An almost-complete cat skeleton discovered at a medieval village site in southern Kazakhstan has been analyzed, and the researchers concluded it was likely kept as a pet. The village was located along the Silk Road and was home to Oghuz, who were Turkic pastoralists. There were multiple indicators suggesting the Oghuz had kept this cat as a pet. The cat had healed through several broken bones suggesting it was cared for by others while recovering. Also, because it lost all its teeth, it was likely unable to feed itself without human help. In addition, the cat's remains were found because they were buried -- unlike other animal bones at the site which were discarded. Analyses of the chemical composition of the cat's bones show the cat ate a higher-protein diet than dogs whose remains have been found at the site, and other cats that lived during the same time period. Keeping a pet cat was thought to be unusual for the Oghuz. This particular pet cat's presence suggests cultural exchanges facilitated by the Silk Road which passed by the village.
What do you think this person is doing? If you guessed pooping -- congrats, you guessed wrong! This piece is titled "Sorrowing Adam." He is sitting on something (it is not explained), grieving, after getting kicked out of paradise by God. The panel once decorated the side of a Byzantine casket or box. Ivory, circa 900s - 1000 CE (courtesy of the Walters Art Museum)
The Northern Line of the Great Wall of China has recently been mapped using drones and high-resolution satellite images. The 460-mile-long Northern Line mostly winds through Mongolia, and was constructed of pounded earth between the 1000s and 1200s CE. The Northern Line was previously thought to have been constructed to prevent incursions by nomadic tribes such as those eventually united under Genghis Khan. But the team found that much of this section of the more than 13,000-mile-long Great Wall is low in height and placed near paths. In other words, it does not match what you would expect for a wall intended to prevent enemy invasion. It looks more like a wall intended to monitor the movement of livestock and people -- and potentially tax it.
A remarkable Liao Dynasty (907 - 1125 CE) tomb in China was unfortunately looted before its discovery by archaeologists. But the looters could not take the murals. Over 160 square feet of beautifully preserved paintings decorate the tomb's walls, reproducing constellations, wooden architecture, travel, and scenes from daily life.
Almost a millennium ago, a major upheaval occurred in Earth's atmosphere: a giant cloud of sulphur-rich particles flowed throughout the stratosphere, turning skies dark for months or even years, before ultimately falling down to Earth. Recent analyses of ice cores are telling us more about how it all happened. Including clearing the name of an Icelandic volcano that had long been suspected to be the culprit!
The Kayi Tribe is considered to be one of the twenty-four Oghuz Turkic Tribes that descend from the legendary and almost mythical figure Oghuz Khan/Oghuz Khagan. It was a leader of this tribe, Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire. The Seljuk Turks were also an Oghuz Turks, for those who are curious, though not counted as one of the twenty-four main tribes.
Clay head by an Ife Yoruba artist. Nigeria, circa 1100 to 1400 CE.
An international team of researchers examined the ratios of stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes in collagen and dental enamel samples obtained from the remains of some 130 individuals who were buried in Mongolia between 4500 BCE and 1300 CE. The analysis suggests that during the Bronze Age, the Mongolian diet was based on milk and meat and supplemented with local plants. From about the 200s BCE to the late first century CE, during the Xiongnu Empire, some people continued to eat the Bronze Age animal-based diet, while those living in political centers began to eat more millet-based diets. Grain consumption and thus the practice of agriculture appears to have continued to increase into the period of the Mongolian Empire of the Khans. Empires based in Mongolia thus presided over a mixed population of both pastoralists and farmers. Their varied food strategies gave the empires strength in diversity.
Shen Kuo (1031–1095), a scientist from the Song Dynasty, noticed fossilized bamboo in a region which in his day did not have bamboo. Based on the fossil Kuo hypothesized that climate, which had been considered as static, could change.