2022 marks the centennial of one of the greatest archaeological finds in modern history – the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. It was discovered by chance in the world-famous Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor.
Although many people today refer to the wives of ancient Egyptian kings and female Egyptian pharaohs as queens, in ancient Egypt all the people surrounding the king (pharaoh) were referred to by their relationship to him/her. This was not meant to diminish a woman’s role per se, it was simply because all royal titles emphasized the individual’s relationship to the powerful king.
“This I have actually seen, a work beyond words. For if anyone put together the buildings of the Greeks and display of their labours, they would seem lesser in both effort and expense to this labyrinth… Even the pyramids are beyond words, and each was equal to many and mighty works of the Greeks. Yet the labyrinth surpasses even the pyramids.”
The lives of ancient Egyptians were inextricably intertwined with magic. It was present in everything from religion to politics, and from birth to death. Magic was such a prevalent force that in the early third century AD, the Christian theologian and philosopher Titus Flavius Clemens, better known as Clement of Alexandria, declared that: “Egypt was the mother of magicians.”
Soma is both the name of a god and a substance in Hindu mythology. As a deity, Soma is one of the most important gods in the Rigveda. According to the Puranas, Soma is often depicted as a god riding a three wheeled chariot that is pulled by a team of 10 white horses, or a celestial bull, a giant rising from the waters, a bird, the lord of plants, and an embryo. He is an ancient deity who is in charge of several important aspects of life, one being the bringer of fortune and health.
The Burney Relief is considered one of the most important works of art from the Ancient Near East but continues to be a subject of debate to this day.
Kombucha is a type of fermented tea which originated hundreds of years ago but has only recently become a global phenomenon. It is difficult to confirm exactly where kombucha first became popular, and there is much debate surrounding the question. Most people cite China as the probable homeland, possibly around 200 AD, although it’s believed to have gained its name from a Japanese doctor who lived around 400 AD.
In 1965, archaeologists were carrying out a survey in Hubei province, China, four miles from the ruins of Jinan, capital of the ancient Chu state, when they discovered 50 ancient tombs. Inside one of the tombs, sealed in a near air-tight wooden box next to a skeleton, they found a rare and perfectly preserved bronze sword with scabbard. When it was unsheathed, the blade did not have a single trace of rust, and it drew blood when an archeologist tested his finger on its edge; it was seemingly unaffected by the passage of time.
In the 1,600 years since Saint Patrick preached his way across the Emerald Isle, the legends and folk stories surrounding his life have become ever more ingrained in the Irish culture. He is credited with expelling all snakes from Ireland and using a shamrock – a three-leaf clover – to explain the Holy Trinity to the Pagan Irish.
Differing from typical Egyptian mummies from around 4000 BC – which would have had their organs stored separately in canopic jars— the mummified remains of a man were discovered in a prehistoric tomb and found with his digestive system intact. Luckily for the researchers, they could even see what his last meal was: a simple soup of barley, green onions, and tilapia.