Often called “Ireland’s Stonehenge,” Newgrange is a prehistoric stone monument constructed around 3200 BCE by the Neolithic inhabitants of what is now County Meath. The mound is truly monumental, covering about two acres! Under the grass-covered dome is a 62-foot tunnel which leads to a central chamber, where stone basins house cremated remains. Newgrange appears to have been used as a burial place or ritual site for about a thousand years before falling into disuse and slowly being forgotten. It was only rediscovered in 1699.

One reason why historians continue to debate Newgrange's purpose, despite the archaeological evidence of both cremated and unburnt human remains, is the monument's architecture. Newgrange's prehistoric builders designed it so that every winter solstice — the shortest day of the year — the rising sun shines through a “roof box” near the entrance, filling the main passageway and the inner chamber with light.

Why build something so architecturally sophisticated if it were only entered to lay down the dead? Many archaeologists, therefore, think Newgrange was a ritual site as well as a tomb.

Three different Japanese texts of the early 19th century refer to a “hollow ship” that arrived on a local beach in 1803. A white-skinned young woman emerged, but fishermen found that she couldn’t communicate in Japanese, so they returned her to the vessel, which drifted back to sea.

Although it reads similar to a folktale, it is an oddly specific one — the texts give dates (Feb. 22 or March 24) and give the dimensions of the craft (3.3 meters high, 5.4 meters wide), which was shaped like a rice pot or incense burner fitted with small windows. Reportedly the woman carried a small box that no one was allowed to touch.

Unfortunately, the place names mentioned appear to be fictitious. So most likely the story is merely an expression of the insularity of the Edo period. One thing the ship was not was a UFO — it never left the water, but simply floated away.

Where Was The Seven Years' War Fought?

Known by various names -- the Pomeranian War (Sweden), the Third Carnatic War (India), the French and Indian War (USA), La guerre de la Conquête (Quebec) -- it involved all the major European powers and spanned five continent. Which is why the conflict is sometimes called "World War Zero."

Early Globalization In One Object

Ming Vase (circa 1540-1550) with Chinese designs on the stem and a Portuguese armillary sphere on the body.

Savanna Ecosystem May Have Been Assisted By Early Humanity

Africa’s savannas, such as the Serengeti, are renowned for their biodiversity. Defined as a tropical grassland with warm temperatures year-round and with its highest seasonal rainfall in the summer, trees are small or dispersed allowing sunlight to reach the ground a grasses to grow. A new study proposes that human intervention may have been instrumental in creating these ecosystems 3,000 years ago. Soil analysis from Neolithic sites associated with nomadic herders in southern Kenya shows that dung from corralled livestock created nutrient-rich “hotspots” across the prehistoric landscape. This led to an increase in fertile grasses thousands of years ago that, even today, attract a diverse array of wildlife.

A Beautiful, Classic Example of Ethiopian Manuscript Art

You can see on this leaf, John the Evangelist has already copied John 1:1-2 in Ge'ez. It comes from a gospel book, all written in Ge'ez, the traditional language for worship in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This particular manuscript, dating to the 1st half of the 1500s, is exceptionally well-preserved and represents the golden age of what has been termed the Gunda Gunde style of Ethiopian manuscripts.

The Gunda Gunde style is characterized by bold blocks of color defined by detailed and often delicate linear motifs. Figures are highly stylized and expressive, like John the Evangelist on this page. And around the figures are beautiful geometric and interlaced designs, like the chair that John is sitting upon

In 1850, Phillip Henry Gosse created the first aquarium for the London Zoo, and he coined the word “aquarium.” It sparked a mini-craze for aquariums like the one above.

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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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