This Ancient Mesopotamian Queen Was Buried In Style, With Sacrificed Servants

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Queen Puabi, who lived during the First Dynasty of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, was a highly respected woman. Her exact status is a bit unclear. She was referred to as "nin" a term which could mean queen but could also mean priestess. Her cylinders' seal does not place her in relation to any king or husband, as was typical for other consorts, which supports the theory that Puabi ruled on her own.

Whatever her exact status, when she died around 2600 BCE she was buried in a lavish tomb in the royal cemetery. She was laid to rest with elaborate head pieces and jewelry, a magnificent lyre decorated with a blue-bearded bull, a chariot adorned with lionesses' heads in silver, and many more grave goods made of precious metals and stones.

A number of “death pits” were also found outside of the chambers as well as above Puabi’s chamber. While it is not 100% clear that the death pits were created at the time of Puabi's burial, it seems likely given their positioning. The largest and most well-known death pit held 74 attendants, 6 men and 68 women, all adorned with various gold, silver, and lapis decoration, and one female figure that appeared to be more elaborately adorned than the others. Perhaps the "death pit" was for this lady, not Puabi?

It is certain that some human sacrifices were conducted to accompany Puabi, though. In Puabi’s burial chamber, the remains of three other people were found. And the pit found directly above Puabi’s chamber contained 21 attendants, and no high-status person they might have been sacrificed for. Which leaves Puabi.

A Gift From The Gods

During the renovation of Jambukeswarar Temple, a temple to Shiva in southern India, workers uncovered a sealed brass pot. The workers alerted local authorities after they opened the pot and discovered 505 gold coins. The temple is believed to have been built during the Chola Period around 200 CE. The coins are currently being examined to determine how old they are, and when in the temple’s history they were hidden.

The Curious Case of the Cascadia Earthquake

On January 26th, 1700, a major earthquake occurred off today's western coast of Canada and the US, with an estimated moment magnitude of 8.7–9.2. It entered Native American oral history, of course, as a major event. But they did not use written records, nor the (European) Gregorian Calendar. How do modern historians then know the precise date of the earthquake? Well, it comes from a combination of records. The earthquake caused a tsunami which struck the coast of Japan, who recorded the day it hit and the magnitude of the waves. The earthquake also impacted tree rings in the Pacific Northwest, which modern scientists can use to estimate year and time of year. Between the Native American oral histories, the Japanese records, and the tree rings, historians are pretty sure they have the date right!

In North Korea, the supermarket escalator where Kim Jong Il was last seen in public has been turned into a shrine to his memory.

Stone Tools Show How Humans Survived The Supervolcano

Remember something about how at one points, humans were almost wiped out, with just 10,000 survivors of some great cataclysm? Maybe you even remember that the culprit has been named as the Toba Supervolcano's eruption about 74,000 years ago. But archaeological evidence is suggesting the cataclysm was not as bad as it was previously believed -- because human's material culture in Africa and Asia in the form of stone tools -- show continuity not disruption. And a recent excavation and analysis of an ancient and "unchanging" stone tool industry, uncovered at Dhaba in northern India, suggests instead that humans have been present in the Middle Son Valley for roughly 80,000 years, both before and after the Toba eruption. This just adds more support to the idea that the Toba Supervolcano was still a major event, but perhaps not the world-ender people had thought.

Dragon's head with a wind chime dangling from its muzzle. This bronze dragon head would have been fitted over a wooden beam at the corner of a roof, probably of a Buddhist temple or royal residence. It is one of only two known rafter filials from this period. Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, 900s CE.

An Induction From The Facts

Shen Kuo (1031–1095), a scientist from the Song Dynasty, noticed fossilized bamboo in a region which in his day did not have bamboo. Based on the fossil Kuo hypothesized that climate, which had been considered as static, could change.

The earliest roller coasters were descended from Serra da Estrela, Portugal sled rides held on specially constructed hills of ice. They were pretty big,  sometimes up to 200 feet (62 m) tall! The Serra da Estrelas were constructed by a large group of Russian refugees to remind them of where they came from. There is evidence for them as early as the 1600s, in the 1700s they gradually became popular across Europe, and by the early 1800s wheeled carts began being used instead of sleighs on tracks. The first such wheeled ride was brought to Paris in 1804 under the name Les Montagnes Russes (French for "Russian Mountains").

French, along with Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, still call roller coasters "russian mountains" after their snowy ancestor. Russian, ironically, calls them "American mountains."

Habitat Zones During The Last Ice Age

Sure, most of us know that Europe became near-uninhabitable. But check out China, which was mainly steppe/tundra! And New Zealand's northern island had a rainforest! What catches your eye?

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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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