More? Check out these notable embalmings
Although the Chinese and Egyptians perfected embalming, the modern journey took a more convoluted route.
The Civil War brought swift changes in the techniques and fluids used. Families who desired to have their dead soldiers shipped home instead of being buried in shallow graves began to pay increasingly higher costs. The increased prosperity caused surgeons to quit their professions and become embalmers, making as much as $100 per body.
Prevailing embalming fluids were causing the deaths of medical students who worked on cadavers. Thomas Holmes developed a "safe" solution: 4 ounces of arsenic mixed with one gallon of water. He sold the product to undertakers for $3.00/gallon. Other early solutions contained creosote and even mercury.
The most unusual story, however, occurred in 1775 in London, England when Martin van Butchell, an eccentric dentist, embalmed his wife. With glass marbles in his eyes and dressed in lace, he put her on display to attract attention to his dental office, which was also his home.
He might not have been as eccentric as one would think. A rumor surfaced that a clause in the van Butchell marriage certificate claimed that Martin would continue to receive income from Mary's estate as long as she remained "above ground".
Martin's new wife demanded he remove the corpse, which now resides in the Royal College of Surgeons.
The Neanderthal man has long been portrayed as a pre-human "cave man" who spoke only in grunts, relying heavily on body language, as do primates.
However, after finding a fossilized Neanderthal hyoid, a bone that is instrumental in enabling speech, this assumption has been revisited.
Using a computer model of the bone, scientists compared it to that of modern humans. It demonstrates that modern man and the Neanderthal have very similar linguistic capabilities.
In non-human primates, the hyoid is not placed in the right position to vocalize like humans.
Our human capacity for speech and language has long been used as a fundamental characteristic that makes us human.
Researcher, Stephen Wroe says, “If Neanderthals also had language then they were truly human too.”
This, added to other recent discoveries, show that far from being pre-humans, Neanderthals were extremely similar to ourselves in almost every respect.
Over 80 golden artifacts are presumed stolen from the museum depot in Skopje, the capital of FYROM, the Reformed Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Many of the items were golden earrings dating back from the Hellenic era. They were discovered in digs between 2009 and 2010.
Several archaeologists (illegal excavators) working as employees of the culture ministry, have been charged with helping to determine the price of the artifacts and find buyers abroad.
FYROM's former chief excavator, Pasko Kuzman, was arrested in July for misuse of office, leading to speculation of his involvement in the theft.
And so the "Indiana Jones-esque" intrigue continues.
Extra tidbit: Though the country’s residents call themselves the “Republic of Macedonia,” its neighbor, Greece, is outraged. It has threatened economic blockades, fearing the use of the name “Macedonia,” might provide claim to ancient Macedonian lands that reside well within Greece.
For more on the lost treasure, click HERE.
For more on FYROM, click HERE.
Reassembled after 2300 years, a beautifully decorated collar was found in fragments in an Egyptian tomb in Thebes.
Called “wesekhs,” they were made of beads and worn by people in ancient Egypt while alive. The painted “cartonnage” collars were worn by the mummy only after death.
The tomb became crowded through the years, as more mummies found homes there, a common occurrence with possible economic motives
An inscription written in a mud-clay seal near the collar says that it was made for a man named "Padihorwer."
The translation reads he was "privy to the mysteries and god's sealer, 'embalmer,' scribe, prophet of the 'desert' (necropolis) of Qus," which is located north of Thebes.
While traveling around Italy, I met a store owner in Tuscany. After I explained I was a novelist, he asked,
"Have you seen the Sword in the Stone?"
He went on to explain the site was only 15 kilometers away. Thoroughly jazzed, I drove to San Galgano with my husband the following day. Wow!
Even if the story had proved to be false, the Chapel of San Galgano and the fabulous ruined Abbey were spectacular.
However, the story is real...
In 1178, a wayward knight was challenged by a heavenly vision to leave his destructive style of life.
The violent man responded, "That would be as easy as plunging my sword into this stone." He thrust his sword at the stone and was recorded as saying, "It melted like butter." For centuries, pilgrims arrived to view the miracle.
(Keep in mind this event occurred one year BEFORE the sword in the stone story appeared in the King Arthur tales.)
Galgano became a hermit and stayed atop Montesiepi until his death in 1181. Five years later, a chapel was erected to protect the miracle.
Not a believer yet? A few years ago, vandals broke off the hilt, but were caught and the piece of sword recovered. This permitted a scientific study, which confirmed the sword was indeed twelfth century!
Now, how does a suspense writer leave a scene like this without using this extraordinary event in a novel? She doesn't!
I am pleased to announce my latest novel, "The Proof." It will not be released until next month, but please enjoy a peek at the story through the video trailer HERE, and please, don't be shy about sharing it.
See more beautiful photos of San Galgano HERE.
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