This Week In History News, Mar. 21 – 27

Published March 26, 2021

Secrets of history's oldest wooden sculpture revealed, 3,000-year-old Chinese gold mask found, medieval fortress in Poland uncovered.

Scientists Just Unlocked The Mysteries Of The Oldest Wooden Sculpture In Human History

Shigir Idol Upper Body

Sverdlovsk Regional MuseumA reconstruction of the Shigir Idol from 1894.

In 1890, Russian miners happened upon what’s now known as the Shigir Idol. A 12,500-year-old totem pole, this invaluable artifact is the oldest wooden sculpture ever found and the first known piece of ritual art in human history.

Now, after more than a century, scientists have begun to unlock the secrets of this mysterious idol and just how old it actually is.

Discover more here.

Archaeologists Uncover 3,000-Year-Old Gold Mask In China Belonging To A Mysterious Ancient Society

Gold Mask Cleaned Up

Getty ImagesThe mask is believed to have been worn by priests during some sort of religious ritual.

Archaeologists digging at Sanxingdui in China’s Sichuan province struck gold — literally — when they uncovered the fragments of a 3,000-year-old gold mask.

The mask weighs a little over half a pound and is 84 percent pure gold. Found among a substantial cache of 500 objects spread across six “sacrificial pits,” archaeologists suspect that this mask was worn by a priest in a religious ceremony.

Dig deeper in this report.

Sharp-Eyed Archaeologist Unearths 5,000-Year-Old-Cemetery And Medieval Fortress In Poland

Satellite Images Of Cemetery

M. Przybyła/M. PodsiadłoKraków researcher Jan Bulas uncovered the site via satellite images.

Archaeological treasures are usually discovered by digging deep into the earth. One Polish archaeologist, however, made an incredible discovery from the sky — and now he has unearthed a 5,000-year-old cemetery and a medieval fortress.

Jan Bulas, an independent archaeologist in Kraków, became intrigued after noticing straight lines on satellite images of a farm near the town of Dębiany — lines only visible from above. He went to investigate with fellow archaeologist Marcin Przybyła.

There, the pair made an astounding find: the sprawling cemetery, consisting of 12, roughly 150-foot tombs — and atop the cemetery, remains of a medieval fortress, complete with a moat.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.