The Mystery Mummy Head - Solved!

In 1915, American archaeologists working at the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Deir el-Bersha were surprised to blast into a limestone tomb, and be greeted by a mummy's head perched on a cedar coffin. The room, labeled Tomb 10A, turned out to be the final resting place for a governor named Djehutynakht and his wife. At some point in their 4,000 years of slumber, graverobbers broke in and ransacked the tomb. All their precious objects and jewelry were taken. But the heavy coffin, the head, and its limbless torso were left for the surprised archaeologists to find thousands of years later.

A recent DNA analysis of the head, with help from the FBI, revealed the head belonged to Djehutynakht himself. The analysis was done based on DNA extracted from a molar. Besides solving a hundred-year-old mystery, this is one of the first times viable DNA has been recovered from an ancient Egyptian mummy!

The Thai Royal Court Had A Treatise on Elephants

This particular one was made around 1824, one of a group of manuscripts created during the first years of the Bangkok dynasty, illustrating a traditional court treatise describing elephants. An official at the Thai court was responsible for the Department of Elephants, which maintained royal elephants, mostly albinos, as well as commissioning treatises.

The treatise begins with a series of divine elephants. Mainly based on Hindu mythology, the treatise describes their divine attributes. The next portion of the manuscript illustrates and describes a large variety of natural elephants. The typology system is complex and appears to be based on Indian manuscripts on elephants.

Archaeologists Very Excited to Discover Ugly, Late-Roman Statues in Israel

The two statues' discovery, in late 2018, is important for understanding late Roman period style. It's a particularly difficult style to study, as no two statues from this time period resemble each other. One appears to be a man with a beard. Both are made of local limestone and have distinctive hair and clothing features. Researchers think they are intended to look like a deceased person, like similar statues, which were usually placed in or near burial caves.

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.

When You Visit the Great Wall of China, You're Really Visiting the Great Ming Wall

The best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China existing today were built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). That's very new: the oldest sections date to the 600s BCE. The Ming version stretched from northern Korea to Tibet, with the middle section near Beijing splitting into an inner- and outer-wall. Double the wall, double the protection.

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!


"It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own."

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 CE. His nickname is "the Philosopher"

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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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