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.

Bukit Nanas

Its name means "Pineapple Hill" in Malay, and it is among the smallest patches of rainforest in the world. Located at the heart of Kuala Lampur, the virgin tropical forest Bukit Nanas has been a nature preserve since 1906. Unfortunately it has not escaped the encroaching city. Although 17.5 hectares were originally put in the preserve, only 9.3 hectares remain forest.

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.

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 largest seated Buddha in the world was carved out of the rock face of Lingyun Hill in Leshan, China. Dating to around 800 CE, the statue stands about 230 feet (70 m) tall and the shoulders measure 90 ft (30 m) across.

The United Nations passed the "Convention on the Law of the Sea" in 1994 and is now the recognized governing body in all legal matters concerning the world's oceans.

Romans Had Odd Naming Conventions

In ancient Rome, it was standard practice to name daughters with the female form of the family name. Julius Caesar's daughter, for instance, was Julia. And Marcus Antonius' (Mark Antony's) daughters were both Antonia! Although to avoid confusion, they were known as Antonia Maior and Antonia Minor.

This Jewish Sect Had Weird Beliefs About The Sabbath

You've probably heard of the Essenes, an apocalyptic cult of Jewish separatists who created or collected what is today known as the Dead Sea Scrolls in the first century CE. Did you know that they were early hippies, too? They believed a new age was coming. It would be ushered in by two messiahs, so they kept themselves in a constant state of readiness: no sex, lots and lots of bathing, and absolutely no "relieving" on the Sabbath. Twenty-six hours a week where you cannot pee? Sounds painful. Perhaps due to their hygiene habits, the Essenes had relatively short life expectancies.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • >
  • Leave us a message

    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!

    Website design and coding by the Amalgama

    About us X