This week, I’ve got a couple startling glimpses of the past to share with you:
Copper-covered mummies discovered in remote Siberia from a long-lost Arctic civilisation
The mummified remains of a baby and an adult have been discovered in a medieval necropolis in remote Siberia. The adult was covered in copper from head to toe, while small fragments of copper boiler were placed on the baby.
Archaeologists have yet to find out what exactly these funerary rituals meant. It is also unclear what mysterious ancient civilisation these two individuals belonged to. However, the archaeological site where they were discovered has been known for twenty years and has already revealed a number of secrets about the past….
You know what? Archaeology cannot “discover” exactly what those funerary rights meant. How could anybody possibly do that, absent a time machine? “Meaning” is not something that can be dug up and explicated for posterity. Still, this is quite something.
In the mid-16th century, a bookbinder picked up a piece of parchment — one that was already centuries old — and used it to bind a book of poetry. This parchment’s text remained unreadable for nearly 500 years, but now, thanks to state-of-the-art imaging techniques, people can read its words once more, according to a new study….The team sent the book to the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) in Ithaca, New York, where powerful X-rays fully imaged the text and its marginal comments. When the researchers sent the results to study co-researcher Richard Kieckhefer, a professor of religion and history at Northwestern, he announced that it was a sixth-century Roman law code with notes referencing the church’s canon law
Now how about *that*? The things you can do with modern technology. Amazing.