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Unruly History in the News #21
Gravesites edition. 👻🪦
This week, in history acting unruly…
Here’s how the US agreed to a 5-day work week. (Now how do we make it a 4-day one?)
This 1,400-year-old mural from Peru features a man with two faces. Archaeologists think he alludes to sacrifice and “cosmic realms.”
And in gravesites that may or may not be haunted:
This very mysterious graveyard of shipwrecks was surprisingly far from any waterways. How did all these ships end up here?
Speaking of shipwrecks, who really owns them when we find them? (Apparently the age-old “finders keepers” doesn’t really apply.)
Grave robbers dumped a mummy in a trash can in Yemen after they couldn’t find someone to buy it/traffick it for them. It’s dark!
Archaeologists found their first Scottish Iron Age burial site in the Highlands. They initially thought it was an 18th-century murder scene, which would have been much darker, but now believe it was a respectful burial of six men.
2,000 years ago, someone turned a piece of a human skull into a comb.
A Bronze Age grave in Israel revealed a man who received trepanation—an early form of brain surgery.
A 7,000-year-old cult site has been uncovered in Saudi Arabia. It’s filled with human remains and animal bones.
In Peru, a man boasted about how his family owned an 800-year-old mummy and had been keeping it in a cooler for decades. He was overheard, and the mummy seized. It is now in the hands of the Ministry of Culture, who are now preserving this important pre-Hispanic invasion artifact.
Antioch—now known as Antakya—has survived many earthquakes. The city’s history of rebuilding is an interesting story.
A selection of Victorian Era love letters has been published online. They’re tender, sweet, and foreshadow a British Prime Minister’s birth.
The catastrophic fire in Notre Dame in Paris has revealed that the cathedral is held together by a then-revolutionary architectural design: An iron skeleton.
New documents suggest that Leonardo Da Vinci’s mother was kidnapped and enslaved as a teenager. Caterina was apparently brought to Italy from her hometown in the Caucasus Mountains. She was bought and freed by Piero Da Vinci after they met in 1451.
A “perfect” first edition of Copernicus’s groundbreaking book that suggested the Earth revolves around the sun is going on auction later this month. The last one to go on auction was sold for $2.2 million, and they’re expecting more this time, due to the excellent state of preservation and lack of modification over the last 500 years. If you’re in New York City from April 27-30, you can see this book at the International Antiquarian Book Fair.
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