Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Turkey Unearths 16,000-year-old Mother Goddess Figurine

Excerpted from:

ANKARA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Archeologists have unearthed a 16,000-year-old mother goddess figurine during a cave excavation in south Turkey, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

The clay figurine was found during the excavation work of the Direkli Cave in the Kahramanmaras province, which started on July 15, Gazi University Archeology Department lecturer Cevdet Merih Erek told the agency Monday.

The finding showed that women had a high social status in the region 16,000 years ago and that the method of using fired clay in making figurines was older than previously thought, Erek was quoted as saying.

Before the discovery, the oldest fired clay god or goddess figurines unearthed in Mesopotamia, Anatolia and other Near East regions were found to be made in 5,000 BC, said Erek.

In a separate report, the Anatolia news agency said broader archeological excavations have started in the Sabuniye Tumulus, in the Sutasi hamlet of Samandag town in south Turkey's Hatay province.

Archeologists had discovered artifacts belonging to the Egyptian and Mycenaean civilizations in earlier excavations of the tumulus, which was found to be a major commercial and cultural port city in the Bronze Age, Hatice Pamir, chairperson of the Mustafa Kemal University (MKU) Archeology Department, told the agency on Monday.

Nearly 30 people including 16 scientists are participating in the excavation work, which was organized jointly by Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry and the MKU, Pamir was quoted as saying.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Friday, August 14, 2009

From Salt Lake City Weekly

Sunstone Symposium
By Dallas Robbins

The Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium is an annual gathering of scholars, historians, novelists, feminists, activists, and anyone intellectually curious about Mormon culture and history. Now in its 30th year, the symposium is a forum for liberals and conservatives, heretics and orthodox, atheists and believers, a place where free and open discussion is explored and encouraged.

This year’s theme, “Zion’s Sisterhood,” focuses a number of presentations on feminist topics, ranging from “Sex and the Heavenly Mother,” women and the priesthood, and “The Achievements and Ironies of Women’s Religious Creativity” (the free opening lecture Aug. 12). With more than 300 sessions, there is something for everyone. Highlights include presentations on Utah County’s Dream Mine, Gnostic retellings of Adam and Eve, discussion of the temple ceremony depicted in Big Love, the controversy over Book of Mormon witnesses, polygamist wives talking about their experiences, and even a panel on the mythic and religious elements of vampires and Twilight.

Along with a wide variety of challenging history and thorny theological debates, the symposium isn’t afraid of tackling the increasingly important issues of homosexuality and religion. Stephen Williams will screen his short film Voicings, a story about a devout Mormon husband and his secret gay life. The Gay Mormon Literature Project is a panel exploring Mormon and gay themes in film, books and plays. And pioneer researcher Dr. Caitlin Ryan discusses the influence of families on their LGBT children.

The Sunstone Symposium offers a unique experience for the adventurous and those curious enough to challenge their mind—and maybe stretch their soul.

Sunstone Symposium @ Salt Lake City Sheraton, 150 W. 500 South, Aug. 12–15. Registration and ticket prices vary.

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