national museum of anthropology and history

Ruth Shady (b. 1946) is an archaeologist and anthropologist from Peru. She is the founder and director of the archaeological project at Caral – the most ancient city in the Americas, and the site of the Norte Chico civilisation.

She has directed numerous archaeological projects around Peru, offering valuable information about the history of the Americas and the civilisations that once inhabited it. She also served as the director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of Peru, and professor at the National University of San Marcos.

10 Facts about Heidelberg

1. Heidelberg University is the oldest university in Germany. Established in 1386, Heidelberg’s Ruprecht-Karls-Universität remains one of Germany’s most prestigious universities - it celebrated its 625th anniversary in 2011. It counts an impressive array of national figures amongst its alumni, including the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

2. Heidelberg is home to an amphitheater. Hidden from view from the town at the top of the surrounding wooded hills, the ‘Thingstätte’ was built in 1935 by the Nazi political party, designed by Heidelberg native Albert Speer. It was used for rallies and solstice festivals during WW2 and is now preserved as a monument, but also still used for festivals and cultural events.

3. The first bicycle was invented by a graduate of Heidelberg University. Karl Drais came up with the ‘Laufmaschine’, which represented the beginning of mechanized personal transport. It was nicknamed the Dandy Horse and was the first means of transport to make use of the 2-wheel concept, even though it didn’t have pedals.

4. The city hosts superb firework displays during the summer. Known as the ‘Schlossbeleuchtung’, there’s a fantastic firework display on the 1st Saturday in June, 2nd Saturday in July and 1st Saturday in September every year. It starts with the Heidelberg castle being lit up as though it is on fire. This is to remember the times in 1689, 1693 and 1764, when it actually went up in flames. After a few minutes of the castle ‘burning’, the fireworks begin. They’re launched from the old bridge and last about 15 mins.

5. Heidelberg is featured prominently in various poems and novels. The city is mentioned in works by the likes of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, and Mark Twain, who spent several months in Heidelberg in the late 1800′s. The novel ‘The Reader’, made into a film in 2008, was also set in the city.

6. Heidelberg escaped bombing in WW2. Unlike many German cities, it was not destroyed by air raids and therefore still has original buildings from the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance. It has been suggested that the city escaped substantial bombing because the US Army wanted to use it as a garrison after the war. In fact though, as Heidelberg was neither an industrial center nor a transport hub, there was nothing of particular strategic interest for them to bomb, so they focused on nearby industrial cities such as Mannheim.

7. The first evidence of human life in Europe was found in Heidelberg. In 1907 a jaw-bone was discovered in a gravel pit – it’s the earliest evidence found of human life in Europe. The ‘Heidelberg Man’ is the name given to a member of this extinct human species, considered closely related to “Homo erectus”.

8. It’s home to the world’s biggest wine barrel. The Heidelberg ‘Tun’ holds 220,000 liters. The vat (Fass) was built in 1751 and sits within Heidelberg’s famous castle.

9. 1 in 5 residents is a university student. As you might expect from a city with a university as prestigious as that of Heidelberg, a large proportion of the population are students. This gives the city a lively feel and ensures ample social and cultural offerings for visitors and locals to enjoy.

10. The German Pharmacy Museum is housed in Heidelberg Castle. It displays a large collection of old equipment and medicines used in a pharmacy in past centuries.

Buff Kennewick Man Had Coastal Diet
Anna King
Buff Kennewick Man Had Coastal Diet

“For nearly a decade, scientists and Northwest tribes fought bitterly over whether to bury or study the 9,500-year-old bones known as Kennewick Man. Now, after years of careful examination, scientists are releasing some of their findings to tribes at meetings this week in Central Washington. It runs out ‘Kennewick Man’ grew up on the coast.

Kennewick Man was buff. I mean really -– beefcake. So says Doug Owsley. He’s the head of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and led the study of the ancient remains. Owsley can read the bones like we might read a book. He looks for ridge lines that indicate which muscles Kennewick Man used the most and what he was doing with them. First off? He had muscular legs like a soccer player –- likely from running, trudging and hunting.

“In his leg structure he’s certainly accustomed to very rapid movement, quick movement and you can read that in those muscle ridges,” Owsley explains. He also likely had killer arms, because he threw a spear with the aid of a lever like tool. Owsley says Kennewick Man was so strong in his right arm he was like a pro baseball pitcher, and the bones show he got today’s equivalent of a career-ending sports injury.

“If it happened to a contemporary baseball pitcher, they’d need surgery. And so it took off a piece of bone off the back side of the shoulder joint that would have been essentially loose. And I’m sure that caused great complications in his ability to throw.”

Owsley says Kennewick Man who stood about 5’7” and weighed about 170 pounds. And he wasn’t any stranger to pain. The evidence shows, K-Man as he’s known in Eastern Washington, got hit on the head a few times and stabbed with a basalt rock point that embedded in his hip” (read more).

***Haven’t listened to this yet.

(Source: NPR)

“The crude method of trephining [sic] with the sharpened edge of a stone practiced by peoples living in Peru some 500 or 600 years ago is revealed by the skulls at the National Museum”

William H. Egberts examining trepanned Peruvian skulls in the anthropology laboratory of Smithsonian National Museum, 1926. 

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs