The bronze jar is only about 5cm across. And inside is a tiny amount of face cream -- or what was once face cream. It was excavated in 2017 at the Liujiawa site in China, which was the capital of Rui, a minor state during the early Spring and Autumn period (circa 700 BCE).
In ancient Mesopotamia, cuneiform clay tablets were often so small that reading them was difficult and impractical. But they were not really designed to be read. Instead they were designed to be checked, by someone who already knew the text by heart, and just needed a reminder about what the next section or word started with.
The written clay tablet was to assist in the perfect passing-down of oral information between generations. Students learned by listening and repeating chanting, singing, or reciting -- not by reading.
For about seven-eights of the Earth's history, its oceans were extremely rich in sulfides. This would have prevented animals and plants from surviving in 70% of the planet. But it was a great habitat for photosynthetic bacteria that require sulfides and sunlight to live. Known as purple and green sulfur bacteria (because those are the two colors it comes in) these single-celled microbes can only live in environments where they simultaneously have access to sulfides and sunlight. That they thrived in the sulfide-rich ocean has been confirmed with the finding of fossilized pigments of purple sulfur bacteria in 1.6 billion-year-old rocks from the McArthur Basin in Northern Australia.
Antarctica is a desert. It only gets about 2 inches of snow each year. The majority of Antartica’s snow and ice is older than you are.
Ancient Egypt was an essentially one-dimensional country strung out along the Nile, which flows from south to north. The winds were conveniently arranged to be predominantly northerly. To go north, a traveler could let his boat drift, while with a sail he could move south against the slow current. For this reason, in the writing of the ancient Egyptians, ‘go downstream (north)’ was represented by a boat without sails, and ‘go upstream (south)’ by a boat with sails. The words (and concepts) or north-south and up-downstream became merged. Since the Nile and its tributaries were the only rivers known to the ancient Egyptians, this caused no difficulties until they reached the Euphrates, which happened to flow from north to south. The resulting confusion in the ancient Egyptian mind is recorded for us to read today in their reference to ‘that inverted water which goes downstream (north) in going upstream (south).’
quote from P.L. Csonka, “Advanced Effects in Particle Physics,” Physical Review, April 1969, 1266-1281
This ancient lion is well-known in Georgia today, appearing on money and logos. The little lion comes from the kingdom of Colchis, 2300 - 2000 BCE. This nation in the Caucasus was known for its goldworking. It s also believed to be the basis for the ancient Greek legend of Jason and the golden fleece. What is the connection? Well, it is believed that the Colchians screened for gold in their rivers with the use of sheepskins, which would have collected tiny flakes of gold. Creating literal "golden fleeces." Archaeologists and geologists, having reproduced this method and studied how much gold would have been in regional water sources, have suggested this method would have indeed been viable.
Indigenous groups that paint their bodies tend to live in areas where there is an abundance of bloodsucking horseflies, mosquitoes, or tsetse flies. A study in 2019 showed that this was not a coincidence: painted stripes on the body protect skin from insect bites. A model with no stripes attracted ten times as many biting insects as a model with white stripes painted on. Interestingly, archaeological evidence suggests that body painting appeared before clothes, another way to protect against insect bites.
A tomb holding the remains of a man and a woman dating to 1,700 BCE has been found in southeastern Spain at the El Argar site of La Almoloya. Two bodies were placed in an ovoid jar under the floor of a large hall lined with benches that featured a podium before a hearth that provided warmth and light. The man, who died in his 30s, wore flared gold ear plugs and a silver ring. A copper dagger with four silver rivets was found near his remains. The woman, who was in her 20s, had a shortened, fused spine, a stunted left thumb. Examinations of her remains suggest she may have died of tuberculosis. She was buried wearing silver spirals in her hair, silver earlobe plugs with silver spirals, a silver bracelet, a silver ring, and on her head a silver diadem whose disc would have covered the tip of her nose. DNA testing of the remains of an infant discovered under another building at the site showed that the deceased were parents of this child, which would help to explain why the man and woman were buried together.
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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