Monday, September 28, 2015

Indigenous Women In Bolivia Use Ancient Knitting Skills To Weave Devices For Congenital Heart Disease

To help the growing number of children born with heart defects, indigenous Bolivian knitters are putting their age-old craft to a more modern use. The Aymara women, who have been knitting intricate and distinct hats, sweaters, and blankets for centuries, are now using their skill to produce an innovative medical product that can seal holes in a baby’s heart.

The device, called Nit-Occlud was developed by cardiologist Dr. Franz Freudenthal. After setting up a clinic in La Paz for children with heart defects, Freudenthal knew he must develop a simple, inexpensive solution to help treat more patients. The occluder, the device's more common name, looks like a top hat and can be inserted into the heart without surgery to help fix the problem.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Glamour charts the evolution of the bra over the past 500 years in 2 minutes | Daily Mail Online

Whether they were meant to flaunt your breasts - or hide them - the first bras date back to ancient times, and like most fashions, they reflect the social and economic changes of that era. 

Today women have the option of pushing-up, covering-up, and everything in between, and a new video created by Glamour charts the evolution of the bra over the past 500 years. 

Beginning with the constricting mamillare from the Roman Empire and ending with a hypothetical design meant for robots in 2100, the clip highlights the prominent styles and history of the bras that debuted in various eras.

Women hairstyles were more extraordinary in ancient times

An archaeological team examining archaeological findings discovered ancient hairstyles. Reliefs found on rock tombs reveal the extravagant braided hairstyles of women living 2,400 years ago, which by today's standards might be considered strange. Professor Nevzat Çelik of Akdeniz University Archaeology Department said it is possible to understand the lifestyle of people living during this time by examining ancient buildings and artifacts found in Lycian tombs. Following a comprehensive study, the team found new information about Lycian lifestyles and social hierarchies.

Carole Levin: A 'queen' of sorts in her medieval scholarship

Carole Levin is one of those people who seems to bring light into the room when she enters.

“Ph.D.,” “medieval” or “historical scholar” are not words likely to race to mind upon meeting her. With her radiant smile and youthful springy hairdo, one might not peg her as a Willa Cather professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the past 13 years or director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program for the last seven. But she is both.

When she was a little girl growing up in the Chicago area, her father, who worked at an ad agency and taught college English, and her mother, who was an artist and homemaker, made sure she and her three sisters got to the public library. During a weekly visit when she was 10 years old, she found a book about one of the world’s greatest monarchs, England’s Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled alone from 1558 to 1603. Years later, she says, “Elizabeth Tudor is a woman who captures the imagination and does not let it go.”

Rediscovered cast skull of "father of English history"

Thieving monks and cathedral tombs: Rediscovered cast skull of "father of English history" could solve medieval burial mystery | Culture24
A Leicester academic says she has rediscovered the cast of the skull of The Venerable Bede – one of the most influential and idolised scholars in medieval Europe, known as the “father of English history" – in the anatomical collections of the University of Cambridge.

The front & back view of the cast of the skull of Bede, engraved V. Beda© J Story

The author of The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which is regarded as perhaps the most important source for understanding early British history and the establishment of Christianity in England, was buried in a tomb in Durham Cathedral following his death in 735. But the location and authenticity of his skull has been the subject of fierce debate since the excavation of his venerated tomb by Dr James Raine in 1831, laying the bones out in a new burial in the Galilee Chapel at the cathedral’s western end.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Priceless treasure hoard found in 1st century grave of Sarmatian woman in Russia

Priceless treasure hoard found in 1st century grave of Sarmatian woman in Russia | Ancient Origins

Archaeologists doing exploratory digging for an airport in Russia have found the grave of an apparent noblewoman with very valuable items, including a sword and knives, gold and silver jewelry, elaborately decorated clothing, a bronze mirror and a decorated bronze bucket. The 1st century AD grave is of the Sarmatian people, whose women are believed to have inspired Greek accounts of the warrior-women Amazons.

“It is interesting that there are two burials in this mound,” archaeologist Roman Mimokhod told the Mail the Russian Academy of Science's Institute of Archaeology. “One obviously belonged to a man and was totally looted. We found only some fragments of crockery and scattered bones. We will check the bones, but we are almost sure it was some noble man. The second burial belonged to the woman. We believe that it was a double burial of some noble Sarmatian and his wife.”

He said the discovery of the arrowheads is indirect confirmation of ancient historians' relating that Sarmatian women were involved in hostilities and battle. In addition, there was a harness, indicating she may have been a horse rider.

The war-hungry women written out of photographic history

The war-hungry women written out of photographic history

Lee Miller was famous for her shots of the second world war, but there were many other women in the line of fire whose photographs have faded into obscurity: meet Gerda Taro, Catherine Leroy and Françoise Demulder

My new novel has a fictional woman photographer as its protagonist (Amory Clay, 1908-83), one whose working life occupies a large swath of the 20th century and, in the course of my research into the profession, I uncovered what seemed to me like a forgotten sorority of female photographers. In the first half of the last century such photographers were legion – they flourished and happily made their living and reputation alongside their male counterparts, and it was something of a revelation to discover these names and look at the images they made. I say “forgotten”, but no doubt if you’re a curator or a historian of photography or a specialist in the development of the art form then the names of these female photographers will be familiar – but they weren’t to me and, as I looked and read and dug deeper into their world, I became more and more astonished at the work I discovered.

William Boyd’s new novel, Sweet Caress, is published on 27 August.

9 Pioneering Feminists In History Who Were Way Before Their Time

It's spectacularly tricky to attach the label of "feminist" to women who were writing, working, and living far before the term became widely used. And I'm talking centuries before. We're all pretty familiar these days with the shortest working definition of a modern feminist, thanks to writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (and Beyonce) — "a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes" — but putting that label onto people from a pre-feminist period (i.e. before the "first wave" of the late 19th century) is pretty challenging. Why? One, they're not self-defining as feminists because that didn't exist yet; two, they often champion certain bits of feminist thought while repudiating others; and three, they come from radically different societies than our own.  Instead, most historians of feminism use the term "proto-feminists," meaning that these women anticipated the movement (some by nearly half a millennium), but can't be safely seen as part of it.

Stanford historian says falsified medieval history helped create feminism

Stanford historian says falsified medieval history helped create feminism

A scholar of the Italian Renaissance, Findlen has collected biographies of medieval women, written in Italy from the 15th to 18th centuries, several centuries after the women lived.

Through a close examination of these texts, Findlen found that these early modern writers were so passionate about medieval women that they sometimes fabricated stories about them.

As Findlen carefully tracked down the claims in these stories, she found they varied from factual to somewhat factual to entirely false.

These invented women were often mentioned in regional histories, with imaginary connections to important institutions. They were described as having law degrees or professorships, claims that turned out to be fictitious.