Peacock fresco at the Villa Poppaea. Notice the illusion of depth with the columns, and how the peacock's tail juts over the edge of the border.
This art was preserved by Vesuvius's eruption in 79 CE.
 

The Viking Colony That Wasn't

L'Anse aux Meadows is (rightly) famous as the archaeological evidence of a Viking settlement in North America. Located on the northern tip of Newfoundland, the site has the remains of eight buildings and could house up to 100 people, and seems to have been occupied around the year 1000.

The interesting thing? The site does not quite fit with the descriptions of "Vinland" in the Norse Sagas. L'Anse aux Meadows has no graves and no cows, but the sagas describe an attempt to found a permanent settlement (suggesting a graveyard was needed) and showing cows to confused locals. L'Anse aux Meadows also has butternuts and butternut wood, which grows at the northernmost much further south around New Brunswick. Even the name - Vineland - and the description of wild grapes does not match L'Anse aux Meadows. Wild grapes grow much further south, also by New Brunswick.

Hopes were briefly raised that another Viking settlement might have been found at Point Rosee on the southern end of Newfoundland. A satellite-based survey seemed to find 'cultural remains.' But the follow-up in-person survey found the remains were entirely natural in origin.

So the search continues. Or perhaps...the Sagas were slight exaggerations, and add descriptions from places scouted but not settled further into North America. Only time (and archaeology) will tell.

Mad, Bad, and Potentially Dangerous to Ancient Monuments

Inscribed on the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, southeast of Athens, is the name BYRON. It is possible that the English poet Lord Byron carved it during his first visit to Greece at age 22, before he became famous. He later wrote:

Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep, Where nothing, save the waves and I, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep …

But despite all that, there remains no definitive answer as to whether Byron carved it himself, or a fan of his poetry thought to add his name there.

Before And After The Bosnian War

The ethnic and religious composition of Bosnia and Herzegovina before and after the conflict (which began in 1991).

The world's tallest... structure ... was the Washington Monument in Washington, DC for five years. It was completed in 1884, and was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

Podcast Episode Recommendation on the Industrial Revolution

Hey all! I recently listened to a great podcast episode and thought I would share it with you all. History Extra, run by the BBC History Magazine, is a long-standing podcast of excellent quality. With the pandemic they started an "Everything you ever wanted to know" series on topics ranging from the Aztec Empire to the Renaissance. While the whole series is worth a listen, this post will highlight just one, The Industrial Revolution: Everything you wanted to know. Check it out here.

  These are the people described as Lenin’s inner circle. Four out of thirteen definitely were killed, and two more died of “unknown” causes.

A French Prisoner in Norman Cross Barracks, had recourse to the following stratagem to obtain his liberty:–He made himself a complete uniform of the Hertfordshire Militia, and a wooden gun, stained, surmounted by a tin bayonet. Thus equipped, he mixed with the guard, (consisting of men from the Hertford Regiment,) and when they were ordered to march out, having been relieved, Monsieur fell in and marched out too. Thus far he was fortunate, but when arrived at the guard-room, lo! what befel him. His new comrades ranged their muskets on the rack, and he endeavoured to follow their example; but as his wooden piece was unfortunately a few inches too long, he was unable to place it properly. This was observed, and the unfortunate captive obliged to forego the hopes of that liberty for which he had so anxiously and so ingeniously laboured.

The Soldier’s Companion; or, Martial Recorder, 1824. The Norman Cross Prison in England was the first-known prison built specifically for prisoners of war. It was built in 1796-97 to hold prisoners of war from France and its allies during the French Revolutionary Wars and the later Napoleonic Wars.

Bronze Age Spanish Couple Found With Interesting Jewelry

  A tomb holding the remains of a man and a woman dating to 1,700 BCE has been found in southeastern Spain at the El Argar site of La Almoloya. Two bodies were placed in an ovoid jar under the floor of a large hall lined with benches that featured a podium before a hearth that provided warmth and light.     The man, who died in his 30s, wore flared gold ear plugs and a silver ring. A copper dagger with four silver rivets was found near his remains. The woman, who was in her 20s, had a shortened, fused spine, a stunted left thumb. Examinations of her remains suggest she may have died of tuberculosis. She was buried wearing silver spirals in her hair, silver earlobe plugs with silver spirals, a silver bracelet, a silver ring, and on her head a silver diadem whose disc would have covered the tip of her nose. DNA testing of the remains of an infant discovered under another building at the site showed that the deceased were parents of this child, which would help to explain why the man and woman were buried together.

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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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