Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Nigerian king who cursed the sex traffickers

Edo State is Nigeria’s capital of human trafficking, and local authorities are seemingly powerless to protect vulnerable women and girls. Enter His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II, the ruler of the ancient Kingdom of Benin, who – like the traffickers – plays by a different set of rules.

Benin City, the state capital, is a global hub for the trafficking of women. Up to 10 000 are trafficked from Nigeria every year, usually to Europe, and nine out of 10 of these women are from Edo.

They are sent along the migrant trail — a dangerous route that has claimed the lives of thousands of migrants — usually along the Benin-Auchi road to Kano or Sokoto states in northern Nigeria, crossing over into Agadez in neighbouring Niger and on to Libya. From there, migrants take a rickety boat across the Mediterranean.

In March last year, in front of all his chiefs and the priests of Edo’s indigenous religions, he [His Royal Majesty Omo N’ Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo — better known as Oba Ewuare II] pronounced a royal curse on the heads of human traffickers and their support networks. “Whoever does it from today will face the wrath of our ancestors,” he said — and Edo State listened.

read more here @ Mail & Guardian

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Archive shows medieval nun faked her own death to escape convent

A team of medieval historians working in the archives at the University of York has found evidence that a nun in the 14th century faked her own death and crafted a dummy “in the likeness of her body” in order to escape her convent and pursue – in the words of the archbishop of the time – “the way of carnal lust”.

A marginal note written in Latin and buried deep within one of the 16 heavy registers used by to record the business of the archbishops of York between 1304 and 1405 first alerted archivists to the adventures of the runaway nun. “To warn Joan of Leeds, lately nun of the house of St Clement by York, that she should return to her house,” runs the note written by archbishop William Melton and dated to 1318.

read more here @ The Guardian

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ancient Superstitions Pervade India as Modern ‘Witch Hunt’ Leaves Mother and Children Dead

A shocking story from India is showing that in some areas of the world old superstitions are still alive and leading to terrible crimes. The belief in witchcraft is still common in many areas of India and is leading to ‘witch hunts’ that result in torture and murder. In a recent incident a woman accused of being a witch was murdered, along with her four children.
Earlier this month the bodies of Mangri Munda and her children were found in a well near their home in Orissa in Eastern India, reports the BBC News . It is believed that a large crowd attacked the home of Mrs. Munda and killed her and her young family, including a 10-month infant. They were led by a man who claimed to be a ‘witchdoctor’ and the reason for the murders was that the mother was accused of being a sorceress, who was casting evil spells and that she and her children needed to be killed.

Image result for indian witch doctor maskPolice in Orrisa, have arrested six people, including the self-appointed ‘ witchdoctor.’ According to the MENAFN website, the local police “are hunting further suspects” since more people, than the six already in custody, participated in the gruesome murders. It is widely accepted that more needs to be done to end these murderous outbursts. Not even the imposition of the death penalty on those who have murdered alleged witches has stopped these barbaric hunts.

read more here @ Ancient Origins

Woman dies in 'menstruation hut'

From 9Honey:
A woman has died in Nepal after being banished to a "menstruation hut".

The cause of death is believed to be suffocation after the 21-year-old lit a fire to try and stay warm in the windowless space.

Parwati Bogati was found deceased when her mother-in-law went to check on her.

Women inside the huts have also been attacked, according to BBC reports.
In one case, a teenage girl was killed after being bitten by a snake during her time in a hut.

Just weeks ago, a mother and her two sons died in a menstruation hut, prompting officials in Bajura to give villagers 10 days to tear down menstrual huts or face legal action.

While the exact number of deaths from menstrual huts isn't known, a number of deaths have been directly related to their use.

read more here @ 9Honey

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Most Prolific Female Assassin in History

Image result for poison in the renaissanceBorn in Palermo, Italy, she was reputedly very beautiful, as was her mother, although there are no known portraits of her. A History of Mystery says that she was probably the daughter of Thofania d’Adamo, who was executed in 1633 for killing her husband.

What is known is that Giulia was a professional poisoner, helping unhappy women get early “divorces,” and by the time she was executed in 1659, she was said to have been responsible for the deaths of over 600 men.

read more here 
@ Guilia Tofana - wikipedia
@ Aqua Tofani - Mike Dash History
@ Toxicology in the Middle Ages and Renaissance edited by Philip Wexler
@ Giulia Tofana by Adrianna Assini (historical fiction)

In Egypt have discovered the remains of an ancient "Princess"

Image result for amenirdis IIDuring the work in the tomb of Karbacken in the floor was discovered a half-meter square hole with a “secret”.  American scientists have found ritual vessels with the bodies of noble women.

They found several canopic jars in the tomb of the high priest of Amun. According to the Ministry of Affairs of antiquities of Egypt the remains belonged to a woman since that last days of independence Ancient Egypt.

As the head of an American archaeological expedition to El-Asifa, Elena Pischikova, all the canopy is made in the style of the 26th dynasty and all have the inscription “to the lady of the house of Amenirdis”. In addition, the canopy contain a sufficient amount of resin, although the flood has damaged a large part of their content.

Note: There were two notable women in Egypt with the name "Amenirdis: one was Amenirdis I (daughter of Pharaoh Kashta) and the other was Amenirdis II (daughter of the Kushite pharaoh Taharqa). Confusingly, both were Priestesses of Amun and daughters of Pharaohs.

read more here 
@ God's Wife, God's Servant: The God's Wife of Amun (ca.740–525 BC) by Mariam F. Ayad
@ The Double Kingdom Under Taharqo: Studies in the History of Kush and Egypt c690 - 664 BC by Jeremy W. Pope

Archaeology Flashback - Siberian Tattooed Princess

Let's go back to 2012 when news of a tattooed Siberian princess made headlines. A brief recap:

The ancient mummy of a mysterious young woman, known as the Ukok Princess, is finally returning home to the Altai Republic this month. She is to be kept in a special mausoleum at the Republican National Museum in capital Gorno-Altaisk, where eventually she will be displayed in a glass sarcophagus to tourists. For the past 19 years, since her discovery, she was kept mainly at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, apart from a period in Moscow when her remains were treated by the same scientists who preserve the body of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin.

Archeologists even found items from her 'cosmetics bag', which lay inside her coffin next to her left hip, notably a face brush made from horse hair, and a fragment of an 'eyeliner pencil'. This was made from iron rings, inside which was vivianite, giving a deep blue-green colour on the skin.  There was also vivianite powder, derived from an iron phosphate mineral, apparently to be applied to the face. 'Analyses showed that the Pazyryk women knew and used the natural mineral blue colour called vivianite and they also produced quite complicated fat-based facial masks to protect the skin from extreme climates of high mountains.'

Known as Princess Ukok, she will be put on public display in a specially-built glass sarcophagus in Gorno-Altaisk, capital of the republic covering the Altai Mountains. Locals hope her tattooed remains - as well as her possessions including an ancient make-up bag - will become a significant tourist attraction at the Republican National Museum in a spectacular mountain region seeking to attract far more Russian and foreign visitors.

Her ancient tattoo is a showpiece of the glittering opening ceremony for the Sochi Paralympics. The tattoo featured in Sochi was from her left shoulder. It shows a mythological animal, a deer with a griffon's beak and a Capricorn's antlers. The antlers are decorated with the heads of griffons. And the same griffon's head is shown on the back of the animal'.

But local peoples from the Altai Republic, which borders Kazakhstan and Mongolia, have long objected to the fact that her burial mound was disturbed. They were also angered by a decision, after 19 years of academic research into her remains, to put her on display in a glass sarcophagus in a local museum.  Ancient beliefs say that the mummy's presence in the burial chamber was 'to bar the entrance to the kingdom of the dead'.  By removing this mummy, also known as Oochy-Bala, the elders contend that 'the entrance remains open'.  'Today, we honour the sacred beliefs of our ancestors like three millennia ago,' said one elder. 'We have been burying people according to Scythian traditions. We want respect for our traditions'.

Now Siberian scientists have discerned more about the likely circumstances of her demise, but also of her life, use of cannabis, and why she was regarded as a woman of singular importance to her mountain people.  Her use of drugs to cope with the symptoms of her illnesses evidently gave her 'an altered state of mind', leading her kinsmen to the belief that she could communicate with the spirits, the experts believe.

The MRI, conducted in Novosibirsk by eminent academics Andrey Letyagin and Andrey Savelov, showed that the 'princess' suffered from osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone or bone marrow, from childhood or adolescence.  'When she was a little over 20 years old, she became ill with another serious disease - breast cancer. It painfully destroyed her' over perhaps five years, said a summary of the medical findings in 'Science First Hand' journal by archeologist Professor Natalia Polosmak, who first found these remarkable human remains in 1993.

Princess Ukok

Elders in the region where a tattooed princess was found preserved in permafrost have re-sent a petition to Vladimir Putin demanding she be immediately reinterred. They say that since her removal the area has been hit by a series of natural disasters and insist a reburial would 'stop her anger that caused floods and earthquakes'.  Ancient beliefs dictate that her presence in the burial chamber had been to 'bar the entrance to the kingdom of the dead'. Scientists say she lived more than 2,500 years ago, meaning she was alive five centuries before the birth of Christ.

An appeal will be launched after a court this week rejected a demand by the the leader of the Teles ethnic group in the Altai Mountains to order the reburial of the world famous tattooed remains of 'Princess Ukok', dug from her tomb in 1993 by leading Russian archeologists.  Akai Kine, leader of the Teles ethnic group and president of the Spiritual Centre of the Turks, Kin Altai, demanded that the 'archeological complex' Ak-Alakha-3, where the mummy was found on the Ukok Plateau, should be recognised as a cultural heritage monument and the remains of the 'ice princess' classified as an integral part of the tomb. The 'integrity' of the burial site should be restored before her 2,500 year old remains should be reburied.

The well-preserved 25 year old woman - who probably died from breast cancer - was dug from her ice-clad tomb in 1993 by Russian archeologists, but this is the first time her remains will be publicly displayed.  The move to display the mummy in the Anokhin National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk is seen as controversial, even though the remains in a specially built sarcophagus will be viewed only twice a week for a maximum of three hours on each day to ensure she is not damaged. Earlier museum officials appeared to give assurances she would not be displayed.

Archaeology Flashback - 2015

A bit of a flashback to 2015 when reports came through of the discovery of an ancient amazon warrior princess in Kazahkstan. Here is a brief recap:

The skeleton of an ancient female warrior has been uncovered in south Kazakhstan, startling archaeologists whose 23 years of research in the region had never found records or hints of women soldiers in the region. The remains, which are perfectly preserved according to The Telegraph, are believed to belong to a woman based on the skull's shape and size — despite the huge sword and dagger found alongside her body.

The remains of an ancient female warrior still clasping a huge sword and dagger have been discovered in South Kazakhstan. Dubbed Red Sonja after the fearsome warrior woman portrayed by Brigitte Nielsen in the hit 1980s film, the skeleton was found with an impressive arsenal of weapons.  The remains, which are perfectly preserved, are thought to be thousands of years old and could date back as early as 200BC.
A dagger. Arrows. Not exactly what you’d expect in a woman’s grave from 1600 years ago. Unless she was an Amazon. The woman’s remains and the grave goods she was buried with — which includes finely crafted pots and bowls — will soon be put on display in the National Museum of Kazakhstan.  The sword was laid alongside her body, close to her left hand. The dagger was interred close to her right hand.  Archaeologists from Russia’s Institute of Archaeology determined the skeleton belongs to a woman through the size and shape of the skull.

The skeleton of a woman who lived more than 1,600 years ago and who was buried with a sword, a dagger, arrows, and pottery has been unearthed in Kazakhstan. Archaeologists say she was probably a high status person among the Kangyuy people, nomads who lived near the Syr Darya River and the Aral Sea in the southern steppes. The incredible discovery is the first evidence that women of the Kangyuy went to war.   The fact the warrior woman was buried with pots and bowls indicates she was an elite member of society who had some material wealth, says an article in The Telegraph . Researchers said she lived between the 11th century BC and the 4th century AD and determined her sex by the shape and size of her skull.

Archaeologists working in Kazakhstan have uncovered the remains of an ancient female warrior who lived sometime between the 11th century BC and 4th century AD.  Researchers from Russia’s Institute of Archaeology identified the remains as female by analyzing the shape and size of the skull. Other graves of warrior women have previously been found in the Eurasian Steppe, but this is the first one discovered in Kazakhstan. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

We need to put back the women who were written out of science history

Can you name a female scientist from history? Chances are you are shouting out Marie Curie. The twice Nobel Prize-winning Curie and mathematician Ada Lovelace are two of the few women within western science to receive lasting popular recognition.
Related image
One reason women tend to be absent from narratives of science is because it’s not as easy to find female scientists on the public record. Even today, the numbers of women entering science remain below those of men, especially in certain disciplines. A-level figures show only 12 per cent of candidates in computing and 22 per cent in physics in 2018 were women.

Another reason is that women do not fit the common image of a scientist. The idea of the lone male genius researcher is remarkably persistent. But looking to history can both challenge this portrayal and offer some explanation as to why science still has such a masculine bias.

Yet, scientific women worked through the cracks. Between 1880 and 1914, some 60 women contributed papers to Royal Society publications. And some women continued to work as scientists without pay or titles. 

read more here @ The Independent

see also:
@ The Smithsonian - Women Who Shaped Science
@ Ranker - Famous Female Scientists
@ Wikipedia - Women In Science