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.

Scientists May Have Found DNA-Like Structures In Dino Fossil

The skulls of two juvenile duck-billed dinosaurs (Hypacrosaurus stebingeri), shelved after their discovery in the 1980s, have something that looks a lot like DNA. There are many tiny circular structures at the back - some linked together, others standing apart, frozen as they were when the animals fossilized. Several of these circles contained a dark material reminiscent of a nucleus, and others held tangled coils resembling chromosomes. "I'm not even willing to call it DNA because I'm cautious, and I don't want to overstate the results," said the team's molecular paleontologist Mary Schweitzer. "There is something in these cells that is chemically consistent with and responds like DNA."

All Hail The Butterfly God

A Zapotec figural ceramic of the Butterfly God found at Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico. 200 - 600 CE.

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.

Sardinians Were Stone-Age Stay-At-Homes

A new study suggests that Sardinians experienced less genetic turnover than populations living in mainland Europe. When large-scale migration is thought to have occurred during the Bronze Age in Europe, Sardinia's population remained in place. An international team of scientists analyzed the genomes of 70 Sardinians whose remains were recovered from more than 20 archaeological sites spanning a period of about 6,000 years. The scientists then compared the Sardinian DNA to DNA collected from other ancient and modern peoples. The researchers determined that Neolithic Sardinians were closely related to their contemporaries in mainland Europe. Sardinian genetic ancestry remained stable through 900 BCE, although a new style of stone towers did appear on the island in this century. The 900s BCE are important because that is when major population movements occurred in Europe. But they apparently did not impact Sardinia as much.

The DNA supported later population movement on the island, such as the arrival of the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon, and the Punics, from what is now Tunisia, as early as 500 BCE During the Roman and medieval periods, the scientists also found evidence of migration to the island from Italy and Spain.

Australian Wildfires Uncovered Hidden Sections of a Huge, Ancient Aquaculture System

The Gunditjmara have been building an eel-farming system at the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape for more than 6,000 years. Their aquaculture allowed them to build settled villages in the area, thousands of years before European colonization. Not very different from how prehistoric peoples along the South American west coast relied on seafood to support settlements in the middle of the Atacama Desert. Read more about what wildfires revealed about the Budj Bim here

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?

Evidence of Early Mayan Fertility Rituals Found In Mexico

A small hoard of artifacts have been discovered underneath the central plaza at Paso del Macho in northern Yucatan. The cache may have been put there as an offering when the Maya settlement was founded between 900 and 800 BCE. And the inhabitants were trying to make sure they succeeded in their new home: the artifacts are some of the earliest evidence of Maya fertility rituals to encourage crop growth and rainfall. There are a number of artifacts symbolizing maize sprouting from the underworld and several pots painted with fertility images, plus spoons, clamshell pendants, and a large plaque.

This is a cooking vessel from Japan dating back to 2,500 BCE! Archaeologists call this kind of vessel “fire-flame,” ka’en in Japanese, because their tops resemble flames. No one knows why the design was created, or what it actually represents. Pots like this were used by making holes in the ground, starting fires in the holes, then placing the pots onto the fires in the holes. As a result, bottoms often deteriorated and this particular vessel's bottom is a replacement.

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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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