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Lunel-Viel (Languedoc-Southern France). Victim of the plague thrown into a demolition trench of a Gallo-Roman house; end of the 6th-early 7th century. Source: 1990; CNRS - Claude Raynaud

Details of First Historically Recorded Plague Pandemic Revealed by Ancient Genomes

An international team of researchers have analysed human remains from 21 archaeological sites to learn more about the impact and evolution of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis during the...
Plague Doctor Mask, Steno Museum

Secrets Behind the Creepy Plague Doctor Mask and Costume

The plague doctor mask is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Black Death. Though the image is iconic the relationship may be a little anachronistic. While plague doctors have been plying...
Modern Mongol horsemen at the eagle festival. Life may have been tranquil for hunters during the time of Pax Mongolica too.

The Pax Mongolica: When the Mongols Brought Peace to Europe and Asia

The Pax Mongolica (translated from Latin to mean ‘Mongol Peace’) refers to a period in history when a large part of Europe and Asia was under Mongol control as a result of the military campaigns of...
Slaves working in a mine. Corinthian terracotta plaque painting, 5th century BC.

Ice-Core Study Finds Evidence of Ancient European Plagues, Wars, and Imperial Expansion

To learn about the rise and fall of ancient European civilizations, researchers sometimes find clues in unlikely places: deep inside of the Greenland ice sheet, for example. Thousands of years ago,...
Tutankhamum’s Golden Coffin

5 Important Egyptian Archaeological Discoveries that Provided Leaps in Our Knowledge of the Past

When it comes to archaeological discoveries, very few countries can measure up to the wealth of Egypt. From the Rosetta stone, to the Valley of the Kings, to the great ancient pyramids at Giza, Egypt...
Famadihana reburial, ‘turning of the bones’ in Madagascar

Plague Epidemic in Madagascar May be Spread by Dancing with the Dead Ritual

The Malagasy people of Madagascar have built a way of life around death – during the dry winter months, famadihana ceremonies, known as “the turning of the bones” and “dancing with the dead”, take...
It’s Driving Them Out of Their Minds: The First Big Poisoning in Ancient Rome

It’s Driving Them Out of Their Minds: The First Big Poisoning in Ancient Rome

There were quite a few methods of offing rivals available to criminals in ancient Rome, but poisoning became a popular one by the early imperial period. Perhaps the first widespread ring wreaking...
his head of indurated limestone is a fragment from a group statue that represented Amun seated on a throne, and Tutankhamun standing or kneeling in front of him. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Hunt for Ankhesenamun: A Murderess, Vixen or Helpless Child in this Ancient Egyptian Soap Opera? Part II

Ankhesenamun, wife of the boy-king Tutankhamun , is portrayed in many ways; as a terrified and hapless youngster; a power-hungry murderess; or a loathsome vixen who will stop at nothing to achieve...
The wine press in Ramat Negev is intermeshed with a building, as seen above, summer 2017.

Boutique Wine for Byzantines: 1,600-year-old Wine Press Discovered in the Negev Desert

The Times of Israel reports that a 1,600-year-old wine press has been discovered in a vast Byzantine building along the incense trade route in the southern Negev desert in Israel. Experts suggest...
Model of the Ark of the Covenant

Ark of the Covenant: Destruction, War & Plague – Part II

One of history’s most intriguing ancient mysteries remains the elusive and legendary Ark of the Covenant, also known as the Ark of the Testimony. According to Biblical sources, it was constructed...
The remains of a mother and fetus were buried alongside those of two other children in the early days of the Black Death in Italy, however researchers cannot say for certain that they died of the plague.

New Details Emerge on the Black Death by Examining a Plague Victim and her Tragic Coffin Birth

We can only guess about the life and times of a young mother and two children buried with her, possibly felled by the first wave of the bubonic plague in the 1340s in Italy. They were all buried in a...
A painting of 14th century St. Roch shows the dracunculiasis worm exiting the upper part of his leg.

A Medieval Painting Depicts the Chilling Image of a Worm Eating Its Way Out of the Body of a French Saint

Imagine a 2- to 3-foot long (0.6- to 1-meter) worm slowly working its way out of your body… with the possibility of other worms doing so in the future. Such is the horror of the guinea worm, which...
The facial reconstruction of Context 958

Face of ‘Ordinary Poor’ Man from Medieval Cambridge Graveyard Revealed

New facial reconstruction of a man buried in a medieval hospital graveyard discovered underneath a Cambridge college sheds light on how ordinary poor people lived in medieval England. The audience of...
Painting of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

When Millions Were Dropping Dead From the Plague, The 14 Holy Helpers Were Summoned to Intercede

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in the Roman Catholic Church. Veneration of this group of saints (known also as auxiliary saints) began during the 14th century, as...
Does the Ipuwer Papyrus Provide Evidence for the Events of the Exodus?

Does the Ipuwer Papyrus Provide Evidence for the Events of the Exodus?

The Ipuwer papyrus, also known as the ‘Admonitions of Ipuwer’, is a controversial text that describes starvation, drought, death, and violent upheavals in ancient Egypt, with some maintaining that it...
Scientists Revive Ancient Plague to Learn Clues About Epidemic that Wiped Out Half of Europe

Scientists Revive Ancient Plague to Learn Clues About Epidemic that Wiped Out Half of Europe

Scientists have taken molecular clues in recent days from ancient plague victims’ bones and determined that the same bacterial infection that caused the Black Death of the Middle Ages in Europe and...

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