Eleutherna, a fortified city-state in Crete that reached its height around 800 BCE, was home to the only known female master ceramicist in the ancient Greek world. The remains of a woman who was discovered at Eleutherna in 2009 have recently been analyzed, and the results were surprising.
In comparison to the other females at the site, the muscles on the right side of her body were notably developed, while the cartilage on her knee and hip joints was worn away, leaving the bones smooth and ivory-like. This pattern suggests she spent her lifetime working clay on a kick-wheel-operated turntable. Eleutherna has been associated with women in powerful positions, in general. Four women related to each other, and thought to have been priestesses, were found in an ornate burial near the master artiste.
Wine barrels, which were used as latrines in the late 1680s, have been discovered in central Copenhagen. Analyzing them can provide detailed insights into what Danes at the time were eating and drinking, as well as evidence about health problems they may have been experiencing.
Using a variety of modern techniques, archaeologists have identified a number of local foods including fish, meats, a number of grains, cherries, coriander, lettuce, mustard, and hazelnuts. Put together, the scientific evidence suggests that Danes were eating a varied and healthy diet of local products. And the owners of the latrines were likely wealthy, able to take advantage of of a global trading network, as evidenced by their cloves from India's Moluccan islands, and figs, grapes, and bitter orange or lemon from the Mediterranean.
Unfortunately, their hygiene could have been better. The latrines contained evidence of whipworm, roundworm, and tapeworm, and specifically of varieties that are known to infect people. Either the owners did not wash their hands often enough, or they did not cook their food properly. The natural result was parasites.
As you likely know, from 1975 to 1979, Cambodia was controlled by a genocidal, racist, communist political regime. The Khmer Rouge prized Cambodian "purity." They systematically killed political opponents, imagined "subversive" elements, and a number of Cambodian minority populations. The Khmer Rouge also insisted on total self-sufficiency, with food and even medicine, leading uncounted thousands to die of starvation and treatable diseases, like malaria. The map shows where at least 1 million people -- out of a population of 8 million -- were killed in the Khmer Rouge's four-year reign of terror. The true death count is likely higher.
A month ago (or so) I posted a couple paragraphs on the Dutch city of Rotterdam's history. It was titled "The Creation of Rotterdam." Imagine my surprise when I came across this map, showing the physical expansion of Rotterdam's port. It was truly created, that is to say, built by men.
The oldest known repair surgery dates back to 49 BCE, when the Hindu surgeon Susruta carried out an operation to treat intestinal perforations and obstructions. He joined together the damaged parts of the intestine after cutting into the abdomen. And when Susruta sutured the segments, he placed the freshly-cut heads of giant black ants on the edges of the opposing sections, demonstrating knowledge of the antiseptic properties of the formic acid that is secreted by the ant heads.
His father was Piero da Vinci, a respected Florentine notary. His mother was likely a young peasant woman named Catarina. Leonardo was raised by his father's family, although due to his illegitimacy, he could never join the family profession and become a notary (bastards were barred from joining the notarys' guild). Which is just as well -- the world is richer for Leonardo getting the chance to try everything he wished, advancing so many fields in the process.
The hardy evergreen trees of the Araucaria genus live in Australia and South America. And recently, an archaeologist teamed up with a group of ecologists discovered that the tree family has a long and intimate relationship with humans, dating back some 1,400 years.
Studying carbon isotopes at archaeological sites in southern Brazil, the archaeologists found that Araucaria forests first began to expand well beyond their natural habitat at the same time as the ancestors of today's indigenous peoples experienced a population expansion. They found no environmental explanation for the Araucaria's territorial expansion. So they concluded that ancient forestry practices were the most likely culprit.
Today, the Araucaria remain a critical source of timber, fuel, and edible seeds for indigenous peoples in Brazil. And they play a central role in indigenous ways of viewing of the world. Araucaria trees are often considered the embodiment of ancestors. Unfortunately, there has been a 95% reduction of the range of Araucaria species due to modern logging. The genus is now considered endangered.
Richard the Lionheart Was A Master Of Intimidation
Richard...threw himself once more into the fray. By midday both he and one of the stallions were splattered in blood, and it appeared as though an entire quiver of arrows was lodged in his armor and shield. As the battle wore on, fewer and fewer of Saladin’s men dared challenge the seemingly invincible Melech Ric. For one emir, however, the prospect of felling the English king proved too tempting, and he spurred his battle horse forward. With one mighty swing of his sword Richard sliced the foolish man in two, taking off not only his head but also his right shoulder and arm. At this horrific sight Saladin’s troops began to retreat, even as Richard rode up and down their lines, goading any man to face him. When Saladin’s son motioned to answer the challenge, his father abruptly ordered him to stay put, clearly not wishing to add a dead heir to the day’s woes. When no one else stepped forward, some sources claim Richard called for food and, in full view of the enemy, sat down to eat. Seeing that his men would not budge, a despondent Saladin once again withdrew to Yazur.
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By Lillian Audette
This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!