This Week In History, May 21 – 27

Published May 26, 2023

Ancient Roman statue heads found in England, 2,700-year-old saddle discovered in China, breastplate with history's oldest-known Cyrillic text unearthed in Bulgaria.

1,800-Year-Old Heads From Roman Statues Uncovered By A Volunteer Archaeologist In Northern England

Ancient Roman Sculpted Heads

Stuart Walker PhotographyMade of sandstone and measuring in at two feet tall, these sculpted heads are believed to date back to 200 C.E., when they sat atop statues standing about 15 feet high.

Just two days into a dig at Roman ruins that are now the site of northern England’s Carlisle Cricket Club, a volunteer archaeologist experienced the ultimate beginner’s luck when she happened upon the heads of two ancient Roman statues — one of which could depict Fortuna, the goddess of luck.

A retired nurse from Indiana, Carolyn Veit had visited friends in the area many times, but had never thought to join an archaeological dig until recently. And soon after she began, she saw stone eyes and lips peeking out of the dirt in an unprecedented discovery that experts are now calling “unique and priceless.”

Read on here.

2,700-Year-Old Saddle Discovered In Woman’s Grave In China May Be Oldest Ever Found

Saddle From Yanghai

Patrick WertmannThe discovery of the saddle in a woman’s grave challenges long-held ideas about who rode horses in ancient times.

While excavating a tomb in Yanghai — in the Turpan Basin of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region — archaeologists came across the grave of a woman. To their surprise, they also found that she was posed sitting on a leather saddle. Now, archaeologists believe that this saddle may be the oldest ever discovered.

The saddle is made of two cowhide cushions. Inside, it’s stuffed with straw, as well as deer and camel hair. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the saddle was made almost 3,000 years ago, between 724 and 396 B.C.E.

Dig deeper in this report.

Researchers Identify 1,100-Year-Old Breastplate With Perhaps The Oldest Cyrillic Text Ever Found

Breastplate With Cyrillic Texts

Ivaylo KanevPiece of the breastplate with perhaps the oldest Cyrillic texts ever found.

A 1,100-year-old inscription on a breastplate may be the oldest Cyrillic text ever found.

Several Eurasian languages, including Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, and Bulgarian, employ the Cyrillic alphabet — and have since its creation in the late ninth century.

Given the alphabet’s age, scholars wish to collect artifacts to paint a picture of its evolution, and they think that the breastplate may be one of the most important discoveries yet.

See more here.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.