Discover the most interesting history news stories and anniversaries for September 2023, from a tunnel beneath a Polish palace to the death of Johnny Cash.
It’s the end of September 2023 and we’ve picked a few of our favorite history news stories from this month as well as a handful of significant anniversaries from decades past.
Recently, we’ve covered the discovery of an unknown World War II-era tunnel beneath Saxon Palace in Poland, how archaeologists uncovered Bronze Age remains with brains and hair still intact in Turkey, the unearthing of a 2,600-year-old child’s shoe in an Austrian salt mine, how construction workers in China damaged a portion of the Great Wall in search of a shortcut, and the study of a Bronze Age girl’s macabre burial in Kazakhstan.
Though archaeologists in Kazakhstan have unearthed more than 100 Bronze Age burials at the site near Ainabulak village, one girl’s grave stood out. For starters, she was buried with with 180 ankle bones from sheep or cattle, as well as three cows’ shoulder blades, multiple metal pommels, a mirror, a bronze bowl, and a small bronze disc carved with the depiction of a frog.
Archaeologists aren’t entirely sure what the grave goods mean. The animal bones may have been part of a cult practice or simply “symbols of well-being.” The frog is even more baffling, though archaeologists have speculated that it may be associated with women in labor or “the cult of water.”
There were also a number of historical anniversaries that we covered including Japan’s Great Kanto Earthquake on September 1, 1923, the death of J.R.R. Tolkien on September 2, 1973, the founding of Google on September 4, 1998, the death of Johnny Cash on September 12, 2003, the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes” on September 20, 1973, and the moment when a Soviet colonel named Stanislav Petrov stopped possible nuclear armageddon on September 26, 1983.
Petrov was working at a secret command center for the Soviet Air Defense Forces when an alarm suddenly went on. It appeared, according to the computers, that the United States had just launched five ballistic missiles at the Soviet Union. Petrov had to make a quick decision about whether to retaliate and, fortunately, he decided that it was probably a false alarm. His decision not to fire Soviet missiles at the U.S. likely saved the world from a nuclear catastrophe.
“I had a funny feeling in my gut,” he later explained. “I didn’t want to make a mistake. I made a decision, and that was it… when people start a war, they don’t start it with only five missiles.”