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Support Vessel in the shape of a vertebral column. Monte Alban II 200BC-200AD


Oldest case of Down’s syndrome from medieval France

The oldest confirmed case of Down’s syndrome has been found: the skeleton of a child who died 1500 years ago in early medieval France. According to the archaeologists, the way the child was buried hints that Down’s syndrome was not necessarily stigmatised in the Middle Ages.

Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that delays a person’s growth and causes intellectual disability. People with Down’s syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21, rather than the usual two. It was described in the 19th century, but has probably existed throughout human history. However there are few cases of Down’s syndrome in the archaeological record.

The new example comes from a 5th- and 6th-century necropolis near a church in Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France. Excavations there have uncovered the remains of 94 people, including the skeleton of a young child with a short and broad skull, a flattened skull base and thin cranial bones. These features are common in people with Down’s syndrome, says Maïté Rivollat at the University of Bordeaux in France, who has studied the skeleton with her colleagues.

"I think the paper makes a convincing case for a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome," says John Starbuck at Indiana University in Indianapolis. He has just analysed a 1500-year-old figurine from the Mexican Tolteca culture that he says depicts someone with Down’s syndrome.

Treated well?

Rivollat’s team has studied the way the child with Down’s syndrome was buried, which hasn’t been possible with other ancient cases of the condition. The child was placed on its back in the tomb, in an east-west orientation with the head at the westward end – in common with all of the dead at the necropolis.

According to Rivollat, this suggests the child was treated no differently in death from other members of the community. That in turn hints that they were not stigmatised while alive.

A similar argument was put forward in a 2011 study that described the 1500-year-old burial in Israel of a man with dwarfism (International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, DOI: 10.1002/oa.1285). The body was buried in a similar manner to others at the site, and archaeologists took that as indicating that the man was treated as a normal member of society.

Starbuck is not convinced by this argument. “It can be very difficult to extrapolate cultural values and behaviour from burials or skeletal remains,” he says.

Journal reference: International Journal of Paleopathology, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.05.004


Medieval Graffiti - not so rare after all

A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England.

Armed with just a torch and a camera, a team of volunteers have recorded more than 28,000 images from churches in Norfolk alone and are a third of the way through searching Norwich Cathedral, where there are many more examples. Read on


When you think about hunter-gather societies, you probably think of a life of discomfort right? 

Words commonly used to describe them are: nasty, brutish, and short

Today living in our technological advanced society, we look at them and cringe at how they used to live. 

But here’s something astonishing: hunter-gatherer’s actually lived a really good life, arguably better than ours in some perspectives. 

The first misconception is that hunter gatherers suffered from starvation. 

  •  In actuality, hunter- gatherers enjoyed diets rich in a variety of nutrients. The average tribe’s food consisted of one third hunted food and two- thirds gathered: a primarily vegetarian diet that contained high-protein and low-fat meat bases.
  • This diet is approximately 60 % carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 20% fats. This shares similar percentages with the modern recommended dietary guidelines for Americans.
  • Because they enjoyed a rich diet, they weren’t short as the rumor goes. Skeletons analyzed across the globe show an average height of 5’9 for men and 5’4 for women. 

Hunter-gatherers lived a long life. Studies shows the average life expectancy was ~75 years. Close to the average life expectancy of developed nations: 79 years. 

They also had a lot of leisure time. They only spent 3 to 5 hours a day hunting or gathering and the rest of the day was theirs. This totals to only 20 hours in the week spent doing work. 

  • Compare this to an average 8 year old in the U.S. They spend approximately 32.5 hours in school plus an additional 4 hours for homework. This totals to about 36.5 hours. 

Thus, an 8 year old living in the United States spends more time working than an adult male in a hunter-gatherer society.

In hunter gatherer societies, no inequality between men and women existed. 

  • Since women tended to gather plants, they provided for 67% of food needed in the society.Because they played a significant role in the societies’ economy, they were viewed as equal rather than an inferior gender.
  • During his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin noted that in remote tribes, women had more power to choose, reject, or change husbands.
  • In 17th century, a Jesuit missionary disapproved of the equality. He suggested men infringe control upon women but noted that this task may be impossible because men had no leverage

Hunter gatherers were also peaceful egalitarians.

  • The core cultural value of such societies was equality among individuals. Each person was equally entitled to food, regardless of his or her ability to find or capture it.
  • All material goods were shared and there were no wealth gaps. Group decisions were made by consensus; there was no system of hierarchy.  
  • They maintained such a system by practicing reverse dominance- or ridiculing the ones who thought they were better than the rest.

In the words of the famous anthropologist Jared Diamond: 

Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest lasting lifestyle in human history.

SPECIAL NOTE: The hunter-gather societies described here are prehistoric. The few hunter-gather societies that do exist today do not display these characteristics because their society has been changed by the developing world. 

I wrote this as a paper for school once. For references and sources I’ll just paste the bibliography. Click here for it, it’s a separate post: X

  • Bisexual person in a relationship with someone of a different sex: I'm not straight, I'm bisexual
  • Gay community: you're only saying that because you want to be a part of the Gay Club, you don't belong with us, you're basically just a straight person anyway
  • Bisexual person in a relationship with someone of the same sex: I'm not gay I'm bisexual
  • Gay community: why do you feel the need to clarify that? You just want to be one of the straight people, you just want to reassure them that you're Not That Gay, you don't belong with us


ROB BOWMAN: There’s a sequence after Mulder arrives back in his apartment to confirm Kurtzweil’s existence and friendship with his father where Scully comes in and says, “I’ve quit, I’m leaving. I’m going off to) so and so, I don’t want to stay because I know you’ll talk me out of it. So I gotta leave now, bye.” So she runs out. Mulder persues her down the hallway, has already confessed to her in the room that now is the worst time of all. “We’re really on to something here. I need you. I need you, I need you.”

That’s the theme of the movie, Mulder needs Scully. Never before has he come to that understanding quite so strongly as he does in this story. So, she’s running because she’s afraid that he’s gonna talk her out of it. So the best thing she can do is just hit the elevator button and go, go, go. She never makes it. This was her first mistake. And Mulder also knows that that’s where she’s headed, is out the door. So, he’s gotta tell her why it is that she’s so important to him. And tell her once and for all that in fact, the whole time that they’ve been together, that the two of them have been together, that she has made him better. She has made him feel not like an outcast, not like discarded FBI trash, but actually somebody that’s worthy of her friendship. That, as he says, she’s made him a whole person.

So in a scene filled with such virtue, such, you know, people sharing their most highest thoughts and feelings towards each other, you come to a sort of pinnacle, respect and mutual admiration that it leads into an intimate moment that neither one of them expect. Or were sort of working towards. It just sort of happens. You know, you just keep going and going and arguing and arguing and all of a sudden it’s not an argument, it’s sort of, you know, “we’re for each other, we’re for each other and we come to the opportunity of a kiss for the first time.” But it’s not out of lust, it’s not out of any obvious reasons or typical reasons. It’s out of just absolute overwhelming respect for one another. Out of that respect comes an emotional response, where you transcend, sort of, logic and thinking and it becomes more visceral and human. The only place for him to go in my mind, to express the next thought is to kiss her.

The X Files - Fight the Future, DVD Commentary

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A compilation of Edward Gorey and his rather gothic poems and illustrations. 

Check out his dark children alaphabet illustrations


I recreated Piet Mondrian’s Trafalgar Square in Excel. Check out the original here.



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Respectability politics are so trash. Black men/Latinos in hoodies and baggy pants don’t deserve to be shot or mistreated just like women in short skirts don’t deserve to be raped. Any idiot with two brain cells to rub together would know that Martin Luther King was murdered in a suit and women in the 1800’s that were wearing long, complicated, thick ass dresses were still sexually assaulted. Stop that nonsense.

(Source: kaylerswift, via dandelionapril)