Female Artist Discovered In Ancient Greece

Eleutherna, a fortified city-state in Crete that reached its height around 800 BCE, was home to the only known female master ceramicist in the ancient Greek world. The remains of a woman who was discovered at Eleutherna in 2009 have recently been analyzed, and the results were surprising.

In comparison to the other females at the site, the muscles on the right side of her body were notably developed, while the cartilage on her knee and hip joints was worn away, leaving the bones smooth and ivory-like. This pattern suggests she spent her lifetime working clay on a kick-wheel-operated turntable. Eleutherna has been associated with women in powerful positions, in general. Four women related to each other, and thought to have been priestesses, were found in an ornate burial near the master artiste.

Gold Mine Found In Late Medieval Latrines

Wine barrels, which were used as latrines in the late 1680s, have been discovered in central Copenhagen. Analyzing them can provide detailed insights into what Danes at the time were eating and drinking, as well as evidence about health problems they may have been experiencing.

Using a variety of modern techniques, archaeologists have identified a number of local foods including fish, meats, a number of grains, cherries, coriander, lettuce, mustard, and hazelnuts. Put together, the scientific evidence suggests that Danes were eating a varied and healthy diet of local products. And the owners of the latrines were likely wealthy, able to take advantage of of a global trading network, as evidenced by their cloves from India's Moluccan islands, and figs, grapes, and bitter orange or lemon from the Mediterranean.

Unfortunately, their hygiene could have been better. The latrines contained evidence of whipworm, roundworm, and tapeworm, and specifically of varieties that are known to infect people. Either the owners did not wash their hands often enough, or they did not cook their food properly. The natural result was parasites.

The Creation of Rotterdam (Part 2)

A month ago (or so) I posted a couple paragraphs on the Dutch city of Rotterdam's history. It was titled "The Creation of Rotterdam." Imagine my surprise when I came across this map, showing the physical expansion of Rotterdam's port. It was truly created, that is to say, built by men.

Did you know Leonardo da Vinci was illegitimate?

His father was Piero da Vinci, a respected Florentine notary. His mother was likely a young peasant woman named Catarina. Leonardo was raised by his father's family, although due to his illegitimacy, he could never join the family profession and become a notary (bastards were barred from joining the notarys' guild). Which is just as well -- the world is richer for Leonardo getting the chance to try everything he wished, advancing so many fields in the process.

Sh*t Is An Old, Old Word

It can be traced back to Middle English, around the year 1000 CE, along with turd and arse. Making it one of the true Anglo-Saxon words left in English.

The word probably originated much earlier than it can be traced. Because, well, swear words tend not to get written down. They are spoken, slang words. Another piece of evidence that sh*t is older than 1000 CE is that similar words exist in other languages in the Germanic family including Dutch, Icelandic, and of course German. Which suggests that sh*t was born not in Middle English, but descended from a common ancestor in the original proto-Germanic language.

Sh*t was not always a taboo word. It initially meant, very specifically, diarrhea in cattle.

Cemetery, In Use For Thousands of Years, Excavated in Albania

An ancient cemetery containing layers of about 1,000 burials dating back to the Iron Age has been found in southeastern Albania. The cemetery was actually three cemeteries: one from the Iron Age, one late Roman, and one from the Middle Ages. And under the bottom layer of the cemetery were what appears to be a Neolithic settlement. Archaeologists found holes in the ground, which supported the now-rotted wooden skeletons of small huts.

Ancient Greek Helmet Found In Southern Russia

 

This beautiful Corinthian helmet was found in the burial of several Greek warriors on the Taman Peninsula. Dating to the 400s BCE, it completely covers the head and neck. It is extremely rare to find one in modern excavations. This style of helmet is mostly known from ancient statues, like those of Athena or the statesman Pericles.

The warriors likely fought for the Bosporan Kingdom, a Greek state founded around 480 BCE, that included the Taman Peninsula and parts of Crimea. An archaeologist working on the site speculated that the warriors died together in the same battle. Perhaps fighting nearby nomadic tribes? But they were remembered not just as warriors -- one of the men was buried with his harp.

First Reference To Drinking Tea Found In England

A shopping list dating back to the 1600s has been found in a West Yorkshire archive. It was made to be given to an apothecary, who would collect the requested items and deliver them to Temple Newsam house near Leeds. Written December 8th, 1644, the list includes a request for 13 bottles of "china drink." Before this discovery the earliest reference to drinking tea in England was an entry in Samuel Pepys' diary from 1660.

What are the “seven seas” that Medieval writers loved to mention?

  1. the Adriatic Sea
  2. the Mediterranean Sea -- which includes seas around and in the Mediterranean, like the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea
  3. the Black Sea
  4. the Caspian Sea
  5. the Persian Gulf
  6. the Arabian Sea -- which is today considered part of the Indian Ocean
  7. the Red Sea -- including closed Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee

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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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