By April Stevens (W&M Editorial Assistant)
The dawn of a new year always seems to invite a reflection on the past. 2015 is no different. This year historians have already shared some new, but very old treasures that give us a new perspective on the past.
New Year, New Discoveries
The Museum of Somerset in Taunton, England has acquired an Anglo-Saxon sculpture of Saint Peter that a local builder had been using as a grave marker for his cat. The Museum dates the sculpture to around AD 1000, but cannot say where exactly the sculpture was from.
In Cyprus, archaeologists unearthed a 1500 year old amulet containing a curious inscription, a 59-letter palindrome, or a message that reads the sam backwards as forwards. The other side of the amulet features several images, including Harpocrates, the god of silence, and a bandaged mummy, likely Egyptian God Osiris.
A Fresh Look on History
On January 6, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston opened a time capsule placed under the the State House cornerstone in 1795 by Samuel Adams, patriot Paul Revere, and Colonel William Scollay. The capsule, containing coins, medals, newspapers, and documents, was opened once before in 1855, when the contents were cleaned and additional objects were added. To watch the opening of the capsule yourself, check out this video.
Historians continually look for new ways to solve some of histories mysteries, and recently researchers solved a Medieval murder using mummified feces! Since 1329, the sudden death of warrior, autocrat, and Dante’s patron Cangrande della Scala’s was an unsolved controversy. Yet, recent analysis of fecal matter shows that he was in fact most likely poisoned with foxglove.
Some historians are rethinking woman’s role in the Roman military. Traditionally, it was believed that Rome’s total ban on marriage originally put in place by emperor Augustus meant that there were no women attached to the military. However, taking a fresh look at roman forts and even art has led some historians and archaeologists to believe that many Roman soldiers circumvented the ban on marriage.
Have you enjoyed these modern perspectives on history? Share your own new findings in the Comments below and come back to Wonders & Marvels each week for more fresh takes on history!
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