"The gifts of nature are infinite in their variety, and mind differs from mind almost as much as body differs from body."

Quintilian (~35 - 100 CE). A rhetorician during the early Roman Empire, he was also, apparently, an armchair psychologist!

The Discovery of the High Priest

A vintage photograph, documenting the discovery of the “high priest” statuette and its protective vessel, during the 1929/30 excavation season in Uruk.

Political Maps of China in the 1920s

After 4,000 years of dynasties, beginning with the Xia in the 2100s BCE, China had a rough transition to modernity. The country would not be truly unified until after World War II and the victory of the Communist Party in 1948.

Humans Used To Eat Off What?

Before cookware emerged around 24,000 BCE, humans relied on foraged shells or animal parts (like stomachs or hides) to store and carry food.


"History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them."

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891 – 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer. He campaigned against social discrimination towards Untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labor.

Indonesia's History Gazes Back At You

These faces represent ordinary people who lived in Indonesia a few centuries ago. Most represent men and women who lived in the Majapahit kingdom (circa 1293 CE –early 1500s), centered in East Java. A mighty kingdom, grown rich from trade through the area in spices, the Majapahit kingdom brought its citizens to a new level of material prosperity. Most Majapahit terra-cotta heads, including the first two in the image gallery, are found detached from their bodies, which seem to survive only rarely. The sole “complete” figure is assembled from a head and body that did not originally belong together.

Courtesy of the Sackler Gallery

What is the Meghalayan Age?

The International Commission on Stratigraphy recently announced the creation of a new unit in the scale of geological time, the Meghalayan Age, from 4200 years before present, or 2200 BCE, to the present. That means we are currently living in the Meghalayan Age! Our age began with a megadrought. A "megadrought" means at least twenty years of drought, but this one was two centuries of low water, which research has linked to the collapsing of civilizations in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley. Geologic time scales are reflected in layers of rock or geologic strata. The best evidence of this sudden, global megadrought can be found in chemical signatures in a stalagmite in a cave in the Indian state of Meghalaya; hence the name.

But this new geologic age, less than a year old, is now the subject of controversy. There are three main arguments (so far) against the new Meghalaya Age. First, that all these civilizations did not collapse at once. Local city-states in Mesopotamia flourished, for instance, even as the Akkadian Empire shrunk. Second, that the archaeological and historical record suggests the civilizations destabilized due to specific, local problems -- not a worldwide megadrought. For instance, Egyptian civilization had slowly decentralizing for about a hundred and fifty years before 2200 BCE, but there was no disruption to Egyptian civilization, no dark age, and no mass starvation and death. Third, that the environmental determinism suggested by naming a new age after the Meghalayan megadrought takes away the importance of human agency, of cultural and sociopolitical factors, to drive change. By saying a drought caused all these civilizations' problems, we deny that humans are capable of causing such large-scale changes.

The debate has just begun. Initial arguments have been made for both sides. There are many more archaeological and historical discoveries to be made, scientific checking to do, and debates to be had. I personally am very excited to see what happens to the Meghalayan megadrought!

Ancient Grinding Stone Discovered In Turkey

And it looks like it could grind grain today. Seriously, wow, great condition. The grinding stone is about 2,700 years old. It was found in a Urartian castle, Cavustep, which was built by the Urartian King Sardur II in 750 BCE. Urartu was an Iron-Age kingdom in eastern Turkey.

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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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