Saturday, June 25, 2016

'Cone-headed' skull from ancient Silla culture discovered in Korea

'Cone-headed' skull from ancient Silla culture discovered in Korea | Daily Mail Online

The remains of a woman with a bizarre elongated skull, which is between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, have been unearthed in Korea.  The woman's head appears to be far longer than would normally be expected. Yet despite the strange appearance, researchers say it is unlikely that this woman had her head deliberately flattened and she may have been suffering from a medical condition.

Archaeologists believe the woman was part of the ancient Silla culture, which ruled much of the Korean peninsula for nearly a millennium.  The ancient Silla Kingdom reigned from 57 BC to AD 935, making it one of the longest-ruling royal dynasties. Many of Korea's modern-day cultural practices stem from this historic culture.
Read full article at Daily Mail Online: Why The Long Face

Researchers Unlock the Mystery of the Mummified Lung of a Merovingian Queen

Researchers Unlock the Mystery of the Mummified Lung of a Merovingian Queen | Ancient Origins

In 1959, an inexplicably well-preserved lung was found in a stone sarcophagus in the Basilica of St. Denis, Paris, France. Since then, researchers have often wondered just how the lung of the 6th century Merovingian Queen Arnegunde had withstood the passage of time so well. Now, an international team of researchers has found a somewhat surprising explanation.

The remains of Queen Arnegunde were found in 1959 by the archaeologist Michel Fleury. Along with the skeleton and preserved lung were a strand of hair, jewelry, and several fragments of textiles and leather. A gold signet ring, with the inscription "Arnegundis" showed that the remains belonged to the Merovingian Queen Arnegunde (c. 515/520-580) - one of the six wives of King Clotaire I (c. 497 – 29 November 561), and the mother of King Chilpéric I (c. 539 – September 584).
Read More at Ancient Origins

Monday, June 13, 2016

Silenced Women–Modern Lessons from an Ancient Murder

Silenced Women–Modern Lessons from an Ancient Murder
In the second century A.D., the pregnant wife of a prosperous Greek politician died from a vicious assault.
Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caudicia Tertulla, or Regilla, was born into an affluent Roman family in 125 A.D.; she married the Greek politician Herodes Atticus, also from an affluent family, around 140 (when she was 15); and 20 years later, when she was 8-months pregnant with their 6th child, she died from a brutal beating which included a fatal kick to her stomach.
This is a case of domestic abuse that resulted in murder. A wife was beaten to death by the order of her husband. An unborn child, just weeks from birth, was killed by a father’s command.

Ancient Greek & Roman Women

Largely excluded from education, the women of Ancient Rome were forever subject to their fathers and husbands, to the point of having no legal rights over their own children. That’s not to say that they couldn’t become successful in business and politics, such as Eumachia of Pompeii, who was an extremely wealthy business magnate.
Aside from the wives and mothers of Roman emperors, who often held a significant amount of political power, the only official high-ranking job open to women was religious. The Vestal Virgins (who kept the sacred fire of Rome burning) were of particularly high status. As priestesses of Vesta – the goddess of the hearth, home and family – the six women would serve for 30 years and held significant power, including independence from their fathers’ rule and they could also manage their own property.

The analysis is based on a scene on a skyphos — a large ceramic cup used for the consumption of large quantities of wine — that represents a parodied depiction of the Judgment of Paris, a well-known incident from Homer’s The Iliad. 
The painted scene on the skyphos could also recall a dramatic presentation of the event, perhaps a short play staged in honor of the local deities. In this case, actors such as those portraying Aphrodite and Hermes on the cup would presumably have appeared as Africans, their affect aided by carved and painted theatrical masks.
The same inclusion of blackness holds true for several other types of scenes found on the Kabeirion skyphoi. One of the most remarkable of these presents a dramatic confrontation taken from Homer’s Odyssey, the epic that follows The Iliad.

Discovery of 4,500-year-old female mummy sheds light on ancient Peru

Discovery of 4,500-year-old female mummy sheds light on ancient Peru | World news | The Guardian

Archaeologists in Peru have discovered the 4,500-year-old mummy of a woman buried near one of the most ancient cities of the Americas.
Dr Ruth Shady Solís said the mummy was probably a noblewoman who died aged 40 to 50 years old and was buried in the coastal ruins of Aspero, about 14 miles away from Caral, a city with some of the most ancient pyramids in the Americas. Both sites stand about three hours north of the modern capital of Lima.
The mummy was buried with carved objects of monkeys and birds, which Shady Solís said suggested possible trade between the coastal town and Caral, a larger inland city. Shady Solís deduced the woman’s social status from the value and diverse origins of the objects around her: seashells, carved desert birds and designs of jungle monkeys.
The mummy was buried with carved objects of monkeys and birds, which Shady Solís said suggested possible trade between the coastal town and Caral, a larger inland city. Shady Solís deduced the woman’s social status from the value and diverse origins of the objects around her: seashells, carved desert birds and designs of jungle monkeys.
Shady Solís’s team has dated the mummy to about 2,500BC, around the same time that people of the region began building pyramids, but has not offered a theory as to the woman’s death.

Ancient mummy unearthed in Mongolia

Ancient mummy unearthed in Mongolia | Daily Mail Online

Archaeologists in Mongolia are slowly unwrapping the mummy of a suspected ancient woman found preserved in the Altai Mountains.  So far only one hand and her feet in modern-looking boots are visible, but experts believe the find dates to around 1,500 years ago. 
It also appears to be the first complete Turkic burial in Central Asia and the remains were found at an altitude of 9,200ft (2,803 metres).
A host of possessions were found in the grave, offering a unique insight into life in Mongolia in around the 6th century AD. These included a saddle, bridle, clay vase, wooden bowl, trough, iron kettle, the remains of an entire horse, and ancient clothing.

The Cunning Female Demons and Ghosts of Ancient Japan

The Cunning Female Demons and Ghosts of Ancient Japan | Broadly

What seems to trap a woman between this life and the beyond is the anguish of being hurt by those closest to her.
Japanese folklore glitters with powerful female spirits and demons who terrorize the living. The common theme of their lives and deaths is transgression: philandering husbands, murdered children, or a family's shame.
These spirits often seek vengeance, typically from anything they encounter. While some have the ability to kill, others will simply watch the objects of their disaffection suffer and die. The curse of the vengeful ghost can become contagious like a disease, and can even infect an area after the ghost has left.
What seems to trap a woman between this life and the beyond is the anguish of being hurt by those closest to her.

Kiya - The Most Mysterious Woman of Amarna

Kiya - The Most Mysterious Woman of Amarna | Ancient Origins

The only thing we really know for certain about Kiya is her name, written in the forms kiya, kiw, kia, kaia, and that she was a wife of Akhenaten titled The Great Beloved Wife .  Much information about Kiya was lost over time and nowadays information about her is mixed with the biographies of Nefertiti and other women of Amarna, leading to an air of mystery about who Kiya really was.
The most fascinating part of the research about Kiya is connected with the mummy of the Younger Lady discovered in tomb KV35. It was the second ''cachette'', after DB320, found with royal mummies inside. The tomb, which was reopened in 1907, was the final resting place for two women known as the Younger Lady and the Elder Lady, who were found lying next to each other.
Dr Joann Fletcher, the famous Egyptologist from York University, announced in 2004 that the Younger Lady was the beautiful Queen Nefertiti. French researcher, Marc Gabolde, in his recently published theory, follows Fletcher's opinion.

Mummy Shows Ancient Egyptians Bleached Their Skin

Mummy Shows Ancient Egyptians Bleached Their Skin

Photo credit: Profesor Reverte Coma
Evidence that the ancient Egyptians plastered on killer cosmetics to whiten their skin has been found in a 3,500-year-old mummy head. Belonging to an anonymous woman age 20-25, the head shows tiny nodules under the cheeks and at the back of the neck that point to a possible skin disorder called exogenous ochronosis. "Such dermatosis is caused by the extensive use of skin bleaching cosmetics," ‎Despina Moissidou, an anthropologist at Nation Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, told Discovery News.

2,500-Year-Old Find Gives Rare Insight into Women's Roles in Ancient Israel

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists recently discovered two rare ancient seals in the City of David in Jerusalem.  Archaeologists found the seals inside a 2,500-year-old building.
“Inside this building as a result of very gentle work that include also sifting of the finds, sifting of the airs in order to find all the tiny artifacts, we discovered among other stuff two Hebrew seals; one with the name of a man, Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu and another one with the name of a woman, Elihana bat Gaelm,” IAA archaeologist Yana Tchekhanovetes told CBN News.
“It’s very exciting to know that in ancient times were strong woman in Jerusalem living here. Even though we don’t have any idea who was this lady and why she deserved such a special right in this society,” she continued.

Who Was Sattjeni?

Who Was Sattjeni? Tomb Reveals Secrets About Ancient Egyptian Elite

The coffin, discovered this year in the necropolis at Qubbet el-Hawa across the Nile River from Aswan, belonged to an important local woman, Sattjeni, daughter of one governor, wife of another and mother of two more, said excavation leader Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano, an Egyptologist at the University of Jaén in Spain. Sattjeni's mummified body was buried in two cedar coffins made of wood imported from Lebanon. Though the outer coffin had degraded over the nearly 4,000 years since Sattjeni's death, her inner coffin was in excellent condition, according to Egypt's antiquities ministry, which announced the discovery May 24.

The woman behind Egypt's most powerful rulers.
The daughter of a prince and the mother of two of the most powerful governors in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, a noblewoman known as Lady Sattjeni has been unearthed some 3,800 years after her death, in an ancient tomb in southeastern Egypt. Wrapped in linen and deposited inside a wooden coffin inside another wooden coffin, Sattjeni’s remains are still remarkably preserved, and were found alongside an inscription identifying her as the woman whose family sat directly below pharaoh Amenemhat III, who ruled ancient Egypt from 1800 to 1775 BC.

Tomb of 12th Dynasty Noblewoman Unearthed in Egypt
The tomb of a prominent lady called Sattjeni, who lived during the reign of the 12h Dynasty, was discovered by Spanish Egyptologists in the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa (West Aswan), Egypt. The team of researchers from the Jaén University in Spain has been working on West Aswan since 2008 and, since that year, has discovered several intact burials from different time periods. However, the most recent discovery appears as one of the most impressive. The group led by Alejandro Jimémez-Serrano discovered the tomb of Sattjeni, who appears as one of the most important women of her times. According to El Confidencial , inside the tomb the researchers discovered the remains of a woman, who was buried in two wooden coffins. The inscription allowed the identification of her name.

The Four Great Beauties, and the Arts of the Courtesans in Ancient China

The Four Great Beauties, and the Arts of the Courtesans in Ancient China | Ancient Origins

The Four Great Beauties are four ancient Chinese women renowned for their beauty which they skillfully exercised to influence Chinese history. Although each of the Four Great Beauties frequently appear as the subjects or objects of arts, one seldom learns much of them beyond their names, descriptions of their looks and brief mentions of their skills. This is common in ancient Chinese works related to female performers, or courtesans. In their legends, the Four Great Beauties were, in fact, heavily implied as courtesans themselves. Their legends illustrate applications of the early Chinese education utilized and perfected by the ancient courtesans of China, which was then preserved by Confucius as part of his philosophy.

A Brief History Of The Menstrual Period

If stigma around menstruation exists today, you can rest assured it was much worse in earlier times throughout history. Without much knowledge about biology or the human reproductive system, ancient and medieval humans simply saw menstruation as females bleeding without being injured — a phenomenon that appeared to correspond to changes in the moon. For thousands of years, menstruating women were wrapped up in labels and misinformed religious beliefs — at times considered holy and mystical, at other times seen cursed and untouchable. Often, menstruation was completely omitted from man’s documented history, relegated to the “woman’s sphere.” So here’s a brief history of menstruation in both scientific and cultural life, considering the fact that there still remains far more to discover about the subject.
Continue reading article from Medical Daily

Black Death maps reveal how the plague devastated medieval Britain

An in-depth analysis of pottery shards has revealed the "eye-watering" impact the Black Death had across rural medieval England.
Towns, villages and hamlets were ravaged by the peak of the plague between 1346 and 1351, and between 75 and 200 million people are said to have been killed across Europe and Asia during several centuries of the disease. Now a series of maps has been released which reveal the "devastating" and "eye-watering" effect the disease had across the UK as populations fell. 
The research was led by Professor Carenza Lewis from the University of Lincoln.
"The true scale of devastation wrought by the Black Death during the 'calamitous' fourteenth century has been a topic of much debate among historians and archaeologists," said Lewis. "Recent studies have led to mortality estimates being revised upwards, but the discussion remains hampered by a lack of consistent and scalable population data for the period." "This new research offers a novel solution to that evidential challenge, using finds of pottery - a highly durable indicator of human presence."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Is this Eleanor, the Secret Queen?

She is regarded by some as the secret queen who helped put Richard III on the throne and – inadvertently, at least – sealed the fate of the princes in the tower.
Now, new research aims to help determine whether remains discovered in Norwich are of Lady Eleanor Talbot.
Lady Eleanor played a pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses during the fifteenth century, when her alleged marriage to Edward IV led to his children – the princes in the tower – being declared illegitimate after his death, in 1483.
That saw the crown pass 
to Edward’s brother, Richard III, during whose reign the boys disappeared.
Tomorrow, historian John Ashdown-Hill will unveil a facial reconstruction based on remains excavated at Whitefriars in 1958.  He is hoping that it will help to better establish whether they belonged to Lady Eleanor.

The Married Woman Who Kept Her Lover in the Attic

In April 1930, the Los Angeles Times began publishing what would end up being months’ worth of eye-popping details from an exceedingly strange court case. It involved a “comely” woman named Dolly, her murdered husband, and her lover, a man known as the “garret ghost” who, at Dolly’s behest, lived a “bat-like life in hidden rooms.”
On August 22, 1922 a particularly brutal fight broke out and Sanhuber, fearing for Dolly's life, ran downstairs brandishing Fred's two .25 caliber rifles. He fired three rounds straight into his rival's chest, killing him instantly.
By the time the ex-lovers were arrested the papers had gotten wind of the sordid tale and shutterbugs followed Dolly and Sanhuber everywhere. But the trial outcome was not as eventful as the public would have hoped: though the jury found Sanhuber guilty of manslaughter on July 1, the statute of limitations for such an offense was seven years. Eight years had passed since Frank’s death. Sanhuber’s charges was dropped.

Further Reading: Women Who Kill Men: California Courts, Gender, and the Press by Gordon Morris Bakken & Brenda Farrington

Saturday, June 11, 2016

2,000 year old body of woman found in Isle of Wight bay

The bones of a woman who lived 2,000 years ago, and found in a bay off the Isle of Wight, are to be gifted to Island’s museum. Brothers, Hubert and Graham Smyth discovered the skeletal remains as they set a string of swinging boat moorings at Fishbourne Beach at low tide on 9 March 2015. The bones were in the silt which is under the waterline when the tide is in. Graham Smyth, who is a radiographer, gently lifted out one of the bones and was confident it was a human radius, so he left the rest of the skeleton in situ and called the police.