This Week In History News, May 24 – 30

Published May 29, 2020

Viking grave uncovered under Norwegian house, stolen ancient tablet headed back to Iraq, cause of ancient megafauna extinction in Australia revealed.

1,000-Year-Old Viking Burial Ground Just Found Under Norwegian Couple’s Home

Norwegian House Torn Up

Nordland CountyMariann Kristiansen stands near her torn-up floor under which the Viking artifacts were found.

When tearing up their floor to install insulation, a couple in Norway started finding what they thought were bits of an old toy underneath. But soon enough, they realized that what they’d uncovered was actually much older than they ever could have imagined.

Archaeologists have since excavated and discovered that the couple had been living atop a Viking burial ground that dates back as far as 950 A.D. They’ve since unearthed an iron axe head as well as other astounding artifacts.

Dig deeper here.

Hobby Lobby Will Return Stolen Gilgamesh Dream Tablet From 1600 B.C. To Iraq

Gilgamesh Dream Tablet

U.S. District Court Eastern District of NYThe Gilgamesh Dream Tablet in question is only one of 12 inscribed with the tale. This fragment contained a portion of the epic poem in which the protagonist describes his dreams to his mother.

In 2014, arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby spent $1.6 million at an auction to purchase an ancient tablet inscribed with part of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Federal officials have since found the auction house lied about the tablet’s origins and that it was smuggled out of Iraq.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue’s office has now filed a civil action to return the tablet to the Iraqi government, where it belongs.

Learn more in this report.

New Study Shows The Extinction Of Australia’s Megafauna Was Likely Caused By Climate Change

Australia Archaeological Site

Rochelle Lawrence/Queensland MuseumResearchers uncovered at least 13 species of extinct megafauna that once roamed prehistoric Australia.

Between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago, the land that we now call Australia was populated with gigantic creatures of all kinds, including kangaroos twice the size of man and dragon-like goannas. And according to a new study, early humans actually co-existed alongside these humongous beasts for tens of thousands of years.

But following the demise of these creatures, researchers have long speculated about what caused it. Learn more about what caused the megafauna extinction in Australia.

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.