Madagascar Does Not Come From Where You Think

In multiple ways. First, it is a break off from the Indian sub-continent, not African, even though it is very very close to Africa. Second, the first settlers on Madagascar between 350 and 550 CE were of Malayo-Indonesian descent. Specifically, from Indonesia, Sumatra, and Java. Yes, that is on the other side of the Indian Ocean, rather than across the short Mozambique Channel to Africa. These were joined around the 800s CE by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel and intermarrying with the Malagasy. A big clue about Madagascar's unusual migration history is that most common language of Madagascar, also called Malagasy, can be identified as part of the Austronesian language family.

Researchers from the Spiš Museum in Slovakia have announced finding more than 800 artifacts, including a unique Celtic bronze sculpture, at the site of a hillfort in northern Slovakia. “These are mostly Celtic coins, bronze clips and other parts of clothing, products from clay, ceramics, glass beads, and bracelets,” said archaeologist Mária Hudáková. The figurine depicts a man with golden eyes wearing only a neckerchief. It is special because unlike previously-found Celtic sculptures, it depicts the person realistically and with golden eyes. The site has been known since the 1800s but this is the first systematic study of the hillfort.

Traces of a square-shaped building have been detected under the Main Plaza at Monte Albán with the use of ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistance, and gradiometery. Each side of the newly detected structure measures about 60 feet long, and more than three feet thick. A Zapotec site in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca, Monte Albán was established around 500 BCE and collapsed around 850 CE. It is estimated that the plaza was in use for about 1,000 years before the collapse. Which makes the existence of a building under the plaza rather interesting...

Roman Seaside Pool

Built of concrete and stone, this circular pool still sits in northern Israel. It is unclear what the pool was built for. Guesses include catching tyrian snails, used to produce purple dye which was famously only worn by emperors.

Headquarters of a Roman Legion Excavated in Serbia

The headquarters of Rome's VII Claudia Legion has been discovered in a farmer’s field in eastern Serbia, near what had been the Roman provincial capital of Viminacium. The Roman legion was active between the 100s and 400s CE. More than 100 such headquarters are recorded in historical documents. But most of them are now covered by modern cities, making the new find particularly valuable. This headquarters had 40 rooms with heated walls, a treasury, a shrine, parade grounds, and a fountain. Some 120 silver coins, thought to have been left behind during an invasion or natural disaster, were uncovered in one of the rooms. They are spread from the front entrance. Like they were dropped as someone quickly fled.

A five-inch-tall glass vase decorated with the words “Vivas feliciter,” Latin for “live happily,” has been discovered in a late Roman–period grave in an Autun cemetery in central France. It is one of only ten intact examples of reticulated glass (where one set of white or colored lines seems to meet and interlace with another set) and the first one to be found in Gaul/France. The last one was found in North Macedonia in the 1970s.

A Brocade Poem

In the 300s CE the poet Su Hui wrote a massive, massive poem to her husband. Called the Star Gauge (璇玑圖) it is made up of a 29 by 29 grid of characters, and when you combine all the different ways the grid of characters can be read, it creates over 3,000 smaller poems (that rhyme!) But that was not impressive enough for Su Hui. Around that grid is a circle of 112 characters which creates yet another poem, thought to be the first and the longest of its kind. Su Hui's poem was described by contemporaries as being not written on paper, but as shuttle-woven on brocade. Making it an impressive piece of art as well as piece of poetry. It was continuously circulated in China after it was written, and the earliest surviving excerpts of the entire grid version date from a 900s CE.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354 CE - 430 CE) published a criticism of astrology. He was moved to do so because he was upset that some early Christians were trying to cast horoscopes for Christ.

The First Patent

The first example of a patent in history comes from ancient Greece. Athenaeus in the late 200s CE described how the Greek city of Sybaris, in today's southern Italy, held annual culinary competitions in the early centuries BCE. The winner of the competition would then have exclusive rights to their recipe for one year. Until the next competition, of course.

Coastal Amazonian Diets Analyzed

An international team of researchers studied the diets of people who lived between 200 CE and 1000 CE on Brazil’s Amazon coast. Using statistical models and analysis of the chemical composition of their bones, the results suggested that people ate mostly terrestrial plants and animals. This is surprising since they were studied specifically based on their living in coastal areas. Rodents such as those from the guinea pig family, the agouti, and the paca; the brocket deer; and catfish are all thought to have been consumed, in addition to wild and cultivated plants such as cassava, corn, and squash.

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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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