Dead Men Talking
Is it possible for archaeologists to ascertain if someone was trans from their human remains? I'm not sure if I've worded this well, but yeah
Anonymous

anthrocentric:

Hmmm…This is kind of a tricky question.

First off: Very important to remember that “trans” is a product of *our* culture in *our* time. If you dug up a Neanderthal, if would be very presumptuous to call that Neanderthal trans, since we have more or less no idea what Neanderthal system(s) of gender were, if they existed at all, or if they ever had anything to do with Neanderthal biology.

But let’s say you’re doing Historical Archaeology or something, and you know pretty well that certain grave goods are associated with a particular gender. Like, women are buried with swords and men are buried with coins or something. And let’s say you find this really huge skeleton with a v-shaped pelvic notch or whatever it is you use to ‘sex’ skeletons (full disclosure: not a Physical Anthropologist, just hung out with Archaeologists who liked to rag on them) and this person is buried with a sword. What then? It looks like you found a person whose ‘sex’ was male but whose gender was female, right? Is this person trans?

Well, like I said, it would be anachronistic to use that word at all, but putting that aside for a second (since you did say you were unsure of your wording), there are still some issues. It’s possible that you sexed the skeleton wrong; like, maybe this skeleton falls outside of the range of variation for modern biosex females, but can you be sure your archaeological population has the same distribution of traits? This point is less important for sex, where biological differences are often very pronounced, as well as for more modern populations, but it’s still important, especially if we’re talking about “race” (shudder).

Other alternative explanations for the sex being different from what you would expect given the grave goods abound. Like, maybe this person is intersex, and if you had met them before they were a skeleton, you would have assumed them to be female and a woman. Maybe there’s some sort of ‘cross dressing’ going on (yes, I know that word is anachronistic, hence the scare quotes), where one member of the family died and another family member of a different gender/sex started impersonating them, causing the person who died to be buried as if they were their siblings gender. Get creative and I’m sure you can think of a few more explanations.

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the only way to *know* another person’s gender is to ask them, which, sadly, archaeologists can’t do. So no, I don’t think an archaeologist could ever say definitively that they’d found a person who was trans. 

—Peter

A skull, an anthropology textbook, a VIP museum pass, a ceremonial dagger found in the Fertile Crescent and season one of Bones on dvd

*speaks from the floor beneath pentegram* Hmmm….yeah, the first season was alright, but I’ll take Buffy and Gilmore Girls way before.  NOW, HUMAN MINION!

cracked:

Behold: the dawn of Hypercolor.
5 Awesome Technologies Created by Ancient Civilizations

#5. The Magical Roman Technicolor Cup
The Lycurgus Cup looks green when lit from the front. But when lit from behind, it turns a demonic red. In 1990, British researchers tried to unlock the mystery of the devil’s beer stein. What they found was that the glass was full of gold and silver flecks 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Basically, the Romans discovered nanotechnology — the science of manipulating incredibly small particles — and used it to make a bitchin’ pimp cup.

Read More

cracked:

Behold: the dawn of Hypercolor.

5 Awesome Technologies Created by Ancient Civilizations

#5. The Magical Roman Technicolor Cup

The Lycurgus Cup looks green when lit from the front. But when lit from behind, it turns a demonic red. In 1990, British researchers tried to unlock the mystery of the devil’s beer stein. What they found was that the glass was full of gold and silver flecks 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Basically, the Romans discovered nanotechnology — the science of manipulating incredibly small particles — and used it to make a bitchin’ pimp cup.

Read More

5 things you would put on a pentagram to summon me
Recuperating Hitler

jesslob:

shitmystudentswrite:

While it is very true that Hitler killed alot of people, it is also true that he was a fan of animals. He was not a bad guy when it came to his dogs, was even a vegetarian (which I personally agree with), and before he killed himself he killed his dogs too so they wouldn’t get tortured. This shows that Hitler was not always as bad as they make him out to be.

hitler was NOT a vegetarian, and he is still an awful person who doesn’t even deserve to have the first letter of his name capitalized 

You guys, really.  This post was reblogged from a site in which teachers submit the hilarious things their young students write that are often very wrong.

Have a grain of salt and a sense of humor while you’re at it.

strangeremains:

strangebiology:

From the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. 

I must always reblog Mutter pics.

beautifulbonesstuff:

The Harris Line/Growth Arrest Lines
On my about me and CV pages I’ve mentioned my Master’s work, which was based in the field of archaeology and anthropology.

beautifulbonesstuff:

The Harris Line/Growth Arrest Lines

On my about me and CV pages I’ve mentioned my Master’s work, which was based in the field of archaeology and anthropology.

emilyhromi:

Some occipital bone sketches for Forensic Imaging & Modeling, Fall 2013.

Recuperating Hitler

shitmystudentswrite:

While it is very true that Hitler killed alot of people, it is also true that he was a fan of animals. He was not a bad guy when it came to his dogs, was even a vegetarian (which I personally agree with), and before he killed himself he killed his dogs too so they wouldn’t get tortured. This shows that Hitler was not always as bad as they make him out to be.

pbsthisdayinhistory:

Sept. 17, 1849: Harriet Tubman Attempts to Escape From Slavery
On this day in 1849, American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. She escaped alongside her brothers, Ben and Henry, who forced her to turn back with them after they had second thoughts.
Tubman ran away again shortly afterward without her brothers, this time successfully, using the Underground Railroad as her escape route to the North.
The Underground Railroad was a lifeline for slaves escaping to freedom, and Harriet Tubman became undoubtedly one of its most famous “conductors.”
PBS Black Culture Connection invites you to learn 10 interesting facts about Harriet Tubman.
Photo: Harriet Tubman, full-length portrait, standing with hands on back of a chair between ca. 1860 and 1875 (Library of Congress)

pbsthisdayinhistory:

Sept. 17, 1849: Harriet Tubman Attempts to Escape From Slavery

On this day in 1849, American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. She escaped alongside her brothers, Ben and Henry, who forced her to turn back with them after they had second thoughts.

Tubman ran away again shortly afterward without her brothers, this time successfully, using the Underground Railroad as her escape route to the North.

The Underground Railroad was a lifeline for slaves escaping to freedom, and Harriet Tubman became undoubtedly one of its most famous “conductors.”

PBS Black Culture Connection invites you to learn 10 interesting facts about Harriet Tubman.

Photo: Harriet Tubman, full-length portrait, standing with hands on back of a chair between ca. 1860 and 1875 (Library of Congress)

medievalistsnet:

CT scan 3D visualisation of the mummified remains of Tayesmutengebtiu, also called Tamut, showing her body within the cartonnage. © Trustees of the British Museum
REVIEW: Ancient Lives – New Discoveries at the British Museum
I visited the British Museum to take in Ancient Lives: New Discoveries which runs until November 30th. This spectacular exhibit showcases eight mummies spanning across Ancient Egypt’s four thousand year history from 3500 BC to 700 AD. It features unknown mummies, elite upper class burials, children and naturally embalmed bodies….
Read more here: http://historyoftheancientworld.com/2014/09/review-ancient-lives-new-discoveries-at-the-british-museum/

medievalistsnet:

CT scan 3D visualisation of the mummified remains of Tayesmutengebtiu, also 
called Tamut, showing her body within the cartonnage. © Trustees of the British Museum

REVIEW: Ancient Lives – New Discoveries at the British Museum

I visited the British Museum to take in Ancient Lives: New Discoveries which runs until November 30th. This spectacular exhibit showcases eight mummies spanning across Ancient Egypt’s four thousand year history from 3500 BC to 700 AD. It features unknown mummies, elite upper class burials, children and naturally embalmed bodies….

Read more here: http://historyoftheancientworld.com/2014/09/review-ancient-lives-new-discoveries-at-the-british-museum/

strangeremains:

The article has a 3rd picture of a skull with a trephined hole that the scientists attribute to a woman who didn’t survive the surgery.  To me it actually looks like the hole was made post-mortem because of the difference between the color of the skull and the edges of the hole.

I think  this skull was probably used to practice trepanation techniques because the location of the hole would have likely caused the patient to die.  Practice would have been vital to get this surgery correct.  In December of last year a UCSB bioarchaeologist published work that showed ancient Peruvian healers practiced trepanation on skulls on recently dead bodies. 

fiftysevenacademics:

Ancient Egyptian Woman with 70 Hair Extensions Discovered

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | September 17, 2014

More than 3,300 years ago, in a newly built city in Egypt, a woman with an incredibly elaborate hairstyle of lengthy hair extensions was laid to rest.

She was not mummified, her body simply being wrapped in a mat. When archaeologists uncovered her remains they found she wore “a very complex coiffure with approximately 70 extensions fastened in different layers and heights on the head,” writes Jolanda Bos, an archaeologist working on the Amarna Project, in an article recently published in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

Researchers don’t know her name, age or occupation, but she is one of hundreds of people, including many others whose hairstyles are still intact, who were buried in a cemetery near an ancient city now called Amarna.

This city was constructed as a new capital of Egypt by Akhenaten (reign ca. 1353-1335 B.C.), a pharaoh who unleashed a religious revolution that saw the Aten, a deity shaped as a sun disk, assume supremacy in Egyptian religion. Akhenaten ordered that Amarna be constructed in the desert and that images of some of Egypt’s other gods be destroyed. Amarna was abandoned shortly after Akhenaten’s death, and today archaeologists supported by the Amarna Trust are investigating all aspects of the ancient city, including the hairstyles its people wore.

Bos is leading the hairstyle research, and the woman with 70 extensions leaves her puzzled.

"Whether or not the woman had her hair styled like this for her burial only is one of our main research questions," said Bos in an email to Live Science. "The hair was most likely styled after death, before a person was buried. It is also likely, however, that these hairstyles were used in everyday life as well and that the people in Amarna used hair extensions in their daily life."

Many of the other skulls Bos analyzed also had hair extensions. One skull had extensions made of gray and dark black hair suggesting multiple people donated their hair to create extensions.

Hairy discoveries

As Bos analyzed a selection of 100 recently excavated skulls (of which 28 still had hair) from the Armana cemetery, she noticed the people who lived in the ancient city had a wide variety of hair types. They range “from very curly black hair, to middle brown straight,” she noted in the journal article, something “that might reflect a degree of ethnic variation.” 

Those skulls with brown hair often had rings or coils around their ears, a style that was popular at Amarna, she found. Why people in this city liked it is unknown. “We still have no idea. This is of course one of the answers we are still trying to find from the record,” said Bos in the email.

People in the city also seemed to be fond of braids. “All braids found in the coiffures were simple and of three strands, mostly 1 cm [0.4 inches] wide, with strands of approximately 0.5 cm [0.2 inches] when tightly braided,” Bos writes in the journal article.

People at Amarna also liked to keep their hair short. “Braids were often not more than 20 cm [7.9 inches] long, leaving the hair at shoulder length approximately,” Bos added. “The longest hair that was found consisted of multilayered extensions to a length of approximately 30 cm [11.8 inches].”

Fat was used to help create all the hairstyles Bos found, something that would have helped keep the hair in one piece after death. More research is needed to determine whether the fat was from animals. A textile found on each of the skulls may have been used to cover part of the head.

Hide the gray?

In one case a woman has an orange-red color on her graying hair. It appears that that she dyed her hair, possibly with henna (a flowering plant).

"We are still not completely sure if and what kind of hair coloring was used on this hair, it only seems that way macroscopically," said Bos in the email. "At present we are analyzing the hairs in order to find out whether or not some kind of coloring was used. On other sites dyed hair was found from ancient Egypt."

This woman, among other ancient Egyptians, may have dyed her hair “for the same reason as why people dye their hair today, in order not to show the gray color,” Bos said.