Using Dental Tartar to Reconstruct Diets from Japan's Edo Period

Samples of tartar from the teeth of 13 people who were buried in what is now eastern Tokyo in the latter half of the Edo Period, from 1603 to 1867 CE, were analyzed in a recent study. DNA from rice was identified in the tartar of eight of the individuals. The DNA of other foods, including daikon radish, the minty herb “shiso” perilla, green onion, Japanese chestnut, carrot, and pumpkin was also identified. The researchers noted that the DNA results match records describing these foods from the period.

Non-food items were also found. DNA from tobacco plants, which may have been smoked, was also found in the tartar. Slightly more obscure was resin from tropical lowland rainforest trees -- potentially a tooth powder? “The technique will make it possible to survey what each individual ate,” Rikai Sawafuji of the University of the Ryukyus said of the project. Such analysis could allow researchers to determine which foods were used as staples, and even which were an individual’s favorite foods, he added.

In 1619 the first African Americans were brought to North America as slaves. In the 401 years since, African Americans have been legally equal to Whites for just 16% of the time.

The reverse is also important to remember. Whites have been taught for at least 84% of the time that African Americans were lesser humans.


Where Is Eden?

In the 1600s, European scholars had a thing about discovering the geographic location of Eden. In 1694 the French bishop Pierre-Daniel Huet explained it was necessary because “Atheists and scoffers...demand, What’s become of paradise? Shew us the place in the Maps?” Huet wrote a book about it, A Treatise of the Situation of the Terrestrial Paradise, and concluded that Eden was near the Persian Gulf.

"Coffee-houses...have produced very evil and dangerous effects...many Tradesmen and others, do therein mis-spend much of their time, which might...otherwise be imployed in and about their Lawful Callings and Affairs; but also, for that in such houses, and by occasion of the meetings of such persons therein, divers False, Malitious, and Scandalous Reports are devised and spread abroad, to the Defamation of his Majesties Government...his Majesty hath thought it fit and necessary, that the said Coffee-houses be...put down and suppressed..."

Proclamation for the suppression of coffeehouses, issued by King Charles II of England in 1675. The new brew was popular, with at least 63 coffeehouses in London by 1660. They were a place for all classes of people to gather and talk. But this also meant they were under suspicion by the government, as places of sedition and plots. King Charles II's proclamation, however, simply caused a public outcry that was so strong the proclamation had to be removed after eleven days.

Shopping Delivery Order Found Under London Floorboards

"Mr. Bilby,

I pray pvide to be sent too morrow in ye Cart some Greenfish, The Lights from my Lady Cranfeild Cham 2 dozen of Pewter Spoon: one greate fireshovell for ye nursery; and ye ohers which were sent to be exchanged for some of better fashion, a new frying pan together with a note of ye prises of such Commoditie for ye rest.

Your loving friend, Robert Draper

Octobre 1633

Copthall"     The list was from over 380 years ago, and somehow was pristinely preserved. For the curious: Copthall is 36 miles from where the letter was found. Feel bad for the delivery person carrying everything that far!

In Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate, only samurai were allowed to carry two swords. This became known as daisho, literally "big-little," since one sword was a short sword and the other a full-size long sword. If a man performed a noteworthy service, occasionally they were granted the right to wear the two swords though without the accompanying samurai status. This was described as being “granted the privilege of wearing” the daisho.

This is the Mogul Mughal Emerald, one of the largest known emeralds in the world. Its name comes from who eventually carved it. The emerald was mined in Colombia then brought to India because it was known that Indian rulers particularly prized emeralds. It ended up in the Mughal court though the exact buyer is unknown. The Arabic inscription records a Shi'a prayer blessing Muhammad and the twelve Imams. The hijra date 1107, or 1695 to 1696 CE, tells us that it was carved during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

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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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