Smart News History & Archaeology

The ruins of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background. The city was destroyed during an infamous volcanic eruption in 79 C.E., and new research suggests an earthquake may have contributed to the damage and death toll.

Amid Its Volcanic Eruption, Pompeii Was Also Rocked by an Earthquake, Study Suggests

Researchers uncovered skeletal remains of two people in the ancient city that seem to have been killed by a building collapse caused by seismic activity

When researchers excavated part of the ball court, they found a mysterious structure beneath it.

Cool Finds

Researchers Unearth Mysterious Structure Beneath Maya Ball Court

Featuring painted stucco walls, the structure likely dates to between 200 and 600 C.E.

The explosion at Port Chicago on July 17, 1944, killed 320 people and injured 400 more.

Black Sailors Exonerated 80 Years After Deadly World War II Disaster

The Navy secretary officially cleared the 256 Black service members who were punished in connection with the explosion in Port Chicago, California

A reconstruction of a giant armadillo in the collection of paleontology at the Museo de La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Was This Giant, Armadillo-Like Animal Butchered by Humans in Argentina 21,000 Years Ago?

The creature's bones show evidence of cutting with stone tools, adding to a series of findings that suggest humans were present in the Americas earlier than thought

Prior to the auction, "Apex" was on exhibition at Sotheby’s galleries in New York.

Enormous Stegosaurus Skeleton Called 'Apex' Smashes Auction Records and Sells for $44.6 Million

The 150-million-year-old dinosaur became the most expensive fossil ever sold at auction, raising old questions about whether such specimens should be put up for sale

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, took a brief swim in the Seine River wearing a wetsuit and goggles on July 17.

The Paris Olympics

Paris Mayor Takes a Dip in the Seine Ahead of the Summer Olympics

The city spent $1.5 billion to improve water quality in the river, where several Olympic events are scheduled to take place

Today, visitors can walk the grounds for free or enter three of the tombs for a small fee.

China Plans to Open Ming Dynasty Tombs to the Public by 2030

The sprawling burial complex on the outskirts of Beijing was built to hold the remains of 13 emperors

Pre-teen and teenage schoolgirls made these tiny paper cuttings in the 17th century.

Cool Finds

Paper Cuttings Made by 17th-Century Schoolgirls Discovered Beneath Floorboards

The fragile cut-outs are going on display at Sutton House in London, which was once a boarding school for girls

The five-foot-tall bronze statue was installed in Peace Park in the '90s.

A Statue of a 12-Year-Old Hiroshima Victim Has Been Stolen

The monument to Sadako Sasaki, who died of leukemia in 1955, vanished from Peace Park in Seattle

The origins of the word "OK" have long been a subject of scholarly debate.

How One Man Discovered the Obscure Origins of the Word 'OK'

From Civil War biscuits to a Haitian port town, theories about the word's beginnings abounded

Riviera Coast Scene, Winston Churchill, circa 1935

Check Out Ten Never-Before-Seen Paintings by Winston Churchill

The former British prime minister was an avid painter who sometimes gifted his works to other world leaders

The sender carefully secured the ax heads inside a cardboard flapjack box.

Cool Finds

Someone Anonymously Mailed Two Bronze Age Axes to a Museum in Ireland

Officials are asking the donor to come forward with more information about where the artifacts were discovered

One of the complete skeletons analyzed in the new study

Did Plague Cause the Mysterious Collapse of Europe's Early Farmers 5,000 Years Ago?

A new study finds widespread DNA evidence that an ancestor pathogen of the Black Death helped bring about the end of an agricultural society responsible for megalithic tombs and monuments, like Stonehenge

A plastic tarp covering part of the cathedral's spire caught fire on July 11.

Fire Extinguished at Rouen Cathedral, a Frequent Subject of Monet's Paintings

The 12th-century structure and the artworks inside it sustained no significant damage

Museum officials hope to pass along cheesemaking traditions to younger generations.

You Can Now Visit France's First-Ever Cheese Museum

The Musée du Fromage in Paris hosts tastings and teaches visitors about traditional cheesemaking practices

Luis Muro Ynoñán poses with a carving of a mythological bird-like creature.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth 4,000-Year-Old Ceremonial Temple in Peru

The structure appears to predate Machu Picchu, the country's best-known archaeological site, by 3,500 years

On July 5, Peruvian authorities recovered the mummified remains of American climber Bill Stampfl from the slopes of Huascarán.

Melting Ice Reveals Body of American Mountaineer Missing for 22 Years in the Peruvian Andes

Bill Stampfl, Matthew Richardson and Steve Erskine went missing in an avalanche on Huascarán on June 24, 2002. Climbers found Stampfl's body just weeks ago

A photograph of the Endurance stuck in ice before it sank to the bottom of the Weddell Sea in 1915

Wreck of Shackleton's 'Endurance' Gets New Protections

The vessel will be preserved beneath Antarctic waters inside a sprawling restricted zone

The blade, known as Durandal, was embedded in rock more than 30 feet above the ground.

Fabled Sword From Medieval French Folklore Disappears

Known as the "French Excalibur," the blade is said to have hung from a rock face in the village of Rocamadour for 1,300 years

Researchers Kabria Baumgartner and Meghan Howey at the dig site

Archaeologists May Have Found Home Built by One of New England’s First Black Property Owners

Pompey Mansfield was an enslaved man who won his freedom, purchased land, constructed a house and became a prominent community leader

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