The Rest Is History

Crystal flutes, house archaeology, and Neanderthal genes.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, October 05, 2018

Portrait of Henry VIII, by Cornelis Massys, c. 1547. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rogers Fund, 1922.

• Prehistoric petroglyphs were found in the rocky hills of Maharashtra: “ ‘Most of the petroglyphs show familiar animals. There are images of sharks and whales as well as amphibians like turtles.’ But this begs the question of why some of the petroglyphs depict animals like hippos and rhinoceroses which aren’t found in this part of India. Did the people who created them migrate to India from Africa? Or were these animals once found in India?” (BBC)

• Historians just rediscovered the real Wolf Hall. (The Guardian)

• How did the people who wrote in Old English read it? (Times Literary Supplement)

• A story on “the very knotty cultural, political, and ethical questions that attend human-specimen study—particularly in an era of increased sensitivity to the rich world’s habit of trampling on national and indigenous rights in pursuit of archaeological scholarship.” (Undark)

Mary Shelley and graveyards: “Shelley’s only real ‘mother’ was a tombstone.” (JSTOR Daily)

• A gift from the ancients: “When modern humans left Africa for Europe tens of thousands of years ago, they met Neanderthals and they had sex with them. The evidence of those encounters remains inside most of us today; 2 to 3 percent of the DNA of non-African humans comes from Neanderthals. The bits of Neanderthal DNA that have persisted are not entirely random.” (The Atlantic)

• “The Mystery of James Madison’s Crystal Flute.” (Library of Congress Blogs)

• This week in obituaries: Charles Aznavour, Indiana Jane, and the man who handed RFK rosary beads after he was shot.