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2000-Years-Old Elephant Bone Unearthed In Spain Sparks Inquiry Into Its Role In Historic Battles Led By Hannibal Or Julius Caesar

It is an enigma of mammoth proportions, which is why its discovery was kept under wraps for four years, until more information could be gathered. During an emergency excavation in Córdoba in 2019, archaeologists found a carpal (hand bone) of “an elephant of large proportions” killed between the end of the 4th century and the middle of the 1st century B.C. Its location, the hill of Los Quemados and its surroundings, in the heart of the southern Spanish city of Córdoba, was possibly the main theatre of a large-scale battle involving African elephants. In addition, 17 projectiles (fired by catapults) and other weapons have been located. The Roman Gaius Lucius Marcus took the city, which until then had been in Carthaginian hands, in 206 B.C., and in 45 B.C. Julius Caesar, who was protected by the elephants of the Mauretanian king Bogud, expelled the Pompeians during the Roman Republic’s second civil war. Therefore, the questions are: does the bone come from one of Hannibal’s war elephants or one of Julius Caesar’s? Or could it even be one of the pachyderms sent by the kings of North Africa to the siege of Numancia? Did the animal die in battle or due to another reason? The experts are not sure.

Rafael Martínez, the zoologist and assistant professor of prehistory at the University of Córdoba, has examined the bone and explains to EL PAÍS that it is a “carpal belonging to the right hand, a bone also known as capitatum, of an African or Indian elephant. It is very difficult to determine the species, whether Asian (Elephas maximus) or African (Loxodonta Africana). This discovery is of enormous interest given the practical absence of remains of elephants from a pre-Roman context in Europe, excluding ivory objects, of course.”

“In any case,” he continues, “this discreet bone can be interpreted as proof of the presence of these animals in the area of present-day Córdoba between the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C. The reason why it is so interesting is that it is not a tusk, which was raw material for making crafts, but a hand bone. It could belong to the period of the Punic Wars [between Carthaginians and Romans]. It could be the first of Hannibal’s elephants to be discovered. We can’t know for sure, but it was certainly a sizeable beast.”

Experts have not been able to perform a carbon-14 analysis to determine the date of the pachyderm’s death, because the bone fragment, measuring 15 by 8 centimeters, is not fossilized, but remains porous. Specialists, however, have saved a small sample for a possible protein analysis to obtain more information.

The story of the discovery begins in 2019, when the Amancio Ortega Foundation donated €40 million ($42.8 million) to provide Spanish hospitals with high-tech equipment. Three of the devices were destined for the Reina Sofía university hospital in Córdoba. But a problem arose. Since radiation is used in the treatments, a concrete bunker needed to be constructed to keep the effects of the equipment away from the other patients in the health center. The regional authorities approved the Spanish businessman’s donation and so, given the historical nature of the hill where the hospital stands, it approved emergency excavations.

Carpal bone from the hand of the elephant found in Córdoba.Carpal bone from the hand of the elephant found in Córdoba.Rafael Martínez

Agustín López Jiménez, an expert from Arqueobética (the consultancy that carried out the archaeological research) explains that the place where the bone was found was “an important economic center of the Tartessian and later Turdetan culture.” And he explains how the discovery was made: “At the beginning of the intervention [dig] we documented structures from the Andalusian Emirate and Caliphate period [8th to 10th centuries]. Beneath them, remains emerged of collapsed adobe walls from the high Iberian period, around the 3rd century B.C. Under the one of these collapsed walls is where the carpal was located. In addition, we found 17 catapult ‘bullets’ (small artillery projectiles) and a spear tip (a spike that was used to stick the weapon into the ground). But we have no evidence that a battle or siege took place at the site, so the discovery of these war items was a surprise.” In addition, an oven made with adobe bricks, some coins, an Iberian millstone, Hispanic annular brooches and La Tène type brooches (4th century B.C.) were also found.

Fernando Quesada, a world-renowned expert on pre-Roman weapons, who also collaborated on the research, is not inclined toward either of the two options (Roman or Carthaginian elephant). “The contexts have not been made, and I have not seen the materials. It may be an elephant belonging to Hannibal or to Julius Caesar when he requested that King Bogud of Mauretania come to his aid at Montemayor [Córdoba] and possibly bring elephants. We do not know if the projectiles are associated with the animal, so I do not have a formed opinion. At this time it is impossible to determine.”

One of the catapult projectiles from the find in Córdoba.One of the catapult projectiles from the find in Córdoba.
Arqueobética Quesada also cautions that the elephant could be an animal from the 1st or 3rd centuries A.D. “It could be a pachyderm from North Africa that joined the Carthaginian armies, but it could also be from 50 B.C., so the context would correspond to the Roman civil wars in Andalusia, when Julius Caesar came to Hispania. In that case, we would get into some confusing military campaigns that we are studying at the Montemayor site, just a day’s walk from Córdoba. That is, it could be an elephant brought by King Bogud, who came to help one of the sides in the battle. Caesar is directly involved in some of the campaigns, but in others he is not. We also know that in other battles, such as Numancia [133 B.C.], the kings of North Africa sent elephants to help, and they would have had to pass through Andalusia. It is too early to say.”

Córdoba is not the only place where the Carthaginians were able to use pachyderms. On the banks of the Tagus at Driebes (Spain), it was proven that Hannibal fought with 40 elephants to defeat the troops of the Carpetani, Vettones and Olcades tribes, who were much superior in number. But the Indigenous people did not take into account the genius of the invader, who placed his troops at the fords of the river — the only places where it could be crossed on foot — so the Carpetani had to concentrate their warriors at those places, and therefore lost their numerical advantage: a lot of troops, but too little space to fight.

Iberian annular brooch found at the Los Quemados archaeological site.Iberian annular brooch found at the Los Quemados archaeological site.Agustín López

To force them to cross, Hannibal built a palisade parallel to the riverbed. He placed the cavalry at the fords and the infantry and most of the elephants behind the palisade. When the Carpetani tried to cross the river, they died: swept away by the waters or killed by the Carthaginian horsemen, who were better supported by the river bed. Of the fifty African pachyderms that Hannibal had, 20 were donated to his brother Hasdrubal to maintain the war against the Romans in the Iberian Peninsula while he directed the rest of the animals toward the Pyrenees. For years, Emilio Gamo, director of Driebes research, has been conducting surveys in the Tagus in search of skeletal remains of the animals that entered battle. “At the moment, we have not been successful, because we have to cover a length of more than 10 kilometers of river. It is very difficult,” he says.

The trench where the elephant's bone was found.The trench where the elephant’s bone was found.Arqueobética

Between 48 and 45 B.C.

Caesar’s troops fought around the city of Ulia (present-day Montemayor) against the legions of Pompey the Great and his sons Gnaeus and Sextus, in a period that is known as the Roman Republican Civil Wars. Caesar’s army was commanded by General Quintus Cassius Longinus. After multiple changes in fortune — both sides were Romans and had the same weapons and tactics — Cassius asked King Bogud for help, who had time to arrive with reinforcements, possibly with African elephants, says Quesada.

Whose army does the elephant’s hand found in the heart of the city of Córdoba belong to? For the moment, it is unknown. But at last there is proof that an ancient war elephant stood on the banks of the Guadalquivir, and it is kept discreetly in the warehouses of the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba.


Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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