This Week In History News, Feb. 5 – 11

Published February 10, 2023

Ancient tavern unearthed in Iraq, secrets of Impressionist masterpieces unlocked, Henry VIII pendant uncovered in England.

Archaeologists Just Unearthed The Remains Of A 5,000-Year-Old Tavern In Southern Iraq

5000 Year Old Tavern

Lagash Archaeological ProjectResearchers uncovered a massive oven, an ancient refrigeration device called a zeer, and food storage vessels still holding millennia-old scraps of chicken and fish.

Throughout the third millennium B.C.E., the city of Lagash was one of the most important political and economic centers in Mesopotamia. Located near what’s now Al-Shatrah, Iraq, this ancient metropolis contained fertile fields that produced a wealth of crops as well as a series of massive kilns that churned out an untold volume of earthenware and clay vessels. Recent excavations of the surrounding area have uncovered everything from houses to streets to some 37,000 shards of pottery.

Now, archaeologists in Lagash have made what may be their most fascinating discovery yet: an open-air tavern dating back to 2700 B.C.E. Featuring a sophisticated kitchen equipped with an oven and a refrigerator, this tavern served chicken, fish, bread, and beer, all of which was enjoyed by patrons seated on long benches in the outdoor dining area.

Dig deeper into this astonishing find here.

New Study Finds That Hazy Skies In Impressionist Paintings May Have Depicted Air Pollution

Impression Sunrise

Public DomainImpression, Sunrise by Claude Monet, 1872.

A recent study found that famous Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet and Joseph Mallord William Turner may have based their later paintings on their air-polluted environments — providing an alternative explanation for Impressionism’s signature hazy, dream-like glow.

The study, conducted by scientists at Harvard University, Sorbonne University, and École Normale Supérieure, found that Impressionist paintings by artists like Monet and Turner closely followed 19th-century pollution trends.

Dig deeper in this report.

Amateur Metal Detectorist Unearths A 500-Year-Old Pendant Celebrating Henry VIII’s First Marriage

Henry Viii Pendant

Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesExperts have hypothesized that the pendant may have been made for a tournament in the 16th century.

When Charlie Clarke set out for his friend’s Warwickshire property in 2019 with his metal detector, he hoped to get some fresh air, and maybe clear his mind after the recent death of his dog. Instead, the 34-year-old cafe owner stumbled upon a veritable treasure: a 500-year-old heart-shaped pendant with clear links to the Tudor Era.

The find, Clarke said, made him scream “like a little schoolgirl, to be honest. My voice went pretty high-pitched.”

Read on 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.