There were dozens of language families, each the equivalent of the Indo-European family, before 1492. This map is a "simplified" one. In today's California, for instance, languages that are spoken by neighboring tribes are as different as French and Chinese.
Why did the Americas develop such linguistic diversity? Many linguists suspect that at least some of these separate families date back to separate migrations of different tribes from Asia who originally spoke unrelated languages. Linguistic and archaeological data hint at more than one migration from Asia into the Americas, all of them through Alaska.
Extra Fun Fact: see “Eskimo-Aleut” in northern North America? It is not colored because there is no evidence those languages are related to any other indigenous American languages!
Pair of Amateur Metal Detector Enthusiasts Find Royal Treasure
A medieval treasure trove that belonged to the legendary King Harald Bluetooth was recently unearthed on a German island by a 13-year-old and an amateur archaeologist. The pair were using metal detectors to hunt treasure on Rügen, Germany's largest island, in the Baltic Sea. And wonder of wonders, they found some real treasure! Archaeologists who were called in found remarkable artifacts, including braided necklaces, pearls, brooches, a Thor's hammer (a representation of a mythical weapon forged by dwarves), rings and up to 600 chipped coins, including more than 100 that date to Bluetooth's era.
Based on their finds, archaeologists believe the hoard belonged to the Danish king Harald Gormsson, more commonly known as "Bluetooth," who ruled from about 958 to 986 CE. He is famous for bringing Christianity to Denmark, and uniting swathes of modern-day Norway, Germany, Sweden and Denmark under his rule. And yes, that's the guy that Bluetooth Technology is named after. The oldest coin uncovered at Rügen dates to 714 CE, while the youngest is a penny from 983 CE. These dates suggest the treasure was buried in the late 980s. That matches up with when Bluetooth lost a battle against his rebellious son, Sweyn Forkbeard, and then “retired” to northwestern Germany for a year before his death.
Tang Dynasty Scroll Describes How Not To Destroy A Kingdom
This one page from a manuscript dating to the Tang dynasty and found complete in a cave in Dunhuang, China. It is a Tang dynasty copy of "On the Fall of States," by Lu Ji (261-303), a writer of the Western Jin dynasty. "On The Fall of States" describes the rise and fall of the Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period, as well as the meritorious contributions of the Lu family. Famous among ancient works on administration, "OntheFallofStates" argues that the key to a country's fortunes is to assess and employ people wisely.
To answer my own question, yes! It's a whistle! Not sure if it still works though.... According to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), this is a Mayan whistle in the form of a sitting woman. Discovered on Jaina Island, off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, it is believed have been crafted between 600 and 900 CE. Pretty neat!
Hawaii Has A Protected Valley, Where Its Ancient Plants Are Preserved
For the past 1,500 years, Limahuli Valley on Kauai has been a green haven, a wilderness preserved to exist just as the native Hawaiians experienced it. It is home to plant life unlike anything found in the rest of the world, with many endangered plants thriving in the valley.
You may be surprised to learn that this terracotta vase is from the Umayyad or Abbasid Caliphates, between 700 and 900 CE!
Its style is distinctly Islamic in nature, with incised lines and an elegant shape. What I noticed first, though, was the odd glazing which leaves the bottom looking unfinished and looks very modern. Known as “two-thirds” glaze, this is actually typical of early Islamic art.
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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!