The World On My Doorstep

An ever-expanding postcard blog

Bhimbetka

postcards1This amazing card comes from Kamran in India and shows the ancient cave paintings of Bhimbetka. And when I say ancient, I mean 30,000 years! Although, the cave systems themselves actually show the earliest traces of life on the Indian subcontinent, with evidence of homo erectus living there c.300,000 years ago. Wow! Now, my degree was in Archaeology, so this sort of thing really quickens my heartbeat – I just love the connection these little drawings have with time, for the last 30,000 years! Although these caves have had clear significance throughout history, the paintings were actually only discovered in 1957, since then 243 such rock shelters have been discovered in the area. Amazingly, these shelters were used for art-practice not just 30,000 years ago but throughout prehistory and history until Medieval times, although considering the abundance of natural resources in the area, this is perhaps unsurprising. Fantastic card!

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Copan

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Sent from the wonderful Mervin in Honduras I received this perfect card and man do I love it! For those of you who don’t know, Copan was a Maya site in use for about two thousand years right through prehistory, but the remains which you see in this image relate to the Classic Maya phase between the 5th and 9th centuries AD. Anyone who has been following my blog knows I am an avid student of the Maya and studied them in depth as part of my Archaeology degree. And for this reason, Copan is particularly close to my heart. My dissertation was about maize imagery in Maya art and it just so happens that Copan was the site responsible for a whole load of those – you can even see some in this stela shown in the card! But I won’t go on about that too much right now. I am, however, going to rattle on about this site for anyone who is interested. Before I do though, just wanted to point out that those are macaws on the left, Mervin tells me they are Honduras’s national bird and were sacred to the Maya – something I didn’t know! So, at it’s peak, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 people lived in Copan with a hinterland of at least 25,000 more. When you think of it in terms of a civilisation which didn’t require the wheel, it’s pretty impressive! The image on the top right also shows a ball court – where the famous Maya ‘ball-game’ was played – something often depicted in artwork, but the rules of which remain a mystery to archaeologists. The bottom right shows one of the many platforms at the site, built in the typical Maya fashion. Such a wonderful card! I absolutely love it! Can you tell?!

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Colorado Archaeology

postcards_3This wonderful card comes from Igor in the USA who always surprises me with his thoughtfulness by sending me awesome cards like this one! This ceramic pitcher dates to around 900-1000 AD and is virtually unique in style due to the lizard handle. Amazing! Found in one of Colorado’s famous Pueblos, it is of course Pre-Columbian, Native American. Fascinating. Thank you Igor, it’s so interesting!

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Varna Necropolis

postcards_2_3Another addition to my collection of oddities comes from Dilyana in Bulgaria. I love this card because whilst it really appeals to my archaeological side and I do find it fascinating to look at, I also agree with Dilyana – why is it a postcard! This is really up there with my Oetzi postcard! I like the idea that someone on holiday in Bulgaria would choose this card as opposed to a typical touristic view of the country to send to their friends! This gentleman here (well, I assume he’s of the male sex, considering the delightful gold “ornament” below his hips), dates to around 4000 BC and can be found in the Varna Museum of History and Art. Wonderful card! And despite your concerns, Dilyana, not too weird. I wonder if there even is a postcard out there that’s ‘too weird’ for me! Anyone up for the challenge of finding one?

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I’m a T-Rex, hear me ROAR

postcards_4Here’s a card from my sister on a trip to the Natural History Museum in London, showing an exhibit that I’m sure any child visitor from the past 10 years can remember being scared of. This animatronic T-Rex moves and roars at unsuspecting visitors to the museum and is (unsurprisingly) in the Dinosaurs section of the museum which is always the busiest. When I was a child, Mr T-Rex here wasn’t in existence yet, but his predecessors were some nasty raptors, ripping flesh from a very dead diplodocus. I remember being very upset at the display. Now, it’s impossible to walk through the dinosaur section without hearing at least one crying child due to Mr T here. Anyway, my sister tells me she visited the museum with her friend and enjoyed many of the traditional exhibits. This picture really is a blast from the past for me!

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Newspaper Rock

newspaperrockThis fantastic card is totally perfect for me and I was so happy to receive it from Karen in the USA. It shows Newspaper Rock in southern Utah which has petroglyphs dating back to two thousand years ago! Amazing! Karen tells me she is excited to be visiting New York City for a vacation very soon as it will be her first time there! I can’t imagine being in such a vast country! Love this card, absolutely amazing!

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Neolithic Mines

ArchaeologyExcAlthough all that Jean Marie in Belgium says on this card is “Bonjour de Belgique” a little investigation on my part has revealed that this image is of Spiennes Neolithic flint mines during their excavation. Very cool card considering my love for archaeology!

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Moai!

moaiThis card comes to me all the way from a postcrosser in Chile, whose name I cannot make out. He tells me he chose this awesome card of the moai on Easter Island for me since he thinks the archaeology will interest me – which it does. There are 394 moai scattered in and around Rano Raraku volcano – some of them only half sculpted and abandoned during transportation! Amazing card. Love it! It’s also worth pointing out that with only 4 digits in its postcrossing ID, this is the rarest ID card I’ve yet received on postcrossing!

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Sammallahdenmaki Bronze Age Burial Site

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I’m pretty sure this is the second card I have received from the Finnish Bronze Age burial site of Sammallahdenmaki. This one comes from Sini who tells me that she has not visited it herself but hopes to this year. She says she also loves history and that she’s been to many similar sites in Sweden and also mentions that these days she often cooks herself roast chicken with various vegetables for dinner – sounds yummy!

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The Nebra Sky Disc

SkyDiscThis stunning card comes from Sabine and Martin in Germany and shows the Nebra sky disc – something which I interestingly learned quite a lot about during my degree.  The disc is Bronze Age and shows stars, the sun and a crescent moon with the two long discs representing solstices – fascinating. Awesome card!

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