Category: ancient history

Doing some readings about the Indus River Valley Script’s famously undeciphered symbols got me curious. What other forms of writing – alphabets, syllabaries, even character systems – remain a mystery to this day?

Answer

During the renovation of Jambukeswarar Temple, a temple to Shiva in southern India, workers uncovered a sealed brass pot. The workers alerted local authorities after they opened the pot and discovered 505 gold coins. The temple is believed to have been built during the Chola Period around 200 CE.

The coins are currently being examined to determine how old they are, and when in the temple’s history they were hidden.

LEARN all about the Roman Empire! This short introduction with Kelly Macquire discusses how the Roman Empire started, some of the key events and emperors, and how it eventually fell.

A small hoard of artifacts have been discovered underneath the central plaza at Paso del Macho in northern Yucatan. The cache may have been put there as an offering when the Maya settlement was founded between 900 and 800 BCE.

And the inhabitants were trying to make sure they succeeded in their new home: the artifacts are some of the earliest evidence of Maya fertility rituals to encourage crop growth and rainfall. There are a number of artifacts symbolizing maize sprouting from the underworld and several pots painted with fertility images, plus spoons, clamshell pendants, and a large plaque.

Bronze statue of Guan Yu, a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. After he died in 220 CE his deeds entered popular folklore. Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty (581–618 CE) and also became considered a bodhisattva. Today he is god of war, loyalty, and righteousness. This bronze statue dates to the Ming Dynasty, 1400s – 1500s CE.

Built more than 3,000 years ago, Abu Simbel contains two temples, carved into a mountainside. The larger of the two temples contains four colossal statues of a seated pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) at its entrance, each about 69 feet (21 meters) tall.

About 3,300 years later, when the Aswan Dam was to be built to control the flooding of the Nile River, the temples were threatened. Their location would be beneath the water of the lake created by the dam. UNESCO stepped in to save Abu Simbel and many more ancient Egyptian sites by disassembling and reassembling them, very carefully, above the waterline.

Built more than 3,000 years ago, Abu Simbel contains two temples, carved into a mountainside. The larger of the two temples contains four colossal statues of a seated pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) at its entrance, each about 69 feet (21 meters) tall. About 3,300 years later, when the Aswan Dam was to be built to control the flooding of the Nile River, the temples were threatened. Their location would be beneath the water of the lake created by the dam. UNESCO stepped in to save Abu Simbel, and many more ancient Egyptian sites, by disassembling and reassembling them, very carefully, above the waterline.

When the woman was buried about 2,200 years ago, she was dressed a fine woolen dress and shawl, sheepskin coat, and a necklace made of glass and amber beads. Her relatively high status is further evidenced by the bronze bracelets and bronze belt clasp she wore.

In two years of studying her remains, archaeologists have concluded that she was about 40 when she died and was born and raised in the Limmat Valley that houses Zurich. She had done little if any manual labor. And she had a huge sweet tooth (based on the state of her teeth).

The woman’s remains were found buried about 260 feet (80 meters) from the grave of a Celtic man found in 1903. Even more exciting, the man was buried in the same decade as the lady. They may have known each other when alive!

HAPPY International Women’s Day!

To all the women who came before us and left a rich legacy behind, for those whose names we don’t know, and for all the strong, fearless women of today. This is a day to celebrate all women, past and present.

After Tutankhamen died age 19, his beloved wife (and half-sister) Ankhesenamun was in a perilous position. There was no clear successor, and the country remembered the turmoil of the previous reign under the heretic Akhenaten. Eventually, the throne was taken by the much-older Ay, who had been Tutankhamen’s grand vizier and may have been Ankhesenamun’s grandfather. Ay ruled for just four years before being replaced by Horemheb. He was commander of the Egyptian army and well-placed to take over should anything occur.

Under Horemheb, Ankhesenamun disappears from history. We do not know when she died. We do not know where she was buried. Wife of two pharaohs, daughter of another, her fate is a 2,300-year-old mystery.

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