Visa Found Showing Japanese Consul Helped Jewish Refugees

A visa has recently come to light that was issued by Saburo Nei, who was acting Japanese consul-general in the Soviet Union. The visa was issued to Simon Korentajer, a Jewish refugee who fled to Vladivostock ahead of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Korentajer’s granddaughter, Kim Hydorn, has kept the document. It was issued by Nei in Vladivostock in 1941. The visa allowed Korentajer, his wife, and their daughter to escape to Japan, violating the policy held by that country’s Foreign Ministry. The Korentajer family spent about six years in Shanghai (which at the time was controlled by Japan) before they emigrated to San Francisco in 1947. This is the first visa issued by Nei to Jewish refugees to be recovered, although some records of them have been found. The number “21” was written on the document, indicating that Nei may have issued as many as 20 or more such visas.

Oldest Known Parasite Found in Chinese Fossils

Parasitism is, at heart, just a relationship between two organisms. Albeit a relationship in which one organism, the parasite, increases its own success by exploiting and harming another organism, the host. Exquisitely preserved 515-million-year-old fossils from southern China belonging to organisms called brachiopods show evidence of a relationship between the brachiopods' tubes and potentially parasitic worms. Specifically, the hardened tubes encrusting the surface of fossil brachiopod shells were once occupied by worms that took food that the brachiopod sucked into the tube. But how can fossils show that the relationship was harmful for the host? The new research showed that there was a clear negative effect, as brachiopods without the worms grew larger than those with the worms. Thus, the worms were parasites.

Giant Mosaic from the 500s in Hatay, Turkey

At 1,200 square meters, it is believed to be the largest single-piece ground mosaic today. Archaeologists uncovered it after the mosaic was discovered where a hotel was to be constructed. Based on its size and location, it is theorized that the mosaic once covered a public space, such as a town square.

New DNA Evidence For Native American Ancestors in Siberia

A recent analysis of DNA extracted from a 14,000-year-old tooth fragment unearthed by archaeologists in south-central Russia in the 1970s found that it is mixture of ancient North Eurasian and Northeast Asian ancestry which matches that of today’s Native Americans. Ust-Kyakhta, the Siberian site where the tooth was found, is situated between Lake Baikal and the Mongolian border. That's about 2,800 miles from the land-bridge Beringia which connected eastern Siberia to the Americas until the end of the last Ice Age. About 2,000 miles away from Ust-Kyakhta, in northeastern Siberia, researchers have found the remains of a Mesolithic woman whose genome shares about two-thirds of its DNA with living Native Americans. The two genomes, found far apart from each other, suggests suggests that Native American ancestors came from a wider region than previously thought.

Using Dental Tartar to Reconstruct Diets from Japan's Edo Period

Samples of tartar from the teeth of 13 people who were buried in what is now eastern Tokyo in the latter half of the Edo Period, from 1603 to 1867 CE, were analyzed in a recent study. DNA from rice was identified in the tartar of eight of the individuals. The DNA of other foods, including daikon radish, the minty herb “shiso” perilla, green onion, Japanese chestnut, carrot, and pumpkin was also identified. The researchers noted that the DNA results match records describing these foods from the period.

Non-food items were also found. DNA from tobacco plants, which may have been smoked, was also found in the tartar. Slightly more obscure was resin from tropical lowland rainforest trees -- potentially a tooth powder? “The technique will make it possible to survey what each individual ate,” Rikai Sawafuji of the University of the Ryukyus said of the project. Such analysis could allow researchers to determine which foods were used as staples, and even which were an individual’s favorite foods, he added.

Jerusalem circa 1000 BCE, in the united Kingdom of Israel

This reconstruction based on the archaeological record highlights how difficult, and important, getting water was at the top of a hill in of a dry subtropical climate.

The Mysterious Religion of Carthage

Carthage's beliefs originated from its founding civilization, Phoenicia, but Carthage developed its own version of the Phoenician pagan polytheistic religion. This video has a nice overview of the city's religious origins, their pantheon, and their religious practices.

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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!

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