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Stars and Stones: Ancient Archaeology

For centuries, people have marveled at ancient structures like Stonehenge or the Giza pyramids, awe-struck by the amount of effort that must have been poured into their construction. But these sites become even more amazing when the deeper layers are revealed – astronomical alignments, symbolic layouts, and representations of cosmic order embedded in the very placement of the stones. Many of these sites are not just simple monuments, but complex constructions that enshrine the remarkable achievements of ancient astronomers.

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The Medical Alchemist by Franz Christoph Janneck, 18th century (Public Domain)
Artifacts & Tech

What Could Your Urine Tell a Medieval Doctor?

In modern medicine, urine samples are routinely examined in laboratories to obtain clinical information about a patient. This procedure, known as urinalysis, developed from an ancient medical process called uroscopy. Urology was greatly aided during this period by the development of the urine wheel. 
Detail from the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary. (Public Domain)
Culture & Tradition

Medieval Monsters Taught Morals in a Book of Beasts

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood – in bestiaries, that is.

Venus and Mars, c. 1485 (Public Domain)
Culture & Tradition

Stiff Penalties in Historic Impotence Trials

The impotence trials of pre-revolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in this wake that the impotence trials arose.

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