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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > September 2018 > Time Piece

Time Piece

A look at everyday objects from the past


It’s not made of silver, but this Incan plate bearing a duck’s visage may have been a religious rarity

Sometimes, what you eat your food off can be just as important as what you eat. The Incas certainly seemed to think so. This ceramic plate, featuring a handle shaped like a bird’s head, was found in the Temple of the Sun at Pachacamac in Peru. It is thought to have been made in the early 16th century. Birds were important in Inca culture as they were believed to be able to move between the realms (pachas) of the living and the dead. Images of frogs also cover this plate – they were a popular delicacy in some parts of the Inca Empire.

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At the dawn of the second century BC, two titans of the ancient world went to war: Macedon, the pre-eminent power of Ancient Greece, and Rome, then still an upstart republic. This is the complete story of a war that defined antiquity, where phalanx clashed with legion. Plus: Protest and turmoil ripples around the world in 1968; the split loyalties of Thomas More, the accident that made Frida Kahlo an artist, a glimpse inside the Titanic & more.