History

A well-preserved fresco recently unearthed in Pompeii—the Roman city razed by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D.—depicts the final act of a gladiator fight: As one combatant begs for mercy, the victorious warrior awaits instructions on whether to kill or spare his opponent. According to the Guardian’s Angela Giuffrida, archaeologists found the painting while conducting
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Smithsonian Voices National Museum of the American Indian Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Rethinking How We Celebrate American History October 11th, 2019, 4:00PM / BY Dennis W. Zotigh and Renee Gokey Johns Hopkins University observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time in 2018. “The culture around Columbus and how Natives are viewed is slowly changing,” Indigenous
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In what is now acknowledged to be a “glorified grave-robbing campaign,” between 1788 and 1948, anthropologists and opportunists took skulls and bones of Indigenous Australians wherever they could find them—from graves, hospitals, asylums and prisons. Consequentially, the Australia government’s International Repatriation Program estimates that some 1,000 Aboriginal remains are still held in museums worldwide today.
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In the 1950s, archaeologists in Israel identified an ancient settlement along the country’s northern coast. Over the following decades, small-scale digs continued there. Experts could tell the find was significant, but they were not sure of the site’s “size or magnitude,” Yitzhak Paz, a director of excavation with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), tells Amanda
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In April 1483, a German politician named Bernhard von Breydenbach embarked on a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Breydenbach and his companions—among others, Dutch artist Erhard Reuwich—traveled at a leisurely clip, touring destinations including Venice, Corfu, Modon and Rhodes while en route. Two years after his pilgrimage, Breydenbach created an illustrated guide detailing the
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Researchers are hoping that a new technology will help them to begin reading charred scrolls dating back 2,000 years. If successful, the technique could help decipher other charred, faded or damaged scrolls and documents from the ancient world. These particular scrolls were unearthed in 1752 in the ruins of Herculaneum, which was covered in ash
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On October 8, 1769, the British explorer James Cook made landing at the Tūranganui River, not far from the modern-day city of Gisborne, New Zealand. As the country prepares to commemorate—and grapple with—the 250th anniversary of this defining event, the British government has expressed its regret for the killings of nine Indigenous Māori in the
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When France celebrated the 200th anniversary of revolution in 1989, Jessye Norman sang “La Marseillaise” while clad in a dress of red, white and blue. In 1986, she marked Elizabeth II’s 60th birthday with a rendition of “God Save the Queen.” The soprano also performed at two presidential inaugurations—that of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton—and
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