These bronze bells were laid to rest in 433 BCE. They were placed carefully in their proper arrangement so they could peal forever for Marquis Yi of the state of Zeng(China was in the Warring States period at the time and had many competing small nations). Marquis Yi was also buried with 21 young women, bronze weapons, and what seems to be the remains of a chariot.

Priestess from the Temple of Ishtar

From Tell Hariri, in what is today Syria. At just 34.4 centimeters, it dates to the Early Dynastic II Period, between 2700 and 2600 BCE.

Early House Cat Remains Found in Kazakhstan

An almost-complete cat skeleton discovered at a medieval village site in southern Kazakhstan has been analyzed, and the researchers concluded it was likely kept as a pet. The village was located along the Silk Road and was home to Oghuz, who were Turkic pastoralists. There were multiple indicators suggesting the Oghuz had kept this cat as a pet. The cat had healed through several broken bones suggesting it was cared for by others while recovering. Also, because it lost all its teeth, it was likely unable to feed itself without human help. In addition, the cat's remains were found because they were buried -- unlike other animal bones at the site which were discarded. Analyses of the chemical composition of the cat's bones show the cat ate a higher-protein diet than dogs whose remains have been found at the site, and other cats that lived during the same time period. Keeping a pet cat was thought to be unusual for the Oghuz. This particular pet cat's presence suggests cultural exchanges facilitated by the Silk Road which passed by the village.

The 1940 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan. But they never were, due to the outbreak of World War II. Which means the 2020 Olympics are the second time that Tokyo has been the planned host for Olympics that did not happen.

The Triumph and the Tragedy of the Soyuz 11

In June of 1971, the crew of the Soyuz 11 became the first humans to spend time on an orbiting space station. But on its return to Earth, a Soviet recovery team opened the capsule, and found the crew dead inside. Somewhere in its extraterrestrial journey a ventilation valve malfunctioned and killed everyone on board. Which makes the three men the only known humans to have died in space.

The Mystery of Mao's Successor

On September 13th, 1971, a Triden 1E jet crashed from the Mongolian sky into the Gobi Desert. All on board were killed. Among the dead were senior Chinese Communist Party member and legendary communist general of the civil war, Lin Biao. The general had been Mao's chosen successor, yet he died along with his wife and son after fleeing his home in Beijing at dawn that morning. In their haste to leave, the waiting plane did not refuel, and it fell from the sky before reaching its intended destination.

Many questions surround Lin Biao's death. Why did he and his family flee? Where were they trying to flee to? What caused the plane to crash? Chinese records were destroyed shortly after Mao's death so nothing could contradict the official explanation: Lin plotted to overthrow Mao, fled when the plot was discovered, and then died when his plane ran out of fuel. But that official explanation is flimsy and was only released after a delay of three weeks.

Plotting to overthrow Mao made little sense because Mao was clearly ill by the 1970s. It was known a successor would be taking over soon. Perhaps intensifying factional battles inside the Chinese Communist Party over the succession, irretrievable now, lead the family to flee. Lin seemed to have grown tired of politics by 1971, though, so perhaps it was not him but his wife and son's political standing that had put the family in danger.

Where was the plane headed is another question. At the time the Soviet Union was hostile to China so perhaps they were seeking asylum there. But at the end of the Cold War it was revealed that the Soviets investigated the crash site. Their findings just made things more complex. Among other things, the Soviets determined the plane initially headed south from Beijing, not north. So the Soviet Union may not have been the plane's original destination.

So what can we say about Lin Biao's death? Mao's chosen successor died in a mysterious plane crash in Mongolia in 1971. His wife and son died with him. Those are about the only absolutely true facts we know today.

The invention of tofu is actually a little obscure, but it is generally thought to have been invented during China's Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE).

The Little-Known Prehistoric Botai-Tersek Culture

The Botai-Tersek culture (3700-3100 BCE) was an neolithic culture on the central Asian steppe. They were named after the village Botai, in northeastern Kazakhstan, where some of the earliest evidence for their existence comes from. The Botai were one of the first people, if not the first people, to use domesticated horses in context of food production. It is pretty significant that the vast majority of bones at their sites are horses' bones. Which would mean they were living off the horses, either by hunting them or by herding them. Research on the bones, though, indicate the Botai drank horses' milk. Drinking milk means they probably at minimum tamed wild horses, if not outright domesticated them. The Botai-Tersek also provide the oldest evidence of bitwear -- so they were riding horses as well as drinking their milk. Yet more evidence suggesting the Botai were the first to domesticate horses for food.

It is semi-traditional in Taiwan's Yuan (parliament/legislature) to brawl. They usually occur several times a year, and sometimes several times a month! Punching, hair pulling, throwing plastic bottles, water balloons, and handy cups of water are all common.

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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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