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Chinese oracle bones: from rubbings to 3D scans

Oracle bones are inscribed ox shoulder blades or the flat underside of turtle shells that were used for divination in Shang dynasty China (ca. 1600-1046 B.C.). The Shang was China’s second dynasty and the oracle bones are the oldest surviving texts in the Chinese language. They are the main source historians have about Shang China [...]

Viking hoard in Carolingian pot revealed

Historic Environment Scotland has released the first images of the objects found inside the Carolingian pot that was part of a Viking hoard discovered in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, in September of 2014. Archaeologists took the unusual step of CT scanning the rare silver alloy vessel shortly after it was unearthed because they were concerned [...]

Explore Richard III’s grave in 3D

It’s been a year since the mortal remains of King Richard III were reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. Archaeologists from the University of Leicester are ushering in the anniversary with a 3D reconstruction of Richard III’s grave as it was when it was first fully excavated in September of 2012. Photographs from the excavation were run [...]

“Joan of Arc” ring unveiled at French theme park

The ring purported to have belonged to Joan of Arc that was sold at auction last month for $412,845 is back in France. Its new home is the Puy du Fou theme park in the Vendée region of western France where the ring was unveiled with great pomp on Sunday by the park founder Philippe [...]

Update: St Eric’s wounds consistent with legend

On April 23rd, 2014, researchers from Uppsala University opened a reliquary casket in Uppsala Cathedral to study the bones of King Eric IX of Sweden, the patron saint of Stockholm. The primary goal was to compare medieval remains to modern ones looking for changes in bone density for an interdisciplinary osteoporosis study, but while they [...]

Buckle from British Isles found in Danish Viking grave

A buckle of Scottish or Irish origin has been discovered in the grave of a Viking woman in Enghøj on central Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. The gilt bronze disc is a small piece of six centimeters (2.4 inches) with a Greek key-like geometric pattern that was made in the 9th century. The woman who took it [...]

35,000-year-old Twitter logo found in France

In 2003, a salvage excavation in advance of highway construction in the Dordogne region of southwestern France discovered a dense group of prehistoric occupations, 10 sites in an area of less than two square miles. One of them, Cantalouette II, is an open-air site that was used as a flint workshop, as evidenced by the [...]

Torlonia collection to see the light after 40 years in the basement

One of the most important private collections of ancient sculpture in the world hasn’t been on display in four decades. In fact, it really hasn’t been on public display since the 19th century. The Torlonia family’s collection of antiquities, 620 world-class Greek, Roman and Etruscan statues and sarcophagi, has been favorably compared without hyperbole to [...]

Gardener finds Denmark’s oldest figure of Christ

Landscape gardener Dennis Fabricius Holm picked up his first metal detector just two and a half months ago. It was his son’s, a Christmas present he’d gotten years before and never used. Holm fished it out of the basement and took it to the empty field next door to his home in the village of [...]

Roman Slavery and the Rate of Manumission

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2015 A Roman slave medallion at theBaths of Diocletian venue of theNational Museum of Rome. Photographedby Mary Harrsch © 2005 It seems that very time the Roman Empire is discussed someone always points out the number of slaves that were exploited by Roman citizens as if the Romans invented slavery. Show More Summary

Shipwreck from Vasco da Gama’s 2nd voyage to India found

A rare early shipwreck from Vasco da Gama’s second voyage to India (1502-1503) has been discovered off the coast of Oman. It is the earliest Age of Discovery ship ever found and thanks to its remote location, archaeologists got there first. Portugal sent ships on an annual journey to India, the Carreira da India, since [...]

First ancient wood caissons found in Corinth harbour

The ancient Greek city-state of Corinth was fortuitously located on the well-traveled isthmus that connects the Peloponnese peninsula to mainland Greece, but it was three miles inland. To take advantage of its central position on the narrow isthmus, Corinth built two ports: Lechaion to the north for maritime trade headed west towards Italy and Kenchreai [...]

London Stone will finally gets it due again

London Stone doesn’t look like much. It’s an irregular chunk of oolitic limestone hidden behind a grate on the footing of a 1960s building on Cannon Street. A bronze plaque above the grating is the only hint that it’s worth peering through penumbra to the object within. To actually see the stone, you had to [...]

Review: The Last Roman: Honour by Jack Ludlow

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2015 When we left a young Flavius Belasarius in the first book of Ludlow's "The Last Roman" series "Vengeance", Flavius had successfully avenged the death of his father and brothers at the...Show More Summary

Cannabis plaster lasts 1,500 years in cave shrines

The Ellora Caves are monumental rock-cut cave monasteries about 20 miles to the northwest of Aurangabad city, Maharashtra, India. Carved from the 6th to the 11th century, there are caves dedicated to India’s three main religions: 12 Buddhist, six Jain and 17 Brahmanical. They are elaborate, multi-story structures carved into the mountain face that have [...]

Unusable bronze Iron Age weapons found in Oman

A team from the French Archaeological Mission excavating an Iron Age settlement near the town of Adam in northeastern Oman has discovered a cache of bronze weapons that were not usable as actual weapons. These are the first non-utilitarian weapons ever discovered in the Arabian Peninsula. On the edge of the last oasis before the [...]

Only play with section believed to be in Shakespeare’s hand on display

A folio of a play thought to be written in Shakespeare’s own hand has gone on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., alongside 50 other of the most important manuscripts and printed books related to the Bard. The Shakespeare, Life of an Icon exhibition displays pieces from the Folger’s collection plus loans [...]

Frozen cave lion cubs studied and sampled

Last summer, two cave lion cubs were found in the permafrost on the bank of the Uyandina River in Yakutia, Siberia. The water levels of the river had risen with the warmth of the summer. When the waters retracted, cracks appeared in the banks. Yakov Androsov, a contractor with the Academy of Sciences of the [...]

Visiting the Via Appia Antica and Catacombs of San Sebastiano

A history resource article by Mary Harrsch © 2007 & 2015 Remains of the Via Appia in Rome, near Quarto MiglioImage courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Back in 2007 I saw this nice travel piece about the Via Appia. I had hoped to see the sights listed when I visited Rome in October 2007. Show More Summary

The glorious Mogao cave temples and the earliest printed book

Legend holds that in 366 A.D., a Buddhist monk named Yuezun saw a vision of a thousand Buddhas on the face of a cliff near the town of Dunhuang in the Gobi Desert of northwest China. He began digging caves into the cliff face to make his vision a reality. Who knows if there was [...]

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