Boxing Is Prehistoric

Boxing is mentioned in Homer's "Iliad" which was an oral tradition for hundreds of years before writing became widespread. And since "prehistory" means "before writing" that means the sport is prehistoric.

Monkey on the Menu

A study has found that the first known Homo sapiens in Sri Lanka were eating fast-moving, tree-dwelling monkeys and squirrels. The remains of primates and other small animals with cut marks and signs of charring were found alongside stone tools and monkey bone and monkey teeth tools in the Last Pleistocene layers at the Fa-Hien Lena Cave (the earliest known Homo sapiens site in Sri Lanka). In other words, the remains of their meals made it very clear that these prehistoric humans were eating tree-dwelling monkeys and squirrels, at least as early as 45,000 years ago.

What is so exciting about that? Well, the discovery is the oldest record of primate hunting by foragers, not just in Sri Lanka, but anywhere. Homo sapiens apparently adapted very quickly to the new, challenging environment of the tropical rainforest, even though it was very different from their previous home in the open savanna. Homo sapiens were survivors, and they quickly found new protein sources and learned how to catch them.

A Brief History of Han Purple

Han purple was an ancient Chinese pigment which is thought to have been created as early as 800 BCE, but the most famous examples of its use date back to around 220 BCE when it was used to paint the Terracotta Army and murals in the tomb of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang at Xi’an. It peaked in usage during the Han Dynasty, then declined, and then vanished from the historical record entirely -- along with knowledge of how to make the color.

It was not until the 1990s that scientists were able to replicate it. The process to make the copper barium silicate pigment was extremely intricate. For one thing, it involved the grinding of precise quantities of various materials. And for another, it required heating to between 900 and 1,100 degrees Celsius. Amazing that the process was discovered so long ago!

Etruscans Found in Sardinia

Italian authorities announced in 2018 that the first-ever Etruscan settlement has been discovered in Sardinia. The site dates to the 800s BCE and was strategically situated on the small island of Tavolara. It was likely intended to facilitate trade between Early Iron Age Sardinian Nuraghic communities, known to have inhabited Sardinia at the time, and Etruscan cities nearby on the Italian mainland. There had been extensive archaeological evidence of Etruscan-Nurghic exchanges, but this is the first evidence of an expatriate Etruscan community in Sardinia.

The Etruscans are famous for adopting many Greek cultural aspects and blending them with their own native culture. The resulting mélange in turn influenced Roman culture, which was initially a small backwater to the mighty Etruscans. One potential reason for the Etruscans' strength? Extensive trading ties with southern Italy, Greece, and Sardinia.

An Icky Archaeological Discovery

Brightly colored pottery is a hallmark of the Paracas culture (900 - 100 BCE) of southern Peru. They would mark unfired pieces with animals, supernatural figures, and patterns, then add color after the firing process to fill in the design. A new study, recently published in Antiquity, analyzed the chemical composition of the Paracas paints and binding agents. The study found that an organic white pigment on pottery from the Cahuachi site was made from an unusual material: reptile urine! It is unknown -- and a bit difficult to guess -- how the substance was collected and then processed.

New Discovery In Saudi Arabia May Change Out-Of-Africa Timeline

A finger bone from the Al Wusta site in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia is once again changing how we think about the human migration out of Africa. The finger bone dates to 85,000 to 90,000 years ago. That makes it the oldest homo sapiens fossil ever found outside of Africa and the Levant. Before the discovery of the finger bone, it was believed that humans migrated out of those areas about 60,000 years ago. The new discovery suggests it may have happened earlier.

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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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