Underwater Route Between Prehistoric Cenotes Found In Mexico

Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History have discovered a route through underwater limestone caves connecting the Sac Actun cenote and the Dos Ojos cenote. Maya pottery, human bones, and the bones of elephant-like creatures, giant sloths, bears, tigers, and extinct species of horses, all likely from around the end of the last Ice Age, have been found in the tunnel-like caves. Exploring them and finding artifacts can be difficult, though: the underwater caves range in width from 400 feet to just three feet.

Dirty People, Not Rats and Fleas, May Have Been Why The Black Death Spread

A new study suggests that we should stop blaming rats for spreading the Black Plague. Instead, the findings suggest, we should look at ourselves. Dirty humans, not dirty rats, were the likely culprits in spreading the bubonic plague. Specifically, “ectoparasites,” such as body lice and fleas carried by people, are more likely to be the guilty party.

Using mortality data from nine plague outbreaks in Europe between the 1300s and 1800s, the teams in Norway and Italy tracked how pandemics developed. In seven of the cases there was a closer resemblance to the human model for outbreak spread compared with the alternatives. Which means that if humans were just a little cleaner, the plague would not have spread so easily, or killed so many.

The Cheesiest Bank In The World

In Italy there’s a special tier of Parmesan cheese called Parmigianino Reggiano that is considered to be so valuable that it has its own (privately-owned) bank. The bank, in one form or another, has been around since the Medici Era. Here's how things work: it can take more than 3 years for the cheese to cure. And during that time, cheesemakers still need to be paid, cheesemaking buildings still need their heating bills paid, et cetera. So while the cheese is curing, this special bank will hold it in a special, air-conditioned vault and the cheese’s owner can take out a loan against it. The loan can keep the cheese making going while the  Parmigianino Reggiano gets perfectly aged and ready for the big time. When the loan is paid off, the owner gets the cheese back and can sell it for a premium.

The cheese contained in the Parmesan vault is valued in excess of $100 million. Although there is top-notch security, the bank has been robbed three times in the past, because c’mon, their vault is both valuable and delicious!

A jug with an inscription around its middle, covered in gold and silver inlay, with a dragon for a handle. The inscription invokes the name of 'Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. Because 'Ali is so highly regarded by Shi'a Muslims, the inscription suggests the jug was made for a Shi'a follower of the Shi'a Safavid Dynasty. The writing itself is special: it is an example of Naskh, a specialized style of the Arabic alphabet, which allows for faster writing. Although that's not something to be concerned about on a jug since inlay is going to take a long time no matter the style.

Safavid Dynasty, Iran, circa late 1400s to early 1500s CE. Courtesy of the Met Museum.

Columbus was Obsessed with Jerusalem

Christopher Columbus was interested in reaching Asia, and believed he had, as we all know. But did you know that his original reason for wanting to open a new trade route to the rich East was to pay for a military campaign to capture Jerusalem? Never mind that the holy city had been in Muslim hands since 1187 CE -- about 300 years by the time Columbus was born -- and Christian Europe had long since given up on crusades to the Middle East.

Once the New World was reached, Columbus kept his eye on the prize. He reported that there was so much treasure in this "Asia" he had found, that within seven years the Spanish crown could raise enough money for 5,000 cavalry and 50,000 footsoldiers, and use them to conquer Jerusalem. Sadly for Columbus' lofty religious visions, the Spanish crown was uninterested in conquering Jerusalem, which is on the wrong side of the Mediterranean from Spain.

Where Do Popes Come From?

  A map of where, in the world, popes have been born. Note that they placed each pope in the country he would be born in, if he was born today. Three popes were born in modern-day Tunisia, sure, but that was back in the Roman Empire. Those ancient "Tunisian" popes would have called it the province of "Africa" and it included eastern Algeria and northern Libya, as well as Tunisia.

Lost City Found: Etzanoa of the great Wichita Nation

The discovery of a town of 20,000 could put south-central Kansas on the map as the second-biggest settlement of Native Americans found in the United States, a Wichita State anthropologist says. The city was believed mythological for centuries. Spanish accounts of a permanent settlement with 20,000 Native Americans in it were thought to be exaggerated. With new archaeological evidence of Etzanoa emerging, historians and archaeologists are having to rethink what they know about what North America looked like before Columbus.


"I have, from an early age, abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men."

Leonardo da Vinci. He felt so strongly against men eating animals that he often purchased poultry just so he could set the birds free.

Ice Hockey Originated In North America

The Mi'kmaq, a Native American group who lives in northeastern Maine, played a ball-and-stick game that is believed to be the origin of modern hockey.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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