Smart News History & Archaeology

Julie Green poses in front of a selection of The Last Supper plates in 2015. The artist died on October 12 at age 60.

Remembering Julie Green, Who Painted the Last Meals of Death Row Inmates

The artist, who died this month at age 60, sought to emphasize condemned prisoners' humanity

Surveys yielded numerous burial sites along the planned train route.

Cool Finds

Thousands of Pre-Hispanic Structures Found Along Route of Controversial Railway in Mexico

Critics of the planned high-speed railroad point to its potential damage to archaeological sites and the environment

Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of a major medieval tannery at a former monastery in northern England.

New Research

Large Medieval Tannery Discovered at Monastic Abbey in England

A sizable community of monks made leather for paper and printing at the major industrial site

Tompkins Harrison Matteson, Examination of a Witch, 1853

History of Now

Reckoning With—and Reclaiming—the Salem Witch Trials

A new exhibition unites 17th-century artifacts with contemporary artists' responses to the mass hysteria event

Chinese railroad workers near the Secret Town Trestle in Placer County, California, around 1869

Cool Finds

Artifacts Used by Chinese Transcontinental Railroad Workers Found in Utah

Researchers discovered the remains of a mid-19th century house, a centuries-old Chinese coin and other traces of the short-lived town of Terrace

The cake may have been baked for a Palm Sunday celebration.

Cool Finds

WWII Bombing Raid Eerily Preserved This 79-Year-Old Charred Cake

Researchers discovered the blackened hazelnut-and-almond dessert in the ruins of a German house destroyed in March 1942

Researchers discovered Khuwy's richly painted tomb in 2019.

Cool Finds

Richly Adorned Egyptian Tomb Could Rewrite the History of Mummification

A new analysis of a Fifth-Dynasty official's mummy suggests sophisticated embalming techniques are 1,000 years older than previously believed

The modern horse overtook other equine lineages as it spread across Europe and Asia thousands of years ago.

Genetic Sequencing Pinpoints the Origins of the Domestic Horse

One lineage in southwestern Russia gave rise to all modern domestic horses, from sleek thoroughbreds to heavy-built Clydesdales

The tablet depicts a male ghost being led back to the afterlife, curator Irving Finkel says.

Cool Finds

3,500-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet May Contain Earliest Known Depiction of a Ghost

A curator at the British Museum details the spooky find in a new book

A plaster cast of a "ghost turnip" carving from Donegal, Ireland

When People Carved Turnips Instead of Pumpkins for Halloween

Revelers in Ireland transformed the root vegetables into lanterns designed to ward off dark spirits

Authorites plan to reattach the heads to statues along the famed Avenue of Sphinxes.

Cool Finds

Ancient Stone Ram Heads Unearthed on Egypt's 'Avenue of the Sphinxes'

The newly restored road, once lined with around 700 towering sculptures, is set to open to the public in the coming weeks

Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Simon George of Cornwall (detail), circa 1535–40

Hans Holbein's Portraits Defined—and Immortalized—Tudor England's Elite

An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum features some of the painter's most famous portraits of power players in Henry VIII's court

The late princess of Wales lived at Althorp during her teenage years.

Archaeologists Are Excavating Princess Diana's Childhood Home

Althorp has served as the seat of the Spencer family since the early 16th century

Vote for the creepiest doll via the center's Facebook and Instagram pages.

Which Historical Doll Will Be Crowned the Creepiest?

A Minnesota museum's third annual contest invites the public to vote on which of nine antique toys is the most unsettling

Illustration of Marie de France, poet who lived in England in the late 12th century

The Unheralded Women Scribes Who Brought Medieval Manuscripts to Life

A new book by scholar Mary Wellesley spotlights the anonymous artisans behind Europe's richly illuminated volumes

A Crusader coin found at the excavation site bears the name of Baldwin III, who served as king of Jerusalem from 1143 to 1163.

Archaeologists in Israel Unearth Only Known Crusader Encampment

Frankish soldiers camped at the site before the 1187 Battle of Hattin, which ended in a decisive victory for Muslim sultan Saladin

The ivory comb shows gazelle-like animals attempting to escape predators.

Cool Finds

1,500-Year-Old Ivory Beard Comb Found in Grave in Germany

The rare sixth-century grooming tool features intricate carvings of a hunting scene

Detail of Ronald N. Sherr's General Colin Powell, 2012, oil on canvas

History of Now

Colin Powell, First Black Secretary of State, Dies of Covid-19 at 84

The decorated general broke racial barriers in the U.S. military but attracted criticism for his part in paving the way for the Iraq War

New research suggests these human-like footprints found in Crete may by 6.05 million years old.

New Research

New Research Suggests Human-Like Footprints in Crete Date to 6.05 Million Years Ago

The findings could upend scientists' understanding of human evolution—but the paper has proven controversial

A diver discovered the 900-year-old sword in a natural cove off the coast of northern Israel.

Cool Finds

Diver Discovers 900-Year-Old Crusader Sword Off Israel's Coast

The four-foot-long weapon is encrusted in marine organisms but otherwise in "perfect condition"

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