This Week In History News, Aug. 5 – 11

Published August 10, 2018

Mystery of Mayan collapse uncovered, builders and purpose of Stonehenge revealed, thousands of WWII weapons found under Japanese school.

Researchers Finally Uncover What Wiped Out The Mayan Civilization

Tikal Mayan City

Laslovarga/Wikimedia CommonsTikal, an ancient Mayan city that dates from 800 B.C. to 900 A.D.

Many theories have been explored to try and explain the collapse of the Maya civilization. For years, evidence trying to prove these theories had been inconclusive – until now.

The Maya Empire, located in what is now present-day Guatemala, was a cultural epicenter that excelled at agriculture, pottery, writing, and mathematics. They reached their peak of power in the sixth century A.D., however, by 900 A.D. most of their great cities were abandoned.

For centuries researchers have tried to discover exactly how this great civilization could have fallen apart so quickly. A new report in Science, released on August 3, has finally given quantifiable evidence confirming the most widely-believed theory to explain how the Mayan civilization met its end: drought.

Dig deeper in this look at how the Mayans disappeared.

Unexpected Corpses Unearthed At Stonehenge May Finally Reveal Who Built It — And Why

Excavation Team Stonehenge

Adam Stanford/Aerial-CamExcavation team near Stonehenge.

Plenty of mystery has always surrounded Stonehenge — and new discoveries about the origins of human remains found buried at the structure are now raising even more questions.

Study of Stonehenge typically focuses on its structure rather than the people buried at the site, but a new study published on Aug. 2 in the journal Scientific Reports revealed surprising results based on recent examinations of the bone fragments from human remains that had been found there.

Researchers found that at least 10 of the people buried there had come from areas some 180 miles away, leaving experts wondering just how and why those people ended up at Stonehenge. And the answers might just tell us who built it and for what purpose.

Read on here.

Thousands Of World War II-Era Weapons Found Buried Underneath A School In Tokyo

World War 2 Weapons Discovered In Japan

COURTESY OF NISHITOKYO CITYThousands of swords and other weapons were discovered underneath an elementary school on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan.

About 1,400 firearms and 1,200 swords were discovered buried underneath an elementary school in Tokyo, Japan. Authorities said that they believe the weapons are from the World War II era and likely belonged to the Japanese Imperial Army.

Grenades, bullets and cannonballs were also found buried about two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) underneath Tanashi Elementary School in the city of Nishitokyo, according to authorities. The discovery of the weapons is the result of the construction of a building that began in July.

The Japan Self-Defense Forces and police say that the weapons might have been discarded in 1945 following the end of World War II.

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.