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Wednesday, 11 December 2002

SKP3 and the scientific approach!

We are ready with the preparations and have finally all permits to start SKP3!
This time we will explore the island for 5 weeks with an interdisciplinary team. I also obtained a Ph.D.-scholarship entitled:
"Late Quaternary palaeoclimate reconstruction with the use of stable isotope geochemistry of Soqotran speleothems (Yemen)." Also the cave fauna will get more attention!

Saturday, 23 November 2002

SKP and some documentary films...

The documentary films about our expedition results: "Soqotra, pearl in the Arabian Sea" from Rik Martens and "Socotra, l'île du Phoenix" from Axell Communication were shown at the EXPLORIMAGES festival (Mandelieu- la- Napoule, France) together with an update of our activities.

Saturday, 19 October 2002

The preperation for SKP3 is started!

We will have our first meeting this month after a long time, so things will start rolling again... SKP3 here we come!

Monday, 19 August 2002

Cavers crawl underground... everywhere!

Each team member is exploring underground wonders worldwide with their own projects, so it is rather quite on the SKP-front!

Friday, 21 June 2002

Dutch updates...

After 2 years we will update our website in Dutch, our mother-language. From now on all new information will be available in Dutch first and will be translated into English afterwards. Our French friends will have to wait a little longer for a summary in their language, "mais on arrivera un jour"?

Friday, 17 May 2002

Postponing the truth...

Recently Rudi and I gave an interview to the Dutch outdoor magazine “Op Pad”. We will let you know when it is published.
Our report concerning the archaeological founds would have been broadcasted on national television, but that particular day the Dutch politician Pim Fortuin was murdered, so everything is postponed again.

Monday, 29 April 2002

TV coverage: setting things straight!

Thanks to Chris Butnaru we had a splendid course of GPS and the integration of the data with new software possibilities. Next expedition every subteam will work with his daily set of tracks and waypoint. We are currently searching for the original maps of Soqotra. Is there anybody out there who can help us?
In the beginning of this month Rik and I went together with a camera team of the national Belgian television to the Netherlands. Here we met Dr. Prof. Emeritus Sanders of the University of Leiden, a specialist in early Christianity in the Middle East. He gave his view on the artefacts founds on the island and the film crew made their report. Everything was edited at the VRT (Flemish Radio and Television) and we got a copy of this 7min.42sec. during documentary. We will keep you informed on when it will be broadcasted.
We where also invited by the Dutch Caving Society to give a lecture and to present our film about SKP at their annual meeting in Zeeland (The Netherlands).

Monday, 18 March 2002

Caution: who claimed what?

This month we received some astonishing news by several independent Belgian newspapers about archaeological discoveries made by the team of Axell Communication, while the pictures shown are the wooden tablet, pottery and wall paintings found by our team one year earlier? We cleared out these very touchy subjects and everything seemed to be one big misunderstanding. A very good lesson for our team and we will be much more cautious next time! The film team, together with Prof. Dr. Christian Robin and John Farrar did found more relics in the studied cave: fossilised footprints of adults and children at the end of the cave, more writing which seems to be pre-Arabic, East-African and pre-Indian. Now we can safely say that during the first centuries AD, there must have been a wealthy trade route by sea between the African and Asian continent, bypassing Soqotra Island... SKP will sort this out to the bottom of it!

Monday, 25 February 2002

SKP2 the mini-raid

Thanks to the support of the company MARBEL we managed to organise a mini raid to Soqotra again. Three of us left Monday the 11th to Yemen. This time we were welcomed with open arms by our Yemeni friends and met some important people in Sana’a during our first days.
Between the 15th and the 22nd we explored the island with an official Yemeni archaeologist, the EPA representative and some scientist of the Biodiversity Project. Our extensive report will soon be online!
Some preliminary results:
· Dirk Roelandt was the first cave diver on the island and we did found a promising site and other possibilities of underwater cave research;
· We explored some new areas (and caves) where we discovered other fascinating ancient wall paintings. This time we will handle this information with much more care to prevent any misconception;
· We took the first steps into the protection of a cave and to prevent any abuse of the site;
· The co-operation with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the General Authority for Antiquities, Museums and Manuscripts and the Biodiversity Project was marvellous! A further bond with all people (Yemeni, Soqotri, ...) was established on a basis of mutual respect.

Sunday, 20 January 2002

Yemeni News!

Waiting another year to go back to the island is an emotional torture. We are finding ways to travel in a small team for a small period of time to the island.
We do send our cave maps and co-ordinates to the filming team on the island, hopefully they make a nice documentary and stay objective. We have to start searching for new funding.
Meanwhile we do receive some positive and promising news from Sana’a:
"Unique Antiquarian Discoveries in Socotra Island
SANA'A, Jan.20 (Saba) -The General Authority for Antiquities, Museums and Manuscripts has announced that Belgium mission discovered unique antiquities, in Socotra island ,south of Yemen, dating back to the third century. Chairman of the authority Dr Yusef Mohammad Abdullah said the mission had found out an antiquarian materials including earthen wares, incense pots and colour drawings belong to an old temple inside a 3 km-long cave on the northern coast of Socotra Island. In the bottom of the temple the mission had also discovered wooden boards with old inscriptions on them dating back to the pre-Islamic period, Dr.Yusef said. He added that one of the wooden boards contains inscriptions referring to the Tadmor kingdom in the third century. He said that among discoveries there are old Yemeni scriptures which would be accurately studied and tested with the objective of shedding the light over the history of Socotra Island before Islam. It's worth noting that Socotra Island is 345 km far from the coast of al-Mahra Governorate, east of Yemen. NS/NS/NM SABA 20/1/2002 14:10 GMT YEMEN NEWS AGENCY SABA"
So, our information hasn’t missed its purpose! Although “a temple” is probably due to a bad translation or misinterpretation.