historical region that existed on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) from the 8th to the 15th century. The exact… Read More

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