Trade

“The Great Divide” explores how ideas that came to the fore during the Enlightenment at once blurred social hierarchies and reinforced them, particularly along lines of gender and race. 

These 18th-Century Shoes Underscore the Contradictions of the Age of Enlightenment

An exhibition at Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum examines fashion's role in supporting social hierarchies that emerged during the landmark intellectual movement

Divers from AllenX examines the debris trail of the Maravillas, which sank in the Bahamas in 1656.

Cool Finds

The Race to Preserve Treasures From a Legendary 17th-Century Shipwreck

The new Bahamas Maritime Museum will feature finds from the "Maravillas," a Spanish galleon that sank in 1656 with a cargo of gold, silver and gems

A marine archaeologist examines one of the engraved Purbeck gravestones recovered from the 13th-century Mortar Wreck.

Cool Finds

England's Oldest Surviving Shipwreck Is a 13th-Century Merchant Vessel

Carrying a cargo of locally sourced limestone, the so-called Mortar Wreck likely sank off the Dorset coast during the reign of Henry III

A pair of rock reliefs found at Rabana-Merquly may depict Natounissar, an ancient Adiabene king linked to the lost city of Natounia.

Cool Finds

Why Archaeologists Think They've Found the Lost City of Natounia

New research draws on rock reliefs and ancient coins to link the Rabana-Merquly fortress in Iraq to a vassal state of the Parthian Empire

View of Nehalem Beach, where the ship was wrecked, with Neahkahnie Mountain in the distance

Cool Finds

Rare Timbers From 17th-Century Spanish Shipwreck Discovered Off Oregon Coast

The Manila galleon—and its cargo of silk, porcelain and beeswax—vanished en route to Mexico in 1693

Up to 50 percent of the world's tarantula species are involved in wildlife trade, including 25 percent of species described since 2000.

The Black Market Is Crawling With Spiders, New Study Finds

More than 1,200 species of spiders, scorpions and other arachnids are involved in the wildlife trade

On the island of Dejima, European traders could interact with the Japanese, but with a few (carefully escorted) exceptions, they were barred from continuing on to mainland Japan.

The Wild West Outpost of Japan's Isolationist Era

For two centuries, an extreme protectionist policy barred foreigners from setting foot in Japan—except for one tiny island

Cycads growing in Litchfield National Park in Australia.

Many of These Plants Older Than Dinosaurs Face Extinction

Cycads have changed a great deal since they first appeared around 280 million years ago, and habitat loss and illegal trade are now threats

The finds suggest that the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi weren't "arid and inhospitable" thousands of years ago, but rather a "fertile coast" ripe for settlement.

The United Arab Emirates' Earliest Buildings Are 8,500 Years Old

Found off the coast of Abu Dhabi, the structures likely served as houses for Ghagha Island's Neolithic inhabitants

Four lead ingots found in a shipwreck off the coast of Israel feature Cypro-Minoan markings but actually originated in Sardinia.

New Research

Imported Lead Ingots Offer Evidence of Complex Bronze Age Trade Networks

A new analysis of shipwrecked metals inscribed with Cypro-Minoan markings suggests the objects originated in Sardinia, some 1,550 miles away from Cyprus

The new Netflix series imagines what would have happened if Harald Hardrada (played by Leo Suter) were best buddies with Norse explorer Leif Erikson (Sam Corlett) and the lover of Leif’s sister, Freydís Eiríksdóttir (Frida Gustavsson).

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Netflix's 'Vikings: Valhalla'

A spin-off of the long-running series "Vikings," the show follows a fictionalized version of Norwegian king Harald Hardrada

Some of the ancient Roman decorative pottery pieces uncovered at the archaeological site in England.

Cool Finds

Ancient Roman Trading Settlement Unearthed 80 Miles From London

Researchers discover a Roman road, coins, jewelry and evidence of makeup at a dig site near a railway project

Some of the jewelry found in the tombs resembles designs worn by Queen Nefertiti.

Egyptian Jewelry, Mesopotamian Seal Found in Cyprus Offer Clues to Bronze Age Trade Networks

Artifacts found in a pair of tombs on the Mediterranean island speak to the interconnected nature of the ancient world

The Srivijaya Empire was known for its wealth and dominance of maritime trade routes.

Cool Finds

Indonesian Divers Discover Treasures From Enigmatic 'Island of Gold'

Archaeological evidence of the Srivijaya Empire is limited, but recent finds made along the Musi River may shed light on the mysterious civilization

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

The golden bowl may have been used in religious ceremonies honoring the sun.

Cool Finds

3,000-Year-Old Golden Bowl Adorned With Sun Motif Found in Austria

Researcher Michał Sip described the prehistoric vessel as the "discovery of a lifetime"

William Trost Richards, Along the Shore, 1903

The Sights and Sounds of the Sea Have Inspired American Artists for Generations

Exhibition spotlights crashing waves, maritime voyages and seafaring vessels painted by Georgia O'Keeffe, Normal Rockwell and Jacob Lawrence

Herr, Thomas & Co., Pittsburg, PA. Catalogue No. 101 (1907), page 74, Dresser Trunk, Suit Case, Leather Suit Case, Cabinet Bag, Trunk, Steamer Trunk, Hand Bag or Satchel.

Smithsonian Voices

Pack Your Bags Like It's 1907

Early 20th century trade catalogs highlight a range of sturdy, vintage satchels and trunks

The metals oxidized over time, creating an enormous mass of coins.

Cool Finds

Israeli Tour Guide on Camping Trip Discovers 1,700-Year-Old Coins

The cache of currency, melded together over the centuries, weighs 13 pounds

The gold and garnet pyramid mount found in Norfolk, England

Cool Finds

Amateur Treasure Hunter in England Discovers Early Medieval Sword Pyramid

On par with specimens found at nearby Sutton Hoo, the tiny accessory likely helped a lord or king keep their weapon sheathed

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