Archive for March 8, 2013

Grotesque Mummy Head Reveals Advanced Medieval Science


Post 1755

Grotesque Mummy Head Reveals Advanced Medieval Science

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 05 March 2013 Time: 09:31 AM ET
This anatomical specimen dating to the 1200s is the oldest known in Europe. 
CREDIT: photo courtesy Archives of Medical Science  

In the second century, an ethnically Greek Roman named Galen became doctor to the gladiators. His glimpses into the human body via these warriors’ wounds, combined with much more systematic dissections of animals, became the basis of Islamic and European medicine for centuries.

Galen’s texts wouldn’t be challenged for anatomical supremacy until the Renaissance, when human dissections — often in public — surged in popularity. But doctors in medieval Europe weren’t as idle as it may seem, as a new analysis of the oldest-known preserved human dissection in Europe reveals.

The gruesome specimen, now in a private collection, consists of a human head and shoulders with the top of the skull and brain removed. Rodent nibbles and insect larvae trails mar the face. The arteries are filled with a red “metal wax” compound that helped preserve the body. [Gallery: Historic Images of Human Anatomy]

The preparation of the specimen was surprisingly advanced. Radiocarbon dating puts the age of the body between A.D. 1200 and A.D.1280, an era once considered part of Europe’s anti-scientific “Dark Ages.” In fact, said study researcher Philippe Charlier, a physician and forensic scientist at University Hospital R. Poincare in France, the new specimen suggests surprising anatomical expertise during this time period.

“It’s state-of-the-art,” Charlier told LiveScience. “I suppose that the preparator did not do this just one time, but several times, to be so good at this.”

Myths of the middle ages

Historians in the 1800s referred to the Dark Ages as a time of illiteracy and barbarianism, generally pinpointing the time period as between the fall of the Roman Empire and somewhere in the Middle Ages. To some, the Dark Ages didn’t end until the 1400s, at the advent of the Renaissance.

But modern historians see the Middle Ages quite differently. That’s because continued scholarship has found that the medieval period wasn’t so ignorant after all. [Busted! 10 Medieval Myths]

“There was considerable scientific progress in the later Middle Ages, in particular from the 13th century onward,” said James Hannam, an historian and author of “The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution” (Regnery Publishing, 2011).

For centuries, the advancements of the Middle Ages were forgotten, Hannam told LiveScience. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it became an “intellectual fad,” he said, for thinkers to cite ancient Greek and Roman sources rather than scientists of the Middle Ages. In some cases, this involved straight-up fudging. Renaissance mathematician Copernicus, for example, took some of his thinking on the motion of the Earth from Jean Buridan, a French priest who lived between about 1300 and 1358, Hannam said. But Copernicus credited the ancient Roman poet Virgil as his inspiration.

Much of this selective memory stemmed from anti-Catholic feelings by Protestants, who split from the church in the 1500s.

As a result, “there was lots of propaganda about how the Catholic Church had been holding back human progress, and it was great that we were all Protestants now,” Hannam said.

Anatomical dark ages?

From this anti-Catholic sentiment arose a great many myths, such as the idea that everyone believed the world to be flat until Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas. (“They thought nothing of the sort,” Hannam said.)

Similarly, Renaissance propagandists spread the rumor that the Medieval Christian church banned autopsy and human dissection, holding back medical progress.

In fact, Hannam said, many societies have banned or limited the carving up of human corpses, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to early Europeans (that’s why Galen was stuck dissecting animals and peering into gladiator wounds). But autopsies and dissection were not under a blanket church ban in the Middle Ages. In fact, the church sometimes ordered autopsies, often for the purpose of looking for signs of holiness in the body of a supposedly saintly person.

The first example of one of these “holy autopsies” came in 1308, when nuns conducted a dissection of the body of Chiara of Montefalco, an abbess who would be canonized as a saint in 1881. The nuns reported finding a tiny crucifix in the abbess’ heart, as well as three gallstones in her gallbladder, which they saw as symbolic of the Holy Trinity.

Other autopsies were entirely secular. In 1286, an Italian physician conducted autopsies in order to pinpoint the origin of an epidemic, according to Charlier and his colleagues.

Some of the belief that the church frowned on autopsies may have come from a misinterpretation of a papal edict from 1299, in which the Pope forbade the boiling of the bones of dead Crusaders. That practice ensured Crusaders’ bones could be shipped back home for burial, but the Pope declared the soldiers should be buried where they fell.

“That was interpreted in the 19th century as actually being a stricture against human dissection, which would have surprised the Pope,” Hannam said.

Well-studied head

While more investigation of the body was going on in the Middle Ages than previously realized, the 1200s remain the “dark ages” in the sense that little is known about human anatomical dissections during this time period, Charlier said. When he and his colleagues began examining the head-and-shoulders specimen, they suspected it would be from the 1400s or 1500s.

“We did not think it was so antique,” Charlier said.

Anatomical specimen from Europe 

The skullcap and brain of this man were removed in preparing the anatomical specimen.
CREDIT: photo courtesy Archives of Medical Science 

But radiocarbon dating put the specimen firmly in the 1200s, making it the oldest European anatomical preparation known. Most surprisingly, Charlier said, the veins and arteries are filled with a mixture of beeswax, lime and cinnabar mercury. This would have helped preserve the body as well as give the circulatory system some color, as cinnabar mercury has a red tint.

Thus, the man’s body was not simply dissected and tossed away; it was preserved, possibly for continued medical education, Charlier said. The man’s identity, however, is forever lost. He could have been a prisoner, an institutionalized person, or perhaps a pauper whose body was never claimed, the researchers write this month in the journal Archives of Medical Science.

The specimen, which is in private hands, is set to go on display at the Parisian Museum of the History of Medicine, Charlier said.

“This is really interesting from a historical and archaeological point of view,” Charlier said, adding, “We really have a lack of skeletons and anthropological pieces.”



Post 1754


Kim Ann Zimmermann, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 05 March 2013 Time: 07:16 PM ET
world map
A map of the world from 1733. Different cultures have had different meanings for the ‘Seven Seas.’
CREDIT: Triff | Shutterstock 

The phrase “sail the Seven Seas” has had different meanings to different people at different times in history. The term “Seven Seas” is mentioned by ancient Hindus, Chinese, Persians, Romans and other cultures. The term historically referred to bodies of water along trade routes and regional waters; although in some cases the seas are mythical and not actual bodies of water.

The term “Seven Seas” has evolved to become a figurative term to describe a sailor who has navigated all the seas and oceans of the world, and not literally seven.

Why ‘seven’?

The number seven has a great deal of historical, cultural and religious significance: lucky number seven, seven hills of Rome, seven days of the week, seven wonders of the world, seven dwarves, seven days of creation, seven Chakras, seven ages of man, seven deadly sins and seven virtues — just to name a few.

The term “Seven Seas” can be traced to ancient Sumer in 2300 B.C., where it was used in a hymn by Sumerian high priestess Enheduanna to Inanna, the goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare.

To the Persians, the Seven Seas were the streams forming the Oxus River, the ancient name for the Amu Darya, one of the longest rivers in Central Asia. It rises in thePamir Mountains and flows northwest through the Hindu Kush and across Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the Aral Sea.

To the ancient Romans, the septem maria, Latin for Seven Seas, referred to a group of salt-water lagoons separated from the open sea by sandbanks near Venice. This was documented by Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and fleet commander.

The ancient Arabs defined the Seven Seas as the ones they sailed on voyages along their trading routes with the East. They were the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Khambhat, the Bay of Bengal, the Strait of Malacca, the Singapore Strait, the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.

The Phoenicians were expert sea traders and their sailors set out to in search of markets and raw materials. Their Seven Seas — Alboran, Balearic, Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, Adriatic and Aegean — were all part of the Mediterranean.

The Greeks and Romans gave rise to the medieval definition of the Seven Seas. During this time, references to the Seven Seas meant the Adriatic Sea; the Mediterranean Sea (including the Aegean Sea);  the Black Sea; the Caspian Sea; the Persian Gulf; the Arabian Sea (which is part of the Indian Ocean); and the Red Sea, including the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.

During the Age of Discovery (1450-1650), after Europeans began exploring North America, the definition of the Seven Seas changed again. Mariners then referred to the Seven Seas as the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.Other geographers identify the Seven Seas at that time as the Mediterranean and Red seas, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, China Sea, and the West and East African seas.

The Colonial era, which saw the tea trade sailing from China to England, gave rise to another description of the Seven Seas: the Banda Sea, the Celebes Sea, the Flores Sea, the Java Sea, the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea and the Timor Sea. Their expression “sailed the Seven Seas” meant sailing to the other side of the world and back.

Modern Seven Seas

The modern list of the Seven Seas that is most widely accepted by geographers actually lists the oceans:

North Atlantic Ocean: the portion of the Atlantic Ocean that lies primarily between North America and the northeast coast of South America to the east, and Europe and the northwest coast of Africa to the west.

South Atlantic Ocean: the southern section of the Atlantic Ocean, extending southward from the equator to Antarctica.

North Pacific Ocean: the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, extending from the equator to the Arctic Ocean.

South Pacific Ocean: the lower segment of the Pacific Ocean, reaching southward from the equator to Antarctica.

Arctic Ocean: the smallest of the Seven Seas, it surrounds the North Pole.

Southern Ocean: also known as the Antarctic Ocean, it consists of the southern portions of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and their tributary seas. It is the newest ocean, being designated by the International Hydrographic Organizationin 2000.

Indian Ocean: stretches for more than 6,200 miles (10,000 km) between the southern tips of Africa and Australia.

Lost and Found: Ancient Shoes Turn Up in Egypt Temple


Post 1753

Lost and Found: Ancient Shoes Turn Up in Egypt Temple

Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 26 February 2013 Time: 01:26 PM ET
The unwrapped shoe bundle showing the two pairs of children’s shoes and the adult isolate. 
CREDIT: © 2005 Franco M. Giani – Milano – Italy  

More than 2,000 years ago, at a time when Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of kings of Greek descent, someone, perhaps a group of people, hid away some of the most valuable possessions they had — their shoes.

Seven shoes were deposited in a jar in an Egyptian temple in Luxor, three pairs and a single one. Two pairs were originally worn by children and were only about 7 inches (18 centimeters) long. Using palm fiber string, the child shoes were tied together within the single shoe (it was larger and meant for an adult) and put in the jar. Another pair of shoes, more than 9 inches (24 cm) long that had been worn by a limping adult, was also inserted in the jar.

The shoe-filled jar, along with two other jars, had been “deliberately placed in a small space between two mudbrick walls,” writes archaeologist Angelo Sesana in a report published in the journal Memnonia.

Whoever deposited the shoes never returned to collect them, and they were forgotten, until now. [See Photos of the Ancient Egyptian Shoes]

In 2004, an Italian archaeological expedition team, led by Sesana, rediscovered the shoes. The archaeologists gave André Veldmeijer, an expert in ancient Egyptian footwear, access to photographs that show the finds.

ancient shoes, egyptian shoes, egypt archaeology, egypt temple luxor 

Archaeologists discovered seven shoes, that appear to be made out of bovine, within a jar in an Egyptian temple. The shoes date back more than 2,000 years and this picture shows the inside of the jar before the shoes were removed.
CREDIT: © 2005 Franco M. Giani – Milano – Italy 

“The find is extraordinary as the shoes were in pristine condition and still supple upon discovery,” writes Veldmeijer in the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. Unfortunately after being unearthed the shoes became brittle and “extremely fragile,” he added.

Pricey shoes

Veldmeijer’s analysis suggests the shoes may have been foreign-made and were “relatively expensive.” Sandals were the more common footwear in Egypt and that the style and quality of these seven shoes was such that “everybody would look at you,” and “it would give you much more status because you had these expensive pair of shoes,” said Veldmeijer, assistant director for Egyptology of the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo.

The date of the shoes is based on the jar they were found in and the other two  jars, as well as the stratigraphy, or layering of sediments, of the area. It may be possible in the future to carbon date the shoes to confirm their age.

Why they were left in the temple in antiquity and not retrieved is a mystery. “There’s no reason to store them without having the intention of getting them back at some point,” Veldmeijer said in an interview with LiveScience, adding that there could have been some kind of unrest that forced the owners of the shoes to deposit them and flee hastily. The temple itself predates the shoes by more than 1,000 years and was originally built forpharaoh Amenhotep II (1424-1398 B.C.).

Design discoveries

Veldmeijer made a number of shoe design discoveries. He found that the people who wore the seven shoes would have tied them using what researchers call “tailed toggles.” Leather strips at the top of the shoes would form knots that would be passed through openings to close the shoes. After they were closed a long strip of leather would have hung down, decoratively, at either side. The shoes are made out of leather, which is likely bovine.

Most surprising was that the isolated shoe had what shoemakers call a “rand,” a device that until now was thought to have been first used in medieval Europe. A rand is a folded leather strip that would go between the sole of the shoe and the upper part, reinforcing the stitching as the “the upper is very prone to tear apart at the stitch holes,” he explained. The device would’ve been useful in muddy weather when shoes are under pressure, as it makes the seam much more resistant to water.

In the dry (and generally not muddy) climate of ancient Egypt, he said that it’s a surprising innovation and seems to indicate the seven shoes were constructed somewhere abroad.

Health discoveries

The shoes also provided insight into the health of the people wearing them. In the case of the isolated shoe, he found a “semi-circular protruding area” that could be a sign of a condition called Hallux Valgus, more popularly known as a bunion. [The 9 Most Bizarre Medical Conditions]

“In this condition, the big toe starts to deviate inward towards the other toes,” Veldmeijer writes in the journal article. “Although hereditary, it can also develop as a result of close fitting shoes, although other scholars dispute this ….”

Another curious find came from the pair of adult shoes. He found that the left shoe had more patches and evidence of repair than the shoe on the right. “The shoe was exposed to unequal pressure,” he said, showing that the person who wore it “walked with a limp, otherwise the wear would have been far more equal.”

Still, despite their medical problems, and the wear and tear on the shoes, the people who wore them were careful to keep up with repairs, Veldmeijer said. They did not throw them away like modern-day Westerners tend to do with old running shoes.

“These shoes were highly prized commodities.”

Veldmeijer hopes to have the opportunity to examine the shoes, now under the care of the Ministry of State for Antiquities, firsthand.

In Photos: Beautiful Pyramids of Sudan


Post 1752

In Photos: Beautiful Pyramids of Sudan

Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 06 February 2013 Time: 09:39 AM ET
Clustered Pyramids
Clustered Pyramids
Credit: Photo copyright B-N Chagny, SEDAU/SFDAS
This aerial photo shows a series of pyramids and graves that a team of archaeologists has been exploring at Sedeinga in Sudan. Since 2009 they have discovered at least 35 small pyramids at the site, the largest being 22 feet (7 meters) in width. Although the tops are not attached, the base of the pyramids can be seen. The pyramids date back around 2,000 years.
Solar Orbs

Solar Orbs

Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU

The capstones of the pyramids discovered at Sedeinga in Sudan were shaped as either a bird or, as in this case, a lotus flower on top of a solar orb.

 Inner Circles
Inner Circles
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU
Among the discoveries are pyramids with a circle built inside them, cross-braces connecting the circle to the corners of the pyramid. Outside of Sedeinga only one pyramid is known to have been built in this way.
Kingdom Kush
Kingdom Kush
Credit: Map courtesy Wikimedia, modified by Owen Jarus
Located in northern Sudan the site of Sedeinga was part of the kingdom of Kush during the time that the pyramids were built. The ancient Kushite capital of Meroe can be seen on this map as can the modern-day capital of Sudan, Khartoum.
Small Skeleton
Small Skeleton
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU
People were buried beside the pyramids in tomb chambers that often held more than one individual. This image shows a child who was buried with necklaces
Copper Bowl
Copper Bowl
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAUA
copper alloy bowl was found in the tomb holding this skeleton.
Colorful Beads
Colorful Beads
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU
One tomb held over 1,500 colorful beads as well as Nile spiral shells. They appear to be the remains of one or more necklaces. Researchers were able to re-assemble them showing what they may have looked like if they formed a single necklace.
Fertility God?
Fertility God?
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU
Another find from Sedeinga is this amulet of the god Bes made of glazed faience. Bes was a god often associated with children and pregnant mothers.
Stellar Discovery
Stellar Discovery
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU
An almost complete bowl decorated with a frieze that resembles double axes with stars in between them.
Dinner with Grandma?
Dinner with Grandma?
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny/SEDAU
Artifacts with ancient Meroitic writing were also found at Sedeinga. This offering table measures roughly 17 by 14 inches (43 by 35 cm) and depicts the jackal-headed god Anubis and a goddess believed to be Isis. The name of the deceased is “Aba-la,” a word that may be a nickname for “grandmother.” The inscription asks, among other things, that she be “served a good meal.”
Isis and Osiris
Isis and Osiris
Credit: Photo copyright A. Chen/SEDAU
Archaeologist Vincent Francigny shown with a stela discovered at the site. The name of the deceased is lost, but the text has an invocation to Isis and Osiris.
Pyramid Study
Pyramid Study
Credit: Photo copyright Vincent Francigny.
Fieldwork underway at Sedeinga, the pyramids with graves were clustered closely together.

Have Bones of Cleopatra’s Murdered Sister Been Found?


Post 1751

Have Bones of Cleopatra’s Murdered Sister Been Found?

by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 26 February 2013 Time: 11:54 AM ET

A Viennese archaeologist lecturing in North Carolina this week claims to have identified the bones of Cleopatra’s murdered sister or half-sister. But not everyone is convinced.

That’s because the evidence linking the bones, discovered in an ancient Greek city, toCleopatra‘s sibling Arsinoe IV is largely circumstantial. A DNA test was attempted, said Hilke Thur, an archaeologist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and a former director of excavations at the site where the bones were found. However, the 2,000-year-old bones had been moved and handled too many times to get uncontaminated results.

“It didn’t bring the results we hoped to find,” Thur told the Charlotte News-Observer. She will lecture on her research March 1 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

The Ptolemy’s bloody history

Arsinoe IV was Cleopatra’s younger half-sister or sister, both of them fathered by Ptolemy XII Auletes, though whether they shared a mother is not clear. Ptolemic family politics were tough: When Ptolemy XII died, he made Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII joint rulers, but Ptolemy soon ousted Cleopatra. Julius Caesar took Cleopatra’s side in the family fight for power, while Arsinoe joined the Egyptian army resisting Caesar and the Roman forces. [Cleopatra & Olympias: Top 12 Warrior Moms in History]

Rome won out, however, and Arsinoe was taken captive. She was allowed to live in exile in Ephesus, an ancient Greek city in what is now Turkey. However, Cleopatra saw her half-sister as a threat and had her murdered in 41 B.C.

It’s a love story so epic that Shakespeare saw it fit to be the subject of one of his tragedies. They met in 41 B.C. at the height of turmoil in the Roman Republic; she, an Egyptian queen, seduced him, a powerful (and already married) general, into a romantic and tenuous political alliance between their territories. The alliance would prove sour when future emperor Octavian convinced the Roman senate that Marc Antony was power-hungry and bewitched by Cleopatra, declaring war on his former partner in 31 B.C. Both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide during the war rather than be captured.
CREDIT: Artist: Lawrence Alma-Tadema 

Fast forward to 1904. That year, archaeologists began excavating a ruined structure in Ephesus known as the Octagon for its shape. In 1926, they revealed a burial chamber in the Octagon, holding the bones of a young woman.

Thur argues that the date of the tomb (sometime in the second half of the first century B.C.) and the illustrious within-city location of the grave, points to the occupant being Arsinoe IV herself. Thur also believes the octagonal shape may echo that of the great Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. That would make the tomb an homage to Arsinoe’s hometown, Egypt’s ancient capital, Alexandria.

Controversial claim

The skull of the possible murdered princess disappeared in Germany during World War II, but Thur found the rest of the bones in two niches in the burial chamber in 1985. The remains have been debated every step of the way. Forensic analysis revealed them to belong to a girl of 15 or 16, which would make Arsinoe surprisingly young for someone who was supposed to have played a major leadership role in a war against Rome years before her death. Thur dismisses those criticisms.

“This academic questioning is normal,” she told the News-Observer. “It happens. It’s a kind of jealousy.”

In 2009, a BBC documentary, “Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer,” trumpeted the claim that the bones are Arsinoe’s. At the time, the most controversial findings centered on the body’s lost skull. Measurements and photographs of the incomplete skull remain in historical records and were used to reconstruct the dead woman’s face.

From the reconstruction, Thur and her colleagues concluded that Arsinoe had an African mother (the Ptolemies were an ethnically Greek dynasty). That conclusion led to splashy headlines suggesting that Cleopatra, too, was African.

But classicists say the conclusions are shaky.

“We get this skull business and having Arsinoe’s ethnicity actually being determined from a reconstructed skull based on measurements taken in the 1920s?” wrote David Meadows, a Canadian classicist and teacher, on his blog rogueclassicism.

Not only that, but Cleopatra and Arsinoe may not have shared a mother.

“In that case, the ethnic argument goes largely out of the window,” Cambridge classics professor Mary Beard wrote in the Times Literary Supplement in 2009.

Without more testing, the bones remain in identification limbo.

“One of my colleagues on the project told me two years ago there is currently no other method to really determine more,” Thur told the News-Observer. “But he thinks there may be new methods developing. There is hope.”

9 Secrets from a 73-Year Marriage

Posted in Relaxing Corner with tags on March 8, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

Post 1750

9 Secrets from a 73-Year Marriage

By  | Love + Sex – 18 hours ago

After 73 years of marriage, 94-year old Barbara Cooper knows how to get through matrimony’s rough patches. The author of Fall in Love for Life shares her hard-earned wisdom. By Holly Corbett, REDBOOK.

On making time to make love
“I don’t understand couples who say they are too busy or too tired to sleep together. Unless they are building roads all day or running a multi-national corporation, I expect they have just lost sight of priorities. If you wish to stay connected and happy in your marriage, my advice to you is to never be too tired or too busy to feel love for your partner. When your life is nearly over, you will regret it if you look back and recall too many nights when you made excuses instead of making love.”

On bickering
“The most important thing for any couple trying to get along is to think before you speak. If you are bickering and find that you are getting angry, take a deep breath and change course, and ask your partner to do the same. Try saying something conciliatory like, ‘I don’t know why this is making me so upset, but it is, so can you just humor me and help me get over it?’ By simply admitting you are losing your cool, you may find that the anger quickly dissipates.”

Related: 50 Simple Little Ways to Feel Sexy

On greeting your partner
“If you want your relationship to survive and to thrive, you will have to train yourself to focus most of your attention on the person you love. When your sweetheart comes into the room, whether it’s just from taking care of some chores in the garage or from a long day at work, your job is to put down whatever you’re doing, look him in the eye, and verbally express your delight at seeing him again. It’s really so little to ask, and delivers so much – to both of you.”

On having affairs
“Some people have affairs because they tell themselves that they deserve more attention than they get at home. Or maybe they get annoyed because they feel that all of their needs aren’t getting met by their partner. Well, whoever told them that one person could meet their every need? You can actually live quite comfortably without having all of your needs met. Try thinking about it that way; you might be surprised how liberating it is. You are not perfect, and neither is your partner, but you can make a very pleasant life together if you are both serious about providing the love and support that go along with a marriage.”

On going from lovers to parents

“It’s true that when your babies are small, there isn’t much time left over for romantic gestures. But the wonderful thing about romance is that it is the quality, never the quantity, that matters. So when the baby is napping, throw a blanket on the living room floor, slice some peaches or plums or whatever you have in the house, pour a glass of something bubbly, and enjoy a mini picnic. Write love notes to each other and slip them in between the clean diapers. Be creative, and if you want your love to flourish, it certainly will do so.”

Related: The Top 50 Date-Night Ideas of All Time

On overcoming money problems
“The most important ingredient for getting through tough economic times is THE TRUTH – it’s so important it should be capitalized and italicized. So this means that if you have any financial secrets you are keeping from your partner, you must put them on the table. Doesn’t that sound scary? I am sure it does, but as with so many unpleasant things that only get bigger and stronger in the dark, these secrets have a funny way of shrinking in the light of the truth. And as they get smaller, your stress and worry will fly away. There’s never a better time to be honest with your partner and yourself and make a plan for dealing with your debts and your excess spending – together. I promise, you will not regret it.”

On tuning in to your partner
“I think the place where good marriages break down is when one or both parties begin to take the other person for granted. And yet it’s understandable that this happens. Life is complicated and can be exhausting, so there is always a temptation when you get home to just tune out, because home is one place where you should feel safe enough to let your guard down this way. But there’s a difference between relaxing and disengaging, and while relaxing is a healthy way to recharge your psychic and spiritual batteries, disengaging is a drain on you and your relationships. Nothing is more important than that you recognize the difference and stay present for all the people you love.”

Related: Stunning Date-Night Dresses Under $100

On bringing up the past
“The most important lesson I can teach you from our happy marriage is that we did not rehash. If something was unpleasant, we got through it, handled the fallout, and did not bring it up again in happy times. So we both knew that once a problem was solved, that was it – we would not have to answer for it again, at least not in its current form. And knowing this, we could give all our attention to fixing the problems that came along, because once they were fixed, we could forget about them, which is a very wonderful feeling.”

On controlling your anger

“Have you ever noticed that you can’t spell dangerous without anger? I’m no linguist, but I don’t think that’s a coincidence. When you’re ready to blow, you might say anything hurtful, things you would normally spare the person you love from hearing. Don’t say something you’ll regret forever. Don’t give your partner an excuse to come back to you with his or her own resentments. Instead, find a way to get your anger under control. For myself, I simply run through my mind a short movie of how foolishly I have been acting. You may have better luck singing a silly song, or patting your head while rubbing your tummy, or doing whatever little trick helps bring you outside of yourself long enough to regain control.”

LIFE: Unearthing history beneath St. Peter’s


Post 1749

LIFE: Unearthing history beneath St. Peter’s

With color and black and white pictures — many of which never ran in LIFE – LIFE.comrecalls an extraordinary effort undertaken six decades ago far from the ornate public realms of the Vatican, when workers meticulously

In a clutter of bones and artifacts the foreman of a team of Vatican workmen examines an ancient archway, St. Peter’s, Rome, 1950.

Read more:

The walled, pint-sized city-state known as the Vatican physically takes up around 100 acres in the center of Rome, but occupies a vast, measureless space in the lives of more than a billion practicing Catholics around the globe. Recently, of course, the goings on in the holy enclave have also grabbed a lot of real estate in the world’s media, as Pope Benedict XVI — the 265th successor of Saint Peter — abruptly resigned as head of the faith, sparking conspiracy theories, rumors and, above all else, speculation about who would succeed him at such a fraught time for Catholicism.

Amid the ongoing fallout from seemingly endless scandals in and around the church — sexual predation and pedophilia among priests; appalling conditions in prison-style laundries run by Catholic nuns in Ireland; baby-trafficking in Spain, and on and on — the pope’s departure has cast even more light on the Vatican and its esoteric inner workings.

Here, in the midst of one of the most unsettled periods in the history of Catholicism, looks back more than six decades to a time when the church was actively unearthing its own secrets … literally. In 1950, LIFE reported on a years-long effort undertaken beneath the staggeringly ornate public realms of the Vatican, as teams of workers meticulously excavated the myriad tombs and other long-sealed, centuries-old chambers far underground. Nat Farbman’s color and black and white images in this gallery — most of which never ran in LIFE — were touted on the cover of the March 27, 1950, issue of the magazine as “exclusive pictures” for the story titled “The Search for the Bones of St. Peter,” which read:

Deep in the earth below the great basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome the clink of pickaxes and the scrape of shovels in the hands of workmen have been echoing dimly for 10 years. In the utmost secrecy, they have penetrated into a pagan cemetery buried for 16 centuries. Architects feared they might disturb the foundations on which rests the world’s largest church. But the workmen, with careful hands, pushed forward finally to the area where, according to a basic tenet of the Catholic Church, the bones of St. peter were buried about A.D. 66.

The Church has always held that Peter was buried in a pagan cemetery on Vatican Hill. Now, for the first time, there is archaeological evidence to support this: the newly discovered tombs, which LIFE shows [in these exclusive pictures].

The greatest secret of all — whether the relics of the Chief Apostle himself were actually found — is one which the Vatican reserves for itself, although there have been rumors that the discovery of the relics will be announced at an appropriate time during the Holy Year.

In the end, LIFE’s editors expressed their appreciation for “the privilege of guiding LIFE’s readers through these chambers where in the dust of antiquity can be traced the humble yet transcendent beginnings of the Christian faith.”

NOTE: In December 1950 Pope Pius XII announced that bones discovered during the excavation could not conclusively be said to be Peter’s. Two decades later, in 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that other bones unearthed beneath the basilica — discovered in a marble-lined repository, covered with a gold and purple cloth and belonging to a man around 5′ 6″ tall who had likely died between the ages of 65 and 70 — were, in the judgment of “the talented and prudent people” in charge of the dig, indeed St. Peter’s. Of course, that claim has as many doubters as adherents.

Restoring works of art, the Vatican, 1950

Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

LIFE Vatican

The tomb of the Caetennii (17 x 18 feet) was one of the richest and most lavishly decorated of all those excavated beneath St. Peter’s. (Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

LIFE Vatican

The hunt of the Amazons is portrayed on a polychrome mosaic decorating the facade of the tomb of the Marci. (Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

LIFE Vatican

Not published in LIFE. Workmen examining underneath the floor of Basilico. (Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

LIFE Vatican

Tomb of the Egizio featuring elaborate sarcophagi sculpted with scenes of Bacchic rites. While most of the findings here were purely pagan, there were also Christian designs — for example, of a palm leaf and a dove. (Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

LIFE Vatican

Not published in LIFE. The tomb of Pope Boniface VIII, beneath the Vatican, photographed in 1950. (Nat Farbman—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)