400 Million Year Old Hammer discovered In Texas The London

400 Million Year Old Hammer discovered In Texas The London

The inner handle underwent the carbonization process, the hammerhead was constructed with iron purity, and this is only possible with modern-day technology, according to research by the Metallurgical Institute of Columbia.

According to analysis, the head of the hammer consists of 97 pure iron, 2 percent chlorine, and 1 percent sulfur.

This curious artifact was discovered in the city of London, Texas, USA, in 1934. The hammer appeared embedded inside a rock and since its discovery, there have been many theories about its origin, and most importantly its incredible age.

So how did the hammer end up embedded inside the rock?

Well, for the hammer to finish inside the rock, it had to have been built before the rock was formed and that would be several million years ago according to Livescience.

After its discovery and due to all the questions the hammer raised, researchers decided to abandon the incredible discovery in the Somervell Museum, in Texas.

According to studies of the Metallurgical Institute of Columbia,  the inside handle underwent the process of carbonization, the head of the hammer was built with an iron purity only achievable with modern-day technology. According to analysis, the head of the hammer consists of 97 pure iron, 2 percent chlorine, and 1 percent sulfur.

Surprisingly researchers also found that the iron had undergone a process of purification and hardening, typical of metallurgy of the twentieth century.

According to analysis, the rock encasing of the hammer was dated to the Ordovician era, more than 400 million years ago.

The portion of stone surrounding the hammer-head also presented abnormalities, seeming to have merged with some type of sheath covering the hammer.

According to geologists, the slow process of petrification dates back hundreds of millions of years.

This has led several ufologists and ancient astronaut theorists to a quick deduction of the context of the incredible discovery leading them to assume not only that there was a human civilization before the historical process of petrification in Texas, but that this ancient civilization already possessed the necessary technology for the fabrication of a hammer with modern features.

Evidence suggesting that the iron from the hammer might have originated from a meteorite is not a possibility according to researchers.

The chemical analysis of the artifact also detected certain amounts of potassium, silicon, chlorine, calcium, and sulfur. Thus, this composition contradicts the hypothesis postulated that the hammer-head belonged to the fragment of a meteorite since the bodies of our solar system do not have that type of chemical composition.

Researchers also believe, that since the head of the hammer was found embedded into the rock, it suggests that the embedding process was performed under different atmospheric conditions to the current, different atmospheric pressure, more similar to those in the remote past.

Against the remote possibility that a meteorite with an extremely rare and bizarre chemical composition and exceptional morphology, got caught, in prehistoric times, onto a piece of wood just as the head of the discovered hammer imprisons its handle, some researchers and ancient astronaut theorists point toward the fact that our planet was inhabited in ancient times, by civilizations with advanced technical and technological capacity, of which today we only have legends and items like this one who were trapped in rock. 

Unfortunately, some scientists do not agree with the theory that an ancient civilization created the hammer, and claim that it was only a metallurgical technique that had been eventually abandoned.

This extraordinary artifact belongs to the list of many other mysterious objects that have been discovered across the globe, and just like the Russian “microchip” or the 300 million-year-old screw, this item has caused debate among researchers and historians who are divided into groups, supporting and denying the possibility that the human race is much older than previously thought.

Whether this artifact is indeed a hammer dating back hundreds of millions of years, is something that will fuel debate among supporters of the ancient astronaut theory and conventional archaeologists, who both have provided arguments explaining the origin and age of the hammer.

500-Year-Old Incan ‘Princess’ Mummy Finally Returned To Bolivia After 129 Years

500-Year-Old Incan ‘Princess’ Mummy Finally Returned To Bolivia After 129 Years

Some 129 years after it was donated to the Michigan State University Museum, a 500-year-old Incan Girl’s mummy has been returned to Bolivia and an official says that human remains of archeological significance are the first time being repatriated back to the Andean country.

Known as Ñusta, a Quechua word for ‘Princess,’ the mummy amazes many because of its excellent state of preservation: Its black braids seem recently combed and its hands still cling to small feathers.

Experts say the mummy originally came from a region in the Andean highlands near La Paz during the last years of the Inca civilization. 

Radiocarbon tests also have revealed that it dates to the second half of the 15th century, confirming the likelihood that its tomb burial preceded the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the conquest of the Inca by the Spanish.

Close-up of Ñusta’s very well-preserved feet and hands.

‘Despite the fact that it was given the name Ñusta, or ‘Princess,’ we don’t know if she was really a princess.

We will only be able to answer that with DNA studies,’ said William A. Lovis, an MSU emeritus professor of anthropology who worked for years to help bring the remains home.

The mummy was returned more than two weeks ago with the assistance of the U.S. embassy in La Paz, and a new study is expected to be carried out by November by Bolivian academics and foreign experts. 

Until then, accompanying funerary objects will be exhibited to the public during a celebration that pays homage to the dead on Nov. 2.

Culture Minister Wilma Alanoca said that in recent years, the Bolivian government has achieved the repatriation of several archaeological goods that were taken illegally, but this is the first time that a body has been brought back.

‘It’s the first time that a body has been recovered, a mummy from the Inca period,’ she said.

Still, many mysteries remain unsolved.

The girl, who is thought to have been part of an ethnic Aymara group known as the Pacajes, had originally been placed in a stone tomb along with sandals, a small clay jar, pouches, feathers and several types of plants including maize and coca – perhaps because some Andean civilizations believed that offerings helped the dead transition into the next life.

The mummy was originally found in a chullpa, a stone burial tomb built by the Aymara.

‘It’s possible that the girl was an important person and that the objects placed with her had as much sacred importance as they had a useful purpose,’ said Lovis. 

‘Another possibility is that her death was an Inca sacrifice to appease or an offer to Inca deities.’

Ñusta is believed to have been about 8 years old when she died and was buried in a dress made with threads from llama or alpaca, animals which were domesticated more than 4,000 years ago in the Andes and still roam the highlands of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile.

David Trigo, who heads the National Archaeology Museum in La Paz, said the well-kept objects open new doors into a society that has barely been studied.

‘We can say that she was an important member of her ethnic group,’ Trigo said, referring to Incan and Aymara traditions of building adobe or stone tombs known as chullpa for elite members of their communities.

For now, the remains are being preserved in a refrigerated chamber at the National Archaeology Museum in downtown La Paz.

9-Year-Old Kid Literally Stumbled on Stunning Fossils of a New Hominid

9-Year-Old Kid Literally Stumbled on Stunning Fossils of a New Hominid

In South Africa, a young boy walking his dog has unconsciously stumbled through a pair of about 2 million years old which is now supposed to fill an integral gap in our knowledge of human evolution.

Nine-years-old Matthew Berger and his dog stumbled in a cavern close Johannesburg in 2008, in Malapa, South Africa, over the partially fossilized bones of an adult woman and a young man.

Since then, there has been much debate over whether these remains are genuinely distinct from previously discovered species.

Nine-year-old Matthew Berger upon the skeleton’s discovery.

The bones were found to be a close relative of the Homo genus and have come to be known as Australopithecus sediba (Au. Sediba) — “Australopithecus” means “southern ape.” And now, according to a new study, the remains are believed to be the bridge in human evolution between early humans and our more apelike ancestors.

Australopithecus sediba is thought to come between the 3-million-year-old apelike species known as Australopithecus afarensis (from which the famous “Lucy” specimen comes) and the “Handyman” species known as Homo habilis, who used tools 1.5 million to 2.1 million years ago.

And these latest Au. Sediba skeletons are even more complete than the famous “Lucy,” whose 1974 discovery was previously unprecedented.

“The anatomies we are seeing in Australopithecus sediba are forcing us to reassess the pathway by which we became human,” reported Jeremy DeSilva, co-author of the study.

The skeleton of Au. sediba on display at Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Though some researchers have noted this discovery as indeed that of a unique species since its uncovering in 2008, this latest study illustrates precisely how Au. sediba is, in fact, distinct.

The study thoroughly describes the new species’ anatomy and has found similarities with early members of the Homo genus “suggesting a close evolutionary relationship.”

The hands of the nearly 2-million-year-old Au. sediba resemble those of Homo habilis but are not the same, which suggests that the former was also able to use tools or at the very least, had a more precise grip than that of earlier species.

Australopithecus sediba is also now believed to have walked on two feet, though it would have spent much of its time in the trees, “perhaps for foraging and protection from predators,” the study said.

And all this, remember, came from an accidental discovery.

“Imagine for a moment that Matthew stumbled over the rock and continued following his dog without noticing the fossil,” the authors wrote.

“If those events had occurred instead, our science would not know about Au. sediba, but those fossils would still be there, still encased in calcified clastic sediments, still waiting to be discovered.”

A study of the unearthed skeletons revealed that the deceased lived nearly 1,500 years ago and were all boys belonging to different cultural groups.

Ancient Alien-Like Heads Discovered in Croatia

Three Ancient Skeletons have been discovered by the archeologists in Croatia, and two of them had pointy, artificially deformed skulls.

Each of those skulls had been melded into a different shape, possibly as a way to show they belonged to a specific cultural group.

Artificial cranial deformation has been practiced in various parts of the world, from Eurasia and Africa to South America.

It is the practice of shaping a person’s skull — such as through using tight headdresses, bandages or rigid tools — while the skull bones are still malleable in infancy.

Ancient cultures had different reasons for the practice, from indicating social status to creating what they thought was a more beautiful skull.

The earliest known instance of this practice occurred 12,000 years ago in ancient China, but it’s unclear if the practice spread from there or if it emerged independently in different parts of the world.

In this case, archeologists found these three skeletons in a burial pit in Croatia’s Hermanov vinograd archeological site in 2013.

Between 2014 and 2017, they analyzed the skeletons using various methods, including DNA analysis and radiographic imaging— a method that involves using radiation to view the inside of an object such as a skull. 

Their analysis revealed that the skeletons were all males who had died between ages 12 and 16. They all showed evidence of malnutrition, but that’s not necessarily how they died.  

They could have had “some kind of disease that killed them quickly and didn’t leave any traces on their bones,” such as plague, said senior author Mario Novak, a bioarchaeologist at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, Croatia. 

The archaeologists didn’t find artifacts in the burial that could have revealed the boys’ social status, Novak said. 

The burial pit where the individuals were found — Hermanov vinograd site.

The analysis also revealed that the three had lived between A.D. 415 and 560, a time that corresponds to the Great Migration Period, which is “a very turbulent period in Europe’s history.

Right after the fall of the Roman Empire, completely new populations of people and cultures began to arrive in Europe and become the basis for modern European nations. “In other words, this period set the foundations of Europe as we know it today,” Novak said.

Indeed, DNA analysis of the ancient trio revealed that one of them had a West Eurasian ancestry, another a near-Eastern ancestry and the third an East Asian ancestry.

The boy who was of near-Eastern ancestry had a circular-erect type cranial deformation, which means that the frontal bone behind the forehead was flattened and the height of the skull was “significantly increased,” Novak said.

The boy who likely came from West Eurasia didn’t have any skull deformation, and the boy with East Asian ancestry had a skull with an “oblique” deformation, which means the skull was elongated diagonally upward.

“We propose that different skull deformation types in Europe were used as a visual indicator of association with a certain cultural group,” Novak said. As of yet, it’s unclear what cultural groups they belonged to, though the East Asian boy could have been a Hun.

Now, Novak and his team hope to find more samples of cranial deformation from Europe to understand this phenomenon on a larger scale.

Ancient Whale Bones Found in Burica Peninsula of Panama

Fossil Hunters Found Bones From An Ancient Whale… And Then They Saw The Bite Marks

The whale fin fossils. (Photo: Photos courtesy Carlos Jaramillo)

At the top of the water surface, there was tremendous turmoil. An island of flesh, once comfortably living and swimming through the ancient seas, bobbed silently, at times yanked violently to the side or jolted upward by forces below it.

A huge prehistoric seabird called Pelagornis miocaenus, which circles lazily above the scene, may have noticed that the whale carcass in its entirety, partially exposed to the air, but much of it underwater.

He had seen the many sharks that surrounded him. Some take breaths, shaking the flesh off the body and go away. Others may have attacked the whale from below, propelling themselves teeth first into the dead mammal.

The head and snout of a lone great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) may have appeared amongst the waves, biting off chunks from the dead whale’s side.

A whale this size isn’t devoured in a day, no matter how hungry the sharks encircling it was. With the tastier options—the tongue and most of the fatty flesh—eaten away, the carcass was beginning to come apart. The head had long since detached, its skull drifting down to the seafloor. Other parts were carried off to be eaten, the bones discarded elsewhere. Eventually, whatever gases or fat content kept the carcass afloat would dissipate, and it would sink.

One of the whale’s fins, in shreds, had already sunk to the sand. Ancient fish may have snacked on the threads of flesh still clinging to the exposed bones. Marine invertebrates such as worms and bryozoans attached themselves onto what remained.

In time, the remnants of this fin were covered by the seafloor. Those same remnants saw daylight again over 2 million years later, in September 2016. Professor Joaquín Atencio, two of his students, Joel Orocú and Patricio Pimentel, and Joel’s father, Félix Orocú, discovered the exposed fossil whale bones when the tide was out in the Burica Peninsula of Panama.

The fossil hunters: Félix Orocú (red shirt); his son, Joel Orocú (holding shovel); and students from Colegio Punta Burica and Escuela Primaria Caña Blanca. (Photo: Photos courtesy of Carlos Jaramillo)

After spotting the fossils in the coastal outcrop, Atencio called Carlos Jaramillo, a geologist, and paleontologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who in turn put together a team of scientists to excavate them. They uncovered several disarticulated fossil whale bones and a fossil shark tooth nearby.

The research into these bones culminated in a paper published recently in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica: “Shark-cetacean trophic interactions during the late Pliocene in the Central Eastern Pacific (Panama).”

The authors determined that these bones belonged to a type of Balaenopterid, a genus of filter-feeding whales that includes today’s humpback and blue whales. Fin bones alone are not enough to determine the exact species or the size of the marine mammal, but these particular bones did offer tantalizing clues into the last moments of this animal.

Graphic: Cortés et al.

“When we collected the whale fossils,” explained lead author Dirley Cortés, a paleobiologist at Redpath Museum, McGill University, “from the beginning we were really surprised about the giant size of the appendicular bones. After a while of inspection, we realized some of the bones had strange serrated marks across the surface, we came up with the exciting hypothesis of shark bite marks, but it took us more time to actually confirm it.”

One such bone, they reported, has 26 separate bite traces upon it. Studying such traces is the hallmark of ichnology, a field that specializes in the grooves, marks, edges, and prints left behind by living species. What might look like just a bunch of cracks on the ancient bone to the average person reads like an entire language to ichnologists, one that provides remarkable insight?

“Some of the bite traces show these very finely spaced parallel lines,” said Anthony Martin, ichnologist at Emory University, “which is typical of the kind of damage you would get from a serrated tooth. That damage is generally associated with sharks.”

Image: Cortés et al.

Absent conclusive proof one way or the other, the authors conservatively propose that at least two different sharks may have scavenged upon this whale, perhaps great white sharks. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, the marine mammal curator for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, explained that this assumption is due to the size difference between the bite traces.

The scenario described at the start of this article may or may not have actually occurred. While fossils tell us a great deal, they don’t reveal every detail. We don’t know whether the whale was already dead at the time of the shark bites; we don’t know whether it was scavenged while floating on the surface or whether it had already sunk and was eaten on the seafloor. We also don’t know with certainty which species of shark gnawed on its flesh.

“From what we know, at the end of the Pliocene, there is an interesting mix of more modern fauna with other more ‘archaic’ or extinct groups,” Velez-Juarbe said. “This, of course, changed a bit at the end of the Neogene, when there seems to have been a marine megafauna extinction event.”

In other words, some of the creatures living in oceans 3.6 million to 2.58 million years ago are very much a part of our world today. We have filter-feeding whales and great white sharks off of our coasts. The story these fossils tell is one we can instantly imagine and understand. Today’s sharks are not known to attack full-grown whales. If their ancestors behaved in similar ways, then it is reasonable to assume ancient sharks scavenged—rather than killed then ate—this ancient whale. The bite traces support this.

“The vast majority of bite traces on bone are scavenging,” Martin said. “In many instances, and I think in this instance, too, there might not be enough flesh to prevent the teeth from contacting the bone. Once the teeth are contacting the bone, that means either that bone is exposed or the flesh is thin enough that the teeth can contact bone.”

“This finding is of scientific importance not only because we were able to tell much about sharks feeding on whales [in prehistoric times], but because of its temporal context. As we pointed out in the paper, the genetic diversity of cetaceans, and especially mysticetes, declined around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, an example of a global turnover event in the marine megafauna,” wrote Cortés in an email. “Fossil marine mammals, like the one preserved here, will be useful for understanding the dynamics of the marine fauna in one of the most critical periods of Earth history, the Plio-Pleistocene transition.”

Cortés emphasized the importance of further exploring the Burica Peninsula in Panama and other nearby sites. While whale fossils are common throughout the world, discoveries have been relatively few in Central and South America. The whale specimen described here is actually the first marine mammal recorded from the Neogene (a period that spanned from 23 million years ago to 2.58 million years ago) in the Burica Peninsula.

“One of the reasons,” Cortés offered, “maybe the lack of fully exposed Cenozoic outcrops in particular in the Pacific side of Central America, which makes it difficult to prospect this succession and get data. Another important reason is the number of researchers per capita.”

She described how paleontology is still an emerging science in countries such as Panama and Colombia. To illustrate this further, she explained that out of “1 million citizens, Colombia has less than 90 scientists, of which a minimum amount is involved in paleontology. Without enough paleontologists, research becomes challenged although the privileged way of life. And the panorama for women scientists does not look so encouraging either.”

“Something paleontologists always highlight is that no matter how complete, what matters most is the amazing story that fossil has to tell us,” wrote Cortés. The stories yet to be told—the fossils hidden for millions of years—are just waiting to be found.

A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain

A Farmer’s Misplaced Hammer Led to the Largest Roman Treasure in Britain

When Eric Lawes set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk on November 16, 1992, it wasn’t on a treasure hunt.

The metal detector he’d received as a retirement gift was meant to find a hammer lost on the farmland.

But the detector picked up a strong signal in the earth, leading Lawes to start digging, and it quickly became apparent that he had indeed found treasure.

Hoxne Village. 

The Guardian reports that, when Lawes saw that his preliminary digging had yielded a few gold coins and silver spoons, he immediately contacted both the local archaeological society and the police department.

Archaeologists came to the property the following day and had the area of earth holding the treasure carefully sectioned-off and removed. Their hope was that at a later stage, in their laboratory, they could examine the items in order to identify both their age and how they were stored.

Hoxne Hoard: Display case at the British Museum showing a reconstruction of the arrangement of the hoard treasure when excavated in 1992. 

When all was said and done, close to 60 pounds of items made from silver and gold were found on the site. These included more than 15,000 Roman coins, 200 gold objects, and several silver spoons.

For archaeologists, this find — which later became labeled as the Hoxne Hoard — was an incredible discovery. AP News reported that archaeologist Judith Plouviez was over-the-moon about the discovery, saying that it was “an incredibly exciting and amazing find.” What’s more, another archaeologist, Rachel Wilkinson, told Smithsonian Magazine that this discovery was “the largest and latest ever found in Britain.”

Ordinarily, archaeologists would use radiocarbon dating as a means of identifying the age of ancient relics. However, they couldn’t locate any suitable material from the haul. Consequently, they determined the age by examining the writing on the coins, as well as the ruler carved into them, estimating that the treasure was probably buried in either 408 or 409 AD.

The silver “Hoxne Tigress” – the broken-off handle from an unknown object – is the best known single piece out of some 15,000 in the hoard.

Roman-era archaeologist Peter Guest told Smithsonian Magazine that “if you look at them a little more carefully, then they should be dated to the period after the separation of Britain from the Roman Empire.”

He offers as part of his evidence the fact that almost all of the coins found in the Hoxne Hoard were clipped – in other words, small chunks of their edges had been taken off. These clippings would have been used to create coins which were similar to the Roman coins of that era.

A silver-gilt spoon with a marine beast from the Hoxne Hoard. Currently in the British Museum. 

A guest has a logical reason for this, arguing that “The Roman Empire wasn’t supplying Britain with new gold and silver coins, and in light of that, the population tried to get over this sudden cutoff in the supply of their precious metals by making the existing supplies go further.”

Reconstruction of the Hoxne treasure chest. 

Archaeologists also believe that the treasure belonged to a Romano-British family. During that time, considering that there was so much societal discord and upheaval, it was common for Romans who had settled in Britain to bury their most prized possessions.

Two gold bracelets from the Hoxne Hoard, in the British Museum.

That said, one archaeologist is of the belief that the hoard had a lot of sentimental value for the Romano-British family to whom it is believed to have belonged. In her book The Hoxne Late Roman Treasure: Gold Jewellery and Silver Plate, Catherine Johns claims that the manner in which the treasure was kept supported this claim.

Some of the items which were recovered had been packaged in small, wooden boxes which were lined with leather. What’s more, pieces of wood, locks, and nails, among other things, surrounded the gold and silver pieces. This leads Catherine to assert that the package was carefully buried and not simply chucked away in a rush.

Three silver-gilt Roman piperatoria or pepper pots from the Hoxne Hoard on display at the British Museum

Interestingly enough, the items unearthed might shed some light on the identity of the family who owned them. They cite a gold bracelet bearing the inscription “UTERE FELIX DOMINA IULIANE,” which roughly translates to “use this happily Lady Juliane”.


A second name “Aurelius Ursicinus” has also been discovered. This has consequently led some to believe that Juliane and Aurelius were the couples and the original owners of the treasure. That said, that has yet to be confirmed.

Two toiletry items, one in the shape of a crane-like bird; the other with an empty socket, probably for bristles for a makeup brush. 

All in all, the discovery was a real treasure for archaeologists, and by extension, for Lawes. According to Smithsonian Magazine, in recognition of his discovery and willingness to contact authorities, the British government rewarded him with over £1.7 million, an amount which he shared with the farmer whose land was dug out in order to get the treasure.

Funnily enough, apart from the treasure, Lawes also found his lost hammer — which now resides in the British Museum.

The Town that is Literally Living Under a Rock

The Town that is Literally Living Under a Rock

In the province of Cádiz in southern Spain, there is a tiny settlement where individuals seem to have discovered a way to live more efficiently and with nature.

Many of the homes are literally located under the rock, just like the saying and like cavemen, but not exactly.

Concealed from the scorching Spanish sun, Setenil de las Bodegas is a small pueblo Blanco (Andalusian white village) and is home today to almost 3,000 residents and a tourist attraction for thousands.

A Spanish town built into the cliffs. Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the well-known “white villages” in Spain.

At first glance, the place makes one wonder if the houses were formed beneath these rocks, or if it was vice versa.

The first homes were built into the cliff-face thousands of years ago, and over the years have been expanded between the boulders and beneath the rocky overhang that shelters these white houses from the heat of the Spanish summers.

Setenil de Las Bodegas has played an important role throughout Spanish history.

According to popular belief, the natural caves of Setenil were indeed inhabited from the dawn of time, or at least as far back as 20,000 B.C.

At least this is what nearby prehistoric cave settlements suggest. For instance, the Cueva de la Pileta that sits just outside the magnificent mountain top city of Ronda, in Malaga province, just 20 to 30 minutes drive from Setenil, have been found to show signs of humans from the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods. Drawings inside the caves here are believed to be more than 20,000 years old.

Most amazingly, one large overhang covers an entire block of white houses, providing shade and natural cooling during warm summers in southern Spain.

What this highly unusual village does offer are blinding white houses with rock instead of ceilings for a hundred homes and shops, and olive groves instead of roofs; it’s a unique experience to walk or drink a cup of coffee in the shade below a giant looming rock, as well as a chance to learn the peculiar history of how it got its name and why it was built as it is, here above the Rio Trejo and right in the middle of the well-trodden pathway through the White Villages of Andalucía.

What is known for sure is that it was continually inhabited from the 12th century, in the Arabic Almohad period?

There are also indications of pre-Roman inhabitants and noticeable traces of former Roman dwellers scattered here and there to back a claim that the town existed even earlier, 2,000 years ago when allegedly it was seized and held by the Romans during their invasion of the Iberian peninsula.

View of the town of Setenil de las Bodegas, in the province of Cádiz (Spain).

The same claim says that during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania and the Umayyad Caliphate expansion across Europe in 8th century A.D., Moors captured the whole peninsula.

This village then fell under their rule and it was theirs to keep for seven long centuries until the Christians recaptured it once again, expelled the Moors, and marked the fall of the Nasrid Dynasty (the last Arab Muslim dynasty in Iberia). Which proved to be a harder task than was first believed.

According to town history, Setenil de las Bodegas’s steep and rocky nature proved to be “solid as a rock” and of an advantage to the medieval Arabian inhabitants as they were trying to fend off the Christians’ attacks, which they did successfully six times and over 80 years, allegedly until 1484, when on the seventh, and after 15 days of constant siege, Christian forces finally managed to overrun the town’s castle. What’s left of Castillo de Setenil de las Bodegas speaks about this epic holdout, its rich history, and how this place got its name.

It comes from two Latin words, “septem nihil,” which means seven nothings, or seven times no. As for the second part of its name, “de las Bodegas,” it came from what followed after 1484 and these legendary skirmishes.

The Catholic settlers furnished Setenil as a modern town and brought olives, almonds, and vineyards along with recipes for dried meat specialties when they arrived.

They began to use the shade of the rocks and their natural air-conditioning capability to store their products, especially grapes, usually placed in large storerooms under the giant overhangs.

Which is most probably how the place earned its name de las Bodegas, “of the vineyards.” Unfortunately, the vineyards were all wiped out by phylloxera insect infestation during the mid-1800s, when almost all of the wine industry in Europe was destroyed by these pests.

The same thing still happens to this day. Pests can disturb the lives of so many people, as well as infesting any area that they are seemingly attracted to, such as dirty environments and gardens. Luckily, anyone who is affected by this problem can contact someone like these pest control experts to come and efficiently exterminate all of these pests without causing them harm – something that probably wouldn’t have existed back in the mid-1800s. So, whilst we have come a long way in this area, pests still exist and they always will do, something that the wine industry knew all too well back then.

With that being said, two of the vineyards are still flourishing after all this time on top of the hills of Setenil, and the well-preserved Moorish fortress looms on the top of the ravine in which the village was built.

There’s also a street where one humongous overhang covers a whole block of white-painted cafes and dozens of small restaurants and where a local owner can tell you all about this place while serving you a cup of wine and amazing chorizo, Setenil’s special.

The same thing still happens to this day. Pests can disturb the lives of so many people, as well as infesting any area that they are seemingly attracted to, such as dirty environments and gardens. Luckily, anyone who is affected by this problem can contact someone like these pest control experts to come and efficiently exterminate all of these pests without causing them harm – something that probably wouldn’t have existed back in the mid-1800s. So, whilst we have come a long way in this area, pests still exist and they always will do, something that the wine industry knew all too well back then.

With that being said, two of the vineyards are still flourishing after all this time on top of the hills of Setenil, and the well-preserved Moorish fortress looms on the top of the ravine in which the village was built.

There’s also a street where one humongous overhang covers a whole block of white-painted cafes and dozens of small restaurants and where a local owner can tell you all about this place while serving you a cup of wine and amazing chorizo, Setenil’s special.

2000-year-old preserved loaf of bread found in the ruins of Pompeii

2000-year-old preserved loaf of bread found in the ruins of Pompeii

This is the ultimate piece of toast: a loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius.

The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud.

I can’t get over how well it maintained its shape and texture, through both the volcano eruption and the ravages of time. It’s a very unsettling tribute to the normalcy of day-to-day life leading up to the catastrophic event: a (sort of) edible memento mori.

The ruins of Pompeii were first “discovered” in the late 16th century, even though the existence of an ancient city, hidden for centuries somewhere below the ground, was well known.

With the help of modern archaeology, the remains of more than 1,500 people were recovered, and with them numerous mundane objects, encompassing the daily life of a Roman town — frozen in time.

Herculaneum was engulfed by a fast-moving wave of hot mud, whereas Pompeii was buried by a hailstorm of ash and lumps of rock.

Roman bakery oven – archaeological remains at Ruins of Pompeii. The city was an ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius. Pompeii, Campania, Italy.

The volcanic material solidified into up to 50 feet of rock that preserved all kinds of objects such as furniture, family portraits, and mosaics. Because the rock kept out the air, organic materials including leather, wood, and foodstuffs were also saved from decay.

The most amazing human remains have been found at Pompeii. Unable to escape the destruction, it is thought that most of the residents were killed by the intense heat.

The petrified bodies decayed to leave hollow impressions in the rock. In around 1860, superintendent of the excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli, poured wet plaster into the mysterious cavities his team was finding — revealing finely detailed molds of the ancient Pompeians.

Oven and stone hand mills (mola asinaria) for grinding grain, Pompeii, Campania, Italy.

One object among the thousands of interesting artifacts has received much attention from both the scientific community as well as the general public. Loaves of bread were found in an oven inside the ruins of a bakery, preserved in charcoal, covered in ancient ash, with their texture and shape looking like they just came out of the oven.

Each is marked with the baker’s stamp, which was used as a guarantee of quality and a mark of the bakery in which the loaf was made.

The baker’s oven with the bread was first discovered around 1880, and while the loaf has long since been part of museum exhibitions, the bakery remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pompeii today.

A portrait depicting the baker, Terentius Neo, and his wife was also found. What makes the portrait even more interesting is the way the wife is depicted — holding a writing plate, indicating that she was literate and standing with her husband as an equal, both in marriage and in business.

The Roman kitchen of a Thermopolium in Via Consolare street at Ruins of Pompeii, Campania, Italy.

Food remains, among other things, were discovered in both cities, giving us a rare and exquisite insight into the diet of an average Roman citizen.

In 1930, archaeologists discovered another carbonized loaf of bread inside an oven in Herculaneum. The Roman bread exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples was later borrowed by the British Museum. For their 2013 live cinema event, “Pompeii Live from the British Museum,” London-based Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli was invited to recreate the 2000-year-old recipe.

Bases for a roman stone hand mills (mola asinarae) of a bakery at Ruins of Pompeii. The city was an ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius. Pompei, Campania, Italy.

“In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live,” explains the British Museum.

Charred loaf, from Modestus’ bakery, Pompeii, Campania, Italy. Roman civilization, 1st century. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum) 

With recreating the ancient bread recipe, Locatelli and the British Museum offered a glimpse into something quite ordinary, yet it so fascinating to be able to understand how people ate their bread 2000 years ago.

The objects, the food, the furniture, and − above all − the plaster casts of the people, today serve as a tribute to a time long lost, when life was violently interrupted by the forces of nature and left to be rediscovered centuries later.

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