The earliest known telephone technology is older than you probably think: 1,200 years old! It was a device of created by two hollowed-out gourds, connected by 75 feed of twine.This highly developed culture was centered in the Río Moche Valley in northern Peru, between the Pacific Ocean and the western Andes. They are known for their metalworking, artistry, and highly sophisticated hydraulic canal-irrigation system. And perhaps they should also be known as the inventor of the telephone. The one known example of this technology is today housed by the Smithsonian Museum in the United States.
Phoenix headdress ornament made of gilded silver. So elaborate it can even stand on its own! From China's Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE).
Five Roman-style longswords were discovered in a house located in central Sardis, western Turkey’s ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia. Only three swords had previously been found in the city. Buckles and a lead seal also recovered from the house suggest the residents may have been connected to the military or the city’s civil authorities. The longswords have been dated to about 500 CE. The house they were found in had been furnished with wall paintings that mimic draped curtains and multicolored marble, and terracotta floor tiles that were playfully imprinted before firing with a dog’s paw prints and finger-drawn outlines of birds resembling chickens or ducks. The house appears to have been occupied for approximately 200 years before it was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 600s CE.
A Buddhist temple complex dated to the Tang Dynasty (618–906 CE) has been discovered in southwest China’s city of Dali. The structures contained tons of tiles and pottery. Also uncovered have been 14 foundations for structures, 63 stone walls and 23 ditches, including the remains of brick and tile kilns. Inscriptions suggest the temple may have held the remains of members of the royal court of the State of Nanzhao. This was a state made up of people from the Bai tribe and six tribes from the Erhai Region centered around present-day Yunnan.
In the complex, the researchers discovered a tile inscribed with the characters "Buddha sarira enshrined by the government," which indicates that the Buddhist relics of Nanzhao's royal court are likely to have been enshrined and worshiped inside the temple. The word "sarira" has a variety of meanings in Buddhism. It generally means, though, the remains after a Buddhist cremation. Perhaps this was where Nanzhao's royal family enshrined holy figures, or their own ancestors.
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...
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.
The remains of a 1,200-year-old pagan temple to the Old Norse gods has been discovered in Norway's seaside town of Ose. It is the first such temple found in the country. Though we know what the building was, based on surviving temples in Denmark and Sweden. The wooden building is large for the time, about 45 feet (14 meters) long, 26 feet (8 m) wide, and up to 40 feet (12 m) high. Archaeologists think it was built sometime in the 700s, and would have been the site of sacrifices (and more mundane religious observances) during the midsummer and midwinter solstices.
The Norse began building these large "god houses" in the 500s CE. They replaced simpler cult sites, often outdoors, that had previously sufficed for worship. Larger god houses became popular as Norse society became more stratified and dominated by wealthy families, who are thought to have built god houses as part of their taking control of the cults of the gods.
The Old Norse religion was suppressed from the 1000s, when Norway's kings forcibly imposed the Christian religion, and destroyed God Houses to enforce worship in the new Christian churches. Perhaps including the one at Ose. (The one above is a reconstruction, the real site has only the foundations remaining.)
A slightly-mysterious carving of the Three Wise Monkeys on the sacred stable at the Nikko Toshogu Shrine complex in Japan, which was built in 1617. The sculpture is attributed to Hidari Jingorō, a legendary sculptor whose existence is a matter of debate. Not only is their carver potentially a myth, these monkeys may also be the first physical representation of the old saying, which arrived in Japan with Buddhist monks in the 700s CE.
Cup made of agate and shaped like a horn. This cup was found in China as part of the Hejiacun Hoard, a huge collection of over a thousand silver and gold items unearthed at the site of Chang'an, the capital of the Tang dynasty. But the craftsman who made it was almost certainly in Persia, and specifically the Parthian Empire. We know this because the drinking vessel is in the style of horn-shaped rhytons found in central Asia and the Mediterranean which are known to have been produced in Persia.
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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