This charmed me. A little bear, poised expectantly, or perhaps posing for the viewer. “Little” is also the right word: it is just under a foot tall (or 29.5 cm).

Bronze, Italian or possibly German, circa 1600. Courtesy of the Getty Museum.

Yams Were Independently Domesticated In Three Places

Here is a map of average region yam production today. Can you guess the three places where yams were first domesticated?

Answer: South America, West Africa, and Papua New Guinea!

Queen Puabi's Jewelry

She was a Sumerian queen, who died around 2450 BCE, and was buried with pomp at the royal cemetery of Ur. Her name and title are known from the short inscription on one of three cylinder seals found on her person. Although most women’s cylinder seals at the time would have read "wife of ___," this seal made no mention of her husband. Instead, it gave her name and title as queen.

Modern dragonflies have wingspans of between 2 to 5 inches (5 cm to 12 cm). Fossils of dragonfly ancestors show that they had wingspans of up to 2 feet. The example above is 68 cm/26 inches. Modern scientists placed dragonfly larvae in chambers which mimicked the Earth's oxygen levels from 300 million years ago. And just by changing the oxygen levels, scientists were able to grow super-sized dragonflies that are 15% larger than normal.

Ritual axe decorated with skulls and crown motifs. The handle and axehead are glass, and the rest is gilded bronze. The axe was likely to cut through delusions or sever psychological attachments to the worldly life, allowing one to spiritually evolve.

From the town of Derge in the Kham region (today's Tibet). 1500s - 1600s CE.

This beautiful art piece depicts a shaman's raptorial bird spirit, by combining flat painting and clay modeling. Click through the image gallery to see all of its sides. The bird's head, including the raptor's deadly pointed beak, and the tips of its wings and tail protrude from the vessel. Around them, the artist painted the spirit's wings and tail feathers, as well as human forms on either side. Each of the two figures grasps a staff topped by a human skull. Nicaragua, circa 1000 - 1350 CE.

The direct ancestor of all modern camels, procamelus, lived in western North America and was the size of a rabbit! When the isthmus of Panama formed about 2.7 million years ago the procamelus spread to South America, where its descendants evolved into llama species. When the Bering Land Strait formed about 16,500 years ago, it spread to Eurasia and its descendants evolved into the rest of the surviving camel species.

Japanese Suffragette Komako Kimura At A New York City March, 1917

While British and American suffragettes get all the attention, Japan had a contemporary suffragette movement. It began after the Meiji Restoration when major educational and political reforms started educating women but excluding them from participation in the new "democratic" government. By law, they were barred from joining political parties, expressing political views, and attending political meetings. Japanese women, more educated then ever and slowly participating in Japan's workforce, began fighting for the right to participate in the new civil democracy as well.

Unfortunately, when Western white women began winning the right to vote after World War I, Japanese women were still fighting for basic civil rights. In 1921, for instance, a court ruling overturned the law forbidding women from attending political meetings. They still could not join political parties or vote, but they could express political views and attend political meetings. This led to a flowering of women's suffrage organizations in the 1920s, in addition to literary circles which began publishing feminist magazines during the interwar period.

Japanese women kept the issue alive, but did not win the right to vote until 1945, when election laws were revised under the American occupation.

An original piece by historical-nonfiction

Often called “Ireland’s Stonehenge,” Newgrange is a prehistoric stone monument constructed around 3200 BCE by the Neolithic inhabitants of what is now County Meath. The mound is truly monumental, covering about two acres! Under the grass-covered dome is a 62-foot tunnel which leads to a central chamber, where stone basins house cremated remains. Newgrange appears to have been used as a burial place or ritual site for about a thousand years before falling into disuse and slowly being forgotten. It was only rediscovered in 1699.

One reason why historians continue to debate Newgrange's purpose, despite the archaeological evidence of both cremated and unburnt human remains, is the monument's architecture. Newgrange's prehistoric builders designed it so that every winter solstice — the shortest day of the year — the rising sun shines through a “roof box” near the entrance, filling the main passageway and the inner chamber with light.

Why build something so architecturally sophisticated if it were only entered to lay down the dead? Many archaeologists, therefore, think Newgrange was a ritual site as well as a tomb.

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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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