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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 [...]

Civil War steamer wreck found off North Carolina coast

The wreck of an iron-hulled Civil War steamer has been discovered off the coast of North Carolina near Oak Island. It was found on Saturday, February 27th, by researchers from the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology who were scanning the area with sonar. So far the complete hull of [...]

Descendants of Rollo, Viking founder of Normandy, exhumed

Scandinavian researchers have exhumed the bones of two direct descendants of Rollo, the 10th century Viking founder of the Duchy of Normandy, in an attempt to answer the long-debated question of whether Rollo was Danish or Norwegian. Historians have differed on the matter of Rollo’s national origins since at least the 11th century. Norman historian [...]

Tiny hands in ancient rock art aren’t human

The 8,000-year-old rock art painted on a walls of the Wadi Su?ra II in the Sahara Desert is replete with handprints. It’s a common theme in ancient rock art. Artists used their hands as stencils and painted or blew pigment around them leaving a negative handprint. The cave was discovered in 2002 about six miles [...]

14 men convicted in massive museum theft ring

Remember the bumbling idiots who stole two Chinese Qing Dynasty artifacts worth $3 million from the Durham University Oriental Museum in April of 2012? It turns out they were just the stupid tip of a large and dangerous organized crime iceberg. Fourteen of them have been found guilty of stealing and plotting to steal Chinese [...]

Anglo-Saxon island settlement found

Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield have found an Anglo-Saxon island settlement in Little Carlton, Lincolnshire, that they believe to be one of the most important discoveries in decades. It was metal detectorist Graham Vickers who made the first find: a solid silver stylus. He reported it to Lincolnshire Finds Liaison Officer Dr. Adam Daubney [...]

Western Han tomb is Marquis of Haihun’s

The immensely rich and well-preserved main tomb in the Western Han Dynasty cemetery near Nanchang, China, has been confirmed as that of Liu He, emperor for less than a month (from July 18th to August 14th 74 B.C.) and finally Marquis of Haihun. As they had hoped, archaeologists found a white jade seal at the [...]

Matthias Buchinger: ho hands, no legs, great artist

The art of micrography, drawings composed of lines of text so miniscule they are all but unreadable to the naked eye, is a traditional Jewish artform developed in the 9th century. One of its greatest masters did it without hands. Matthias Buchinger was born on June 3rd, 1674, in a town near Nuremberg. He had [...]

Colon cancer gene found in Hungarian mummy

Mutations of the Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene associated with the developement of colorectal tumors are common in the modern population, but because lifestyle and environmental factors like obesity, physical inactivity and chemical...Show More Summary

Sparta's Ephors: Citizens not Monsters

In the Hollywood film "300" the Ephors are depicted as monsters strangely determined to destroy Sparta. How officials elected from among the citizenry to enforce Sparta's laws and answerable to the A ssembly should have been so corrupted is only one of the many mysteries of Hollywood. Show More Summary

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