Hypatia was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt in the 4th century BC, when it was part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was admired for her groundbreaking ideas but was eventually killed by Christian fanatics, seemingly, for those same ideas.
The Arabian desert has been known as just that – a desert – including in archaeology. It was thought that there had been no iron-age activity in the area (the iron-age was around 1200 to 500 BC). However, research conducted over the past 30 years or so has slowly changed the knowledge and understanding of the habitation and culture of this area. And not just from the iron-age but long before that!
Thousands of stone structures, first discovered in the 1970s, and which are from 6500 to 2800 BC through to the present, have been identified across the region, as well as the whole of the Arabian Peninsula. They range from burial markers, tower and pendant tombs and open-air structures, also known as gates. The gates are now known as mustatils (meaning rectangle in Arabic).
Our planet is currently going through an environmental and climate disaster, to the extent that many scientists now believe that Earth is experiencing a sixth mass extinction event, caused by human activity — what we call anthropogenic impacts. A mass extinction event is one where there is a widespread and rapid decrease in biodiversity.
If this is the sixth mass extinction, when were the previous five? That’s what we are going to talk about.