What could we learn from examining the body of someone who lived two thousand years ago? Not their bones, or even a dry mummy, but a solid, flexible corpse. A corpse that could be autopsied like someone who died weeks ago.

Archaeologists had the chance to find out when the body of Xin Zhui, a Han Dynasty noblewoman, was discovered in China. Her body is the best preserved mummy ever found. However, the most revealing hints about her life are gained from studying her remains in the context of her tomb and historical period.

This article contains descriptions and images of human remains.

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Over a hundred years ago, Alden’s Oxford Guide described “a curious ceremony annually observed at Magdalen College”. This ceremony was the May Morning hymn, and it’s continued (literally) to this day. On the 1st of May, the choir ascends Magdalen Tower to sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus as the sun rises. Beneath the tower, people gather to listen to the hymn and the bells, then head into the rest of the city to celebrate the arrival of spring with dancing, eating and drinking, and the observance of various May Day traditions.

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A black and white drawing of people looking at a man with a comically large nose.
The Nose Man, 1867.
The festive season in Catalonia, an area in Northeastern Spain, is characterised by several colourful characters. Two have became quite well-known because of their scatological humour, the Caganer and the Caga Tió, but there’s a third who I think is just as interesting.

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