A Cute Accident


A (Possible) Prehistoric Prosthetic

A hand made of bronze was crafted sometime around 1500 - 1400 BCE in Europe. More than a pound of bronze went into it, plus gold for a socket at the bottom. Why it was made is unknown. It may have been attached to another object, like a staff or a statue, or used as a prosthetic. Whatever it was used for, the hand eventually ended up in the ground near Switzerland's Lake Biel. Nearby were a bronze dagger and a rib bone. All three artifacts were uncovered by metal detectorists in October 2017.

Mammoth Bone Hut from 15,000 BCE

Circular to oval mammoth bone huts were built by Cro-Magnons, which is a fancy way of saying early modern humans in Europe. This particular example was uncovered at what is today Mezhirich, Ukraine, one of four mammoth bone huts. An astounding 149 mammoths are represented at Mezhirich, either in the walls of the huts or in the refuse as food.

The First Indian Civilization Was Extremely Old

Today, over 1,000 small agricultural settlements have been found in the region of what was once the Harappan civilization. Many date as early as 9,000 years ago, or 7,000 BCE. These small farming communities relied on the Indus River to water their crops and feed their animals. Today the region is relatively arid plateau but in ancient times the region was more temperate, and more suitable for large-scale agriculture. Archaeology tells us they grew rice, wheat, barley, and peas as early as 5,000 BCE. Cotton seeds found at multiple sites tentatively suggest they may have been the first to domesticate cotton as well.

Those small, mudbrick farming villages eventually evolved into sophisticated communities that historians collectively label a founding civilization. They had writing, sophisticated irrigation, and planned sewer systems. Although no one can decide on a name! Is it the Harappan civilization, or Mohenjo-Daro, or the Indus Valley civilization? Whatever name you give it, more than seventy cities have been unearthed since the area was discovered in the 1850s, but the main sites remain the two cities of Harappa, to the north, and Mohenjo-Daro, 400 miles to the south, near the river's mouth.

The civilization began to weaken in the second millennium BCE. And Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned around 1900 BCE. The first Indian civilization lasted, by a conservative estimate, about 5,000 years -- very impressive whatever you call it.

Did You Know Neolithic Chinese Farmers Grew Millet as well as Rice?

Prehistoric farmers in what is today China had two main crops: millet in the north, rice in the south, and a vast middle region of mixed farming.

Eat Like An Egyptian

This fun video discusses ancient Egyptian cuisine, dining etiquette, and basically anything related to food and eating!

Yams Were Independently Domesticated In Three Places

Here is a map of average region yam production today. Can you guess the three places where yams were first domesticated?

Answer: South America, West Africa, and Papua New Guinea!

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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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