The strange story of why human urine was transported to quarries in North East Yorkshire

Since the days of the Roman empire, alum was used as a mordant or fixative that allowed textiles to be colored using vegetable dyes. Initially imported from Italy where there was a Papal monopoly on the industry, the supply to Great Britain was cut off during the Reformation in England. In response to this need, during the 16th century, Thomas Challoner found that fossils in shale along the Yorkshire coast were the same as those found in alum producing areas of Italy and Europe and, as a result, an alum…

Read More

Panam Nagar: a ghost town of Sonargaon – Bangladesh.

We are in Sonargaon, about 30 km southeast of Dhaka, along the Meghna River, Bangladesh. As early as the 14th century, Sonargaon was the ancient capital of Bangladesh, or more accurately, it was the capital of Isa Khan’s Bengali empire. The cotton textile industry and trading were always a part of life and livelihood of Bengali people besides agriculture. In its heyday, Panam Nagar was home to a prosperous community of Hindu merchants that turned the medieval Bengali capital into a thriving textile trading hub around 19th century. They built…

Read More