Strangers in the Sacred Grove: The Changing Meanings of Okinawan ‘Utaki’

The changing significance of sacred groves (utaki) from medieval to contemporary Okinawa. Abstract This article discusses the changing significance of sacred groves (utaki) in contemporary Okinawa. Until recently, utaki were the domain of female ritual practitioners (kaminchu or noro), and men were not allowed to set foot in them. In many places, such taboos have faded away, if not[…]

The History and Meaning of the Japanese Tea Ceremony

Tea drinking in Japan became nothing less than an art form. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Japanese Tea Ceremony (chanoyu or chado) is a cultural tradition involving very particular places, procedures, and equipment for drinking green tea. Originating as a habit of Chinese Buddhist monks to aid their meditation, tea-drinking in Japan and other parts of East Asia became such a[…]

Ancient Parthian Warfare

Parthia controlled territories that stretched from the Mediterranean in the west to India and China in the east and were even a match for the Romans. Introduction Parthian warfare was characterized by the extensive use of cavalry and archers. Coming at enemy troops from all directions Parthian riders created confusion and wreaked havoc. They even[…]

The Lost City of Heracleion

Once a bustling metropolis, this long-lost Egyptian city flooded, sank, and was forgotten — until archeologists rediscovered it. When people think of archeology, they typically think of people laboring in the hot sun, or maybe underground. But those excavating the ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion have exchanged their sunblock for scuba gear. According to science[…]