An Aztec creation myth states that there were four failed attempts to create humans who would survive. It was only on the fifth attempt, when humans began to eat corn, that they were able to propogate themselves and continue as a species.

A Gold Inca Beaker from the Urubamba Valley

  Doesn't the man seem to have a strong expression about...something? Peru, circa 1475–1525 CE. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Dense Network of Amazonian Villages Found with Laser Scanning

Laser scanning technology successfully peered through the Amazon rain forest’s thick canopy to reveal the footprint of a complex network of ancient villages in southeastern Brazil. Dwellings in these little-known settlements, which date to between 1300 and 1700 CE, were built atop raised mounds of earth arranged in a uniform circular pattern around a central plaza. Rather like clock faces according to researchers.

The scans also showed that the villages were connected via an organized system of roads. Most villages had two roads leading away to the north, and two leading away to the south. The roads also varied with some being smaller and sunken into the ground, others larger and protected on the sides by banks.

In total the archaeologists studied some 36 villages. The area appeared densely populated with some villages as little as 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) apart.

Corn is a New World crop that was unknown throughout the rest of the world until Columbus accidentally connected Europe with the Americas. But the native words for corn did not become universal: many cultures have names for corn that reference other nation. In some African languages, the word for corn means “Egyptian grain”; in Egypt, corn is called “Syrian” or "Turkish grain”; in France, it is “Indian wheat”; and in India, corn is referred to as “wheat from Mecca.”

In June 1992, farmers started draining ponds in Longyou County, Quzhou prefecture, Zhejiang province, China. Only to realize that they were not ponds at all but drowned caverns, apparently created during the Ming Dynasty. So far there have ben 36 such man-made caves found in 1 square kilometer. They contain rooms, halls, pillars, beds, bridges, and pavilions. When they were made and why remains a mystery, however, since no historical document mentions them.

Portrait of a Musician is widely attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. This unfinished painting is dated to between 1483 and 1487. This would mean da Vinci painted it while in Milan, and indeed the painting shares many features with his other works while there. Portrait of a Musician is notable for being the only male portrait da Vinci ever did.

The Queen Who Stole A Crown

In 1440, the queen of Hungary and one of her ladies-in-waiting stole the Hungarian crown. This is not a metaphor for a coup -- they stole the physical crown of Hungary's king. Which has the confusing name the Crown of St. Stephen. At the time in Hungary, only the person with the physical symbols of kingship was considered the "true" king. While at the same time, the nobles also elected the king, and understandably the nobles wanted an older king to protect them from the very real Ottoman attacks on the kingdom.

>The lady-in-waiting Helene Kottanner broke into the vault, took the crown, smuggled it out of the palace in a pillow, then escaped across the frozen Danube River by sledge. The crown was intended for the queen's child who she was pregnant with. Luckily it ended up being born a son, and the queen remarried someone that the nobles accepted as king, whose butt kept the throne warm and led men in battle, until her son grew up a little.

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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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