(Giles Milton, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg . Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)

(Giles Milton, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg . Penguin Books, 1999/2000.)
800AD-1600AD: Unexpected in the Amazon region : Researchers are surprised to find evidence of “civilization” in the Amazon Rainforest region, spread about a 39sq/km area at the headwaters of the Xingu River, a 1000-year-old network of towns and villages, evidence of a complex, sophisticated society aware of “mathematics, astronomy and other sciences”, The area was occupied 800AD-1600AD. There were about 19 villages each housing about 2500-5000 people, spaced 2.5-3.5 km apart, and connected by straight roadways up to 45 metres wide. The people utilised ditches, bridges, irrigation, ponds, causeways, canals. One view about the findings is, “not earth-shattering, but not expected in the Amazon”. Researchers involved include Robert Carneiro of American Museum of Natural History, lead archaeologist Michael Heckenberger, of University of Florida and Jim Petersen, archaeologist of University of Vermont. See from this date a forthcoming issue of journal Science (Reported Sydney Morning Herald , 20 September 2003)
1600: C16th generally: Roland Fletcher, Assoc. Professor of Archaeology, Sydney University, thinks that one million people lived around Angkor Wat in the C16th. Similar-size populations lived in Edo (now Tokyo), Beijing, Sian (now Xi’an), Sukhothai in Thailand, and Pagan in what is now Burma.
17 February, 1600: Freethinker and heretic Giordano Bruno , naked, with a nail through his tongue to prevent further heresies being uttered, is burned at stake in Campo de Fiori, Rome.
1598: France, Promulgation of Edict of Nantes re Protestantism.
1598: One date for first documented minutes of a Masonic Lodge in the British Isles.
Ye Olde Wives Tales from Olde England.
Life in the 1500s: some interesting things to ponder. submitted “from the Net”
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a “wake.”
England is old and small, and they started running out of places to bury people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take their bones to a house and reuse the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence on the “graveyard shift” they would know that someone was “saved by the bell” or he was a “dead ringer.”
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and were still smelling pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the b.o.
Baths equaled a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
Houses had thatched roofs. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the pets. dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. So, they found if they made beds with big posts and hung a sheet over the top, it addressed that problem. Hence those beautiful big four-poster beds with canopies. I wonder if this is where we get the saying “Good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. ”
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying “dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors which would get slippery in the winter when wet. So they spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at the entry way, hence a “thresh hold.”
They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and didn’t get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been in there for a month. Hence the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

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