This Week In History News, Jan. 7 – 11

Published January 11, 2019

Million-dollar penny up for auction, Bronze Age prosthetic hand found, temple to pre-Aztec "Flay Lord" uncovered.

$1 Million Penny Found In Young Boy’s Lunch Money Goes To Auction

Front Of 1943 Penny

Heritage AuctionsThe 1943 Lincoln penny was found in a high-schoolers lunch money in 1947.

In 1947, 16-year-old Don Lutes Jr. found a rare 1943 Lincoln penny in his lunch money while a high school student in Massachusets. The “most famous” coin is one of 20 accidentally minted copper coins, whose existence the government even denied for years. Lutes Jr. wisely held on to the penny for some 70 years until his recent death in September.

Now, the coin is going up for auction and expected to fetch anywhere from $1 to $1.7 million.

“This is the most famous error coin in American numismatics and that’s what makes this so exciting: No one really knows what it’s going to sell for,” said Sarah Miller of Heritage Auctions.

Read more here.

Ancient Bronze-Age Prosthetic Hand Discovered In Switzerland

Bronze Age Hand From Switzerland

Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern/Philippe JonerThe bronze hand and other items found at the site in Switzerland.

The notion of a cyborg has been alive in well in human history for millennia, or at least the discovery of a nearly-lifesized bronze cast prosthetic hand suggests.

Originally uncovered in 2017 near Lake Biel in Bern, Switzerland by treasure hunters using metal detectors, the bronze-cast hand was brought to the Bern Archaeological Service for review along with a bronze dagger and rib bone also uncovered at the site of the metal hand.

The one-pound bronze limb features a gold foil cuff around the wrist and an attachment within that reportedly would have allowed the cast to be mounted. Radiocarbon dating was done on the glue attaching the foil to the wrist, placing the artifact from around 1,400 and 1,500 B.C. or the middle Bronze Age.

Dig deeper in this report.

Archaeologists Discover Pre-Aztec Temple To “Flay Lord” Xipe Tótec, A Deity Who Desired Skinned Sacrifices

Skull Sculptures Sacrifice

Mexican Institute of Anthropology and HistoryTwo “skinned skulls” dedicated to Xipe Tótec — the flayed god.

Much like the ancient Greek goddess Persephone, the Popolocan deity Xipe Totec was honored as the totem of the spring harvest in modern-day Mexico during the era before the Aztecs. But the offerings to this deity proved far more gruesome than one might think: Xipe Totec desired the skin of a human sacrifice.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History reported the discovery during a recent excavation of the Popoloca ruins in the central state of Puebla. The temple excavation site is 12m long and 3.5m high and is a part of a compound of previously unexplored mounds from the time before the Aztecs conquered the Popoloca.

At the excavation site, two sacrificial altars and three stone sculptures dedicated to the god Xipe Totec were found. The sculptures featured two skull-like skinned heads in volcanic rock and a torso engraved with symbols for sacrificial skins.

See more in this look at Xipe Totec.

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.