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Showing posts from August, 2011

Black Death caused by Rats ? Not Exactly..

More Archaeology news this week!
A fairly remarkable and interesting read this week was the Guardian revealing a study that shows that rats were not the main carriers of the dreaded Black Death (believed to have been the Bubonic Plague), but in fact, it was their human counterparts!

From the Guardian:

Black Death study lets rats off the hookPlague of 1348-49 spread so fast in London the carriers had to be humans not black rats, says archaeologist Rats weren't the carriers of the plague after all. A study by an archaeologist looking at the ravages of the Black Death in London, in late 1348 and 1349, has exonerated the most famous animal villains in history. "The evidence just isn't there to support it," said Barney Sloane, author of The Black Death in London. "We ought to be finding great heaps of dead rats in all the waterfront sites but they just aren't there. And all the evidence I've looked at suggests the plague spread too fast for the traditional …

A Short History of Aleppo - From Pre-History till the Medieval Era

Aleppo has been in the headlines recently, for a lot of reasons. I shall not delve into that but merely would like to remind people about its rich history and culture. To simply forget about one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world would be an insult to its legacy. This post aims to summarize and give the reader a historical knowledge of Aleppo.

Geography and Pre-Islamic History:


First of all, it is important that we grasp in our mind the exact location of Aleppo so that we may refer to it , later in this post. Aleppo is located in northern Syria, not too far from the Turkish border (about 45 kilomtetres). Aleppo is also an inland city. 

Now that the geography bit is covered, we shall delve into the actual history. As mentioned before, Aleppo is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities. 

This is because archaeologists and historians believe that the site of the present city covers the ancient city of Aleppo which was inhabited since 5000 BC.
Aleppo had …

Marco Polo never reached China ?

Recently, archaeologists have claimed that Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler who was said to have traveled from Europe to Persia, Central Asia and China, may have been a fraud !

As said in the Sydney Morning Herald:

HIS journeys across mountain ranges and deserts opened the eyes of mediaeval Europe to the exotic wonders of China and the Silk Road, establishing him as one of history's greatest explorers. But a team of archaeologists believe Marco Polo never even reached the Middle Kingdom, much less introduced pasta to Italy after bringing it back from his travels, as legend has it. Instead they think it more likely that the Venetian merchant adventurer picked up second-hand stories of China, Japan and the Mongol Empire from Persian merchants he met on the shores of the Black Sea, thousands of kilometres short of the Orient. He then cobbled them together with other scraps of information for what became a best-selling account, A Description of the World, one of the …

Debunking 4 History Myths

This post will feature 5 frequently asked questions about various aspects of History ranging from the Roman and Classical era till the Modern day.

Did the Romans keep track of executions and had kept Criminal Records?Ans:) While most historians do not know if the Romans in fact, kept criminal records, what is known is that it is highly unlikely that Romans had kept records of executions.  In fact, one of the few sources that show the number of executions was recorded, was when Crassus had ordered the crucifixtion of 6,000 slaves at the end of the Gladiator War (read more here).

Another reason why historians believe that Romans didn't keep criminal records was because of the expensiveness of paper at that time.

      2. Why did Most Nazis flee to South America after the Second World War?

Ans:) The best answer historians can say is that South America (specifically Argentina) offered a safe-haven to Nazis, a far place where no one would suspect them being there. Of course, to add to th…

An Introduction to Ramadan

Its been a year since the last time I celebrated Ramadan. Yup, the good memories of yesteryear. I remember posting about it here Ramadan: The Month of Spiritual Enlightenment .
Well, I thought that I should recap to our new readers what Ramadan is about.
Ramadan is pronounced "Rama-dhan" in Arabic. Its English name removes the "dhan" and hence its Ramadan. (Its Ramadhan! )

Ramadan is a month in the Islamic Calendar (Hijra Calendar which is a Lunar Calendar). Its the ninth month of the (Islamic) year and is considered to be the holiest month of all the months (some say Muharram , the first month, is second to it).

During Ramadan, the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), during Laylut al Qadr (roughly translating into "Night of Destiny"), where the arch-angel Gabriel (or Jibraeel , as said in Arabic) told the verses.

Ramadan is known as a month of fasting. Indeed, every able-bodied Muslim (usually from 10 years of…

England's western-most Roman town discovered

On the 4th of August (today), Archaeologists discovered a large Roman town mere miles to the west of Exeter, Devon. This is believed to be England's western-most Roman town ever to be discovered.
Ironically, this find was because of amateur archaeologists who managed to find around a hundred Roman coins in the area. Talk about uncovering the jackpot.

Here's the article from the BBC:

A chance discovery of coins has led to the bigger find of a Roman town, further west than it was previously thought Romans had settled in England. The town was found under fields a number of miles west of Exeter, Devon. Nearly 100 Roman coins were initially uncovered there by two amateur archaeological enthusiasts.It had been thought that fierce resistance from local tribes to Roman culture stopped the Romans from moving so far into the county.
Sam Moorhead, national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, said it was one of the most significant Rom…