A loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud. (via Ridiculously Interesting)
(sigh) I’ve seen these before, but this one’s particularly beautiful.
I feel like I’m supposed to be marveling over the fact that this is a loaf of bread that’s been preserved for thousands of years, and don’t get me wrong, that’s hella cool. But honestly, I’m mostly struck by the unexpected news that “bread fraud” was apparently once a serious concern.
After a super-quick search, I found at least one reference to the practice. It sounds like we’re not entirely sure what the stamp was for - my guess was that it was part of the regulation of weights and measures in the market, but economic history is about as far from my specialty as it gets. (So yeah, I too was thinking BREAD FRAUD. There actually WAS an elected office to deal with marketplace fraud, which totally happened.)
From Claire Holleran’s Shopping in Ancient Rome: The Retail Trade in the Late Republic and the Principate: “The practice of stamping bread with names, known from the discovery of bread stamps and carbonized loaves at Pompeii and Herculaneum, is perhaps indicative of the practice of hiring space in bakers’ ovens, with the stamps intended to denote ownership of the bread.” (The argument being that many people would not have had the means to own/run ovens of their own and so they rented space in communal ovens.)
Oooh I am just cringing imagining what bread fraud could entail. No, really. I’m sure I read something somewhere about bakers ‘diluting’ flour with other substances that were not so nice… hm… can’t see to remember what period or region that was in reference to, though. Although, I mean, how does a stamp guarantee the flour wasn’t compromised? Unless it’s sort of like those Green Pass things at restaurants we have today LOL!
Skull from Ciapas, Mexico, bearing teeth adorned with gems.
Ancient peoples of southern North America went to “dentists”—among the earliest known—to beautify their chompers with notches, grooves, and semiprecious gems, according to a recent analysis of thousands of teeth examined from collections in Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Most of the gem-encrusted teeth were from individuals who lived before the year 1500 and who came from all walks of life—this was not a trend for the elite alone.
Source: National Geographic
The Metamorphosis Audiobook by Franz Kafka (by CCProse)
The butterfly says … “who”? This is the giant owl butterfly. Not only has it evolved to look like half a bird, but the detail! The glint of “light” off the false eye. Wow. Evolution is so cool. (at California Academy of Sciences)
It’s lovely to see that Franz Kafka’s work being recognized. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the aforementioned author’s famous work, The Metamorphosis, about a young salesman named Gregor who is mysteriously transformed into a bug-like creature. (It would be wise to note that the cause of Gregor’s transformation is never investigated.)