Nov 19 201557 The Mysterious Affair of the Irish Crown Jewels

The Irish crown jewels were stolen in 1907. To this day, no one knows who absconded with the regalia. While known as the “Irish crown jewels” today, they were not referred to as such until after their theft. In fact, they were the regalia of the Order of St. Patrick, a British Knightly Order associated with Ireland (England and Scotland had the Order of the Garter and the Order of the Thistle, respectively) and were worn by either the British monarch or their stand-in during investiture ceremonies or other state events.

When they were stolen in 1907 from a safe in Dublin Castle, there was no sign of a break in, no forced locks, an no other damage of any kind. Since 1907 theories about the theft of the crown jewels have ranged from an operation carried out either by Irish Unionists or British Republicans to humiliate the monarchy, blackmail and bacchanals at Dublin Castle, jewel stealing femme fatales, and simple drunken incompetence. To this day, the fate of the jewels remains an enduring mystery.


Aug 06 201542 An Invention of Writing! Maybe.

Humans have invented writing not once, not twice, but three times. Ancient Sumeria, China, and Mesoamerica all invented the written word independent of each other. In the case of Mesoamerican writing, there’s some ambiguity about when and who made it. Most experts agree that by around 500 BCE Zapotec peoples had created a writing system, but there’s some debate about whether or not the Olmec, an even older civilization, were the first in Mesoamerica to invent writing. One artifact, the 3,000 year old Cascajal Block, suggests that the Olmecs did, in fact, have a writing system. The Block is strewn with glyphs in a language that nobody speaks or understands, and is, potentially, the oldest piece of writing in the Western Hemisphere.

olmec writing


Related Links:

For more on misconceptions about Olmecs, check out Episode Three of this show, Incorrect Ideas About Olmecs.

More about the Runamo Inscription, the supposed ancient Viking runes that turned out to just be cracks in rock.