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  • Images of Deviant Burials December 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    Images of Deviant Burials

    When Beach was in his early twenties he used to spend hours, and they were happy times, looking through detailed archaeological graphics of Anglo-Saxon and Roman cemeteries. At one point he used to take them to bed and fall asleep with Winchester A or Circencester 1982 Season open on his chest. There is something, well, […]

    Milk Stealers: Paleolithic or Neolithic? November 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric
    Milk Stealers: Paleolithic or Neolithic?

    It is a snakey week and here is a second snake post in almost as many days. There are many legends about snakes and other reptiles taking milk from nursing mothers, there are also many legends about snakes and other reptiles (and sometimes birds) taking milk from cattle. Beach has given examples of these tales […]

    Sowing the Land with Salt October 19, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Sowing the Land with Salt

    What do you do if you really dislike someone? Hurt them, tax them, kill them obviously… But if you really hate them you salt their land… Confused? Let’s head back to mid eighteenth century Portugal. The Tavora executions were some of the bloodiest from the eighteenth-century west: even fifty years later the family would have […]

    Wrong Place Castaways October 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Wrong Place Castaways

    Right through history castaways have been thrown up on foreign shores after a shipwreck, a storm or an argument on board (in many navies marooning was a form of punishment). For those of us interested in Wrong Place and Wrong Time phenomena these castaways are crucial. But how many were actually left behind. For example, how many […]

    Singing for Health in Tudor England October 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Singing for Health in Tudor England

    Sir Thomas Elyot (c. 1490-1546) was a Tudor polymath who wrote on politics, classical learning and Christian living: his day job, meanwhile, was as a diplomat to Henry VIII. In Elyot’s most interesting book (at least to the modern reader) The Castell of Helth the author sets out tips for good living and cures based […]

    Chinese in Roman London? October 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Chinese in Roman London?

    Chinese in Roman London? It is well known that the Roman empire was a cosmopolitan place, even a tedious, sorry backwater like Britannia. The combination of soldiers, slaves and solid economic infrastructure meant unprecedented movement of individuals. However, what about the history story of the week, the claim that two Chinese bodies have been dug […]

    The Future and Moles September 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    The Future and Moles

    Weak old humanity has long tried to wring drops of the future out in the present by: cutting open live calves, watching birds, reading palms, throwing bamboo rods and, well, hundreds of other methods. It is rarely that Beach comes across a form of divination that has most others beaten. His reference work is a […]

    Burning Library: Galen in Chinese Shorthand August 10, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    Burning Library: Galen in Chinese Shorthand

    The Arab writer Ibn al-Nadim included this extraordinary record of contact between east and west in his Index of the Sciences, finished in 988. He is reporting an encounter between a Chinese student, visiting Baghdad, al-Razi, perhaps the greatest of the Persian writers of the golden age, and the writings of Galen, the greatest Mediterranean […]

    A Sumerian Heliocentric Universe July 21, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    A Sumerian Heliocentric Universe

    Beach got this email from ANL, an old friend of the blog, a couple of months back and he wondered whether any enthusiast, astronomer or logician can help: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Something about circles has been bothering me for some time, and I was wondering whether you or one of your readers can […]

    Burning Libraries: Seleucus of Seleucia July 7, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Burning Libraries: Seleucus of Seleucia

    Seleucus of Seleucia is one of the most intriguing writers of all antiquity: not least because practically everything about him is up for debate, a natural consequence of the loss of his writings. When did he live? Probably the mid second century B.C., but there is some uncertainty. Where was he from? Seleucia certainly, but is that […]

    Historical Children Scarers July 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Historical Children Scarers

    ***Dedicated to Invisible*** Parents have scared children for generations with conjured horrors: the fairies, the black boggart, Jenny Greenteeth and many, many more. However, Beach today wants to look at a very select category. Historical personalities who were so horrific (or at least were imagined to be so horrific) that parents could credibly say: ‘Get […]

    Referendum Day June 23, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    Referendum Day

    How Long Did Our Ancestors Live? June 13, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
    How Long Did Our Ancestors Live?

    Life expectancy is a tricky thing. Every demographer knows that, in the modern world, the difference between a national life expectancy of 40 in country A and 70 in country B is predominantly about how many children die in their early years of life. If you look at life expectancy for fifteen year olds then […]

    The Origins of Excalibur and Late Medieval Funerals June 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Prehistoric
    The Origins of Excalibur and Late Medieval Funerals

    It is perhaps the single most famous image from the Arthurian canon: the sword being returned to the water, into the grasp of the Lady of the Lake. Beach includes here the scene from the 1981 film Excalibur, which caused his seven year old daughter to audibly gasp when she watched it this morning. Scholars have […]

    Visiting Duat in Dreams June 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Visiting Duat in Dreams

    Every culture in history has had its own unique take on dreams from Viennese voodoo to Zhuang Zhou dreaming of butterflies, from the Aboriginal dream quest to lucid ‘shamanic’ dreaming, looking at your life line on your left hand as you gently snore. However, Beach has recently become intrigued by the Ancient Egyptians and dreams. […]

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