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A large 4,000-year-old necropolis in southern Spain reveals the true purpose of stelae | Culture

In 1898, the scholar Manuel Roso de Luna found a slab of stone 130 cm high by 65 cm wide in the village of Solana de Cabañas, Cáceres, in the Extremadura region of Spain, engraved with a figure surrounded by graphic representations of a brooch, a mirror, a sword, a spear, and a four-wheeled chariot. Roso de Luna understood that it was a tombstone, also known as a stela or a stele, which paid tribute to a personage from thousands of years ago. It was the first time that a stela from recent prehistory from 2,000 B.C., encompassing the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age, had been found on the Iberian Peninsula. Experts soon began to ask questions about its significance and have since located 300 more in Spain and Portugal.

Now, the finding of “a large necropolis with funerary monuments for ancient burial mounds, stone cists and cremation pits” in Cañaveral de León in Huelva has enabled the universities of Seville, Durham, Southampton, and Huelva to broaden their knowledge of stelae.

The discovery of a new stela just days ago that includes a diadem — the third stela to be uncovered at this site — “throws into question previous interpretations of the gender of the figures represented on the stone slabs, since those with motifs around the head of the figure had traditionally led to interpreting the figure as female, while this one clearly shows male genitalia.”

Leonardo García Sanjuán, professor of Prehistory and Archaeology at Seville University and co-director of the excavations at Las Capellanías site, together with Marta Díaz-Guardamino, David W. Wheatley and Timoteo Rivera Jiménez, states that the uncovered stelae “graphically express the fluidity and subtlety of gender concepts in the stories and narratives with which they were associated, probably related to mythical ancestors, heroes and legendary heroines.”

The Iberian Peninsula is one of the richest regions of Europe when it comes to these prehistoric stone slabs, both in terms of quantity and diversity. The stelae are generally between half a meter and several meters high, depending on the importance of the figure they pay tribute to. They are carved or painted with motifs depicting objects and scenes, but may also include epigraphic texts. The main stelae collections are in the archaeological museums of Badajoz, Seville, and Madrid’s National Museum.

The new research corroborates unequivocally for the first time in over 100 years that the stelae functioned as funerary monuments, erected in honor of people of particular social prominence. García Sanjuán explains that “despite the important catalog of these pieces, as well as their beauty and scientific value, there was a serious lack of information about the context in which they were used.”

The vast majority of Iberian stelae were stumbled upon by chance in the course of agricultural work or road building, rather than as a result of archaeological investigation. “The existing theories about their location, function, and social significance have been extremely deficient and were pending verification or demonstration,” says García Sanjuán.

Burial mound where the stela featuring the diadem was found.
Burial mound where the stela featuring the diadem was found.

According to García Sanjuán, “many of the former questions surrounding the stelae have been answered thanks to the finds at Las Capellanías.” García Sanjuán refers to the fact that in 2018, during repair work on a road, a stela of the diadem variety was found at the site. It featured a figure with the head surrounded by an ornamental object or halo and accompanied by a series of objects relating to dress and personal care, such as combs, mirrors, brooches, and belts.

After its discovery, intensive excavations began, which, in June 2022, exposed “a large necropolis” where the piece had originally come from. In one of the burial mounds, a second stela of the “warrior” variety was found with the figure engraved on it surrounded by weapons such as a shield, spear and sword, as well as other elements typical of a European Bronze Age warrior (2200 to 850 B.C.): two-wheeled carts, horses, dogs — possibly hunting dogs — mirrors, combs, razors, tweezers, brooches, weights, bows, and arrows.

The location of this second stela on a burial mound leaves no doubt as to the funerary significance of these stone slabs. But their location was also used as a marker or road sign within the prehistoric and ancient road networks.

The third stela found just several days ago features a diadem and was discovered along with cremated human bones. “This sensational find not only corroborates once again and unequivocally the association of these stelae to funerary sites but also provides more clues that can overturn many earlier theories in relation to this particular piece featuring the diadem,” says García Sanjuán. “It was assumed that they represented only females, but the one found now depicts a man, as his genitals show. On the other hand, it is also surrounded by a stash of weapons, just like the warrior stelae.”

The archaeologist Marta Díaz-Guardamino, a stela specialist, agrees that “the discovery therefore questions previous interpretations concerning the gender of the figures represented, and confirms the conceptual and semantic relationship between the different types of stelae.” In other words, they are monuments that tell complex stories, known to the people from that cultural context.

“Las Capellanías is demonstrating that many of our assumptions were wrong,” adds Díaz-Guardamino. “These investigations mark a before and after in the scientific interpretation of these beautiful prehistoric sculptures, since they offer valuable empirical information facilitating the understanding of key aspects in the social organization of the communities that inhabited the Southwest of the peninsular during the second and first millennium B.C.”

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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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