Remains of Two Neanderthals Found In Kurdistan

Shanidar Cave, where the fossils of 10 Neanderthal individuals have been unearthed since the 1950s, has recently revealed two more Neanderthals' remains. One individual was buried on top of the other, and a rock appeared to have been placed over both.

The Immortality of Hathor

Hathor was one of the most commonly worshiped goddesses in ancient Egypt. She was primarily a mother goddess, and was often considered the mother of the pharaoh. But she had other aspects, too: she helped women to conceive, she helped mothers survive childbirth, she welcomed the deceased into the Afterlife, she was even "Mistress of Foreign Lands" meaning that as soon as an ancient Egyptian left their homeland, they were in Hathor's territory. Did I mention Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and sexual love, too? Really, with so much influence over so much of ancient Egyptian life, it is no surprise that Hathor was one of the most long-lived deities.

As early as the Fourth Dynasty (2613 - 2494 BCE), there is written and archaeological evidence of temples dedicated to Hathor. She was also revered in the New Kingdom, and Hatshepsut (1473 - 1458 BCE) dedicated a small shrine in her mortuary temple to Hathor. She remained popular even when Greek pharaohs ruled Egypt. The great temple at Dendera was built in her honor under the Ptolemies.

The ancestor of the cultivated beet is the wild sea beet, which grew in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Beets have been around as longer than civilization. Their leaves have been eaten since prehistoric times, and we have records of them being grown in ancient Mesopotamia.

"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

Larry Niven, an American science-fiction writer, with a brilliant and unique analysis of the Cretaceous extinction

The Queen of the Pacific

Sandra Ávila Beltrán was one of the few women to ever become a cartel queen. She grew up in a cartel, her father close to the top of one, but she wanted no part of the lifestyle. She left for college. She majored in communications. Sandra was out. Until age 21 -- when a jealous boyfriend with connections to a cartel kidnapped her. Though the details of how he did it and how long he held her are vague, that one event changed the course of Sandra's life.

I cannot do her justice in a short post, so I highly recommend reading a full article about Sandra's story. But if you don't want to, or don't have time, here's the quicknotes version. Sandra Ávila Beltrán joined a cartel at age 21 and quickly rose through the ranks. As a woman, she was highly unusual in that world, and acquired the nickname "Queen of the Pacific." She became an important link between various pieces of the drug trade that passed through Mexico and the Caribbean. Sandra became very rich. So rich that when she was eventually caught, convicted, and sent to prison, she brought three maids with her and welcomed visitors in high heels and designer clothes. Since her release in 2015, Sandra has been fighting in court for the return of the dozens of cars, homes, and jewels she’d amassed as “The Queen of the Pacific.”

Toothpaste Has Always Been Minty -- Literally Since It Was Invented

Ancient Egyptians invented toothpaste! Though a modern person likely would not recognize it. Ancient Egyptian toothpaste was made of rock salt, pepper, mint, and dried iris flowers.

The Temple of Amun at Karnak: A Place For Pharaohs to Brag

One of the main duties of an Egyptian pharaoh was to suppress Egypt's enemies. Their war campaigns were therefor on the god's orders, who would grant them victory in battle. The pharaoh would thank the gods by dedicating spoils and prisoners to the gods, principally to Amun at Karnak. Successive pharaohs added to the temple, inscribing their triumphs (and keeping quiet about their failures) so that the gods and posterity would know their greatness. As a result, the temple at Karnak is a vast storehouse of historical information.

For instance, the outer walls of Karnak's Hypostyle Hall are inscribed with accounts of the campaigns of Seti I in Syria-Palestine, and Ramesses II's defeat of the Hittites at the Battle of Qadesh. The terms of the peace treaty Ramesses' victory won are also inscribed on the wall. It's not all war and battles. One of the small rooms adjoining the Festival Hall contained an important list of Ramesses' 57 ancestors.

The Slightly Gross Tale of the Beresovka Mammoth

A frozen woolly mammoth found in 1900 on the banks of the Beresovka River, in Siberia, was in an almost complete state of preservation. Only its head was not frozen. Some of the explorers' dogs were... undiscriminating ... and even managed to eat some of the animal. According to modern radiocarbon dating it is around 44,000 years old. Talk about aging meat!

Unreliable Suppliers Have Been A Problem Since Ancient Times

In ancient Egypt, temples were not just religious places but economic ones. Think medieval monasteries. Depending on their size, ancient Egyptian temples could own large tracts of land, command the labor of dozens to thousands of people, and be local and even regional trade hubs. This meant temples needed bureaucracies to keep themselves running. Bureaucracies meant scribes who could write, and the records they wrote. Which is why historians love ancient Egyptian temples.

Pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai, third pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty, had a lovely temple to the sun set up. Some of its scribes' records survived to be studied by modern historians. They demonstrate that he might have been pharaoh, but Neferirkare Kakai still had to deal with the hassle of unreliable suppliers, just like modern-day corporations. To quote Wilkinson's The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt:

Deliveries of foodstuffs and other supplies were also meticulously recorded, but here again there were systemic failures that even the most assiduous record keeping could not mask. Among the commodities due each day at Neferirkare’s sun temple were fourteen consignments of special bread. During one year, none arrived on the first day of the month, none on the second, and none on the third or fourth, until on the fifth day of the month seventy batches were delivered in one go. The next six days’ supplies failed to materialize at all and seem to have been written off. By contrast, the next eleven days’ deliveries were received on time.

Found! World's Oldest Cheese From Ancient Egypt

The cheese, which is believed to be approximately 3,200 years old, was found while the team was excavating the tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. Among a group of jars found at the site, one unbroken jar had a mysterious white mass. It was found with a canvas cloth. So the archaeologists thought it might be some sort of food, that had once been covered with a cloth, and had the white mass tested. As you probably guessed from the title of this post, it was cheese!

Technically, it contained “a dairy product obtained by mixing sheep/goat and cow milk.” Since the canvas cloth wouldn't have stopped a liquid, like milk, from escaping over time then it was likely a solid cheese.

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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!

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