Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pherenike of Rhodes

Pherenike of Rhodes: The Ancient Greek Mom Who Risked All to Guarantee Her Son's Olympic Glory - The Pappas Post

The determination of the Greek mother is, perhaps, best exemplified in the story of Pherenike, a proud ancient version of the modern-day soccer mom, who watched her children grow into strong athletes— all the way to Olympic glory.

Against all of the rules that barred women from participating in any way, shape or form during the Olympics, she became her son’s trainer and took him all the way to the 94th Olympiad of 404 BC where she donned a male trainer’s tunic and disguised her face to look more manly.

She risked her own life while doing this as women caught at or even near Olympia during the sacred rituals and athletic competitions, were thrown off the top of a hill and into a river to their deaths.

In his boxing match, Peisirodos did his family proud, and won Olympic laurels— the ancient equivalent to a Gold Medal. Pherenike was ecstatic and lost in the excitement of the moment, leapt into the ring to congratulate her son.
Read more of the story of Pherenike of Rhodes here and at Ancient Olympics

Search for Stirling's lost Iron Age roundhouse

Search for Stirling's lost Iron Age roundhouse - BBC News
An archaeologist whose research was ignored because she was a woman is being honoured in a new project set up to rediscover one of her key finds.
Christian Maclagan investigated the remains of an Iron Age roundhouse in her home town of Stirling in the 1870s.  Attitudes towards women at the time meant her academic paper on the broch structure was only accepted after it was transcribed by a man.
A small team of enthusiasts plan to search for the 2,000-year-old house  They have dubbed their project as a search for "the broch sexism lost".
Since Maclagan's discovery of the Livilands broch the site is thought to have been buried during the landscaping of a garden in Wester Livilands in Stirling. There is also an Easter Livilands in Stirling, but the other location is thought to be the most likely site of the lost ruins.

Heraean Games: Female Olympics

When Ancient Greece Banned Women From Olympics, They Started Their Own | Atlas Obscura

Much like their modern counterpart, the Olympic Games in ancient Greece wasn't exactly a level playing field for women. It's true that women of all ages were allowed to enjoy the festivities and exhilarating athletic events in cities throughout the Peloponnese states, including Delos and Athens. But the Games in Olympia in the land of Elis—the city where the Olympics originated—retained its traditional, sacred ban of women. Elis decreed that if a married woman (unmarried women could watch) was caught present at the Olympic Games she would be cast down from Mount Typaeum and into the river flowing below, according to Greek geographer and travel writer Pausanias.

During these ancient times, women lived much shorter lives, were excluded from political decision-making and religious rites, and were forced into early marriages after giving birth to several children. Despite the societal inequalities and oppression, women in Greece wanted to play—so they started their own Olympics called the Heraean Games.

“Every fourth year,” Pausanias wrote in 175 A.D., “there is woven for Hera a robe by the Sixteen women, and the same also hold games called Heraea.”
Read More here: Atlas Obscura

Ancient Cahokia ‘America’s first city’

Almost 50 years ago, archaeologists excavating an ancient city just outside of St. Louis discovered a mass burial site with an unusual central feature – two bodies arranged atop a bed of beads, with several other bodies encircling them.
It was once thought that the elaborate ‘beaded burial’ structure at Cahokia was built as a monument to male power – but now, researchers suggest this is not the case.
A new analysis of the remains reveals that one of these central bodies is actually female, and researchers say the discovery of similar male-female pairs and the remains of a child indicates that women played an important role in society.
In the new study, published to the journal American Antiquity, researchers with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey at the University of Illinois and colleagues found that there are both male and female remains buried at the site of the Native American city, Cahokia. 
Cahokia is said to be North America's first city, and is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. 

Read More: 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The mystery of the Roman ‘princess’

How we solved the mystery of the Roman ‘princess’ | History Extra

Julian Richards returns to one of the most intriguing cases featured over a decade ago in the BBC’s Meet the Ancestors archaeology series, and discovers that this ancestor has a more remarkable background than he imagined.  
This article was first published in the April 2012 issue of BBC History Magazine. 

One of the most absorbing of those original discoveries was the so-called ‘Roman princess’ who emerged from an excavation at Spitalfields in the east end of London in 1999. The Museum of London archaeology team was digging a huge medieval cemetery that had grown up around the monastic hospital that gave its name to this part of London. But as well as thousands of medieval burials there were also some of Roman date.
Read rest of article here at History Extra

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Facial reconstruction made of Bronze Age woman 'Ava'

Facial reconstruction made of Bronze Age woman 'Ava' - BBC News
A facial reconstruction has been made of a young woman who died more than 3,700 years ago.  The woman's bones, including a skull and teeth, were discovered at Achavanich in Caithness in 1987.  Known as "Ava", an abbreviation of Achavanich, she is the subject of a long-term research project managed by archaeologist Maya Hoole.
Forensic artist Hew Morrison, a graduate of the University of Dundee, created the reconstruction.  Ava's remains, along with other artefacts found with her, are held in the care of Caithness Horizons museum in Thurso.  Unusually, the Bronze Age woman was buried in a pit dug into solid rock and her skull is an abnormal shape which some suggest was the result of deliberate binding.
Continue reading here at BBC News

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Archaeologists Unearth Thracian Princess Grave

Archaeologists Unearth Thracian Princess Grave Rich with Jewelry and Mythic Meaning | Ancient Origins
The remains of an ancient Thracian noblewoman that was ritually dismembered has been unearthed along with bronze and silver jewelry buried with her in a rock tomb in the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria.

Researchers are speculating the “Thracian princess,” as she is being called, was torn apart after death during ceremonies linked to the Orphic mysteries about 2,300 years ago. Dismemberment was not a mark of disfavor but rather an honor accorded to Thracian nobility and clerics.

The woman had a Greek silver coin that was possibly placed under her tongue as an obol or offering to Charon, the mythical figure of Greece, Rome and Thrace who ferried the dead across the rivers Styx and Acheron into their afterlife in Hades.

The body of the woman was in five pieces with her skull propped up on two rocks and sitting on a silver tiara, says the blog Archaeology in Bulgaria. The ancient people hewed her grave into the rock of the mountains. The archaeologist who discovered the burial, Assistant Professor Lyubin Leshtakov of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, speculates there may be a necropolis or rock mausoleum there and hopes to find more graves, the blog states.
Continue reading entire article at Ancient Origins

Monday, July 11, 2016

Skeleton of woman with jewels in her teeth

Skeleton of 1,600-year-old woman with jewels in her TEETH found in Mexican burial ground | Daily Mail Online

Decorating teeth with jewels may be popular among some groups today, but it seems the idea was around in Mexico more than a thousand years ago.

Archaeologists have discovered the skeleton of an upper-class woman whose skull was intentionally deformed and her teeth encrusted with mineral stones.

The type of jewels found in her teeth show the woman was foreign to the region, and her skeleton was more deformed than any found before. 

The body was discovered near Mexico's ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, at a town called San Juan Evangelista.

The woman, between 35 and 40 years old when she died, was buried with 19 jars that served as offerings, the National Anthropology and History Institute said.

Her cranium was elongated by being compressed in a 'very extreme' manner - a technique commonly used in the southern part of Mesoamerica, not the central region where she was found, the institute said.
Continue reading article at Daily Mail Australia

Meet the feminist pioneers who helped shape Central Australia

Meet the feminist pioneers who helped shape Central Australia - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Life in Central Australia is a tough, isolated existence, and for women in decades past confined by the gender roles of their era, the challenges were enormous.

Bringing up children, trying to cook nutritious meals, and running households thousands of kilometres from family and friends meant these women had to make the most of what was available to them.

The concept of feminism, as we know it today, was not one society recognised, but these tenacious and resilient pioneers certainly left their mark.

ABC Local Radio spoke to family members and others who have been touched by the legacy of these remarkable women.