History

New Early Cave Art Discovered

Puerto Rico's Mona Island is the location of newly discovered rock art that may change what we know about Pre-Columbian civilizations.The first humans on the island likely arrived there between 3000 and 2000 BC, but this art could mean some major discoveries about people from the 13th century, according to archeologists. Thousands of different pieces of art were discovered in the site.

The Man in the Iron Mask

Why would a prisoner be forced to wear a mask of iron, be forbidden to speak to other prisoners and otherwise be treated so carefully and cruelly? You'd think that the prisoner would have to be someone like Hannibal Lecter, a danger to anyone in close proximity, but the truth may be quite different but just as terrible. Several historians are pointing at Eustache Dauger as the prisoner who wore the face of iron.

Did "holding it" kill Tycho Brahe?

New evidence seems to rule out mercury poisoning
I had always heard that famed 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe had been poisoned by mercury, perhaps by his main rival, Johannes Kepler. But I recently learned that not only is the mercury belief unfounded, but researchers think Brahe most likely died from having to pee. Sadly, one of the world's greatest minds may have died from an excess of politeness.
 

Cannibalism at Jamestown, VA

Jamestown settlers had to resort to dire methods to survive

Ten years before the Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the bounty at Plymouth, the Jamestown settlers were trying to eke out a living on a malarial, brackish island with little arable land. Despite the many setbacks faced by the Jamestown colony, our country's founding settlers struggled on despite their travails. After all, they had little choice.

New evidence claims Jesus was married

Were he and Mary Magdalene husband and wife?

The new discovery of an ancient sheet of papyrus has thrown the scholarly world into an uproar. This papyrus was written in Coptic during the fourth century. A historian at Harvard Divinity School has translated it as saying (among other things) a quote from Jesus referring to his wife. Jesus is further quoted as saying that his wife "will be able to be my disciple."

The papyrus and the scholar's findings were made public this week in Rome, at a conference of Coptic scholars. The papyrus' owner (a collector of rare Greek and Coptic papyrus fragments) has asked to remain anonymous and the provenance of the scrap of paper (about the size of a business card, according to MSNBC) is unknown. However, experts have concluded that the paper is most likely not a forgery.
 
Christian scholars have debated for centuries about the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and there have been rumors that Jesus had a female disciple. This tantalizing scrap of historical record adds fuel to both of those fires. 

Siberian ice age flower is reborn

No word yet on whether they plan to try and extract dinosaur DNA from a mosquito preserved in amber.

 About 32,000 years ago in Siberia, a squirrel industriously hoarded a whole lot of seeds and fruits in a river bank. Last winter, a team of Russian scientists coaxed some of the seeds into blooming in the lab, and an ancient white flower has been brought back to life.

In 1995, Russian researchers studying ancient soil composition ran across about 70 squirrel burrows from Upper Pleistocene rodents. Each burrow was packed full of stored seeds, nuts, and fruits - some burrows held up to 800,000 ancient treats. The squirrels never returned to claim their spoils, but the researchers found that some of the buried plant material was still viable.
 
The burrows were located below the permafrost line, where the ground remains frozen year round. In the burrow chambers the conditions were stable: they were 125 feet below the ground level, and kept at a constant temperature of about 20 degrees. It was perfect storage conditions, cool and dry and dark, except for one thing: the rock walls around the burrow contain radioactive elements, which would have slowly bombarded the seeds with radiation over the eons. Not much radiation, granted, but 32,000 years is enough time for a lot to accumulate.

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