Riverside Cliff Tombs Found In Southwest China

More than 200 cliff cave burial sites have been identified in Zhengxing Township in Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan Province.  The 200 burial sites number is deceptive; they are not just holes in the ground, but a cluster of hewn rooms, carved out of the cliffs overlooking the Jinjiang River. Some of the tombs have up to seven chambers with tunnels as long as 20 meters (65 feet).

Unfortunately, the tombs appear to have been previously looted. Bummer. But in what should be considered a small miracle, a large number of artifacts were recovered despite the looting; initial estimates are that around 1,000 gold, silver and bronze artifacts are still there. The tombs date between 206 BCE and 420 CE -- the Han Dynasty through the Wei-Jin period.

An American Crime Journaliste

Edna Buchanan, who was born in 1939, moved from New Jersey where she was born and raised to Miami in the 1960s. She wanted to pursue a career as a journalist, and she was offered a job by a small community newspaper near the big city. Florida worked out well for Edna. Her wit and writing skills caught the notice of editors at the larger Miami Herald, and they hired her in 1973 as a crime reporter.

She loved her new job. As their police reporter, she covered thousands of violent crimes, while Miami lived through its peak as the center of the international drug trade. She is famous for grabbing the reader’s attention with the opening lines of her crime stories. When reporting on Gary Robinson, an ex-con who was shot and killed by a security guard at a Church’s Chicken restaurant, after getting violent when they ran out of fried chicken, she wrote “Gary Robinson died hungry.” With writing like that, Edna got many accolades, including the highest. In 1986, she won a Pulitzer Prize for general reporting.

She loved crime so much that even when she retired, she kept writing about it, publishing multiple mystery novels. Edna said of her job: "Nobody loves a police reporter. The job can be lonely and arduous. I have been threatened with arrest, threatened physically, had rocks thrown at me. I've gotten threatening letters, subpoenas, and obscene phone calls, some of them from my editors. It is tiring, haunting, and truly wonderful."

The Temple at Epheseus: Wonder of the World

Epheseus was the most important Greek city of those founded along western Turkey. The city was first founded by Ionian Greek settlers along the marshy delta of the Cayster River. There was already a sanctuary, dedicated by the local people to a goddess of vegetation and fertility. The new Greek settlers associated that with Artemis, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, chastity, and childbirth. Several structures were built in Artemis' honor by the early settlers.

Epheseus eventually built a magnificent temple to her, which was continued under the famous King Croesus of Lydia. He is known today for his huge wealth, but at the time he was a newly-arrived king who had conquered Ephesus in 560 BCE and was looking to make his mark as a man of piety and sophistication in the Greek world. So he paid for work on the temple to continue, and hired an architect from Crete, Chersiphron of Knossos. It says how important the temple was that even its architect's name is remembered in history. Croesus' wealth certainly did the trick: with the first temple ever constructed entirely of marble, and located along a great trade route running from Greece into Asia Minor, Epheseus flourished.

Unfortunately, King Croesus' temple burned down in 356 BCE. Supposedly it was destroyed the same day as Alexander the Great was born, and it was not saved because Artemis was busy helping his mother through her labor -- a key role as she was the goddess of childbirth. But Epheseus wasn't ready to give up and become a backwater. After all, their temple was on the list of wonders of the world that the famous historian Herodotus They rebuilt the temple, a bigger and better one with an additional stepped platform, and rededicated it to the goddess Artemis. It even kept its old name, the Artemision.

Saint's Stolen Brain Secured

Fragments of the stolen brain of St John Bosco, a Catholic priest and founder of the Salesian religious order in the 1800s, have been found. His brain had been stored in a reliquary at the basilica of Castelnuova, near Turin in Italy. But both were stolen in early June of 2017. Fingerprints left nearby eventually led police to discover the brain's location, in August of 2017. The culprit had hoped to sell the reliquary, which he thought was made of gold. According to Italian police the brain, and the reliquary, had been hidden inside a copper kettle at the man's home, until they could be sold. The brain is now safely back at the basilica.

Though arranged marriages were banned in 1950, factory bosses and Communist cadres still did much of the matchmaking, and when a young intellectual named Yan Yunxiang was sent down from Beijing to the village of Xiajia, in China’s northeast, in 1970, he found an abundance of miserable love. Local women had so little say in whom they married that there was a village tradition of sobbing when you left home on your wedding day. It wasn’t until the eighties that the village elders began to relinquish control over local marriages. Yan Yunxiang eventually became an anthropologist and continued to visit the village over the years. He attended a wedding where the bride was marrying for love and she confided to Yan that she was too happy to sob. She rubbed hot pepper on her handkerchief in order to summon the tears that her parents’ generation expected.


quoted from Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China (2014) by Evan Osnos

The full inventory of Shakespeare's possessions, which would have listed his books and other important information that modern historians would kill for, was probably sent to London. Important records were kept at the time in the capital. Unfortunately, that means the inventory was most likely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

A Bank? A Pub? The Irish Don't See The Difference

In 1970, the entire banking system in Ireland went on strike. But the country was not crippled. Pubs stepped up -- after all, pub owners were very familiar with whether a patron could pay up or not. The strike ended six months later, and everything went on, the Irish economy basically unhurt.

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.

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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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