New Aztec Ballcourt Discovered In Mexico City

A ball court and its associated temple, dating to the 1400s, was recently discovered under Mexico City. The Aztec temple was devoted to a wind god named Ehecatl, and it included a ceremonial Mesoamerican ball court. The sport predates the Aztecs. It has been played in Mesoamerica since at least 1600 BCE, but the newcomer Aztecs clearly adopted it as their own. And not just as a fun pastime, but as a religious ritual. Researchers also recovered 32 neck vertebrae at the site, indicating that losing players lost their heads, a present for the gods.  

Incan Marriage Was Unfair

Lower-class men were allowed to have just one wife. But nobles could, and did, take multiple wives.

How Old Are Sea Turtles?

The earliest known sea turtle fossils are about 120 million years old. That means they just make it into the Cretaceous Period (which began about 145 million years ago). Sea turtles co-existed with tyrannosauruses and triceratops!

All the Earthquakes in the World (Since 1898)

Each is colored by magnitude. Can you decipher the outlines of the continents? Africa was the hardest, for me

Brazil Liked Electing Joke Candidates

A female rhinoceros in Brazil was elected to São Paulo’s municipal council by a landslide 50,000 votes on October 4, 1959. This was in protest against corrupt politics, food shortages, and the high cost of living in Brazil.

Several years earlier, in 1954, a goat was elected to the city council of Jaboata, which is also in Brazil. This councilman’s name was Smelly.

Japan Deployed The Largest Battleships of WW2

The Yamato-class ships consisted of the namesake Yamato herself, and her sister ship the Musashi. They were the largest battleships to be put into service in World War 2. With an enormous hull length stretching 863 feet, the Yamato-class was greater in size than all other battleships worldwide, with 20 percent more water displacement than any American vessel. The USS Iowa-class vessels were the only battleships longer than the Yamato-class ships at 887 feet. But the USS Iowa was still less massive than the Yamato: the USS Iowa displaced 45,000 long tons of water on average whereas the Yamato displaced 70,000 long tons on average.

The Musashi was sunk on October 24, 1944 in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Yamato was sunk when intercepted on its way to Okinawa on April 7, 1945; its mission was to run itself aground then defend Okinawa until the ship was destroyed.

Your Tooth Knows Your Gender?

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have developed a technique to determine the sex of skeletal remains based on amino acid sequences in tooth enamel proteins. The enamel is dissolved in acid, heated, ground, and treated with an enzyme before it is examined with a mass spectrometer.  The test works because a protein found in tooth enamel comes from a sex-specific gene. This new technique can be very useful for studying remains where just a few bones -- like a tooth -- survive.

What Was The Second Agricultural Revolution?

The First Agricultural Revolution occurred around 10,000 years ago when humans first domesticated plants. In the early 1700s the Industrial Revolution led to faster and more efficient farming technology, which helped usher in the Second Agricultural Revolution from 1700 to 1900 in developed countries. Many less developed countries are considered to be still experiencing the Second Agricultural Revolution.

Caral: Peru's Cradle of Civilization

Civilization, as we understand it today, arose in Peru in the harsh Atacama Desert. In this it was unique of the first civilizations. The first ancient civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, and China were all based around major rivers and the fertile valleys the rivers flowed through. The Norte Chico of Peru also relied on rivers, but they had to create their fertile valleys, using widespread irrigation. The Norte Chico are also the only known "first civilization" to rely heavily on seafood. Their cities show significant marine remains, both at coastal and inland cities, which has led archaeologists to theorize that their main protein source was the sea.

Caral was the most ancient city of the Norte Chico (we think). Located in the Supe Valley, at its peak between 2500 and 2000 BCE the city boasted a population of more than 3,000, with large plazas and a temple complex to an unknown deity. Norte Chico cities have been found in the Supe Valley, the Fortaleza, the Pativilca, and a bit further south the Huaura River. Archaeological studies suggest Caral's layout was the inspiration for other cities, supporting Caral's status as the first city to have been built.

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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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