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History Buffs

As a member of the Internet board Russian Women Discussion (RWD), in 2017 I started a thread called For History Buffs for news in my opinion of historical/archaelogical interest.

The table below contains links to my posts in that thread and elsewhere, freely readable also by non-members of RWD - as board guests - by clicking their posting date.

8 March, 2017Royal Italian Navy1940sNaval battles in WWII.
17 March, 2017Wild wheat10,000-8,000 BCArchaeological find at Göbekli Tepe ("Potbelly Hill") in southeastern Anatolia, possibly marking an earlier beginning of agriculture then hiterto known. Also covered here.
18 March, 2017Espressos1938Achille Gaggia files patent #365726 for a steam-free coffee machine, heralding the modern age of espresso bar machines.
19 March, 2017Coffeeca. 1390–1897Our word 'coffee' derives from the name of the mountain plateau Kingdom of Kaffa.

For a long time it was made as a water infusion - much like tea - of ground roasted beans. Then the napoletana coffee pot used drip brewing, and the later moka moderate steam extraction.

August 18, 2017Lindisfarne8th centuryIlluminated Gospel manuscripts.
September 01, 2017Music players1877-1982The evolution of machines invented to play recorded music.
September 12, 2017Viking tombMid 10th centuryTomb in the Viking burial ground near the Swedish town of Birka was actually a woman's.
September 15, 2017Shuca. 2050-1250 BCThe pre-dynastic Chinese kingdom of Shu made bronze works in a peculiar style never seen before, or later.

Also covered here

September 17, 2017Archaeological work1900s and laterHow archaeologists work: excavation, stratigraphy, dating.
October 21, 2017Sumerian lyres3,000 BCPeter Pringle, a Canadian musician expert of ancient instruments, reconstructed a copy of a 5,000 y.o. lyre and plays it.
November 14, 2017Battle drugs1,299 to presentThe use of drugs to enhance efficiency and stiffen fighting resolve: hashish, alcohol, synthetic and natural drugs.
November 18, 2017Transumanza100 AD to presentThe yearly movement of shepherds and their flocks of sheep, in Italy from its central mountain areas to the southern plains in late summer - some 150+ miles covered in a couple of weeks.
January 27, 2018Holocaust Remembrance Day1945 to presentThe UN Assembly decided to celebrate 25th January, 60 years after Soviet troops entered the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, as the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust.

Auschwitz survivor Senator Liliana Segre with President Mattarella.

April 16, 2018Superstition and gambling? to presentSuperstition is probably as old as man.

A Naples ricevitoria, a shop for playing Lotto, our national lottery official since 1863. The numbers 1-90 played are often obtained after consulting the Smorfia, a manual that assigns precise numerical meanings to happenings and dreams.

April 26, 2018Human paintings35,000 BC to late 1400sThe evolution of pictorial art, from Paleolithic times to the Renaissance.
May 19, 2018Giotto's frescoes?XIInd centuryA leaking roof in Milan's Arcivescovado (Archbishopric) revealed an astounding cycle of frescoes, possibly attributable to Giotto who was in Milan at that time.
June 05, 2018Lame Pompeian79 ADThe skeleton of a man with an infected tibia that probably caused him to hobble was found in Pompei. He was crushed by a boulder from a nearby building while trying to flee the eruption.
June 09, 2018Saint Catherine's328 AD to presentThe Monastery of Saint Catherine's was first a humble chapel erected in 328 AD by Saint Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush. The monastery was built later by order of Emperor Justinian I. The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the worl, and also some beautiful mosaics.
July 20, 2018First bread12,000 BCIt was generally assumed that bread first appeared around 7,000 BC in the Near East. However, two hearths in Shubayqa, a Jordanian site of the Natufian culture discovered in the 1990s, were found to contain 642 remains of baked food including a flat, 25-mm thick loaf similar to current Arab/Indian type.
July 22, 2018Ancient Greek Theatre403+ BCA French team digging in the area of what was the Sicilian city of Halaesa (later Alesa Arconidea) founded in 403 BC on the NE coast near contemporary Tusa, brought to light the upper ring of seats of the koilon (cavea in Latin) of a Greek-style theatre.
July 24, 2018Parchment page12th centuryA 17th century book under restoration was found to contain an unusual "stiffener" in its back cover, a hand-written parchment page probably of the 12th century from one of the oldest now known Antiphonarii (collections of liturgical chants).
August 08, 2018Longobard burial ground560-774 ADDigging for a gas pipeline near Pavia uncovered 11 graves of Longobards, a people who gradually moved down from southern Scandinavia to Germany, Austria, Slovakia and eventually to Italy in 560 AD, ruling most of it for 2 centuries.
August 26, 2018Laos, the enduring legacy od the Vietnam War1955 to present40+ years after the end of that war, the country is still trying to cope with its deadly aftermath. An estimated total of 2 million tons of explosives were dropped on Laos, 30% still unexploded.
August 26, 2018Yet a bomb disposalMarch 201823,000 people had to be evacuated from Fano on the Adriatic coast while Army units disposed of a big British bomb from WWII.
September 08, 2018Roman gold hoard4th century BCWhile demolishing the remains of a former cinema theatre in central Como, a thick pot was found containing 300 Roman gold coins (aureii), presumed from the 4th century BC.
September 13, 2018Spike heels1953Vigevano is a small town some 20 miles SW of Milan. In 1953 a few major Vigevanese producers hit upon the idea of making women's shoes with a thin, spike-like heel.
October 06, 2018St. Ambrose397 ADThe well-preserved remains of St. Ambrose (339/340–397 AD), bishop of Milan in 374 and later its patron saint, were examined by a forensic team who were able to confirm what was hitherto known: smallish stature (1.68 cm) and an improperly reset right collarbone fracture, of which he often complained and what probably caused his slight facial asymmetry.
November 20, 2018Saucy Pompeian fresco79 ADDiscovered under the ashes of Pompei was part of a depiction of the myth of Leda, Queen of Sparta seduced by an as yet uncovered Zeus in the guise of a swan.
January 26, 2019Leonardo's frescoes?1482Restorations under way in Milan's Castello Sforzescouncovered last year in its Sala delle Asse(Hall of Boards) what appear to be Leonardo's carton marks for a fresco that was never completed, or was superimposed by a later work, itself then covered by a lime layer.
March 29, 2019Egyptian tyres1,333 BCRestoration of Tutankhamon's chariot has revealed that its wheel rims were lined with a thin layer of cow muscle, probably to ensure a smoother ride for the divine Pharaoh.
April 03, 2019Christ's birth year753 BC-1582 ADAt that time the Julian calendar was used which was ordinal in nature, years being reckoned as the "Nth year Ab urbe condita (since the city's foundation)" or more simply as the "Nth year in X's consulate".
April 17, 2019Tomb of Khuy at Saqqara2400 BCContinuing excavations have brought to light the underground tomb of Khuy, with unusually well-preserved wall decorations and his burial chamber, with pieces of a white limestone sarcophagus still containing his remains
May 04, 2019Where was Gaugamela?331 BCThe site where Alexander the Great defeated the Persian Achaemenid King Darius III.
May 06, 2019Magna Charta issue settled by Italian Cardinal1217Pope Innocent III sent over to England Cardinal Giacomo Guala Bicchieri as his Legate with full authority to represent him and settle matters debated for 2 years there.
July 24, 2019Strong warm coffee to start a soldier's day1917After the disastrous defeat at Caporetto, Chief of Army Staff Marshal Luigi Cadorna was dismissed and replaced by General Armando Diaz.

He ordered that each soldier should receive a cup of warm coffee and sugar each morning, to make him fully awake and alert

July 31, 2019Pizza, a Longobard name?ca. 700 ADIn most southern countries a cheap and popular food is made by heating in a simple oven a dough of wheat/corn meal, called pita.
August 14, 2019Oxford Univerity Old Book Project2019Oxford Univerity announced the completion of their project analysing the world of incunabula, the books printed between 1450 and 1500.
August 14, 2019Old book trade1484-1488Francesco de Madiis, a Venetian bookshop owner, kept a Zornale (journal) with 11,100 entries involving 6,950 sales.
August 21, 2019Carmina Burana1100-1936Illuminated manuscript containing 254 poems and dramatic texts of a bawdy nature, mostly in Latin from the 11th or 12th century, found in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern.

Carl Orff used 24 of those poems for his 1936 work of the same name.

October 23, 2019Val Camonica's petroglyphsca. 8,000-1,000 BCAn Alpine valley some 100 miles NNE of Milan, Val Camonica has some 200,000+ rock engravings dating from the Old Stone Age to the Iron Age.
October 26, 2019Ben Hur's historical inconsistencies1959This 1959 blockbuster, winner of 12 Oscars, contains several historical errors.
October 27, 2019Roman galley remains241 BC11 galley rostra recovered in 2015 from the seabed at Favignana, where the naval battle of the First Punic War took place.
October 31, 2019Milan's panettone1919100 years ago Angelo Motta, a humble Milanese baker, invented the Panettone, a sweet-bread loaf that became an Italian tradition for Christmas.
November 02, 2019Destroyer USS Johnston (DD-557)1944-2019Wreck of US destroyer sunk durig the Battle off Samar Island was found on the seabed at a depth of 20,400 feet.
November 08, 2019The Wall came tumbling down1961-198930 years ago the Berliner Mauer separating West from East Berliners was overrun by the latter.
November 25, 2019Italian Carabinieri1814 to presentThe Arma dei Carabinieri was established by King Vittorio Emanuele I di Savoia, returned to Turin after his Sardinian exile in Napoleon's times, as a miltary unit mainly with MP duties.
November 26, 2019Roman concrete146 BC to presentThe Romans invented the opus caementicium (concrete) during the late Roman Republic (ca. 146 BC-31 BC) as the material of choice to build walls.
November 26, 2019Roman temples498 BC to presentThe Romans built their temples following the example of Greek temples.
November 26, 2019Chapel of San Galgano, near Sienaca. 1175The Chapel floor contains a stone-embedded sword.
December 1, 2019Oldest Known Shipweckca. 600 BCThe wreck of a Greek merchant ship was found on the bottom of the Black Sea.
December 8, 2019Street...Whence?ca. 400 BCThis word in English, and similar words in many other languages, all derive from the Latin via strata, the multi-layered structure of Roman roads.
December 10, 2019A Real Indiana Jones1778-1823The life and exploits of Giovanni Battista Belzoni in Egypt and elsewhere.
December 19, 2019Ferrari's Prancing Horse1917 to presentThe Ferrari logo derives from that painted on the fuselage of Francesco Baracca's airplane. Baracca was Italy's top fighter ace in WWI, with 34 victories in aerial combats.
December 24, 2019Can an MTB Sink a Battleship?1917-18The Austrian 20,000-ton St. Stephen battleship sunk by Captain Luigi Rizzo's MAS 15 with 2 torpedoes.
December 31, 2019The Bible That Led to an Encyclopedia1461 to presentThe Bible of Borso d'Este, acquired for Italy at a Paris auction by Giovanni Treccani who was then asked to manage the institution that still publishes the Italian Encyclopedia.
January 05, 2020Roma Regina Aquarum312 BC to presentRoman aqueducts and fountains.
January 14, 2020Drones for HistoryPresentDrones have been used in the last few years by archaeologists to see what’s underground or inside a structure in a non-invasive way.

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