The Japanese have a folk spirit that sneakily cuts people's hair. Named kamikiri, it eats only hair, and its name translates literally to "hair cutter."

Due to being an island, New Zealand has no native snakes. However, the sea off of New Zealand is often home to sea snakes. While not native to the area the warm subtropical currents carry them south from out of the tropics.

Yup'ik Mask of a Bear Spirit

The Yup'ik Eskimo of western Alaska believe that everything has a spirit (or soul) — people, animals, and things. All participate in an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The boundaries between the spirit world and the real world, and between the human world and the world of animals, are not always clear.

Masks with hoops around the mask manifest shamanic visions of the spirit world. The center is, of course, the bear spirit. The encircling hoops are called ellanguat, which means pretend cosmos or universe. The rings around the mask therefore represent movement between the human and supernatural worlds. The outer feathers represent stars or snowflakes. Finally, the circular holes signify a passageway between worlds, the opening in the Sky World through which Tunghak, Keeper of the Game, allows animals to pass from the spirit world to the world of humans, to replenish the supply of game.

The Yup'ik have seasonal festivals that honor the spirits of animals hunted during the previous year. Often, the festivals include masked dances.

Ancient Dairy Farmers Powered Indus Civilization?

A major component of maintaining the advanced societies of the ancient Indus River Valley may have been their development of dairy farming. Recent isotope analysis of lipid residues from ceramics at Kotada Bhadli show that dairy products were common by around 2,500 BCE.

This is the earliest evidence of dairy products in India. Domesticated cows and water buffalo can produce surplus milk and cheese, enriching the nutrition of the locals. And what the locals did not eat they could have exchanged with other cities.

History In Space

The asteroids sharing Jupiter’s orbit around the sun fall into two large groups. When working to correctly calculate their orbits, astronomer Johann Palisa started the convention to call one group of asteroids “Trojan” and the other “Greek.” And asteroids in each group are given names from their respective groups -- Achilles for a Greek asteroid, for instance.

However, the asteroids 617 Patroclus and 624 Hektor were named before the Greek/Trojan rule was suggested, resulting in a Greek spy in the Trojan camp and a Trojan spy in the Greek camp.

Ancient Roman House Excavation Reveals Swords and Puppy Paws

Five Roman-style longswords were discovered in a house located in central Sardis, western Turkey’s ancient capital of the kingdom of Lydia. Only three swords had previously been found in the city. Buckles and a lead seal also recovered from the house suggest the residents may have been connected to the military or the city’s civil authorities. The longswords have been dated to about 500 CE. The house they were found in had been furnished with wall paintings that mimic draped curtains and multicolored marble, and terracotta floor tiles that were playfully imprinted before firing with a dog’s paw prints and finger-drawn outlines of birds resembling chickens or ducks. The house appears to have been occupied for approximately 200 years before it was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 600s CE.

Flying from Casablanca to Dakar in 1925, French military photographer Marcelin Flandrin captured this photo in the Atlas Mountains. This is the last known image of a wild Barbary Lion. The species massively declined in the mid-1800s due to human settlement in northern Africa pushing them out of coastal areas and depriving them of food sources. Then bounties for lion's heads finished them off by the 1880s, except for in small pockets of remote wilderness.

Nothing Is Certain But Death And Taxes

According to one historian, plane geometry was not invented by Euclid but by ancient tax collectors who wanted to determine land size to calculate how much taxes farmers owed on their fields' produce.

A 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy has been found with a golden tongue. It is speculated that the tongue was added so the deceased could speak in the afterlife. To the ancient Egyptians, everlasting life could begin after death, which was very similar to life. But the deceased could only get there if they passed a series of tests, such as swearing before judges that they behaved well during their lifetime. And swearing requires a tongue.

The burial was one of 16 burials at Taposiris Magna, which has temples dedicated to the gods Osiris and Isis. Previously, archaeologists found a hoard of coins decorated with the face of Cleopatra VII, suggesting the temples were in use during the queen's reign, or shortly afterwards when Egypt was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

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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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