Answer: a bronze blade to be attached to a chariot wheel! For cutting your enemies off at the knee, and keeping enemies from getting too close to the chariot. From China during the warring states period, found in a mausoleum containing 38 chariots! Based on when the deceased passed, this blade was crafted around 433 BCE.
Trees are a re-occurring motif in the life of Siddhartha Gautama, according to the beliefs of the religion he founded. His mother, Maya, went into labor while traveling through Lumbini and held a branch of a sal tree for support while giving birth. A fig tree (bodhi) shaded Siddhartha while he achieved enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. And as the end of his life approached, the Buddha lay down between two sal trees in Kushinagar, as he passed from this world. Tree shrines exist at most major Buddhist sites. At Lumbini, for instance, a living descendent of the sacred bodhi tree grows alongside the temple at Bodh Gaya.
These bronze bells were laid to rest in 433 BCE. They were placed carefully in their proper arrangement so they could peal forever for Marquis Yi of the state of Zeng(China was in the Warring States period at the time and had many competing small nations). Marquis Yi was also buried with 21 young women, bronze weapons, and what seems to be the remains of a chariot.
Archaeologists have uncovered a total of 250 cairn circles in southern India’s trade and industrial center of Kodumanal, which was inhabited from the 400s through first century B.C.E. The cairn circles were made of giant rocks or megaliths. Most of the cairn circles were around rectangular chambers built of megaliths, which in turn contained burial cists and three or four bowls or pots. The pottery was likely for offerings placed outside the burial cists, showing a belief system that included something after death. An impressive ten pots and bowls were recently unearthed in a larger circle made of boulders and rectangular-shaped cists made of stone slabs, surrounding a three-chambered burial. This larger, more complex burial might have been intended for someone important in the community.
Ancient Egyptian artwork from the New Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period (so 1549 BCE to about 30 BCE) frequently depicts Egyptians wearing cones perched on their heads. But despite their common appearance in artwork, no physical examples of the cones have been found -- until now. Excavations at Amarna unexpectedly found the remains of such cones, worn by the deceased in two non-elite tombs. Results of analyses show these were hollow cones constructed out of wax. Why people wore hollow cones of wax on their heads, however, remains a mystery.
Carthage's beliefs originated from its founding civilization, Phoenicia, but Carthage developed its own version of the Phoenician pagan polytheistic religion. This video has a nice overview of the city's religious origins, their pantheon, and their religious practices.
An intriguing stone sarcophagus has been found in an underground chamber lying below what was once the steps into the Curia Julia, or the Roman senate house, in the Roman Forum. The Curia Julia was built by Julius Caesar in 44 BCE as a new and modern senate house. But the sarcophagus and stone cylinder in front of it have been dated to as early as the late 500s BCE, based on studying the layers of the forum.
The combination of the sarcophagus and the cylinder suggest the cylinder could be an alter. Potentially even a symbolic tomb or shrine to the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus, at the center of the city that he founded. Similar monuments to mythic founders or ancient heros are known to have existed in other cities in the Graeco-Roman world. Excavations were due to continue in April 2020, which might have revealed more about the rediscovered chamber...but, well...
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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!