History Girls

King Tut’s grandmother, the powerful and beautiful Queen Tiye, might have had an unattractive flat wart on her forehead, according to a mummy expert.

Located between the eyes, the small protuberance was found on the mummy of the so-called Elder Lady (KV35EL). Boasting long reddish hair falling across her shoulders, the mummy was identified in February 2010 by DNA testing as Queen Tiye, the daughter of Yuya and Thuya, wife of Amenhotep III, and mother of Akhenaten.

The skin growth had gone unnoticed until Mercedes González, director of the Instituto de Estudios Científicos en Momias in Madrid, spotted it looking at the mummy during a visit to the Cairo Museum…..

The wife of the 18th dynasty King Amenhotep III, the mother of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and grandmother of King Tut, Tiye (who lived from 1415 to 1340 B.C.), is one of the most intriguing women in Egyptian history.

Described by her husband as “the lady of grace, sweet in her love, who fills the palace with her beauty, the Regent of the North and South, the Great Wife of the King who loves her,” she was the most influential woman of Amenhotep III’s 38-year reign.

Read More: Discovery News


Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto
are two of the primary kami found in ancient Shinto mythology. The divine siblings are the deities of the terrestrial creation myth, whereby the lands and all the creatures that inhabit them came into being. Specifically, they are honored as the originators of the islands of Japan.

While they star in the same creation story and both play essential parts in the generation of beings, they also have different roles and responsibilities. The myth focuses on the things they create together, but it also allows each of the kami to have an individual role in the mythology.

The primordial deities in the sky who preceded the pair in existence ordered Izanagi and Izanami to go down to earth to make something useful of the vast terrestrial realm. But at that time there was still nothing down there to sustain them or even provide a platform for their creative mission. While standing on the floating bridge of heaven, the pair looked down upon the face of the earth and pondered whether or not a potential country was beneath them. Higher still above them, the primordial deities realized that there actually was no place for their emissaries to land, so they cast down to them a magnificent jeweled spear.

Izanagi thrust the jewel-spear of heaven down into the ocean and stirred. With a “curdle-curdle” sound, he stirred up the brine of the ocean, and when he lifted the spear the brine coagulated and dripped off. It soon hardened and formed the island of Onogoro (“spontaneously-congealing”) island in Japan. This mythical island, supposedly located somewhere off the northeastern coast of today’s Shikoku, became Izanagi’s and Izanami’s home.

Read More http://jedijack-his-story.blogspot.com/2010/06/izanagi-and-izanami-creators-of-japan.html

When Axaiacatzin, King of Mexico, and other lords sent their daughters to King Nezahualpilli, for him to choose one to be his queen and lawful wife, whose son might succeed to the inheritance, she who had the highest claims among them, for nobility of birth and rank, was Chachiuhnenetzin, the young daughter of the Mexican King.

She had been brought up by the monarch in a seperate palace, with great pomp, and with numerous attendants, as became the daughter of so great a monarch. The number of servants attached to her household exceeded two thousand. Young as she was, she was exceedingly artful and vicious; so that, finding herslf alone, and seeing that her people feared her on account of her rank and importance, she began to give way to an unlimited indulgence of her power.

Whenever she saw a young man who pleased her fancy she gave secret orders that he should be brought to her, and shortly afterwards he would be put to death. She would then order a statue or effigy of his person to be made, and, adourning it with rich clothing, gold, and jewellry, place it in the apartment in which she lived. The number of staues of those whom she thus sacrificed was so great as to almost fill the room.

When the king came to visit her, and inquired respecting these statues, she answered that they were her gods; and he, knowing how strict the Mexicans were in the worship of their false dieties, believed her. But, as no inquity can be long committed with entire secrecy, she was finally found out in the manner……

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The Druids were aristocratic members of ancient Britain and later Gaul and acted as priests, teachers, scholars and practitioners of sorcery and magic for the Celtic ruling elite. Here, Julius Caesar describes the Druid practice of human sacrifice which he learned about during his time as Governor of the Roman Province of Gaul.

“The Druids are in charge of all religious matters, superin­tending public and private sacrifices, and explaining superstitions. A large crowd of young men, who flock to them for schooling, hold the Druids in great respect. For they have opinions to give on almost all disputes involving tribes or individuals, and if any crime is committed, any murder done, or if there is contention about a will or the boundaries of some property, they are the people who investigate the matter and establish rewards and punishments….

The whole Gallic nation is virtually a prey to superstition, and this makes the serious invalids or those engaged in battle or dangerous exploits sacrifice men instead of animals. They even vow to immolate themselves, using the Druids as their ministers for this purpose. They feel that the spirit of the gods cannot be appeased unless a man’s life is given for a life.

Public sacrifices of the same sort are common. Another practice is to make images of enormous size, with the limbs woven from osiers [willows]. Living human beings are fitted into these, and, when they are set on fire, the men are engulfed in the flames and perish. The general feeling is that the immortal gods are better pleased with the sacrifice of those caught in theft, robbery or some other crime. But if a supply of such criminals is lacking, then they resort to the sacrifice of completely innocent victims. . . ”

From: http://ping.fm/CJVXP

Sacrificial remains of humans and animals, believed to be at least 2,700 years old, have been found in central China’s Luoyang city, Chinese archaeologists say.

The bones are part of a recently discovered burial complex covering nearly a quarter acre (945 square meters) and containing 14 tombs, a water channel, and 59 pits from the Western Zhou dynasty. (Related: “Ancient Mass Sacrifice, Riches Discovered in China Tomb.”)

During the Western Zhou period (1100 B.C. to 771 B.C.), the sacrifices of animals—and sometimes humans—to ancestors or deities were a routine part of Chinese culture. The sacrifices were often made to bless houses, said David Sena, a China historian at the University of Texas at Austin.

“In general, there’s been a tendency to describe Western Zhou as a more humanistic period, when the practice of human sacrifices”—which were commonplace during the preceding Shang Dynasty—”were waning,” Sena said.

“But I think the archaeological evidence shows quite clearly that human sacrifices persisted throughout the Zhou period as well.”

Thousands of years ago, during the Western Zhou, the Luoyang area was home to a secondary, eastern capital of China.

Regarded by Confucius and other philosophers as a “golden age” of Chinese history, the Western Zhou period ushered in many of the characteristic political and cultural institutions of Chinese civilization, Sena said.

For example, the Shangshu, or “book of history,” which purportedly records the speeches and deeds of the Zhou dynasty’s first kings and which later became a classic, can be traced back to this period.

Source: National Geographic
Image source:  vochongnhanam.net 

{June 14, 2010}   The Muses of Ancient Greece

The Muses were not only singers for Zeus and other gods; they also oversaw thought in all its forms: eloquence, persuasion, knowledge, history, mathematics, astronomy. 

Hesiod praises their services to humankind, claiming that they accompany kings and inspire them with the persuasive words necessary to settle argument and re-establish peace, and that they give monarchs the gift of gentleness which makes them popular.

A singer (thought of as a servant of the Muses) has only to celebrate the deeds of men of long ago or to sing of the gods, and anyone listening who is beset by troubles or sorrows will forget them instantly. The oldest song of the Muses is the one sung after the victory of the Olympians over the Titans to celebrate the birth of a new order.

The following list of Muses was accepted by those who lived during the classical period in Western history:

  • Calliope–The first of the muses in dignity, is the muse of heroic or epic poetry, and is often depicted holding a writing tablet.
  • Clio–The muse of history, represented with an open scroll of paper, a laurel wreath, and a trumpet.
  • Erato–The muse of love poetry, from whom comes the term “erotic.” She is often shown holding a lyre.
  • Euterpe–Muse of music or flutes (often playing flutes).
  • Melpomene–Represents tragedy. Most often depicted with a tragic mask and the cothurnus (a high shoe worn by tragic actors to increase their apparent stature).
  • Polymnia–Muse of sacred poetry, ceremonial song or sublime hymn, or the mimic art.
  • Terpsichore–Muse of dancing and choral song. She is often represented dancing with the lyre.
  • Thaleia–Muse of comedy, often shown with a comic mask.
  • Urania–The muse of astronomy, usually portrayed with a staff pointing to a celestial globe.

 The word “museum” originally meant a place connected with the Muses or the arts inspired by them.

Classical era Greeks and Romans understood history differently than do people in the modern era. Whereas Greco-Romans considered history more literally, as something to be remembered and aspired to, we tend to think of history as something that explains present circumstances and can be a valuable guide to the future. In that sense, in some ways the nobler aspects of the past can and should be emulated.

Source: Texas A & M University 
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Women’s History Magazine

During the surveying of prehistoric rock art at Carr Edge in Northumberland, on 30th October 2005, a previously unrecorded rock art panel was discovered by Yvonne Black, Ian Craig and Derek Gunby, members of Team 4 of the Rock Art Project of Northumberland and Durham.

The panel is an exposure of sandstone rock, 2 m x 1.2 m, upon which is carved a figure of a warrior. The figure holds a sword or spear in his right hand and a shield in his left. There is a sword or knife scabbard at his waist on his right side.

A second figure is located below and to the right of the first. This figure has an almost triangular body and has facial features of eyes and nose. There are several cup and groove marks on the rock and many peck marks.

A carving in the bottom left of the panel may suggest a third, hooded, figure but this requires further investigation. The panel is located on top of a natural mound. It was found close to another new sandstone panel which is carved with cup and groove marks. The mound is in an area of rough pasture with a small wood to the north. It is in an elevated position with a view towards Warden Hill.

Such is the complexity of the panel that it is difficult to ascertain if any of the carvings are contemporary. It is thought that the carvings could range in date from early Iron Age to Romano-British. However, the cup and groove marks may well be earlier than the figure carvings since these are of a more traditional indigenous form…..

Since Carr Edge is just as close in proximity to Warden Hill (Iron Age hill fort) as it is to Hadrian’s Wall the geographical location of the warrior figure does not necessarily suggest a Roman date of origin. However, the Stanegate (Roman road) runs between Warden Hill and Carr Edge, so there is an undeniable Roman presence in the area.

The second figure is probably female as it is comparable in form to carvings of the Romano-British triple goddess, examples of which may be seen at Housesteads and Bath. The carving at Bath has not been dated, but is assumed to be Roman. The Deae Matres or the Matronae (the three mother goddesses) together form a unity representing strength, power and fertility.

The origin of the ‘power of three’ dates to the Iron Age as triplism was prevalent in Celtic religion and the triskele was a recurring motif in Celtic art. Only one female figure is present on the Carr Edge panel but it may be that the carving was not completed. It could, of course, depict only one Celtic mother goddess – The Morrigan. The Morrigan is the unification of a triad of goddesses, Morrigan, Badb and Nemain. She is both fertile and destructive.

The potential hooded figure could represent a genii cucullati (guardian spirits with hooded cloaks). These are also known to represent the male triple god of fertility and frequently appear alongside the triple goddess in Celtic iconography. Both the genii cucullati and the Matronae are known to be protectors of springs and rivers. There is evidence to suggest that a spring once existed close to the figure panel at Carr Edge.

Souce: archaeologydataservice.ac.uk
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{June 10, 2010}   Who Were the Amazons?

What is known of the actual Amazons within the Aegean is very little, and yet intrigue about a race of dominant warrior women in the bronze age has flourished from ancient times into the present. The obvious question asked by most scholars has been, “who were the Amazons, and did they actually exist?”.

Research into the Amazons is extremely limited and at times contradictory. There are numerous accounts of the origins of the Amazons, most concurring that the black sea region was their original settlement. To what extent the Amazons settled into the Black Sea region has not been fully ascertained. Some sources say they reached as far south as Libya, some to the Anatolia peninsula, others as far west as the Mongolian region of Eurasia.

These accounts are further conflicted by the later Greek accounts of the Amazons. According to the Greek accounts, when the Greeks themselves began to settle into the area of the black sea, they found no Amazons.

As a result and to explain this discrepancy, the myth of Hercules and Hippolyte was created to explain their disappearance. According to the myth, Hercules led an expedition through the Amazon land to obtain the girdle of Queen Hippolyte (the queen of the Amazons), during this time he managed to expel and conquer all the Amazons in the district.

Regardless of the myth, modern and ancient scholars remain perplexed by the question of whether the Amazons existed at all. Plutarch, a Greek historian, concluded that the Amazons did not exist as a race of warrior women per se’, but were merely women fighting alongside men in battle. Herodotus, another Greek historian, believed that the Amazons did exist within Greece.

Other scholars have even ventured that the women were in fact male Persian soldiers who shaved their beards off and dressed as women in battle. These theories and questions have been compounded by the view of Amazons within Greek art. The early depictions of Amazons were similar in style and likeness of Athena, as time progressed Amazons were given the likeness of Artemis. The final depictions of Amazons share slightly Persian features, a likeness (since the Greeks were in constant conflict with Persia) which can be best viewed as anomalous.

Outside of the questions of the Amazon origins, other questions pertaining to Amazons concern their view of men, and if they were a fierce (blood thirsty) people. The Greeks often questioned (as do modern scholars) how the Amazons, a race composed entirely of women, were able to sustain themselves throughout the generations.

The most credible theory holds that the Amazons had contact with men from other lands, the Amazons kept the female children born to them, and sent the male children to live with their fathers. As to the Amazons blood thirsty nature, Quintus Smyrnaeus wrote of them during the Trojan Wars:

“In the pure rapture of triumph the Amazons charged, and with anguished groans and shrieks the Greeks perished, their manhood withered by the women from the fierce and untamed northlands. Like Goddesses amidst earth born heroes the Amazons pursued their reeling foes, dashed them down, cut them apart, and, scoffing, tossed them through the air – till the Greek formations dissolved in consternation.”

The Amazons by and large were a race of fierce warriors, who on numerous occasions laid siege in Attica, and were even a threat to Athens. What is certain is that the Amazons were formidable fighters which the Greeks feared, but as to the Amazons being blood thirsty the question still remains.

Source: mnsu.edu 
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Women’s History Magazine

{June 7, 2010}   Crystal Skulls Faked

Analysis of the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull using SEM leaves little doubt that this object was carved and polished using modern, high-speed, diamond-coated, rotary, cutting and polishing tools of minute dimensions. This technology is certainly not pre-Columbian. I believe it is decidedly 20th century.

The similarities between the Mitchell-Hedges skull and the British Museum skull suggest that the former is an improved copy of the latter. The recently published SEM study of the British Museum skull additionally suggests it was probably carved within a decade of the date it was first offered for sale in 1881 (Sax, Walsh, et al. 2008: p. 2759). It is not unreasonable to conclude that the Mitchell-Hedges skull, which first appeared in 1933, was also created within short time of its debut.

Frederick A. Mitchell-Hedges began an association with a California art dealer named Frank Dorland in the 1950s to promote and sell an icon he called the Black Virgin of Kazan, which later turned out to be a copy. Anna Mitchell-Hedges continued this relationship after her father died in 1959, ultimately agreeing to Dorland’s proposal to “launch a program about the [crystal] Skull and get your price” (11/25/1963).

A number of wildly speculative publications resulted from this promotion. One, Phrenology (1970), suggested the skull had belonged to the Knights Templar and was taken to British Honduras by Mitchell-Hedges. Another, Ambrose Bierce, F.A. Mitchell-Hedges and the Crystal Skull (1973), claimed that Bierce, a journalist who disappeared in Mexico in 1913, and Mitchell-Hedges had stolen the skull when they were both fighting alongside Pancho Villa.

Later, Dorland hired the novelist Richard Garvin to write The Crystal Skull that had Anna Mitchell-Hedges herself discovering the skull inside of a Maya pyramid at Lubanntun. Eventually, I believe that Anna attempted to legitimize this object through its exhibition in a respected museum—the Museum of the American Indian.

The correspondence between Frederick Dockstader, director of the Museum of the American Indian, and Anna Mitchell-Hedges clearly demonstrates how the process of legitimizing objects with potential mass appeal but dubious authenticity and provenience works. In their letters, each seemed to flatter the other to achieve their own separate, though similar, ends: to increase visitation to the museum and to enhance the status of the crystal skull.

Read more: archaeology.org

Ancient Mesoamerican peoples manufactured rubber from latex some 3,500 years before the modern invention of vulcanization and even compounded it for different applications, says new research from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research team.

According to archaeology professor Dorothy Hosler and technical instructor Michael Tarkanian of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, pre-Hispanic peoples not only invented rubber, but they perfected a system of chemical processing to enhance rubber’s properties.

The result was strong, wear-resistant rubber for sandal soles, resilient, bouncy rubber for game balls, and rubber optimized for resilience and strength for wide bands used to attach handles to axe heads.

The research follows a 1999 study which demonstrated that these people predated development of Charles Goodyear’s vulcanization process by 3,500 years.

Flourishing from at least 2,000 B.C. to the Spanish invasion in 1521 in what is now parts of Mexico and Central America, the Mesoamerican civilization engineered the properties of latex from the native Castilla elastica tree.

A sticky liquid that dries to a brittle solid, natural latex, which contains an oily chemical called isoprene, was mixed with juice from the morning glory species Ipomoea alba….

They noted that by varying the proportions in the mixture made of Castilla tree sap and morning-glory vine juice, a different kind of rubber could be obtained. 

A 50-50 blend of the latex and morning glory produced maximum bounciness, perfect for the rubber balls. Pure latex worked best for rubber bands and adhesives, while a three-to-one mix of latex to morning glory provided the most durable material, perfect for sandals.

The Mesoamericans had plenty of time to work out these properties through trial and error. By the time the Spanish arrived, there was “a large rubber industry in the region, producing 16,000 rubber balls each year, and large numbers of rubber statues, sandals, bands and other products,” Tarkanian said in a MIT statement.

Source: Discovery News

et cetera