Preserved Heads Found At A Prehistoric Celtic Site in France
Scientists examined thousands of Iron Age skull fragments recovered from the fortified Celtic site of Le Cailar, which is located on a lagoon of the Rhône River, in France. The researchers estimate the fragments, which date to the 200s BCE, represented about 50 broken-up skulls. Weapons were found alongside the bones. Chemical analysis of 11 of the skulls detected conifer resin in six of them, suggesting the heads had been embalmed.
Why preserve just heads? Well, the researchers think the weapons and embalmed heads may have been put on display in a large, open space near the settlement gate, where they would have been seen by visiting Mediterranean traders. Ancient Greek and Roman sources claimed that Celts who lived in Gaul decapitated their enemies after battle, and hung the heads around their horses’ necks as trophies. Iron Age sculptures depicting the practice have been found in southern France.
Two megalithic statues of Polynesian style on the Mount Srobu site in Indonesia's Papua Province. These statues are in a different style from others, found in the area, making their find particularly interesting. Decorated pottery fragments, stone axes, and shell tools estimated to be about 3,800 years old were also recovered from the site.
In ancient Egypt, silver was more valuable than gold. It had not always been available there, and after silver was introduced, it remained rare through the Early Dynastic Period. As a result silver jewelry was almost always thinner than gold jewelry. By the Middle Kingdom, though, new sources of silver seem to have opened up because silver became less valuable than gold.
Choga Zanbil is one of the few ziggurats that lies outside Mesopotamia. And it is the largest ziggurat left, too. Choga Zanbil stands at the site of the ancient city of Elam, in today’s Khuzestan province in southwest Iran. Choga Zanbil was built around 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha to honor the great god Inshushinak. But before the ziggurat could be completed, King Untash-Napirisha died and construction of the complex was abandoned. When the Assyrians attacked Choga Zanbil 600 years later, there were still thousands of bricks stacked at the site, waiting for building to resume.
The ziggurat is only a part of the complex. There are also temples, a total of eleven, dedicated to the lesser gods at the site. It is believed that King Untash-Napirisha originally planned twenty-two temples, which some scholars believe was an attempt to create a new religious center, possibly intended to replace Susa. And the ziggurat used to be much taller than it stands today, almost twice as tall in fact, and covered with glazed blue and green terra-cotta. Although it is shorter and less colorful than it once was, Choga Zanbil became Iran's first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
The Importance of Nabopolassar, The Forgotten Founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire
Nebuchadrezzar is one of the few Babylonian kings who people remember today -- or can begin to attempt to say. He is famous as a conqueror, the restorer of Babylonia's glory. But he was actually the second re-founder of Babylonia. His father, Nabopolassar, founded the Chaldean Empire, also called the neo-Babylonian Empire.
Governor of the region of Chaldea, Nabopolassar seized the throne of Babylonia around 625 BCE. Until then it had been controlled by the waning Assyrian Empire. Nabopolassar forged a coalition with the Medes, to the east, and fought the Assyrians for the next decade to retain what he had seized. Finally, in 612 BCE, the Chaldeans and Medes sacked Assyria's capital at Nineveh. Babylonia had been in the shadow of the Assyrians for centuries. Now that was flipped, and Babylonia was on the rise.
Although the great Assyrian Empire was no effectively dead, Nabopolassar's new kingdom faced immediate threats from Assyrian remnants and especially from the Assyrian's former ally Egypt. In fact, Egypt took advantage of Assyria's decline to seize Judah in 609 BCE, a small kingdom that would immortalize Nebuchadrezzar's name. But that's a story for the future.
For the first years of Nabopolassar's reign, Egypt and Assyria harassed the new empire's borders. The crown prince rose through the military ranks as the fighting continued, and eventually led armies beside his father. In 605 BCE, Nebuchadrezzar was given solo command and defeated Egypt and the remnants of the Assyrians at Carchemish in Syria. He returned to Babylonia victorious, the future of the new empire secure, only to be informed that his father had died. The stage was set for him to become the emperor history would remember.
Source: National Geographic: History, "The Builder King: Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon" by Barbara Bock. Pgs 15 - 23.
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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!