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Ancient Greek Homes Doubled as Pubs, Brothels: Discovery News

She was struck by the fact that some houses had yielded hundreds of drinking cups — far too many even for well-off families hosting lavish parties.

“Taverns are indeed so well hidden. We know them to have existed, yet we cannot seemingly find any physical evidence for the buildings themselves,” said Clare Kelly Blazeby, from the University of Leeds, U.K., who presented her research last week at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Philadelphia.

Hints to distinguishing a porneia, or brothel, from an ordinary house include not only the number of drinking cups, but also the presence of multiple entrances, the existence of oikemata or little rooms — working in a brothel is usually coined as “sitting in a little room” in ancient Greek texts — and an abundance of cisterns and wells, since bathing after sex was customary in Greece.

The most likely explanation, according to Blazeby, is that Greek homes doubled as pubs.

“My research shows that a lot of trade was embedded within the domestic walls. It also changes our perception of who was drinking wine, and where they were doing it. Women, slaves and foreigners as well as ordinary Greeks, would all have enjoyed time and wine in a classical tavern,” Blazeby told Discovery News.”The embalming technology was quite sophisticated,” said study co-leader Frank Rohli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project

The first evidence of artificial mummification in ancient Greece lies in a lead coffin at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, according to a Swiss-Greek research team.

“Besides the clothes, remnants of soft tissue as well as the individual’s original hairstyle and eyebrows were exceptionally well preserved,” Christina Papageorgopoulou of the University of Zurich and colleagues wrote in a paper to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shortly.

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Ancient Greek Homes Doubled as Pubs, Brothels: Discovery News.


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  1. Concerned about this issue too not just brothels of Greek times Uighur security guards rescued two injured Han people from the street and pulled them to shelter in the market, he said. The two had been beaten and one was hit in the head with a brick.

    Another Han man said he fled after seeing a group of young Uighur men chase down Han people on the street, pelting them with stones and stabbing them with knives.

    “Uighur terrorists are killing Chinese people,” said another Han man, who said he was born in Xinjiang. “The police didn’t react quickly enough,” he said. “I am crying for justice.”

    A Uighur man standing near Urumqi’s central bazaar said young Uighurs were angered by what happened at the toy factory in Guangdong, in southern China. When Han Chinese come to work in Xinjiang, “there is no problem,” he said. But he said, “We go to work in Guangdong and they beat us up….The young people just get fed up.”

    According to a report Monday by the state-run Xinhua news agency, Liu Yaohua, a senior police official in Xinjiang, said rioters burned 261 vehicles, including 190 buses and two police cars, several of which were still ablaze Monday morning.

    Internet users roundly condemned the violence. In one forum on the People’s Daily newspaper Web site, a user said “only the hardest crackdown can quiet the people’s anger.”

    Another post called for an end to various government affirmative-action programs for minorities.

    Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based advocacy group, said the Chinese government had created a “pressure cooker” atmosphere for Uighurs in Xinjiang. “Any criticism is seen as undermining Chinese sovereignty,” he said. “People have no way to express their grievances.”

    Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1

  2. Erik Ramsey, 26, from Georgia, in the U.S., suffered a stroke after a car accident at the age of 16, leaving him with Locked-in Syndrome.
    They then surgically implanted a Neurotrophic electrode — a glass cone less than one millimeter in length, containing three wires each thinner than a human hair — into the speech-related motor cortex in Ramsey’s brain.

    The user learns to control it more like a prosthetic tongue than a typing system.

    –Frank Guenther, Boston University.
    When Ramsey tries to produce vowel sounds the electrode records neural signals from his brain. An FM radio transmitter implanted underneath the scalp then sends them wirelessly across his skull.

    The signals are decoded by a computer, finally driving a speech synthesizer, which produces audible vowel sounds.

    Guenther said the whole process, from thought to sound production, takes about 50 milliseconds — around the same speed as normal speech.
    Guenther said the electrode in Ramsey’s brain was implanted four years ago. Its two-channel recording system only allows 20 to 40 neurons to control the voice synthesizer, but Guenther said newer, 32-channel systems, would allow over 100 neurons to be used.

    “We’re currently working on synthesizers that allow consonants to be produced relatively easily and we are also working on the hardware that would let us implant a 32-channel system in the next patient,” he told CNN.

    “That should give us a dramatic improvement in the user’s capability for producing sound, which will allow consonants to be produced, and then complete words.”

    He added that it would probably be five to 10 years before the technology would be available to the general public.

    Christopher James, of the Signal Processing and Control Group at the University of Southampton, in England, said the research was “quite novel and very promising.”

    But he cautioned that repeatability might be a problem, with BCI systems often working well for one individual, but not others, and added that invasive brain surgery is always a risk.

  3. Although there are no written accounts describing the practice of mummification in ancient Greece, it is known that the Greeks were familiar with the extraction of essential oils and resins from the plants and were aware of their antimicrobial and bactericidal properties.

    The researchers believe the lead coffin might have helped protect the mummy. However, since no lead — a natural disinfectant — was found within the tissues, the coffin did not play a key role in the preservation process.

    Made specifically for this corpse, the lead coffin indicates a high social status. “This is also confirmed by minimum osteoarthritic lesions and complete lack of musculoskeletal stress markers. It suggests less intense labor activities during life,” Rohli told Discovery News.

    Analysis of the mummified remains revealed that the woman was between 50 and 60 years of age and 5 foot 3 inches tall. She had brown hair and good oral hygiene and did not suffer from infectious disease, inflammation or malnutrition. Some mystery, however, remains.

    “We could not determine the cause of death,” said Rohli.

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