Scientists Discover World's Largest Bird Was As Big As A Dinosaur

These giant birds, whose scientific name is Vorombe Titan, grew up to 10 feet tall and weighed in at a massive 1,800 pounds. It once ran across Madagascar.

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.

Ancient Relief Returned To Egypt

A limestone relief, bearing the cartouche of King Amenhotep I, had been offered for sale in a London auction house. But it has now been given by the UK to Egyptian authorities. What happened? An archaeologist who spotted the relief in London realized it had been stolen from the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor in 1988. The archaeologist alerted Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, and the ministry’s Repatriation Department used legal and diplomatic channels to stop the sale in London. The limestone relief is back in Egypt, where it had rested for almost 3,500 years.

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.

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.

Remains of Two Neanderthals Found In Kurdistan

Shanidar Cave, where the fossils of 10 Neanderthal individuals have been unearthed since the 1950s, has recently revealed two more Neanderthals' remains. One individual was buried on top of the other, and a rock appeared to have been placed over both.

The Immortality of Hathor

Hathor was one of the most commonly worshiped goddesses in ancient Egypt. She was primarily a mother goddess, and was often considered the mother of the pharaoh. But she had other aspects, too: she helped women to conceive, she helped mothers survive childbirth, she welcomed the deceased into the Afterlife, she was even "Mistress of Foreign Lands" meaning that as soon as an ancient Egyptian left their homeland, they were in Hathor's territory. Did I mention Hathor was the goddess of music, dance, and sexual love, too? Really, with so much influence over so much of ancient Egyptian life, it is no surprise that Hathor was one of the most long-lived deities.

As early as the Fourth Dynasty (2613 - 2494 BCE), there is written and archaeological evidence of temples dedicated to Hathor. She was also revered in the New Kingdom, and Hatshepsut (1473 - 1458 BCE) dedicated a small shrine in her mortuary temple to Hathor. She remained popular even when Greek pharaohs ruled Egypt. The great temple at Dendera was built in her honor under the Ptolemies.

The ancestor of the cultivated beet is the wild sea beet, which grew in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Beets have been around as longer than civilization. Their leaves have been eaten since prehistoric times, and we have records of them being grown in ancient Mesopotamia.


"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"

Larry Niven, an American science-fiction writer, with a brilliant and unique analysis of the Cretaceous extinction

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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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