NY State Museum Transfers Ownership of Leader’s Pipe Tomahawk to Seneca Nation of Indians:

For a little good news: the New York State Museum has officially transferred ownership of a pipe tomahawk to the Seneca Nation. It was given by President George Washington to the respected Seneca leader and diplomat Cornplanter,  at one of several meetings between United States and Iroquois Confederacy leaders in the years 1792 to 1794.

The pipe tomahawk eventually entered the New York State Museum’s collection in 1851 as a gift from Seneca diplomat Ely Parker. 

Sometime between 1947 and 1950 the object went missing – and showed up in private collections. It moved around owners for nearly 70 years until an anonymous donor returned the pipe tomahawk to the State Museum in June 2018. And now the museum is returning it to the original gift recipients.

RAGNAR Lothbrok failed to keep his oath of conquering England with just two ships. His boastful oath had brought him into the hands of King Ælla of Northumbria, who threw him into a snake pit, expecting him to die slowly at the mercy of the serpents. 

As the Danish price awaited his death, he composed a poem that nobly recounted the deeds of his life. His legendary death song tells of the many battles in which he fought and of the daring feats he accomplished. While lying in the snake pit surrounded and defeated by his enemies, Ragnar Lothbrok ended his poem with the defiant words ‘’laughing I shall die.’’  

Even after Japan began its formal policy of isolationism in 1639, the Dutch continued to be allowed to trade through the port of Nagasaki. They were notably… pliable… traders. Basically, the Dutch would do whatever was needed to maintain good relations and keep trading flowing. For example:

“…In 1640 a Dutch trading party was allowed to stay [in Nagasaki] after the expulsion of the Spanish and Portuguese. The ‘Hollanders’ assured their hosts of the relative pliancy of their brand of Christianity, demonstrating their good Protestant faith by firing a few shells at the Japanese Catholics huddled in Hara Castle.”
Their actions meant that the Dutch had exclusive access to Nagasaki for over a century. Japan also kept trading relations open with their much closer neighbors the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Korea, and Russia through the ports of Satsuma, Tsushima and Matsumae (respectively).

Apartheid meant the end of legal discrimination in South Africa. It also meant changes in who owned the land itself. Read more

Fishermen in Argentina’s Greater Buenos Aires region keep making an unusual catch: shells of prehistoric armadillo ancestors. In October of 2019, a group of fishermen found a mostly intact shell which has been dated to over 10,000 years old. And four years earlier, on Christmas Day of 2015, Jose Antonio Nievas found a  shell in mud by a stream in his farm.

Both turned out to be glyptodonts’ shells. Glyptodonts were not a single species, but an animal genus containing seven known species, among them the ancestors of modern armadillos. Glyptodonts had large, heavy shells and armored tails which they could use as clubs. They emerged in South America no earlier than 35 million years ago, and went extinct around the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. Whether or not their extinction was related to humans’ arrival on the continent around the same time… well, that’s still up for debate.

Aegina was a very important Greek city-state that is almost totally forgotten today. Partially because they were a big player in Greece before Athens, and most of what we know about Aegina is from Athenian records and archaeological studies.

As an island, Aegina was situated between Attica and the Peloponnese, making it a useful island for traders since prehistoric times. There is archaeological evidence of Minoan and Mycenaeans trading with or living on the island. It was really during Archaic Greek period (900s BCE – 480 BCE) that the city-state became a naval powerhouse. It was the first mainland European power to mint its own coins, within 30 or 40 years of the invention of coinage in Asia Minor by the Ionian Greeks or the Lydians (around 630 BCE). It was one of just three city-states, and the only mainland Greek one, trading at and owning a share of the mighty emporium of Naucratis in Egypt. It was a hub for grain from the Pontus region – food always wins, and Pontic grains was so important that Athens would later enforce a monopoly on it.

But to really understand how much of a big-time Aegina was, look at its weights system. The Aeginetic standard of weights and measures (developed during the mid-600s) was one of the two standards in general use in the Greek world. It is like the British Empire making other countries measure in pounds and miles.

Only one British Prime Minister has ever been assassinated. Spencer Percival was shot on May 11th, 1812 by
John Bellingham, a Liverpool merchant. Bellingham

who had been imprisoned in Russia and believed he was due compensation from the British government, but whose petitions had been denied for 2 years.


In the 1300s, the Black Plague swept through Europe. To create a “family tree” of the plague, scientists conducted a genetic analysis of Yersinia pestis strains taken from 34 individuals who died in 10 different countries between 1300 and 1700.

The results suggest that over time, the bacteria Yersinia pestis mutated and diversified into multiple clades. All the clades
found in the study were related to back to one ancestral strain.  That suggests that the Black Plague entered Europe just once. And the oldest strain, the one that appeared to have been the others’ ancestor, was from remains found in a little Russian town named Laishevo.

Here’s where a caution must be added. Such analyses are always limited by the available bacteria strains – the family tree will be added to over time as more bodies are recovered and more bacteria strains isolated.

WE’RE offering a scholarship to the USI UNESCO Chair Summer School in Indonesia to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites. This scholarship will pay the full tuition fees to attend the event in Indonesia from 16-23 August 2020.

The deadline to apply is on the 29th of February, 2020. Please head to the link for more information: https://juno.ancient.eu/unesco-summer-school-2020-scholarship