She was a Sumerian queen, who died around 2450 BCE, and was buried with pomp at the royal cemetery of Ur. Her name and title are known from the short inscription on one of three cylinder seals found on her person. Although most women’s cylinder seals at the time would have read "wife of ___," this seal made no mention of her husband. Instead, it gave her name and title as queen.
Modern dragonflies have wingspans of between 2 to 5 inches (5 cm to 12 cm). Fossils of dragonfly ancestors show that they had wingspans of up to 2 feet. The example above is 68 cm/26 inches. Modern scientists placed dragonfly larvae in chambers which mimicked the Earth's oxygen levels from 300 million years ago. And just by changing the oxygen levels, scientists were able to grow super-sized dragonflies that are 15% larger than normal.
The direct ancestor of all modern camels, procamelus, lived in western North America and was the size of a rabbit! When the isthmus of Panama formed about 2.7 million years ago the procamelus spread to South America, where its descendants evolved into llama species. When the Bering Land Strait formed about 16,500 years ago, it spread to Eurasia and its descendants evolved into the rest of the surviving camel species.
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.
The First Planned Town Was Older Than You'd Expect
The ancient Egyptian city of Kahun was the first planned city in the world. It was erected for the overseers and workmen employed in constructing the nearby pyramid of Al-Lāhūn, built by Sesostris II (reigned 1844–37 BCE), and it was abandoned when the pyramid was completed.
It was excavated by the English archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie (1888–90), revealing a crisscross of streets laid out in a regular pattern. Houses were built of mud brick covered by beamed, flat mud roofs, with open courts and porticoes, and the earliest examples of a supporting wooden column.
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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!