All Episodes

July 10, 2024 41 mins

The conclusion of the July 2024 edition of things unearthed literally or figuratively covers animals, shipwrecks, and medicine. But it starts with the assorted things that don't fit in a category, which are grouped as potpourri.


  • Binswanger, Julia. “Groundbreaking Research Shows Ancient Egyptians Were Conducting Cancer Surgery Over 4,000 Years Ago.” Smithsonian. 5/29/2024.
  • Feldman, Ella. “The Judy Garland Museum Wants to Buy Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.” Smithsonian. 6/25/2024.
  • Mount Vernon. “Archaeologists Discover Two Intact, Sealed 18th Century Glass Bottles During Mansion Revitalization at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” 4/22/2024.
  • 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.
  • Helm, Charles and Alan Whitfield. “Stingray sand 'sculpture' in South Africa may be oldest example of humans creating an image of another creature.” 4/1/2024.
  • Mills, Charlie. “Tasmanian Devil tooth and other rare artefacts found during re-excavation of Pilbara's Juukan Gorge.” ABC News. 4/16/2024.
  • Burnett, Sarah. “New finds at Culloden shed light on intensity of battle.” National Trust for Scotland.
  • Ferguson, Alisdair. “Scottish archaeologists find potential buckle of Culloden clan chief.” 4/12/2024.
  • Brewer, Keagan. “For 600 years the Voynich manuscript has remained a mystery—now, researchers think it's partly about sex.” 4/16/2024.
  • Keagan Brewer, Michelle L Lewis, The Voynich Manuscript, Dr Johannes Hartlieb and the Encipherment of Women’s Secrets, Social History of Medicine, 2024;, hkad099,
  • Babbs, Verity. “A Dining Room With Stunning Wall Murals Unearthed in Pompeii.” Artnet. 4/11/2024.
  • Mortensen, Antonia. “A blue painted shrine is the latest discovery in Pompeii ‘treasure chest’.” CNN. 6/4/2024.
  • Nadeau, Barbie Latza. “Pompeii gladiator drawings suggest children saw ‘extreme form’ of violence.” 5/29/2024.
  • Zeilstra, Andrew. “When did the chicken cross the road? New evidence from Central Asia.” EurekAlert. 4/2/2024.
  • anderson, Sonja. “Archaeologists May Have Found the Villa Where the Roman Emperor Augustus Died.” Smithsonian. 4/24/2024.
  • Kuta, Sarah. “The Public Finally Has Access to an Accurate List of Japanese Americans Detained During World War II.” Smithsonian. 4/29/2024.
  • Artnet News. “The Stone of Destiny Was Once But a Humble Doorstep, a New Study Reveals.” 5/17/2024.
  • “UNESCO wants to add Stonehenge to list of endangered heritage sites.” 6/25/2024.
  • Benzine, Vittoria. “A Lavinia Fontana Portrait Enters a Museum Collection After 400 Years in Private Hands.” Artnet. 5/1/2024.
  • Binswanger, Julia. “This 130,000-Year-Old Decorative Bear Bone May Be the Oldest Known Neanderthal Ar
Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hey, before we get started on the episode today, we
have a live show coming up real soon. We sure do.
It's very very soon, in fact, next week, so if
you are in the Indianapolis area or surrounding, you might
want to get on it. Yeah. So we will be
at the Eugene and Maryland Click Indiana History Center in Indianapolis.

We are going to be talking about Jean Stratton Porter,
who I am just getting the ball rolling on actually
writing this episode and I'm so excited about it. That
is Friday, July nineteenth, seven thirty to eight thirty p m.
Indiana History Center. You can get tickets at Indiana History

dot org. We are very excited to be back at
the Indiana History Center. So we hope we see you
all there, all your smiling faces, to have a fun
night of history. 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. This is
part two of our regular installment of Unearthed, where we
talk about things that have been literally or figuratively unearthed
over the past few months. In part two of our
July twenty twenty four installment. We're going to talk about

some animals, some shipwrecks, and some medicine stuff. As we
often do, We're gonna start with some things that I
thought were cool or interesting, but they don't really fit
easily into a category. And I've always been calling that
potpourri because I used to watch a lot of Jeopardy.

So starting once again with the pop poury. Archaeologists working
in collaboration with the Aboriginal can unities on the island
of Jiguru on the Great Barrier Reef have found shards
of pottery that date back to two thousand and three
thousand years ago, centuries before the arrival of Europeans in
the area. Prior to this point, archaeologists had widely concluded

that Aboriginal peoples in Australia did not make pottery before
the arrival of Europeans. Other pieces of pottery had been
found on the island in two thousand and nine and
twenty twelve, but at that time it was clear only
that they were made from local materials, not when they
were made. So this collaborative effort between archaeologists and the

indigenous community led to the excavation of a three foot
by three foot midden and in layers between sixteen and
thirty two inches below the surface, archaeologists found eighty two
fragments of pottery. Although these pieces are really small, they
very clearly came from shaped vessels that had some decorative

elements like pigments and incized lines on them, and they
dated back to between one thy eight hundred and fifteen
years old and two THY nine hundred and fifty years old,
making them the oldest conclusively dated pieces of pottery in Australia,
and they were made from locally sourced clay, definitely clay

from somewhere in northeastern Australia, possibly from this island itself.
This time period overlaps with when the Lupita people were
known to be making pottery in Papua New Guinea. The
Lapita people are also known to have influenced pottery traditions
among much of this part of the Pacific, so the
paper's authors have concluded that there was an exchange of culture, knowledge,

and pottery making between the Aboriginal people of Jiguru and
the Lapita people. Aboriginal people today have also described Jaguru
as a sacred place and a place for trading, and
this research also suggests that Australia was connected to maritime
trading network thousands of years ago. Yeah, this has been

described as kind of rewriting, but we know about Aboriginal
history away from one in which nobody is making pottery
to one in which Aboriginal people were part of this
shared community in this part of the world with a
lot of knowledge exchange. The paper on this was published
in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, and its conclusion points

out that these findings quote challenge racist and colonialist stereotypes
of Aboriginal communities as lacking complexity and innovation, and contribute
to a robust and nuanced understanding of the deep knowledges
and complex technologies of Indigenous Australians. Moving on. According to

research published in the journal Plus one in April, people
in northwestern Saudi Arabia made their home in a large
lava tube for about seven thousand years, with people using
the tube in phases from the Neolith period to the
Bronze Age, that's from about ten thousand years ago to
about thirty five hundred years ago. There's rock art in

this lava tube depicting cattle, sheep, goats and dogs, along
with animal remains, suggesting that the people who used this
shelter were pastoralists. This tube is situated along a pastoral
route connecting oases, and according to isotopic analysis, the animals
primarily grazed on the local vegetation rather than being fed

some kind of fodder. So this is the earliest known
evidence of people living in a lava tube in Arabia,
and the paper's authors have noted that these kinds of
tubes are really plentiful, but they haven't really been the
subject of much archaeological study yet, so this is an
opportunity for a lot more discoveries next. In a find

that got a lot of attention in April, a dentist
visiting their parents' home in Europe spotted what looks like
part of a jawbone still containing some teeth in the
travertine tile used for the floor in a recent remodel.
There's not really much to add to this besides that
it's interesting. The dentists declined to give their real name

or much detail on their parents for the sake of
protecting everyone's privacy, but they did say in a Reddit
comment that the tile was quarried in Turkya. Yeah, this
is one of those things that I included because I
think people might be like, why didn't you talk about
that tile. Travertine tile is made from sedimentary limestone, and
it typically forms near hot springs. The quarry where this

tile probably came from contains stones that's roughly a million
years old. There's a range there, but that's kind of
in the middle. It's really not uncommon for this kind
of tile to contain some kind of fossils. But you know,
definitely a little surprising to look at it and see
what is clearly the arc of a homited job boon.

Hey dead, someone's teeth are in your floor. It's a
little bit weird. Researchers in Greece have confirmed that a
thirty five hundred year old suit of Mycenaean armor would
have held up in combat. They did this by recruiting
thirteen volunteers from the Marines of the Hellenic Armed Forces,
dressing them in replica versions of the armor and Bronze

Age weapons, and having them go through a simulated Bronze
Age combat for eleven hours. Sources for developing this combat
protocol included archaeological evidence as well as Homer's iliad. They
also developed a software model called the Late Bronze Age
Warrior Model to test whether the armour would have been

usable in different environmental conditions, and they placed it in
an online data repository so it would be freely available
for others to use. I always love an eleven hour
historical larp, well, which I mean in the best way,
not in any kind of yeah, when we try to

figure out whether something would have worked in the past
by trying to get modern people to do it. Moving on,
During the colonial era in Massachusetts and other parts of
North America, enslaved and free black people selected a leader
to do things like settle disputes among themselves and act
as a representative to the white government and other leaders.

Different communities used different titles for the person in this role,
including things like a governor and king. Enslaved people did
not have the right to vote in official government elections,
so this was often something that happened through discussion or
consensus on a festival day or a holiday in which
enslaved people were allowed a day off from work, or

sometimes on the same day that white people were voting
in their elections. The first time this is recorded as
happening in Massachusetts was in seventeen forty one, and in
twenty twenty two Massa choose its lawmakers designated the third
Saturday in July as Negro election Day in recognition of
this tradition and its history. So, with that context in mind,

archaeologists working in Lynn, Massachusetts, which is on the coast
northeast of Boston, believe they found the home of one
such person, known as King Pompey. Pompey is believed to
have been born in West Africa before being trafficked to
North America, where he was enslaved by Daniel Mansfield. The
second Pompy, was freed sometime in the seventeen fifties, bought

two acres of property on the Saugus River and built
a home there, and he hosted an annual holiday sort
of gathering for enslaved and free black people who lived
in Lynn and neighboring towns. Archaeologists used in eighteen twenty
nine map and property records, along with modern data like
light oar surveys, to search for the site of Pompey's homestead.

The site is on private property, but it is possible
to sign or a display about the homestead can be
put up at Lynn Town Hall or at Saugus Ironworks
National Historic Site in the neighboring town of Saugus. And
our last bit of miscellaneous potpourri finds it seems like
every time, or at least a lot of time that

I do unearthed, there's some kind of news coverage that
gets on my nerves, and this time that news coverage
is about Rapanui, also called Easter Island. Research published in
the journal Science Advances used things like satellite and near
infrared imaging to identify areas where lithic mulching or rock

gardening was used on the island before the arrival of Europeans.
Lithic mulching is a method of subsistence farming that can
increase the nutrients that are available in the soil and
also help it retain moisture. That's really important somewhere like Rapanui,
where the soil is volcanic and heavily weathered. This work

was carried out with the permission of the Mauhenua indigenous
community on Rapanui with a collaborator from the island. According
to this data, the total area used for rock gardening
was only a fifth of what even the most conservative
studies had previously estimated. The team then used this data
to project how many people the island could support with

this much gardening space, estimating that number at about three thousand.
This means that when Europeans arrived on the island for
the first time in the eighteenth century, they would have
been seeing it at its population peak, not after an
ecological collapse had caused its population to drop precipitously. So
where this gets annoying is that a lot of the

news coverage of this research presented it as newly and
even uniquely upending the popular story that the inhabitants of
Rapanui had committed a so called eco side by deforested
the island in order to create and move the massive
statues that it's most famous for today. So I saw

a lot of headlines that said things like Easter Island
did not collapse from over use of resources. After all,
study suggests this is really not a new idea. Though
this paper adds to a growing and very well established
body of evidence contradicting the whole eco side narrative. This

is a body of evidence that has been growing for
more than two decades. One of the people who popularized
the eco side idea was Jared Diamond in the book Collapse,
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Terry Hunt and
Carl Lippo, who are two of the authors cited on
this new paper, contributed a chapter to the book questioning Collapse,

Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire. That
book came out in two thousand and nine as a
direct response to Diamond's book. Their chapter was called Ecological
Catastrophe and Collapse the Myth of Ecoside on Rapanui Easter Island.
So that book, responding to the book Collapse, came out

fifteen years ago. You can even see this whole progression
on our podcast in the archive in two episodes that
are so old that Holly and I were not even
on them. One is a two thousand and eight episode
that cites Diamond's work, and then there's a follow up
in twenty twelve with that update citing the new work
at that point by Hunt and Lippo. So I understand

that the purpose of headlines is to get people to
click the article, but a lot of people don't, and
it really feels like continuing to reframe this as a
brand new, first ever questioned idea means we're just never
going to get away from this outdated thought that there
was an ecoside collapse involved. It's like the part of

me that gets sort of chagrined is like, we're kind
of just continuing to badmount the people of Revenui for
something they didn't do. Yeah, in the interest of clicks. Yes,
this is one of many cases where it's like, I
understand that this is new information to some people. Things
are always new information to some people. But I get

frustrated when when I see the same thing repeated by
folks who have been writing in this space for a
really long time, right and should already have the experience
to be more nuanced with what they are writing about.
Let's take a break to let me cool off from
that whole diatribe I just had, and then we will

talk about some animals. Now, we are going to have
a f if you find relating to animals. We are
going to start with a fine that involves Tasmanian devils,

the Putukinti Kurama and Pinakura Aboriginal Corporation or PKKP has
been working to excavate sites in Jucken Gorge in Western
Australia after Rio Tinto mining company destroyed rock shelters there
with blasting back in twenty twenty. These sites were known

to have a very deep cultural significance and history dating
back at least forty six thousand years, so their destruction
by the mining company sparked a huge outcry and a
lot of conversations in Australia about the mining industry and
how it should interact with the Aboriginal communities who were
the traditional owners of the land being mined. The work

that has been going on at this site recently is
part of an agreement that PKKP reached with after this blasting.
Archaeologists working at the site have found a Tasmanian devil tooth,
one believed to be connected to trading that took place
at the site, since Tasmanian devils are not known to
have ever lived in the area. This site is in

the northwestern part of Western Australia and the nearest Tasmanian
devils lived far to the southwest about three thousand years ago.
Other finds at the site include braided human hair and
shell beads. Genetic testing of a similar braid found in
twenty fourteen suggested a genetic link with the Aboriginal people
living there today. Next, archaeologists in Mexico were excavating what

they thought was a wall until they found a trio
of lids which would have been used as part of
Maya beekeeping practices. These lids were used to plug holes
in hollow logs that served as homes for sacred stingless bees,
So these logs kind of replicated the hollow tree trunks

that bees would typically nest in. The lids were made
from limestone, and one of them's in pretty good condition,
but the other two are very worn. They date back
before the Spanish conquest of Mexico, so sometime between nine
fifty and the early fifteen hundreds. This is a fine
that could have also gone in the update section in

part one, we also have an episode on the history
of beekeeping that came out in May of twenty twenty.
We're going to run that as a Saturday Classic. It
talks a bit about indigenous beekeeping in Mesoamerica. This discovery
was also found during work ahead of the project known
as the Maya Train that has come up on previous

installments of unearthed Archaeologists in France have been excavating a
site that dates back to the medieval period, sometime in
the fifth or sixth centuries, but they've also found a
series of pits that are much older, dating all the
way back to between one hundred BCE and one hundred CE.
Only two of the nine pits they've found have been

excavated so far, and they've been found to contain horse bones.
These horses seem to have been buried carefully, with one
of the pits containing the bodies of ten horses arranged
in two rows and two layers. Including the pits that
haven't been excavated yet, it's likely that the site contains
the skeletons of at least twenty eight horses. We don't

really know what happened to these horses, but the two
prevailing theories are that they were either sacrificed for some
kind of religious reason, or they were killed in battle
in the Gallic Wars in which Julius Caesar conquered this
area in what's now France. The burial sites have some
similarities to some other animal graves in areas where these

battles took place, but the researchers have really stressed that
all of these possible explanations are just speculation at this point.
And lastly, we have a thing that's sort of animal adjacent.
Researchers are looking to log books kept by nineteenth century
whalers as another source of information about climate change. There

are more than four thousand of these books still in existence,
kept by whalers operating out of New England, and they
record basic information about things like wind and rain. While
this research is still in its early stages, it's possible
that it can help confirm things like modeling techniques and
digital analysis that are used to suggest what the weather

was like in the past. Sometimes whaling ships also traveled
into parts of the ocean where merchant and military vessels
really didn't, so these can provide some information about parts
of the planet where the historical data has not been
as robust. At the same time, though, the captains of
many whaling ships were keeping notes every day about the weather,

but those notes typically were not all that exact. Most
of the time, there weren't instruments on board to measure
things very precisely, so these log books kind of add
to an existing body of information that also includes things
like tree rings and ice core studies and written records
from other sources to kind of make a more complete

view of what the climate was like in the past
and how it is changing. Speaking of ships, let's talk
about some shipwrecks. The grim Shunden has made three different
appearances on onearthed before today. This was a Danish warship
that sank in fourteen ninety five, and there have been
numerous dives to study it over the last decade. The

most recent dives to the wreck have involved extensive photographic
documentation and mapping, as well as documenting the contents of
a chest containing equipment that was used to make ammunition.
Divers first spotted that chest in twenty nineteen, but its
contents were not closely examined until this spring. The chest

and its content have been through a lot of deterioration.
There's a lot of corrosion, but it is clear that
there are lead plates, molds, and cans that might have
contained gunpowder. In spite of the deterioration, this chest has
been described as an important discovery for learning more about
medieval military technology. Researchers are also conserving items that were

brought up from the wreck on previous dives, including cleaning
and restoring fragments of mail shirts. Researchers have been studying
cargo that washed ashore on Bellino Beach in Portugal during
a series of storms in the twenty teens, and this
cargo included hundreds of objects made from pewter and brass,
including lots and lots of plates, as well as some

cutlery and tankards. There were objects made from other materials
as well, including a few iron swords and axe heads,
stone cannonballs, a few fragments of pottery, and some wooden
pieces that are likely from the ship itself. Research published
back in twenty fourteen had suggested that these objects might
have come from the NASA Sonora d Rosa, which was

a merchant ship sailing from the Canary Islands that sank
in fifteen seventy seven. This new research does not conclusively
rule out that possibility, but it does suggest that this
might have been a ship that was built on the
Iberian Peninsula but sailed on this voyage from somewhere much
farther north than the Canary Islands. They based that conclusion

based on the specifics of all the cargo on board.
Because the plates were very similar to one another with
similar artists' markings, it seems likely that they were all
made in the same place and then loaded together onto
the ship as one shipment. On a somewhat similar note,
archaeologists are working with large collections of ceramic items in

Australia and Indonesia to try to identify the source of
so called orphaned objects from shipwrecks. These are objects that
have been brought up from REX sites and sold on
the private market, meaning there's no information a lot of
the time about exactly what wreck they came from or
where that wreck even was. This currently has involved examining

every object to try to piece together not only its origin,
but also how it came to be removed from the
ocean floor and sold in the first place. Sometimes this
happens through individual divers who remove objects from REX, but
it can also be the result of things like commercial
salvage operations. So the idea is to try to identify

the individual items, but also to build a richer understanding
of the history and cultural heritage associated with all of
these different shipwrecks, particularly ones that are associated with the
maritime silk road. This is a work in progress at
this point, and there are also some ethical questions for
researchers to wrestle with reason that there hasn't been a

lot of widespread study of these kinds of orphaned objects
before now. It's concerns that focusing on them could wind
up legitimizing the removal of objects from wrecks that should
be protected. Next, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society has
announced the discovery of the wreck of the steamship Adela Shores,
which disappeared in May of nineteen oh nine. At the time,

Lake Superior was icy, so the Adela Shores was following
behind a larger vessel called the Daniel J. Morrel. Not
long after the ships rounded a peninsula called Whitefish Point,
the Adela Shores disappeared from the Daniel J. Morreles view.
It really was not clear what happened at the time,
but the ship was presumed to have sunk, with its

fourteen crew believed to be lost. In twenty twenty one,
a wreck was spotted about forty miles northwest of Whitefish
Point using side scanning sonar. A follow up up with
a remote operated vehicle showed a vessel that matched the
size and design of the Adella Shores. The Historical Society
made the announcement of the discovery on May first, which

was the one hundred and fifteenth anniversary of its sinking.
Although their press release on the find says one hundred
and twelve years, that one hundred and twelve would line
up with twenty twenty one, the year it was identified,
rather than twenty twenty four, the year it was announced.
That adds an odd note to a quote in the
release explaining that three years passed between the identification and

the announcement because a lot of research goes into each release. Yeah.
I was like, then, why is the one twelve there
in the headline? Some poor copy editor was like, I
think this is right. I don't want to be a
conspiracy theorist, but part of me is like, one hundred
and fifteen is a nice round number. Next, the Lost

fifty two project has come up a couple of times
on Unearthed. That's the effort to find the fifty two
US submarines that were lost during World War II. The
US Navy awarded the project's founder, Tim Taylor, its Navy
Distinguished Public Service Award for this effort in twenty twenty one.
In May, the US Navy announced the discovery of another

of these submarines, the USS Harder. The Harder had been
hunting Japanese warships in the Pacific when it was hit
by a depth charge in August of nineteen forty four.
Another submarine in the area searched for the Harder without success,
and it was presumed lost. On January second, nineteen forty five,
the Lost fifty two project spotted the Harder off the

coast of Luzon in the Philippines at a depth of
about three thousand meters and reported its findings to the
US Naval History and Heritage Command, which confirmed those findings.
This is the seventh wreck found by the Lost fifty
two project. And lastly, in twenty twenty two, we did
a two parter on Ernest Shackleton's expeditions to Antarctica after

the wreck of his show Endurance was discovered there. In June,
researchers announced the discovery of another wreck associated with Shackleton,
and that's the quest. So, as we mentioned at the
end of that two parter, Shackleton tried to mount another
voyage to Antarctica after the failed endurance expedition. It's failed

in that they did not get to their goal, but
there was a whole dramatic rescue story involved that could
also be described as successful. They arrived on South Georgia
Island aboard the Quest for this next attempted voyage on
January fourth of nineteen twenty two, and then the next day,
Shackleton died of a heart attack at the age of

forty seven. He died in his bunk aboard the Quest.
We did not say what happened to the Quest, though
it remained in service until being wrecked in sea ice
off the northeastern coast of Canada on May fifth, nineteen
sixty two. Although the Quest sank, all of the crew
aboard were rescued. The team spotted the wreckage using sonar

after searching for five days aboard the research vessel Leeway Odyssey.
Now we'll take another sponsor break before we close out
this Unearthed with some medical stuff. We are finishing up

this installment of Unearthed with some medical fines. First, archaeologists
in Poland have found a prosthetic device called a Paldal
observator dating back to the eighteenth century. The prosthesis was
found during archaeological work at the crypt in the church
of Saint Francis of Assisi in Crackout. That work took

place in twenty seventeen and twenty eighteen, but the find
was not announced until now. The person who used this
prosthesis had a cleft palate, meaning the roof of their
mouth didn't close completely during gestation. Today, a cleft palates
are often closed surgically, but some people also use an
observator over the roof of their mouth for various reasons.

This prosthesis is the oldest known of its kind. It's
about one point two inches or three point one centimeters long,
made of a metallic plate covered in a woolen pad.
There are also traces of yellow and green on the
pad that may have come from copper and gold, which
might have been included for antimicrobial purposes. Next, archaeologists working

at the necropolis at Abyseir, Egypt, say they have found
evidence that scribes in ancient Egypt experienced work related injuries.
This came from the study of the remains of sixty
nine adult men who died between twenty seven hundred and
twenty one Pint eighty BCE. Thirty of those were known

to be scribes. The scribes had a higher incidence of
damage to their hips, jaws, and thumbs, and a lot
of them showed signs of osteoarthritis, particularly in the joints
on their right side and their neck. A lot of
them had damage to their knees and legs that would
be consistent with spending a lot of time sitting cross

legged or squatting on one leg, which are positions that
scribes are often depicted in in ancient artwork, and that
jaw damage might be attributed to chewing on their writing tools.
It is possible that this research could help archaeologists identify
people as scribes when we don't already know that that

is what they did for a living. Research published in
the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology in March describes the discovery
of a calcified gallbladder in bones exhumed at the Mississippi
State Lunatic Asylum. This condition is also called a porcelain
gallbladder because it causes the gallbladder to take on a
color similar to white porcelain. At first, researchers were not

sure what this was. That seemed like it might be
a calcified cyst or a gallstone, but both of those
things would have been really too small to answer the question.
A surgeon who had seen calcified gallbladders in living patients
ultimately made the identification. This discovery came as part of
the Asylum Hill project, which started after human remains were

discovered ahead of construction at what is now the University
of Mississippi Medical Center. As many as seven thousand people
were buried at Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum, which was in
operation from eighteen fifty five to nineteen thirty five, and
this project seeks to oversee any development done in this
area and make sure that those who were buried there

are respectfully memorialized. I feel like this site has come
up on Unearthed before, but I did not go to
the old outlines to check. Next, we have a few
finds that are related to infectious diseases. According to research
published in the journal Current Biology, English red squirrels acted

as a host for leprosy, which is also known as
Hanson's disease during the medieval period. This research was focused
on the city of Winchester, which was connected to the
fur trade and also home to a Leprosarium, or a
hospital for people with leprosy during the medieval period. Researchers
found a strain of the bacterium that causes this disease

in squirrels from Winchester that were closely related to some
of the strains that were also circulating in people there.
So this research suggests that the disease was moving between
humans and red squirrels in Winchester during the medieval period.
This is the earliest identification of an animal host for leprosy.

So far, we have talked about the Black Death on
a number of installments on Earth, including various research about
which animals may have harbored the fleas believed to have
transmitted the disease to humans. A laboratory study published in
the journal Plos Biology suggests another vector, human body lace.

This research builds on an earlier study that suggested that
plague's transmission rates during the Black Death likely would have
involved fleas, but probably would have also involved a parasite
that circulated among humans, rather than primarily from animals to humans.
Body lice, which are different from head lice, are already

associated with the spread of some other diseases, including endemic typhus.
If you're really sensitive about blood, maybe skip ahead for
the next fifteen or thirty seconds. This study involved contaminating
blood with your cenniapestis bacteria, which is what causes plague,
and then feeding that to lice through a membrane that

mimicked humans. Then the lice were fed uninfected blood through
another clean membrane. Afterward, the science detected the bacteria in
the previously uninfected blood, as well as in the mouths,
digestive tracts, and feces of the lice. I personally think
this whole experiment sounds really cool. I understand it might

be too much for other folks. All of this happened
in a lab, not in actual living people, so we
don't know for sure if the same thing would happen
out in the world. I too think it is cool.
Although can you imagine describing that job to someone at
like a cocktail part? Yeah, what do you do? Uh

uh oh, I'm trying to get into the detail on that.
There's probably a blanket answer, like, oh, I work in
a laboratory the end. According to research published in the
journal Viruses, researchers have found fragments of three different types
viruses in fifty thousand year old Neanderthal bones. These are

viruses that cause diseases in modern humans, adenavirus, which usually
causes colds, herpes virus, and human papilloma virus or HPV.
If these findings are confirmed, this would be the oldest
discovery of viruses that cause diseases in humans. Something we
don't really know is whether these viruses would have caused

diseases in the Neanderthals that had contracted them, like would
they have had symptoms would it have caused health effects
for them if they did become sick, though, it suggests
that the disease, including diseases that could also infect Homo sapiens,
could have been one of the reasons for Neanderthals eventually
dying out. And lastly, according to a study published in

the journal Frontiers in Medicine, doctors in ancient Egypt may
have tried to surgically treat a person's brain tumor. This
came from research on the skull believed to be of
a man between the ages of thirty and thirty five,
dating back to between twenty six eighty seven and twenty
three forty five BCE. This skull was already known to

show evidence of cancerous lesions, but using microscope and computerized
tomography scans, researchers also found cut marks made by a
sharp tool on areas next to these lesions. It's not
completely clear whether these cuts were made during the person's
lifetime and an effort to treat or ressect the tumor,

or whether it was as part of an autopsy. Either way,
though these cuts were made about one thousand years before
the earliest known written descriptions of cancer that's in the
medical text known as the Ebers Papyrus, seems like regardless
of what was happening, people were at least trying to
study this and figure out what was going on. Researchers

also examined a second skull from someone who died roughly
two thousand years later between sixty three and three forty
three BCE. This one is believed to have belonged to
a woman who died after the age of fifty and
who also showed evidence of a tumor that led to
bone destruction. Beyond that, the person's skull showed evidence of
two traumatic injuries, one of which seems to have happened

at close range with a sharp weapon. This skull suggested
that the person had gone through some kind of treatment
for their physical trauma that allowed them to survive a
serious skull injury. Yeah, definitely seems like some kind of
attempts at surgical treatments for this astonishingly long ago. So

that's unearthed. Do you have some more listener mail? I
do have some more listener mail. This is from Genessa,
and Janessa wrote after our episode on Maria Erosa and
Banana Ketchup, and Janessa wrote, Hello, Tracy and Holly, I
just listened to your podcast on Maria y and I
was surprised to hear about her part in helping the

prisoners of the Santomas interment camp. My grandfather was just
a boy when he and his family were imprisoned there.
Here's a link to a page my great aunt put
together about our family and the prison camp. I had
never heard of her, or Banana Ketchup for that matter,
and I'm so touched by her bravery that might have
helped my family members survive. I will definitely be buying

the children's book about her so my daughter can learn
about this incredible woman in history. For pet Tax, we
have our three beautiful black and white kittens. In back
is Rocky, middle as Molly, in front as Francis, plus
our tortoise, Totoro. I love all of this so much.
Thank you for all your hard work making this such
a fantastic podcast, Genessa. Let's open some animal. Oh my goodness,

this tortoise. I am not sure what type of plant
food object. It looks like maybe a little piece of
squash is what the color of maybe lemon? I'm not
actually sure, but this tortoise is taking a big old
bite of whatever it is. I'm very into that. Let's

look at these three kittens, oh, three cats. They're all
curled together in one bed. My two cats who are
siblings from the same litter. They used to curl up
together in the same bed all the time, and they
don't really do that much anymore. And I don't know
if I just need to get a bigger bed or
if they're tired of each other's faces. We had a

thing because you know, we had two sets of brothers
for a long time, like two sets of litter mats,
and they also stopped sleeping with their littermates, and they
kind of switched it up, and one Siamese went with
one great cat in each bed. Yeah, And I think
cats just do their they just shift their sleeping arrangements periodically.
I do have to put them in a different room

when I am recording podcasts because Onyx, after literal years
of having no problem with this, Onyx learned that she
could stretch up as far as possible and bang on
the doorknob with her paw while yelling, and so it
became necessary to put her somewhere else during podcast recording.

And often her sister goes with her, and occasionally I
will open the door to that room and they are
curled together in one little ball of cat, which is
always very sweet. So thank you so much, Danessa for
this email. Thank you for sending this link. We've talked
before about like how touching it can be to hear
from folks who have a personal connection to something that

we have talked about on the show. If you would
like to send us a note, we're at History Podcasts
at iHeartRadio dot com and you can subscribe to the
podcast on the iHeartRadio app or wherever else you'd 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 wherever you listen
to your favorite shows.

Stuff You Missed in History Class News

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Tracy V. Wilson

Tracy V. Wilson

Holly Frey

Holly Frey

Show Links


Popular Podcasts

Let's Be Clear with Shannen Doherty

Let's Be Clear with Shannen Doherty

Let’s Be Clear… a new podcast from Shannen Doherty. The actress will open up like never before in a live memoir. She will cover everything from her TV and film credits, to her Stage IV cancer battle, friendships, divorces and more. She will share her own personal stories, how she manages the lows all while celebrating the highs, and her hopes and dreams for the future. As Shannen says, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s about how you get back up. So, LET’S BE CLEAR… this is the truth and nothing but. Join Shannen Doherty each week. Let’s Be Clear, an iHeartRadio podcast.

The Dan Bongino Show

The Dan Bongino Show

He’s a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and New York Times best-selling author. Join Dan Bongino each weekday as he tackles the hottest political issues, debunking both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.