All Episodes

July 8, 2024 41 mins

It's time for another edition of Unearthed! Part one of this edition covers updates, art, books and letters, and edibles and potables. 

Research:

  • Binswanger, Julia. “Groundbreaking Research Shows Ancient Egyptians Were Conducting Cancer Surgery Over 4,000 Years Ago.” Smithsonian. 5/29/2024. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/groundbreaking-research-shows-ancient-egyptians-were-conducting-cancer-surgery-over-4000-years-ago-180984431/
  • Feldman, Ella. “The Judy Garland Museum Wants to Buy Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.” Smithsonian. 6/25/2024. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-judy-garland-museum-wants-to-buy-dorothys-ruby-slippers-180984604/
  • Mount Vernon. “Archaeologists Discover Two Intact, Sealed 18th Century Glass Bottles During Mansion Revitalization at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” 4/22/2024. https://www.mountvernon.org/about/news/article/archaeologists-discover-two-intact-sealed-18th-century-glass-bottles-during-mansion-revitalization-at-george-washington-s-mount-vernon/
  • Mount Vernon. “Archaeologists Unearth 35 Glass Bottles from the 18th Century at George Washington’s Mount Vernon During Mansion Revitalization, Most Containing Perfectly Preserved Cherries and Berries.” 6/13/2024. https://www.mountvernon.org/about/news/article/archaeologists-unearth-35-glass-bottles-from-the-18th-century-at-george-washington-s-mount-vernon-during-mansion-revitalization-most-containing-perfectly-preserved-cherries-and-berries/
  • Helm, Charles and Alan Whitfield. “Stingray sand 'sculpture' in South Africa may be oldest example of humans creating an image of another creature.” Phys.org. 4/1/2024. https://phys.org/news/2024-04-stingray-sand-sculpture-south-africa.html
  • Mills, Charlie. “Tasmanian Devil tooth and other rare artefacts found during re-excavation of Pilbara's Juukan Gorge.” ABC News. 4/16/2024. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-17/tooth-and-artefacts-found-in-excavation-of-juukan-gorge/103729346
  • Burnett, Sarah. “New finds at Culloden shed light on intensity of battle.” National Trust for Scotland. https://www.nts.org.uk/stories/new-finds-at-culloden-shed-light-on-intensity-of-battle
  • Ferguson, Alisdair. “Scottish archaeologists find potential buckle of Culloden clan chief.” 4/12/2024. https://www.thenational.scot/news/24249505.scottish-archaeologist-find-potential-buckle-culloden-clan-chief/
  • Brewer, Keagan. “For 600 years the Voynich manuscript has remained a mystery—now, researchers think it's partly about sex.” Phys.org. 4/16/2024. https://phys.org/news/2024-04-years-voynich-manuscript-mystery-sex.html
  • Keagan Brewer, Michelle L Lewis, The Voynich Manuscript, Dr Johannes Hartlieb and the Encipherment of Women’s Secrets, Social History of Medicine, 2024;, hkad099, https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkad099
  • Babbs, Verity. “A Dining Room With Stunning Wall Murals Unearthed in Pompeii.” Artnet. 4/11/2024. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/dining-room-murals-pompeii-2467748
  • Mortensen, Antonia. “A blue painted shrine is the latest discovery in Pompeii ‘treasure chest’.” CNN. 6/4/2024. https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/04/science/blue-sacrarium-pompeii-excavation-scli-intl-scn/index.html
  • Nadeau, Barbie Latza. “Pompeii gladiator drawings suggest children saw ‘extreme form’ of violence.” 5/29/2024. https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/29/style/pompeii-children-drawings-scli-intl-scn/index.html
  • Zeilstra, Andrew. “When did the chicken cross the road? New evidence from Central Asia.” EurekAlert. 4/2/2024. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1039445
  • anderson, Sonja. “Archaeologists May Have Found the Villa Where the Roman Emperor Augustus Died.” Smithsonian. 4/24/2024. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/covered-in-ash-by-the-same-eruption-that-buried-pompeii-this-villa-may-have-belonged-to-emperor-augustus-180984212/
  • Kuta, Sarah. “The Public Finally Has Access to an Accurate List of Japanese Americans Detained During World War II.” Smithsonian. 4/29/2024. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/public-finally-access-accurate-list-japanese-americans-detained-during-world-war-ii-180984241/
  • Artnet News. “The Stone of Destiny Was Once But a Humble Doorstep, a New Study Reveals.” 5/17/2024. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/stone-of-destiny-doorstep-2480385
  • “UNESCO wants to add Stonehenge to list of endangered heritage sites.” 6/25/2024. https://phys.org/news/2024-06-unesco-stonehenge-endangered-heritage-sites.html
  • Benzine, Vittoria. “A Lavinia Fontana Portrait Enters a Museum Collection After 400 Years in Private Hands.” Artnet. 5/1/2024. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/legion-of-honor-lavinia-fontana-acquisition-2478687
  • Binswanger, Julia. “This 130,000-Year-Old Decorative Bear Bone May Be the Oldest Known Neanderthal Art.” Smithsonian. 5/22/2015. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/this-130000-year-old-de
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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class, a production
of iHeartRadio. Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy B.
Wilson and I'm Holly Frye. It is time for our
latest installment in our series we call Unearthed, which if

(00:23):
you're new to the show, that's when we talk about
things that have been literally or figuratively unearthed over the
last few months. This has grown over the many years
that we've been doing this podcast, and now it tends
to be two parts, which is the case this time.
So today's episode, we're kicking off with some updates and

(00:43):
then we'll talk about books and letters and edibles and
potables and art. We will have some other things in
Wednesday's episode to talk about, so I'll let Holly kick
it off, all right. So, last time on Unearthed, we
talked about how you'rs ago someone had stolen a pair
of ruby slippers used in the movie The Wizard of

(01:04):
Oz from the Judy Garland Museum. That museum is in
Grand Rapids, Minnesota, not Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is what
we said in the episode, but we corrected it in
a listener mail.

Speaker 2 (01:15):
We messed it up. It was my fault.

Speaker 1 (01:17):
The slippers were recovered, but when the case went to trial,
part of the defense involved the perpetrator's lawyer saying that
his client had thought they were real rubies. And then
there was another late breaking development involving an accessory to
the case being charged for his involvement, and that had
a whole revenge porn element. Yeah, it was a kind

(01:41):
of a wild twist of things that happened with those shoes.

Speaker 2 (01:46):
As we said last.

Speaker 1 (01:47):
Time, the Ruby Slippers are going to go up for auction,
was announced that that was the plan. The Judy Garland
Museum wants to buy them because while the shoes were
stolen from the museum, the museum did not actually own
them when that happened. The shoes were actually on loan
from collector Michael Shaw. So now the museum is accepting

(02:09):
donations to try to raise enough money to buy these shoes.
It's not completely clear how much money they will need
to raise, though, since when things are auctioned the final
selling price is sometimes a lot higher than expected. The museum,
which is housed in Judy Garland's birthplace, is also now
offering a Ruby Slipper Theft guided tour. I'm so into it.

(02:34):
This auction is expected to take place in December, so
it may be a little while before we know the outcome.
I know, I'm kind of pretty tempted to make a donation.
You can find out how to do that on the
museum's website. Prior hosts of a show as we move
on from that. Prior host did a show on Pompeii

(02:57):
in October of two thousand and nine, and pomp has
come up a number of times on Unearthed since then.
There have been a lot of new findes at Pompeii recently.
A lot of them are connected to an effort to
kind of establish a perimeter between the areas of Pompeii
that have been excavated and the areas that have not.

(03:18):
One of the newly excavated rooms is a banquet room
with walls that are adorned with murals depicting scenes from
the Trojan War. These murals are on a black background,
which archaeologists believe may have been an attempt to cut
down on the appearance of smoke residue from lamps that
were in the room. Figures in the panels include Helen

(03:38):
of Troy, Paris, and Paris's sister Cassandra. There's also a staircase,
and underneath its arches archaeologists discovered two gladiators drawn in
charcoal and a depiction of an enormous phallus. There are
many of those in Pompeii. Archaeologists have also excavated another room.

(03:58):
This one's decorated all in blue, and they've interpreted it
as a Roman shrine known as a secrarium, that would
have been used for sacred or ritual purposes. The walls
in this room are decorated as well, this time with
female figures representing the seasons of the year. Some of
these figures also seem to be allegorical representations drawn from agriculture.

(04:24):
There's graffiti all over Pompeii, and some of the latest
discoveries also include drawings on the walls that appear to
have been done by children, and some of these are
quite violent, gladiators fighting one another and hunters attacking boars
with spears. This area also includes places where it looks
like children trace their hands onto the wall. One part

(04:46):
of this room has traces of whitewash, suggesting that at
some point someone tried to paint over the children's drawings.
We also have a couple of fines that are kind
of Pompeii adjacent, so we will talk about those now.
Archaeologists working north of Mount Vesuvius have found what may
have been the villa where Emperor Augustus died. That villa

(05:09):
was destroyed in the same eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum,
so Augustus did not die in this eruption. He died
in the year fourteen CE, but the site of the
villa where he died was lost. This find is not definites,
but the villa that has been unearthed is from the
correct time period. Also, in a prior on Earth, we

(05:32):
talked about efforts to read scrolls that had been buried
in Herculaneum in this same eruption. One team has had
a new breakthrough with these efforts, using infrared and X
ray scanners to create what researchers describe as a bionic eye.
This allowed them to read parts of a papyrus called
History of the Academy written by philosopher Philademus that had

(05:55):
previously gone undeciphered. The History of the Academy describes it's
the school Plato founded in Athens as well as information
about the life of Plato. Some of what's in this
history contradicts other accounts. For example, this newly read text
makes it sound as though Plato was captured and enslaved

(06:16):
just after the death of Socrates sometime around four hundred BCE,
but other accounts suggested that happened much later, in three
eighty seven BCE. The scroll also includes information about where
Plato was buried, specifically saying that he was buried on
the Academy grounds. Some of the headlines around this paper

(06:38):
really focused on Plato's burial place, but there's already been
some commentary about these headlines being overstated. Among other things,
there are questions about how two specific words in the
account have been translated, and whether Philademus's account is more
accurate than other contradictory descriptions of Plato's death and burial.

(07:00):
Being on from the Pompeii stuff, the National Trust for
Scotland announced the discovery of a number of artifacts at
the site of the Battle of Cullawden. They made this
announcement ahead of the two hundred and seventy eighth anniversary
of the battle. The battle took place on April sixteenth,
seventeen forty six, and it marked the end of the

(07:20):
Jacobite Rising of seventeen forty five. Our episode on the
Jacobite Rising of seventeen forty five came out on July fourth,
twenty sixteen. Unearthed items there include musket balls and grape shot,
as well as a broken copper shoe buckle. The broken
buckle and a flattened piece of grape shot were found
near one another, so there is some speculation that the

(07:42):
buckle belonged to Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Hereditary Chief of
Clan Cameron. Cameron was part of the uprising and was
described as being wounded about both ankles by grape shot
as he was advancing at the head of his regiment.
So it makes sense they would put together the shoe
buckle in the grape shitt. Yeah, a couple of the
articles that I read about it didn't include that part,

(08:05):
and so it was sort of like, this buckle may
have belonged to Donald Cameron, but like without saying why,
why they believe that to be the case because of
this account of how he was wounded. Next, we released
an updated version of our episode on the Voyage Manuscript
on May seven, twenty fourteen, and the Voyage Manuscript has

(08:28):
come up on Unearthed several times since then. Unlike many
of the Voyage manuscripts stories that we have covered on
on Earth, though, the one that we have to talk
about this time is not from somebody claiming that they have.

Speaker 2 (08:42):
Solved the code.

Speaker 1 (08:44):
Instead, research published in the journal Social History of Medicine
builds a hypothesis that this manuscript might be a work
devoted to women's health, particularly sexual health, and that it
was inciphered as an act of self censorship. This draws
from the work of fifteenth century doctor Johannes Hartlib, who

(09:06):
called for the use of quote secret letters to hide
recipes for preparations meant to prevent or end pregnancies from
common people, sex workers, and children. In an article originally
published in The Conversation, author Keegan Brewer points out that
the Voyage Manuscript is full of depictions of naked women,

(09:27):
many of them holding objects near their genitals or pointing
those objects toward their genitals. This paper also hypothesizes that
the rosettes that are found in one part of the
manuscript are a coded representation of conception and development. Moving on,
we've talked about the domestication of chickens a few times
on the show. We talked in the most detail about

(09:50):
that in our episode on The Chicken of Tomorrow on
May seventeenth, twenty twenty three. Chickens were probably domesticated from
red jungle fowl, which are native to Southeast Asia. That
happened possibly as far back as sixteen fifty BCE. Research
published in the journal Nature Communications in April looks at

(10:11):
the question of where and when domesticated chickens were introduced
after that. This can be tricky to study because it
is often hard to distinguish the bones of wild birds
from the bones of domesticated chickens that look a lot
like them, and also the bones themselves tend to be
very brittle and not preserved very well in the archaeological record.

(10:36):
This team was working with eggshell fragments in Central Asia,
collecting them from twelve archaeological sites representing about fifteen hundred years.
They analyze these shells using a type of biomolecular analysis
known as we think zoo ms or zooms. It's spelled
zoo and then a capital MS at the end, and

(10:57):
they concluded that the chickens were widespread in Central Asia
from four hundred BCE to one thousand CE, and that
they were spread followed the Silk Road. One reason that
archaeologists believed these shells were from domesticated chickens rather than
wild birds that had been imported into the area is
that red jungle fowl only nest once a year, and

(11:19):
they lay about six eggs at a time, But there
were just way too many eggshells present for them to
have come from this once a year laying cycle. It's
really likely that this year round access to eggs was
a big part of the spread of domesticated chickens. In
February of twenty seventeen, we did a two part podcast

(11:41):
on Executive Order ninety sixty six and the incarceration of
Japanese immigrants to the US and their citizen children during
World War Two, and in one of our Unearthed installments
in twenty twenty two, we talked about the creation of
a massive book called the Erecho, which compiled the names
of one hundred twenty five five thousand, two hundred and

(12:01):
eighty four people who were imprisoned at these camps. The
names contained in the book were also included on a website.
The nonprofit organization. ERA Project is dedicated to preserving the
memory of these people through the book, an online archive
of its contents that was launched in February, and light
sculptures that are currently being created. Those are expected to

(12:23):
be unveiled in twenty twenty six. In April, it was
announced that the ERA Project was also working with ancestry
dot com to make this information available on their platform
in a section that's freely accessible to the public. Some
of the reporting around this made it sound like the
ancestry dot Com partnership was like the first time this

(12:45):
information had been made publicly available, but the website with
the names that was already included that was something that
we had talked about on the show before. This though,
makes it a lot easier for people to cross reference
the information from the ERA Project with other information that's
available at ancestry dot com. This past December, we did

(13:09):
an episode on the Stone of Destiny also called the
Stone of scun and its removal from Westminster Abbey in
nineteen fifty four. In March, the stone was moved from
Edinburgh Castle to its new home at Perth Museum, and,
according to analysis done ahead of that move, before it
became part of the installation of the Kings of Scotland.
The stone may have been part of a doorstep or

(13:32):
a threshold. This work was conducted by Historic Environments Scotland,
and this basic conclusion comes from the fact that there's
just too much wear on the surface of this stone
for that where to have come only from Kings standing
or putting a foot onto it during installation ceremonies. If
the stone was something that was regularly stepped on or

(13:55):
stood on, we don't yet know for sure exactly why
that was. We did an episode on Stonehenge in December
of twenty fourteen and it has made many appearances on
On Earth since then. This time, UNESCO has recommended adding
Stonehenge to its World Heritage in Danger List, something that
will be voted on in July. This comes after a

(14:18):
highly controversial decision to build a tunnel as part of
the A three oh three road improvement scheme. The A
three O three is a major road that's part of
a connection from London to Cornwall and it gets a
lot of traffic which currently runs right past Stonehenge. I've
never personally been to Stonehenge, but photos of it are

(14:39):
framed to not show that there's a highway like right there.
So National Highways and UK Heritage Charities have argued that
this tunnel will be an improvement because the part of
the road that runs so close to Stonehenge will no
longer be visible from the surface, it will be underground.
But critics have argued that this tunnel should actually be

(15:01):
a lot longer, so that the entry and exit for
it are farther away from the monument and more of
the road is underground. There are also people who are
concerned that the tunnel construction itself could destroy as yet
unidentified archaeological sites or cause other damage. This is not
even a surface overview of this debate. Really, this like

(15:25):
how to handle this road debates and discussions over it
have been going on for years and years at this point.

Speaker 2 (15:33):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (15:34):
So we're going to end our update section with a
work of art from an artist we've covered on the show,
Lavinia Fontana, who we'd covered in September of twenty twenty two.
Her painting portrait of Bianca daily Utili Macelli and her children,
which she created around sixteen oh four, has been acquired
by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. You'll see

(15:54):
that listed as famsf This painting was in private collections
for about four cents trees, and its display at the
museum is the first time that it's been publicly available.
We will get to some other works of Arn't after
a sponsor break. Okay, we are back with some more art.

(16:22):
Archaeologists working on the coast of South Africa believe an
unusually symmetrical rock found there might actually be a sand
sculpture of a blue sting ray made around one hundred
and thirty thousand years ago. This age estimate is based
on optically stimulated luminescence studies of rocks in the same area,

(16:45):
because the team did not want to destroy part of
this rock in an effort to date it, so the
paper itself and some of the authors writing about it
acknowledges that a lot of this is speculative. This is
really one interpretation of what this rock could be. But
if it is a sculpture of a stingray, that's someone made.
That's the oldest known example of a human making a

(17:09):
representation of another creature. And it is definitely shaped a
lot like a stingray, and one side of it has
faint markings that resemble the shape of a StingRay's back.
There's also an area on one corner that looks like
there may have been a tail at some point, but
that tail is no longer there. If someone intentionally made this,

(17:30):
it's possible that they started by tracing a recently caught
stingray into the sand with a finger or a tool.
Other possibilities involved scooping out the surrounding sand until a
stingray shape remained, or packing sand onto another surface to
create this sculpture. Next, researchers from the University of Rockoth

(17:51):
in Poland believe a juvenile bare bone might be the
oldest known piece of decorative art ever found in Eurasia.
Uh this is art that was made by a Neanderthal.
This bone was originally believed to be a rib, but
it was identified as a leg bone after some closer study.

(18:11):
The team has since created a three D digital model
of this bone using three D microscopy and X ray
computed tomography, and this allowed them to get a much
better look at seventeen markings on the bone. These are
markings that are very parallel and organized. They seemed too
intentional to have been the results of something like butchering

(18:34):
an animal or using the bone as some kind of
a tool. This research also involved some attempts to recreate
the markings using a range of tools and techniques, and
they concluded that the marks were likely made quickly in
one sitting using a flint knife. It's possible that similar
marks on other bones were also meant to serve some

(18:55):
kind of artistic purpose. In another ancient find, etchings on
rocks along the Orinocre River in Colombia and Venezuela may
have been meant as territory markers. Some of these engravings
are really huge, like snake engravings that are more than
forty meters long. Many of these sites were known to

(19:16):
archaeologists and anthropologists prior to now, but this work is
part of the first really comprehensive project to try to
map all of these sites, and researchers during this process
found some engravings that they had not previously known were there.
In addition to the snakes, these engravings also include other
human and animal motifs, including animals that have a religious

(19:38):
significance to the indigenous peoples who live in this part
of South America, and because of their size and placement,
it's believed that they were meant to be seen very
easily from far away. The team worked with local guides
to get to these sites, and they are also working
with indigenous groups who live in these areas to keep
the sites protected. And Lastly, geologist and scholar of the

(20:01):
Italian Renaissance and Pizzeruso has announced that she believes she's
determined the location shown in the background of the Mona Lisa.
She believes that it depicts Leko in northern Italy. That's
a conclusion that she made after visiting this area. Specifically,
she argues that the bridge that shown in the background

(20:22):
of the painting is the fourteenth century Ponte Aizona Visconti.
This is, of course, not the first speculation about the
location shown in that background. Pizzeruso has argued that other
conclusions are incorrect because they do not match up with
the geology that is also evident in the backgrounds, specifically
the presence of what Pizzeruso identifies as limestone formations that

(20:46):
are apparent in the background. Moving on to some books
and letters, the National Institute of Anthropology and History in
Mexico ORNAH has acquired the sixteenth and early seventeenth century
as tech documents known as the San Andres Teteplico Codices.

(21:06):
These documents had been in a private collection where they
were passed down through a family through several generations, but
an assortment of sponsors and companies raised nine point five
million pesos or about five hundred and seventy thousand dollars
to purchase them from this family. This was a year's

(21:27):
long effort. Authorities had learned of the manuscript's existence back
in two thousand and nine. It was legal under Mexican
law for them to remain in private hands as long
as they remained in Mexico, and it seemed like the
family who had them saw themselves as stewards and protectors
of these documents. So there are about five hundred known

(21:47):
Mesoamerican codices, and about two hundred of them are now
in Mexico's National Library of Anthropology and History. These newly
acquired codices involved the history of Tenochtieplun, something that's not
covered in many of these other codeses. There are some
plans now to publish these both physically and digitally so

(22:10):
people can have easier access to them. Next up, archaeologists
excavating a pet cemetery in southern Egypt have unearthed the
collection of letters written by Roman centurions who were stationed nearby.
These letters were written on papyrus by officers who were
in command of Roman legions in Berenice during the time
of Emperor Nero. Some of the letters include pretty mundane information,

(22:34):
like the price of various goods, which helps shed some
light into what it was like in Bearnice roughly nineteen
hundred years ago. If you're thinking why were these letters
in a pet cemetery, the team said that it was
likely that they had been in a nearby office that
was destroyed, and that when the office was destroyed, the
letters were scattered into the cemetery. This particular description did

(22:56):
not say specifically how or why the office was destroy
and I did not look deeper into it. Lastly, for
the books and letters, the Jane Austen's House Museum has
been working with volunteers to transcribe a memoir written by
her brother, Admiral Sir Francis Austen, whose handwriting is reportedly challenging.

(23:21):
The memoir is seventy eight pages long, handwritten, and on
page sixty eight this handwriting changes. That's presumably because Austin
had kind of put this document aside and then came
back to it much later after developing arthritis in his hands.
The museum acquired the memoir just last year, and they

(23:41):
know that it covers his early life in Chotten, along
with his naval career and later life, so it's possible
that it will yield some new information about his famous
sister as well. The museum put out a call for
volunteers in April and was immediately inundated with more than
two thousand and applications to participate. They have allocated these

(24:03):
pages to the volunteers who are working from high resolution photos,
and the goal is to have the full memoir eventually
published on the museum's website. I am I have a
very hard time reading a lot of old handwriting, even
old handwriting that is not described as difficult to read

(24:24):
in particular, so good on you, volunteers. I hope everyone's
having a fun time. We will have another sponsor break
and then talk about some edibles and potables. In late

(24:46):
June of this year, we started getting notes from listeners
about the discovery of intact bottles containing preserved cherries at
George Washington's Mount Vernon, and I had a whole moment
of questioning my own memory because I was like, didn't
we already talk about this? I felt absolutely sure that

(25:06):
not only had I heard about the cherries at Mount Vernon,
but I had also put them into an installment of
Unearthed quite recently. It was particularly memorable because it did
not feel like it had been that long ago.

Speaker 2 (25:19):
And also I.

Speaker 1 (25:20):
Remembered seemingly every article on the subject having some kind
of reference to the myth of George Washington shopping down
a cherry tree and then saying he could not tell
a lie.

Speaker 2 (25:30):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (25:31):
But then I looked back at old outlines to try
to point people in the direction of which Unearthed episode
we had discussed this on, and I found no such thing.
It was when I actually started working on this installment
of on Earth that I realized what had happened, which
is that I did not hear about these cherries long
enough ago to have previously put them in Unearthed. I

(25:54):
heard about them in April, and in April, archaeologists at
Mount Vernon announced the discovery of two intact glass bottles
still containing liquid that were unearthed during the privately funded
mansion revitalization project. That's currently going on there. These bottles
were taken to the archaeology lab at Mount Vernon, where
the liquid inside was removed in an effort to help

(26:17):
stabilize the glass. In the words of a Mount Vernon
press release quote, cherries including stems and tits, were preserved
within the liquid contents, which still bore the characteristic scent
of cherry blossoms familiar to residents of the region during
the spring season. Then in June, archaeologists that Mount Vernon

(26:37):
announced the discovery of thirty five more glass bottles found
in the Mansions cellar as part of this same forty
million dollar mansion revitalization project. Twenty nine of these bottles
were still intact, and most of them still contained cherries,
which are technically a stone fruit, or berries such as

(26:59):
gooseberries or currence. Most of the cherry fruit is pulp
at this point, but there are still some intact stems
and pits, and as of when the press release was
issued on this, researchers were working to see whether any
of those cherry pits might be able to germinate.

Speaker 2 (27:17):
That's exciting I have.

Speaker 1 (27:18):
The Mount Vernon's press release on this second discovery quoted
its President and CEO Doug Bradburn is saying, quote, we
were ecstatic last month to uncover two fully intact eighteenth
century bottles containing biological matter. Now we know those bottles
were just the beginning of this blockbuster discovery. To our knowledge,

(27:39):
this is an unprecedented fine and nothing of this scale
and significance has ever been excavated in North America. Principal
archaeologist Jason Burrows also noted that these discoveries add to
the knowledge of the enslaved people who managed virtually everything
about food production, preparation, and preservation at Mount vere In

(28:00):
when the Washingtons lived there. The revitalization project that has
led to both of these discoveries is an effort to repair, preserve,
and stabilize the mansion at Mount Vernon. Since it was
built in the eighteenth century as a private residence, but
has seen more than ninety six million visitors since it
was first opened to the public in eighteen sixty, that

(28:21):
is a lot of wear and tear. This work has
also given archaeologists a chance to study parts of the
property that have not been accessible to them in the past.
It's how we're suddenly finding a whole lot of bottles
that still have stuff in them. Next, researchers in Morocco
have concluded that prior to the development of agriculture, hunter

(28:41):
gatherer peoples living there had a largely plant based diet.
This research involved isotopic analysis of the bones and teeth
of people buried at Tafour, aalt cave in northeastern Morocco.
These people were intentionally buried in the cave about fifteen
thousand years ago, which makes it one of the oldest
cemeteries in Northern Africa, if not the oldest. These people

(29:05):
did hunt barbary sheep and other animals that lived in
the area, but they ate a lot of wild plants.
Edible plant foods from the area include acorns, pine nuts, oats, beans,
and pistachios. This research also showed that babies were fed
a plant based food, possibly prepared as a porridge or
a soup, as they were being weaned from breast milk.

(29:29):
Researchers in Syria have drawn some similar conclusions about people
living there from the Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age,
or from about twenty six hundred BCE to about three
hundred thirty three BCE. Isotopic analysis showed that particularly during
the Middle Bronze Age, people living in this region ate
a diet that was really rich in grains and olives,

(29:53):
while the remains of sheep, goats, and cattle also suggest
that they sometimes ate meat or use these animals for dairy.
A lot of writeups of this research that were meant
for a more general audience drew parallels to the quote
Mediterranean diet of plant based foods and healthy fats that's

(30:13):
touted for its health benefits. Some of them made it
sound like this was somehow unexpected. However, Syria is on
the Mediterranean Sea, so it really should not be surprising
that the people who were living there were eating a
quote Mediterranean diet. Wouldn't it by definition be a Mediterranean

(30:35):
diet no matter what they ate. I saw, like, I
have these an RSS reader that just collates all of
these things, and suddenly there were all of these headlines
that were like people in ancient Syria ad a Mediterranean diet,
And I was.

Speaker 2 (30:50):
Like, have you looked at a map?

Speaker 1 (30:55):
Recently, no speaking of plants, though, researchers in Oregon, working
with the approval of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Rond
Historic Preservation Office, have been studying the indigenous stewardship of
the camus plant. This plant produces edible bulbs that have
a flavor somewhat like sweet potato when they've been baked

(31:15):
for two or three days. That's something that historically was
usually done in underground ovens using heated rocks. Researchers studied
the remains of some of these ovens and camas bulbs
dating back about eight thousand years, and they concluded that
around thirty five hundred years ago, indigenous people in the

(31:36):
area started intentionally harvesting these bulbs in a way to
allow the plants to be the most productive and sustainable
over time, and then they continued these harvesting practices over centuries.
This involved the participation of the whole community to replant
immature bulbs during the harvest and leave them in the

(31:56):
ground until they reached sexual maturity. Lead author Molly Carney
described seeing indigenous people today doing the same during their harvests,
and Greg Archiletta, cultural policy analyst for the Confederated Tribes
of Grand Rond, also described this research as reinforcing the
knowledge of tribes in the Willamette Valley. In addition to

(32:20):
these harvesting practices. This research also found evidence of periodic
controlled burns to keep areas where these plants were growing healthy.
Camus is an ecological and cultural keystone, so these practices
also affected the overall ecosystem and the human communities that
relied on them. Next, researchers in the Pyrenees Mountains have

(32:41):
found the earliest direct evidence of the consumption and processing
of dairy there thanks to residues from pottery fragments. Researchers
examined fragments from two different settlements dating back seventy five
hundred years and found evidence of dairy use at both
of them. It had previously been believed that dairy consumption

(33:03):
had started at these higher altitudes a lot later. They
had found earlier evidence on in places along the coastline,
but like not up in the mountains. This research also
discovered some residues from pigs and vegetables. Moving on, archaeologists
excavating a Roman tomb in Spain have found the oldest

(33:24):
ever wine still in its liquid form. This was in
an urn and is described as a white sherry like wine,
although over the two thousand years since it was put
in the container it has turned a reddish brown this
wine was not meant to be drunk, though at least
not by a living person. This urn was a funerary

(33:44):
urn and also contained cremated remains. Also in the urn
was a gold ring decorated with the Roman god Janus.
One of the researchers in that story reportedly tasted some
of that wine for some reason, no thank you, I know,
I was like, why, hmm, Cremaine's delicious in your cuptails.

(34:06):
Beyond you know, tasting that seems ill advised to me.
We don't get to talk about actually podable potables that
often on Unearthed, so we will end with one this time.
Dylan McDonald, a homebrewer from Utah, has created what he
called Sinai Sour using three thousand year old yeast and

(34:28):
a beer recipe from the Ebers Papyrus. He was apparently
inspired by Seamus Blackley's baking of bread using forty five
hundred year old yeast, which we talked about on Unearthed
in twenty nineteen and twenty twenty. With the help of
a friend who was doing research in Egypt, McDonald sourced
some sycamore figs that were included as part of the recipe.

(34:50):
His grains were purple Egyptian barley and emmer wheat, and
then the yeasts that he used came from a company
called Primer's Yeast. It's a strain called Pta nine hundred BCE.
According to a write up in Smithsonian Magazine, the resulting
beer was similar to a German style called goza, which
is tart and a little salty, and since there are

(35:13):
no hops, it's closer to a cighter or a meed.
You can actually get this recipe by putting your name
an email address into a form at the Primer's Yeast website.

Speaker 2 (35:23):
We will have.

Speaker 1 (35:24):
More unearthed things on Wednesday. You have listener mail in
the meantime. Yeah, rather than reading one specific message, we
have gotten notes from three people on the same subject.
They are Paul, Stephen, and Heather, who all wrote about
the behind the scenes discussion that we had regarding the

(35:45):
Google Street View images that are inside the Franklin Institute
Museum in Philadelphia, and we talked about that in our
behind the scenes in our episode on Francisco de Miranda.

Speaker 2 (35:56):
I first wanted to clarify.

Speaker 1 (35:59):
One of these people I misunderstood, but another person I
feel like maybe I did not misunderstand. I was not
being serious when I said, did they drive a car
a street view car through the Franklin Institute, Like that was.

Speaker 2 (36:17):
Did you say that? Or did I?

Speaker 1 (36:18):
That sounds like some off the cuff, very foolish thing.
I would say, I think I said it, but I
didn't go back and re listen. But I like that
was not a serious question, Like that was sort of
a rhetorical joke question. Having been inside that museum, there
are places that you could get to with the car,

(36:39):
but like some of the paths that are shown like this,
it was not a serious question, right, that was sort
of a joke question. The question was like, uh, what's
up with these images? Where did they come from? All
three of these folks wrote to talk about Google having
a thing called street view Trekker, and the street view

(36:59):
Treker was possibly still is kind of a backpack mounted
thing that can serve the purpose of the StreetView car
and go to places that cars are not accessible. And
the first public mention I found of Google talking about
the StreetView Treker where in June of twenty twelve. These
Franklin Institute images are from August of that year. So

(37:24):
if this was something that was like officially done through
Google with their street View treker. This like this would
have been a very early use of that. Google didn't
start a pilot program to allow third parties to borrow
the trekker until twenty thirteen. I can't remember if I
said this when we were talking about it, because I
again I did not go back and re listen to it.

(37:46):
And it's an extemporaneous conversation in our behind the scenes episodes,
so who knows what I said.

Speaker 2 (37:52):
The museum, though.

Speaker 1 (37:53):
Was obviously closed. There aren't guests in the museum when
this was happening. There is one person who mostly seems
to be awkwardly trying to stay out of the way
but not successful all the time, probably the person that
they have tasked with. Will you be on hand for
this project? You keep an eye on this person. So
again I did not go call up the Franklin Institute

(38:14):
to be like, what's the deal with this. I have
seen other things that were obviously done with some kind
of non car Google street View image capture. These have
mostly been outdoor spaces like beaches and parks, like areas
of neighborhoods that are sort of like plazas that are

(38:35):
pedestrian only. And not for cars. So like, these are
things that I sort of knew existed. Currently, I don't
know if like the official street view Trekker thing is
still being used. There is now a whole thing at
Google where people can record their own three sixty degree
images with something like a GoPro that has three sixty

(38:59):
capability and like upload.

Speaker 2 (39:01):
That to the Google website.

Speaker 1 (39:02):
Like the forms that used to exist, like officially request
the use of the StreetView Trekker, like that now redirects
to the more general page from Google that's about like
here's how you do this, and here's how you upload
your own imagery.

Speaker 2 (39:20):
On the map.

Speaker 1 (39:23):
The view of the street view within the Franklin Institute
is still hilarious to me because it really looks like
somebody scribbled all over the museum with StreetView.

Speaker 2 (39:34):
While a lot of the paths.

Speaker 1 (39:35):
That I've seen that are like there's one I think
of Revere Beach that's clearly like somebody went down the
beach one direction and back the other direction. It is
not nearly as wandering as the path within the Franklin Institute.
So anyway, I wanted to thank to everyone who has
sent email about the StreetView Treker and also clarify yes,

(39:56):
I was joking when I said, did that we take
a car through there? And I spent way too much
time down a rabbit hole of like looking at StreetView
images in like parks and national monuments and whatnot while
reviewing the emails that these folks sent over. So if

(40:18):
you want to send us an email about what's been
unearthed some cool stuff you saw on Google street View,
don't send us violence being enacted on Google StreetView. I
would like politely request. Sometimes people will I don't need
to see that, But you know, find a cool bird
on Google street View, feel free to share it with us.

(40:43):
We're at History Podcasts at iHeartRadio dot com and you
can subscribe to the show on the iHeartRadio app or
wherever you like to get your podcasts. Stuff you missed
in History Class is a production of iHeartRadio. For more
podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or

(41:06):
wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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