Category Archives: History

History, vintage, archaeology and so forth, because I’m a huge geek and an anthropology major. Indiana Me.

Archaeologists Discover World’s Oldest Calendar in Scotland

Archaeologists Discover World’s Oldest

Calendar in Scotland

Roff Smith  for National Geographic   Published July 15, 2013

The discovery of a nearly 10,000-year-old lunar calendar in Scotland has archaeologists scrambling to rethink the beginnings of history. The implications are huge, too. It turns out that the men of the Stone Age were not as primitive as we had previously thought.

Scottish Lunar Calendar

The calendar itself is primitive to be sure. However, it is also the oldest calendar ever discovered, predating the bronze calendar in Mesopotamia that had held that title until now by several millennia. The array is made up of 12 pits, one for each month of the year, arranged in a 160-foot-long arc and topped with a series of stones thought to represent the phases of the moon.

The full moon stone, a round seven-foot-wide boulder, is prominently displayed in the middle, and on the far side is a notch to show where the sun would rise on the midwinter solstice 10,000 years ago.

Check out the entire – and entirely fascinating- article HERE

  A panorama near the Kylesku Bridge, Scotland.                                                                                Image by CollinHobbes at iStockphoto



Viking Stuff – Two New Updates in One Week!

The web nerd found TWO Viking-stuff updates in the news this week. Excerpts below, with links to the original awesomeness. Check ’em out!

Norsemen voyages

Territories and Voyages of the Norsemen
photo from Wikipedia Creative Commons

Heavener Runestone

One believer transformed a local curiosity into proof of Vikings on the Great Plains

 Not everyone, however, is convinced Norsemen sailed up the Arkansas River to the Great Plains nearly 500 years before Columbus came to America. Others speculate that the runestone was carved by someone on the French explorer La Salle’s expedition in the 17th century, or by a Swedish captain during a period of 18th-century French colonization. Still others believe the rock may be a hoax created by a 19th-century Scandinavian farmer. Skeptics point out that there are no other remaining artifacts of Vikings in Oklahoma, although similar runestones have been found in Poteau, Shawnee, and Tulsa.

Image by

Image by
Heavener Runestone Inscription

Old Arabic texts describe dirty Vikings

Arabs who encountered Scandinavians who had journeyed eastward depicted them as handsome people but filthy and barbaric.

They are the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures: they do not purify themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity after coitus and do not even wash their hands after food.

The Arab writer Ahmad ibn Fadlan noted the above after meeting Viking travellers around a thousand years ago.

The Icelandic historian Thorir Jonsson Hraundal has studied comments about what we call Vikings in original texts by Arab historians and geographers. The texts described Arab encounters with Scandinavians in areas around the Caspian Sea and the Volga River.

Their depictions differ radically from images of fearsome Viking conquerors handed down from the British Isles and France in the same era.

Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Polish painter Henryk Siemiradzki painted the funeral ritual of Vikings in what is now Russia, in accordance with descriptions by Ahmad ibn Fadlan. New analyses show that his and other Arabs’ texts are excellent sources of cultural knowledge about the Vikings who ventured eastward. (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons)


Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest’s Fallen Adventurers

The bodies of those claimed by the peaks of Everest remain preserved as warnings of the perils of the highest mountain in the world.

Many have climbed to the top of the world on Mt. Everest, and many have failed. What happens to those who fall to the perils of Everest, a mountain with a place labeled “The Death Zone” around 26,000 feet above sea level.

Mt. Everest - photo courtesy of Getty images

Mt. Everest – photo courtesy of Getty images

Above 26,000 feet, temperatures nosedive, winds buffet the mountain, and the ice creates a slippery and deadly risk to climbers. Low atmospheric pressure is the silent killer at this height, where only about ½ the oxygen exists compared to sea level. Climbers who fail to acclimate prior to the ascent can black out in minutes. It takes at least 12 hours to travel through this stretch of the great mountain.

The dead lie as they fell. This one was resting against a snow drift when he died.

The dead lie as they fell. This one was resting against a snow drift when he died.

For those who fall, they usually stay where they lie. It is often impossible to recover a body under the conditions that led to their demise. The rest on the ice and snows, reminding those that follow that a simple misstep, a careless mistake, or a freak act of nature, can send them to the same end.

One of the earliest Everest dead to be found, face down where he fell

One of the earliest Everest dead to be found, face down where he fell

An injured climber unable to go on risks the lives of the entire climbing party. They are often abandoned by their climbing team simply because it is too dangerous to save them. Survival for the majority of the climbers takes precedence.

green boots on everes

This infamous climber’s neon green boots point the way to travelers during their ascent of the mountain

Over 150 explorers claimed by Mt. Everest lie in state in their icy, above-ground tombs. The conditions that killed them also preserve them. Many bodies are never located, and fewer still are recovered after being found. They lie as a grim and graphic reminder of the cost to reach the top of Everest.

Check out some books related to climbing Mt. Everest and the dangers of the adventure.


Bones and jars of the dead unearthed in 3,000-year-old Egyptian tombs

By Alan Boyle,

Archaeologists say they have discovered a string of 3,000-year-old rock tombs in the Egyptian city of Luxor, containing the remains of wooden coffins, skeletons, furniture and canopic jars.

The tombs were dug within the funerary temple of Pharaoh Amenhotep II, who reigned from 1427 to 1401 B.C. during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. However, the newfound tombs appear to be part of a more recent cemetery. In Thursday’s announcement of the discovery, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said they date back to the beginning of a transitional period that lasted from 1075 to 664 B.C.

Ibrahim said a team led by Italian archaeologist Angelo Sesana made the discovery while cleaning up the site in the course of an excavation at Amenhotep II’s temple, on the west bank of the Nile River.


Check out the full article HERE.

Egyptian Antiquity

Four canopic jars are sculpted to represent spirits who guard the internal organs of the dead.                     Photo from Egypt Ministry of Antiquities




Boxing Day 12/26. What the Heck is Boxing Day?

Mental Floss explains the whys and wherefores of Boxing Day, December 26.


Boxing Day

Relax, Hallmark conspiracy theorists. Boxing Day isn’t some prank to confuse America—it’s a real holiday! Here’s how the world celebrates.

Boxing Day is observed every year on December 26. Before it took on its feistier name, the holiday was known as St. Stephen’s Day.
Many historians think the holiday’s name is derived from the church practice of opening alms boxes the day after Christmas and distributing money to the poor.
Historically, British employers followed the church’s lead by sliding workers and servants gifts or cash on December 26. Merchants tossed servants a few coins, too, for bringing in a household’s business.
Read the full text here:
–brought to you by mental_floss!



There are no words to express my sorrow and horror at the events in Newtown, CT Friday.  A friend of mine perhaps said it best, so I repost her words. I trust she will understand.

Goddess Danu, Mother of All, help me to be of help.

Use me to comfort the comfortless; give me Your grace.

Make me peaceful and soothing, for I, too, am a

Mother. So Mote it Be.



2012 in Review: 9 Important Archaeological (and Paleontological!) Discoveries

12/11/2012 From GEEKS ARE SEXY:

Great things happen every year, but it never fails that by the time we reach the holiday season, most of them have been forgotten to all but a few die-hard news junkies and history buffs. In case you weren’t obsessively poring over the details of this year’s archaeological news, here’s a year-end round-up.



Read more at the whole article here.

Items of Potential Interest 12/2/2012

12/1/2012: Ruh-roh. Mexico Acknowledges 2nd Mayan Reference to 2012

As seen on From the article, originally on Yahoo News:

“Mexico’s archaeology institute downplays theories that the ancient Mayas predicted some sort of apocalypse would occur in 2012, but on Thursday it acknowledged that a second reference to the date exists on a carved fragment found at a southern Mexico ruin site.

Most experts had cited only one surviving reference to the date in Mayan glyphs, a stone tablet from the Tortuguero site in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.

But the National Institute of Anthropology and History said in a statement that there is in fact another apparent reference to the date at the nearby Comalcalco ruin. The inscription is on the carved or molded face of a brick. Comalcalco is unusual among Mayan temples in that it was constructed of bricks.”

Famous Mayan Calendar

The famous Mayan Calendar, allegedly predicting the End of Everything on 12-21-2012.

For the counterpoint, check this out:

Sadly, NASA has to debunk Mayan apocalypse conspiracies again.


From Quora:

All 50 of the states in America each declared independence, and all simultaneously declared war on each other (50 states in a free-for-all).Which state would be the last one standing? How would the battle play out? Which states would be the first to fall, the last?
All 50 of the states in America each declared independence, and all simultaneously declared war on each other (50 states in a free-for-all).Which state would be the last one standing? How would the battle play out? Which states would be the first to fall, the last?
US 2nd Civil War

US Map – current.

This page will contain links to historically significant, cool and otherwise archaeologically neato articles and information.