This Week In History News, Jan. 23 – 29

Published January 28, 2022

Pre-Columbian coyote-man statue recovered by Mexico after long dispute, ninja weapon prototypes found in Japan, youngest known Roman amphitheater found in Switzerland.

Archaeologists In Mexico Just Recovered The Storied Coyote-Man Of Tacámbaro

Tacambaro Coyote On Display

INAHStanding three and a half feet tall and made entirely of basalt, this storied statue features a coyote-man perched on a throne, in keeping with widespread Mesoamerican depictions of canines as god-like figures.

Three decades ago, a stunning coyote-man statue was found among the ruins of Tzintzúntzan, the great capital of the Tarascan civilization. This astonishing city once boasted a population of 80,000 as well as a highly-developed commercial and agricultural center — before colonial forces invaded in the early 1500s.

Today, its awe-inspiring pyramids remain, but little else, except the coyote-man. And after 30 years of lawsuits with the private collector who held it, the Mexican government has now recovered the statue and hopes to learn more than ever before about the Tarascan people.

See more here.

Possible Ninja Weapon Prototypes Discovered Among The Ruins Of Several Castles In Japan

Ninja Weapons

Saitama Prefectural Ranzan Historical MuseumThese flat stones may be an early version of a shuriken, widely known as a throwing star.

To the untrained eye, they may not look like much. But one Japanese archeologist suspects that a number of stone and clay artifacts discovered at the site of a famous 16th-century siege may be some of the earliest weapons ever used by ninjas.

That’s the theory put forward by Akihiro Iwata, an archaeologist and curator at the Saitama Prefectural Ranzan Historical Museum. He studied a number of stone and clay artifacts discovered at Hachioji Castle in the city of Hachioji, at Iwatsuki Castle in Saitama, and an administrative site in Saitama.

Significantly, these three sites were stage on which the 1590 Siege of Odawara unfolded, when a feudal lord named Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacked land held by the Hojo clan, a powerful warrior family.

Dig deeper in this report.

The Youngest Roman Amphitheater Ever Found Was Just Uncovered In Switzerland

Swiss Amphitheater

Department of Education, Culture and SportA drone photo of the excavation site.

When archeologists arrived to monitor the construction of a new boathouse in the Swiss city of Kaiseraugst, they expected to find ruins of a Roman quarry. Instead, the December 2021 construction project unearthed the walls of a once-mighty Roman amphitheater.

Along the banks of the Rhine, they found remnants of gates and side entrances complete with preserved sandstone thresholds. The archeologists also uncovered interior walls coated with plaster. And, significantly, they found wooden grandstands — evidenced by the imprint of a wooden post — where people likely once sat to cheer.

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.