This Week In History, Feb. 12 – 18

Published February 17, 2017
Updated April 13, 2018

Woman buried with husband's heart, important Harriet Tubman photo uncovered, ancient Roman artifact found in New York, pregnant dinosaur cousin unearthed, and fearsome female gangsters.

17th Century French Woman Buried With Her Husband’s Heart

Heart Case

PLOS ONEThe lead container in which was sealed the heart of Toussaint de Perrien, husband of Louise de Quengo.

Louise de Quengo, a 17th century French noblewoman was recently found to be buried with her husband’s heart, embalmed inside a lead container.

Researchers with France’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research first excavated the tomb and made the discovery of this romantic gesture near Rennes in 2013. However, reports at the time indicated that being buried with a spouse’s heart was common practice.

Now, new research published in PLOS ONE states that this practice was not common at all and that the de Quengo case is the only known instance of its kind.

Read more at National Geographic.

Newly Discovered Photo May Be The Youngest Image Of Harriet Tubman

Young Tubman

Swann Galleries

Harriet Tubman was likely in her early 30s when she began leading fellow slaves to safety on the Underground Railroad.

After escaping slavery herself in 1849, Tubman gained fame by helping to rescue more than 300 slaves and then later working as a spy for the Union Army.

Despite her storied legacy, most existing images of Tubman depict her only as an old woman. However, a newly discovered photograph may provide a rare look at the freedom fighter in her 40s, younger than we’ve ever seen her before, according to Smithsonian.

The image was found in an album of photographs that is expected to be auctioned off in March for anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000.

Gravestone Of A Former Roman Slave Found Under New York Mansion

Roman Cippus

Dale LaplaceThe forward-facing side of the gravestone, or cippus. The inside is hollow and contained the former Roman slave’s ashes.

In the summer of 2015, a luxury real estate developer struck the unlikeliest of gold 13 miles north of Manhattan: a Roman funerary cippus, or tombstone, dating back to the first century AD.

It belonged to Saturninus, a Roman slave who defied the odds, gained his freedom, and spent the last of his days as an imperial civil service administrator. That cippus contained his and wife’s ashes.

The bizarre story of how it became buried in New York began in an 1893 auction in Rome and ended with a New York mansion burning down in 1976. For more on the story, visit Smithsonian.

Fossilized Dinosaur-Like “Sea Serpent” Found With A Baby In Its Belly

Pregnant Sea Serpent

Dinghua Yang/Jun LiuAn artist’s rendering of Dinocephalosaurus.

A new discovery may challenge a long-held precept about reptilian characteristics. This week, researchers found fossilized remains of the Dinocephalosaurus, a marine reptile older than dinosaurs.

While the find is impressive enough in its own right, what researchers found within the fossil was even more impressive: a developing embryo. Read more about this discovery — and what it may mean with regard to vertebrate reproductive systems — in this look at the pregnant sea serpent.

History’s Most Fearsome Female Gangsters

Bonnie Parker Car

Wikimedia CommonsBonnie Parker, one half of the infamous gangster duo known as Bonnie and Clyde, in 1932.

From the “Mack Truck” to the “Kissing Bandit” history’s most cold-blooded female gangsters prove that you don’t need a Y chromosome to be vicious. Hear their stories and see their chilling faces in this look at female gangsters.

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