Extensively decorated with modeled imagery, duct flutes of Veracruz are characterized by one or two connected sounding tubes. This flute has a peccary -- a distant relative of the pig -- at its center. Veracruz flutes are notable for having clay pellets inside their tubular chambers. The small clay balls produce an eerie, warbling sound when the flute is played. Circa 600s to 900s CE, Veracruz Culture.

Early Medieval Gravestones Testify To An Irish Monastery’s Importance

Founded by St. Ciarán in the 500s CE, Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland’s most famous early monasteries. Its high status is reflected in the medieval documents recording numerous instances of Irish kings and important ecclesiastics being buried at the site.     Today, we know those were not fabrications of ambitious monks, because we have their beautiful grave-stones. Clonmacnoise has over 700 grave-stones, in fact. It is the largest collection of early medieval grave-slabs found anywhere in Atlantic Europe. People must really have wanted to be buried there!     Click through the image gallery to see a small selection of some of the grave-stones.

Not sure what this is, but it looks cool! Four legs, with three-toed feet, curly ears and a curly tail, this fantastic creature appears to be wearing a collar around its neck.     Veracruz culture, Mexico, circa 600s to 900s CE.

The Americas' Linguistic Diversity

There were dozens of language families, each the equivalent of the Indo-European family, before 1492. This map is a "simplified" one. In today's California, for instance, languages that are spoken by neighboring tribes are as different as French and Chinese.     Why did the Americas develop such linguistic diversity? Many linguists suspect that at least some of these separate families date back to separate migrations of different tribes from Asia who originally spoke unrelated languages. Linguistic and archaeological data hint at more than one migration from Asia into the Americas, all of them through Alaska.     Extra Fun Fact: see “Eskimo-Aleut” in northern North America? It is not colored because there is no evidence those languages are related to any other indigenous American languages!

Tang Dynasty Scroll Describes How Not To Destroy A Kingdom

This one page from a manuscript dating to the Tang dynasty and found complete in a cave in Dunhuang, China. It is a Tang dynasty copy of "On the Fall of States," by Lu Ji (261-303), a writer of the Western Jin dynasty. "On The Fall of States" describes the rise and fall of the Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period, as well as the meritorious contributions of the Lu family. Famous among ancient works on administration, "On the Fall of States" argues that the key to a country's fortunes is to assess and employ people wisely.

This Is A Whistle?!

To answer my own question, yes! It's a whistle! Not sure if it still works though.... According to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), this is a Mayan whistle in the form of a sitting woman. Discovered on Jaina Island, off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, it is believed have been crafted between 600 and 900 CE. Pretty neat!

What Were Reading Stones?

Little round rocks of clear, polished glass, reading stones magnified anything underneath them. They were intended to help people with poor eyesight to read. Reading stone were invented in the 800s CE by Arab poet, and of course inventor, Abbas Ibn Firnas.

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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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