Blue Paint Found On Woman's Teeth From Middle Ages Hailed As 'Bombshell' Discovery—Here's Why
Women haven't always gotten the credit they deserved––then and now.
Combine society's tendency to undermine women's contributions with a rather thrilling archaeological discovery and you have both something cool and exciting to bring up to your friends, as well as a source of newfound inspiration.
According to a new study published in Science, a woman who died in Germany roughly 1,000 years ago and was buried in an unmarked grave in a church cemetery, had lapis lazuli pigment preserved in her dental calculus.
Lapis lazuli, which has a brilliant blue pigment, was mined only in Afghanistan and "transformed the European color palette," according to the researchers. Ultramarine, the powdered form of lapis lazuli, was the finest and most expensive pigment of the medieval era, and valued more highly than gold.
"The early use of this pigment by a religious woman challenges widespread assumptions about its limited availability in medieval Europe and the gendered production of illuminated texts," the research team wrote, noting that "the application of highly pure ultramarine in illuminated works was restricted to luxury books of high value and importance, and only scribes and painters of exceptional skill would have been entrusted with its use."
You read that correctly. This woman, whoever she was, has challenged what we thought we knew about women and their role in the art world of medieval Europe. It gets better.
The researchers continue:
Before the 15th century, however, scribes seldom signed their works, raising questions as to the identity of early scribes and illuminators. Even among books in women's monastery libraries, fewer than 15% bear female names or titles, and before the 12th century, fewer than 1% of books can be attributed to women. Consequently, it has long been assumed that monks, rather than nuns, were the primary producers of books throughout the Middle Ages. Recent historical research, however, has challenged this view, revealing that religious women were not only literate but also prolific producers and consumers of books... From the 13th to the 16th centuries, during which documentary evidence and record keeping in Germany is more complete, more than 4000 books attributed to over 400 women scribes have been identified, and active scriptoria have been identified at 48 women's monasteries. However, identifying the early contributions of religious women to medieval book production is challenging due to the limited number of surviving books, the precarious documentation of women's monasteries, and the tendency of scribes to leave their work unsigned. As a result, individual female scribes remain poorly visible in the historical record, and it is likely that most of their scribal work has gone unrecognized. ...
Radiocarbon-dated to AD 997–1162, this woman represents the earliest direct evidence of ultramarine pigment usage by a religious woman in Germany. Moreover, because the monastery and the entirety of its contents were destroyed during a 14th-century fire, this finding of lapis lazuli potentially represents the sole surviving evidence of female scribal activity at the site.
"It's kind of a bombshell for my field — it's so rare to find material evidence of women's artistic and literary work in the Middle Ages," said Alison Beach, a professor of medieval history at Ohio State University. "If you picture someone in the Middle Ages making a fine illuminated manuscript, you probably picture a monk — a man," Beach added. "Because things are much better documented for men, it's encouraged people to imagine a male world. This helps us correct that bias. This tooth opens a window on what activities women also were engaged in."
Licking the tip of a paintbrush to get a fine tip would likely account for how the residue got into the woman's mouth, researchers posited. A frequently licked paintbrush is the most likely option, but the team also suggested the woman (identified as B78) could have helped produce the stone or used it in a medical treatment.
Some art experts are skeptical, however, dismissing the idea that a woman could have been skilled enough to use ultramarine. According to Christina Warinner, the study's co-author, one skeptic suggested that the woman came into contact with ultramarine because she was likely the cleaning lady.
This exciting news has captivated many people keen on seeing a new addition to the historical record.
Amazing historical detective work. Tiny flakes of lapis lazuli caught in a nun's teeth prove women were top medieva… https://t.co/3d2NlY5pzC— Emma Graham-Harrison (@Emma Graham-Harrison) 1547389652.0
@_EmmaGH @TheAtlantic I loved this story, how our bodies hold secrets.— Madame Librarian (@Madame Librarian) 1547391802.0
This is such an incredible bit of sleuthing. Scientists found mysterious blue particles in a 1000-year-old woman'… https://t.co/BrvlRc3ITE— Sarah Zhang (@Sarah Zhang) 1547061461.0
This is SUCH a fascinating story and also it continues to amaze me the ways people will reach just so that they don… https://t.co/hvWaOyRMDy— Anne Thériault (@Anne Thériault) 1547093495.0
The most delightful thing I've read in ages! "Beach also identified a book using lapis lazuli that was written by a… https://t.co/oIBxNMKJ2t— Dr. Stephennie Mulder (@Dr. Stephennie Mulder) 1547070443.0
@sarahzhang @DrLindseyFitz That's awesome. Reading Oxford Medieval mysteries series by the late and wonderful… https://t.co/6XXmN4aRAY— Rufa Crispa (@Rufa Crispa) 1547062908.0
I share in excitement about recent lapis lazuli discovery. But here's the thing: it *adds* to the existing scholars… https://t.co/diP2yQKSNy— Elizabeth Lehfeldt (@Elizabeth Lehfeldt) 1547122122.0
We, for one, are happy to hear this woman is finally getting her due.
People Break Down Which Practices The United States Needs To Adopt From Other Countries
We can all agree that there is something to appreciate about every country in the world, but there are arguably some countries that appear to have their ducks more consistently and happily in a row than others.
While it would be easy to let pride get in the way and continue to do things the same way, the more productive thing would be to learn from the countries who have figured out a better way to do certain things, whether it's healthcare, food banks, or other services.
Reflecting on the United States, Redditor Blinds**thead asked:
"What is one thing the USA should adopt from some other country?"
Introductions to Alcohol
"Swedish drinking laws. If I remember correctly, you can purchase alcohol below 5% at age 18, and be served liquor in bars (so the bartender can control the amount being served)."
"Seems like a smarter way to introduce kids to alcohol rather than opening the floodgates at 21."
Taxes to Approve
"I've never done them but they seem complicated and stress my parents out, so I just know I'll f**k mine up and end up in stupid jail, lol (laughing out loud)."
"Just send me something to sign, please!"
"A prison system that focuses on rehabilitation instead of punishment. Many countries have been successful with this saving literally billions of dollars and cutting down on crime."
Universal School Lunches
"Universal school lunches. It is embarrassing that we do not have folks cooking lunches for students from scratch and that it is not provided for free to all students."
"Do you want to bring your own lunch? Great, but you can also have the free hot lunch that looks homemade, not pizza squares, canned veggies, a slice of fruit, and 3 oz of milk."
"Kids shouldn't be going into debt for lunch. We're probably wealthy enough that our food waste alone would be sufficient, if captured magically, to feed every kid in the United States three proper meals per day."
"Also walkable cities and above-ground monorail systems."
"Finland has recently ended homelessness by just allowing people to live in small apartments without any preconditions, and four out of five of them make their way back to a stable life."
"It's also cheaper than allowing people to be homeless."
Foster Care Assistance
"It would be nice to also eliminate the fees foster parents pay for general registration, classes, and social services related to fostering or adoption."
"And also eliminate trying to recoup costs by billing parents whose children have been placed in foster care."
Longer Paid Family Leave
"I was SUPER blessed to get 12 weeks fully pay. But that’s not enough time. Putting the emotional aspect aside, I’ve returned to work functioning on four to five hours of sleep a night, and my productivity and cognitive abilities are greatly handicapped."
"My three-month-old son can’t even hold his head up or sit, let alone talk to tell me if anything’s wrong, and he’s placed in the care of someone else from 7:15 am to 5:15 pm. Doesn’t seem healthy for mother or child."
"The fact that our toilets don't have bidets and that at public restrooms the gap between the doors is massive, are both disgusting. Our whole bathroom situation is messed up."
Having a Siesta
"According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, whether you eat lunch or not, everyone requires a rest midday."
Tax Included in the Price
"Man, I had such a hard time with this when I visited America. Maths in my head is not my forte and I’m so used to looking at prices and expecting that to just be the price."
"I don’t get why you wouldn’t just add in the tax to the price. No one wants to do math unnecessarily. I mean, we don’t even tip in Australia so I don’t even need to work that out."
Raising Multilingual Children
"Teaching a foreign language to young students in public schools (ie 5yrs, k-5) when the propensity to learn the language quickly is maximum."
Clean Public Restrooms
"The clean restrooms in Japan were amazing. I never had to clean a toilet seat to put my young kids on it. In the states? Near every time. People here just don’t care about the ‘we’ when it comes to restrooms."
Separate Work and Healthcare
"Decent healthcare that isn't tied to your job. Other countries all over the world have figured out different ways to do this, so why can't we? (I know, corporations own politicians.)"
"I'm not an expert, but I'm guessing it would destabilize a bunch of industries in the near term. But I wonder if long-term, it would create so much new innovation since people would be unafraid to lose their health benefits to leave their stable but s**tty corporate jobs to start new ventures."
Designated Drivers on the Go
"In Japan, there is a service that you can call 24 hours per day that will come with two drivers and one car. One driver drives you and your car home, and the other follows in their car to pick up the driver that took you home with your car. No DUI, etc."
"It's actually really affordable there. No need to get an uber home that night and then an uber back the next day when you are hungover only to find out you have a million parking tickets or your car got towed."
Though there are positives to every country, it would be so cool to see each country be more open-minded about adopting the positives of other countries.
If a country is doing something better than another, the best thing for the citizens would be to take some notes, rather than let their pride do the talking.
Every year, at the end of the Academy Awards, while the auditorium erupts in cheers upon the announcement of the Best Picture winner, as they are somewhat obligated to do, many viewers at home instead shake their heads and raise their eyebrows.
That's if they don't throw popcorn or worse at their TVs.
While those who did so when La La Land was announced as the winner in 2017 would end up getting their revenge in what remains one of the biggest blunders of Oscar history, others are still reeling at some past winners, which they believe were more worthy of a Razzie than an Oscar.
Taste being subjective, plenty of people still find themselves confused by some films which won countless awards, received across-the-board raves, and are considered classics or masterpieces, but they find to be utterly unbearable.
Often finding themselves in an unpopular minority and having to keep their opinion to themselves, similar to Seinfeild's Elaine Benes and her unique disdain for The English Patient.
"Which film that’s universally praised do you find utterly repulsive?"
"My best friend really enjoys movies that make you anxious and uncomfortable like 'Uncut Gems' and 'Good Time', but I firmly do not like those kinds of movies."
"I know it's the point, but i find no joy in the level of discomfort I feel while watching them."
"Some other honorable mentions:"
Not Exactly Authentic
"'The Greatest Showman'."
"Mostly on the grounds that the real P T Barnum was a f*cking monster."- LostMercenary99
"The real John Smith was a f*cking sick bastard and the true events most definitely weren't a love story at all."- CagedKagepocahontas GIFGiphy
Who The "Devil" Was Is Debatable...
"'The Devil Wears Prada'."
"I just wanted everyone in that movie to die in a fire."- PothierM
Tearjerker, Or Sleeping Pill?
"I don't know if it's universally praised but I f*cking hate it."- sara_c907
One Of The All Time Creepiest Shower Scenes...
"Every damn Christmas."
"To be fair I can’t really stand Will Ferrel in general."- cook-isationwill farrel ross geller GIFGiphy
The Title Could Refer To The People Leaving The Theater...
"'Fast and Furious', just a terribly written extremely corny show."- tds542
Fern Gully Did It Better...
"All day long."
'Those blue miserable tw*ts."- akbarkhan666
There Was Bound To Be One...
"I don't know about utterly repulsive, but I have a hard time seeing why everyone loves 'Citizen Kane'."
"And I understand that there was movie making before 'Citizen Kane' and movie making after 'Citizen Kane' such that it informed movie makers going forward as to how it's done, let's say, but after a certain point we, the audience, don't see that anymore, and it's just another movie."
"And then I hear people say well it highlights social hierarchy under capitalism and such, but a lot of movies do that."
"And then there's the twist at the end which is not much of a twist which is the point, I suppose, but the whole thing seemed like a letdown when I finally watched it."
'As a result while a lot of people say it's their number one movie ever or at least in their top 10, it's on my top 10 list of movies not to watch again."- emjayseacitizen kane applause GIFGiphy
Why Not Just Do A Documentary?
"I think it's atrocious how they create hyperreality by over romanticizing the life of a famous person."
"Out of all the awful biopics however, i despise 'Bohemian Rhapsody' the most."
"The scene where the band supposedly invents 'We Will Rock You' on the spot makes my skin crawl."
"How did that movie end up winning so many awards, despite all the plot inaccuracy's and the poor editing."
"It is really beyond me."- Biemolt
Maybe Too Realistic?
'Not utterly repulsive, but I'm in the minority for thinking that 'Nomadland''s Best Picture win was a joke."
"It was barely a movie and relied too much on performance exploitation of actual people for its thin-as-f*ck narrative."
"Honestly, it might be my least favorite BP winner of recent times, yes I'd say that even 'Crash', 'The Artist' and 'Green Book' were better."- SamwisethePoopyButt
Not To Mention That Fake Baby...
"Shameless piece of 'Merican' propaganda, and I couldn't help but laugh at Bradley Cooper's portrayal in the first half hour."- mos_methBradley Cooper Baby GIFGiphy
Truman Capote Would Agree...
"Breakfast at Tiffany's."- LucyVialli
He Did Not Have Them At Hello...
"It was just TOO. DAMN. LONG."
"The 'Show me the money' bit was funny, but it happened early on in the film, and the rest dragged on forever."- Brilliant_Tourist400
We All Know "Moonlight" Was Better...
"'La La Land'."
"The music was utterly forgettable and the plot felt like it was written by a bunch of Hollywood executives jerking each other off."- Aviator506Emma Stone Love GIF by La La LandGiphy
Needless to say, everyone's taste is different, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Meaning there's bound to be an argument at the next "movie night" you have with friends over whether to watch Citizen Kane or Spice World.
And you should feel no shame in expressing which movie you want to watch.
Or rather, "what you really, REALLY, want" to watch...
Everyone wishes there was something different about their body.
Smaller nose, longer legs, a different hair or eye color.
There are those, however, whose frustrations with their body are less personal, and more universal.
Finding themselves frustrated less with their own DNA, but with human anatomy in general.
Frustrated by how certain functions work the way they do, and feeling there could be significant improvements in other departments as well.
"What is the biggest design flaw of the human body?"
Would Make A Lot Of People Less Cautious
"Unable to regenerate body parts."
"You lose an arm or a leg, you can't grow a new one."
"We can grow hair and nails forever, but not body parts."- drygnfyre
And Maybe The Whole Childbirth Process While We're At It...
"The size of the average baby head vs the size of the average vagina."- Ruggiard
"The Obstetric Dilemma."
"Basically, the human body isn't built for easy birth."- strykazoidSeason 3 Baby GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
It Isn't Terribly Practical If You Think About It...
"IMO the whole 'we put food into the only air hole we have and can choke and die if we aren’t careful' thing is a pretty big miss."- el_rico_pavo_real
"Throat has a built in flaw - we breath n swallow food through the same area."- coolguy1793B
A More Direct Route Would Be Helpful
"I like the example of the recurrent laryngeal nerve."
"It runs from the brain to the larynx."
"However, to get there it goes from the brain, down the neck, into the chest, around the aorta and then back up the chest, up the neck and then connects to the larynx."
"That's a massive detour."
"It also means a blow to the chest can damage your ability to talk."- The_Thunder_ChildGiphy
Never Underestimate The Damage Teeth Can Do
"The fact that I sometimes accidentally eat the inside of my mouth."- -Grey_Area-·
He Does Have A Point
"'Nostalgia is the greatest human weakness. Second only to the neck'... -Dwight Schrute
In Plain Sight...
"In our eyes, the blood vessels supplying our photoreceptors are in front of them and therefore in the way of the incoming light."
"Probably not the biggest and there are some good justifications for it being set up this way."
"But it still must be such a pain for the brain constantly having to edit these out when forming our visual experience."- oliwoggleLoop Eyes GIF by Doze StudioGiphy
Maybe Just Every Illness And Ailment?
"My aunt had one when she was 31 and the healthiest person in the world."
"Ran an aerobics class at the Y, just perfect perfect health."
"Went to Pizza Hut with her the night before, next day, massive stroke, almost died, critical surgery, twenty years later she still has trouble speaking."
"There is no reason that should’ve happened."
"Perfectly healthy person damaged for the rest of her life."
"She’s still amazing and lovely and my favorite person but damn is that annoying."- Jibber_Fight
"You can kinda just die at any moment from a brain aneurysm, even if you're perfectly healthy."- mcsteve87
All Our Bones Could Be Stronger...
"For upright walking creatures, why is our head so (relatively) delicate?"
"Trip a single time and you're blinded, have brain damage, bit off your tongue, or lost teeth."- kmn493Episode 15 Pain GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
They Arguably Also Weren't Built For Stairs...
"Our knees for sure."
"They just weren't built to last past 40 years."- TopShelfCrazy
A Couple More On/Off Switches Would Be Helpful As Well...
"That we cannot delete or sort unwanted/not needed info and memories from our brains."- PickAName616
As the saying goes, "nobody's perfect."
Or rather, "no BODY is perfect."
Otherwise, we'd all stop complaining about aching limbs or worrying about choking or other injuries.
People Share The Absolute Worst Relationship Advice They've Ever Received
Relationships are hard, and sometimes, they're confusing. When you're having a problem with your partner, or you're inexperienced and looking for lessons, you turn to your friends and family for advice.
Sometimes, the advice is sound and helps make things better.
Other times, the advice is trash and makes everything worse.
Redditors know this all too well, and are sharing the worst relationship advice they've ever gotten.
It all started when Redditor Spectrelegit asked:
"What is the worst relationship advice you've ever heard?"
Loyal As A Dog
"Any "loyalty tests". Always a bad idea."
"Heard a youtube therapist once say that as soon as you decide to do a loyalty test, you've already decided the relationship is over because either they fail and you can't trust them, or they pass and you show them that you don't trust them and they stop being able to trust you"
"Ultimatums fall under a similar category."
"If this is a current situation it sounds pretty toxic, and if you are unhappy I hope you get the support you need to make any changes."
Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
"Spend 3 months salary on an engagement ring. This was literally started by the rich diamond families to increase sales."
"My girl literally threw a jewelry store book at me with the ring she wanted circled and happily said there was a coupon lol. It was like $80 but it's the one she wanted. We've been together for almost 10 years and happily married for nearly 3 now"
"Yeah it's ridiculous, there's lab created gems that are basically the same and a fraction of the cost."
"I’ve said this to friends and family several times when they’ve asked me while stressing about picking out expensive rings:"
"if the ring is the problem, then the ring is not the problem."
Not The Way To Go
"There was a Reddit post about a guy who told his partner that she stunk several times a day. Poor girl was horrified. It got to the point that she was showering incessantly, using industrial strength deodorants and he still complained non-stop."
"Paraphrasing here, but when finally confronted, it turns out his father had given him this sound advice: “Tell a women she smells bad, and she’ll never leave you.”"
"Daddy was wrong."
Anything Doesn't Go
"That you only truly care if you're "ride or die.""
"An ex once told me that she thought if she pushed me far enough that I'd leave. I told her "Yes, I would leave. Why would I want to be with someone who thought so little of me that they'd push me far enough?""
"I had put up with a lot of abusive behaviour from her and it didn't last much longer before she tested my statement and I did exactly what I said."
"Totally!! And that you should love your partner “unconditionally” ie any behaviour goes. Nope"
Maybe Not The Right Person To Ask
"A friend of mine once prefaced some unsolicited advice about my 10-year marriage with the phrase, "I've been in dozens of relationships..." and then he went on to rant about how men shouldn't do the grocery shopping or something stupid like that."
"Right, we had a three times divorced friend who loved to give relationship advice. Most of it was BS."
"The Children" Need A Good Example
"Stay together for the kids."
"I was the child. Please don’t."
"I was also the child. Your children know when you don’t love each other, when you’re fighting all the time because you decided to stay with someone you can barely tolerate. They will live with that knowledge and grow up with a warped perception of love and relationships because they were never given a proper example."
"They will either become obsessive and do whatever they can to make someone stay, or they’ll develop a fear of commitment that will ruin every relationship before they even get the chance to try it. Divorce can be messy, especially when kids are involved, but sometimes the alternative can be far worse. If you decide to have kids, do right by them."
"“There is a perfect person out there”"
"No. No there isn’t. There is no such thing. People change as they experience life. To believe someone will stay the same forever is silly. Pick someone who you can grow with and shares common values with you. Everyone has to make some compromises and that includes someone making them on you too."
Not A Great Justification
"Being married is like eating spaghetti every night for dinner. No matter what sauce you put on it, it's still spaghetti. Sometimes a man needs to eat some steak once in a while."
"That was from my dad while trying to justify cheating on my mom."
Look Good For You
"My (very attractive but very unhappy in her own marriage mother) tried to make me believe that the secret of a successful marriage is to look desirable at every hour of the day and night . Make up, clothes, perfume… anything to keep the husband interested. Having a personality is nice but not necessary."
"I feel guilty of this, although I also feel like I can take the time to get ready all I want, he’s still going to admire someone else and probably in front of you. Just get ready for yourself if it makes you feel better. I have always hated to go out in public to run into anyone bareface, whether it’s an old friend, someone who picked on me in school, an old crush."
"Not sure where it came from me being this way but growing up my parents made fun of me when I’d have no make up on. If I got bad grades or did something that upset them they’d take it away and give it back saying “I need it.” Then other days tell me I wear too much of it, like high school wasn’t enough already. I could never win."
"I know several people who believe this and it’s sad"
Don't Be Who You Are
"When I was a teenager, my mom told me to not let boys see I was smart because no man is attracted to a woman whose smarter than he is. Also, I should work on my laugh because no one would be attracted to my laugh."
"Being smart and passionate about your interests is the most attractive thing ever"
Tell Me I'm Right
"Most people that come to you for relationship advice don’t want to advice they want you to validate the terrible decision they are about to make."
"I think your statement applies to advice in general. A lot of people to want to actually change or put in effort, they just want validation for their choices."
Yeah, that tracks.
We cannot believe some folks are dishing out such advice!
Has anyone every told you something truly crazy to keep a relationship propped up? Let us know in the comments.