|Thomas Jefferson Wrote What? Carson’s Constitutional Misstep|
November 23, 2015, Newsweek by Jack Martinez
Be honest: Do you know who wrote the U.S. Constitution?
It’s a bit of a trick question, because there isn’t a sole author. That fact appeared to be lost on Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson when he said during a recent interview that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”
|Jefferson Is Next Target|
November 23, 2015, Inside Higher Ed by Scott Jaschik
In the last week, Princeton University students who object to having Woodrow Wilson's name on an academic unit and a residential college occupied the president's office and left only when promised that the university would review its use of the Wilson name. The students pointed out that Wilson was a racist who, as president of the United States, had federal government agencies segregated, reversing progress toward civil rights for black people. Many observers have wondered which historical figure honored on American campuses would next capture critical attention.
The answer appears to be Thomas Jefferson. At both the University of Missouri at Columbia and the College of William & Mary, critics have been placing yellow sticky notes on Jefferson statues, labeling him -- among other things -- "rapist" and "racist."
|Syphilis widespread in Central Europe even before Columbus’ voyage to America|
November 19, 2015, Medical University of Vienna (Austria) by Staff
In 1495, a "new" disease spread throughout Europe: syphilis. Christopher Columbus was said to have brought this sexually transmitted disease back from his voyage to America. At least, that has been the accepted theory up until now. Using morphological and structural evidence, researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine and the Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology (bone laboratory) at MedUni Vienna have now identified several cases of congenital syphilis dating back to as early as 1320 AD in skeletons from excavations at the cathedral square of St. Pölten, Austria "The discovery clearly refutes the previous theory," say study leaders Karl Großschmidt and Fabian Kanz of MedUni Vienna.
|Archaeologists excavate 300-year-old tax haven|
November 19, 2015, ScienceNordic (Denmark) by Lise Brix
Today, revenues from natural gas, petroleum, and oil, keep Qatar at the top of the list of the world's richest countries.
But there was a time when pearls were one of the area's main commodities, and these shimmering natural products were traded far and wide.
Archaeologists from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, are heading an excavation of the abandoned city of Al Zubarah in Qatar--a once thriving pearl fishery and a centre of commerce in the 1700s.
|November 13th- Nell|
November 13, 2015, Today I Found Out by Kathy Padden
Nell Gwynne was that rarest of creatures – a royal mistress who was as popular with the people as she was with her exalted lover. Although England’s Charles II had many mistresses throughout his lifetime, his “pretty, witty Nell” held a special place in his affections.
Born on Feb. 2, 1650, probably in London, Eleanor Gwynne sprang from the humblest of origins. Her mother appears to have run a brothel in which Nell helped out, possibly even working as a child prostitute, but this isn’t definitively known. Her father was out of the picture during her childhood as far as historians can tell.
|Student group opposes Harvard Law seal, citing slavery ties|
November 11, 2015, The Associated Press by Collin Binkley
Some students at Harvard Law School want the school to change its official seal, citing its ties to an 18th-century slaveholder.
The seal depicts three bundles of wheat, an image borrowed from the family crest of Isaac Royall Jr. It is meant to pay tribute to Royall, a wealthy merchant who donated his estate to create the first law professorship at Harvard University, just before the university established the law school.
But Royall made much of his wealth through the slave trade, and his family owned dozens of slaves at its Massachusetts house, which is now a museum.
|Shipwreck found along the Outer Banks could be 1600s British naval vessel|
November 10, 2015, The Virginian-Pilot (VA) by Jeff Hampton
The oldest shipwreck ever found along the North Carolina coast could be a 28-gun British naval vessel.
While there is no way to prove it, evidence indicates the wreck discovered seven years ago in the Corolla surf could be the HMS John, which foundered off the coast in 1652.
The identity of the wreck has been a mystery since it washed up in 2008. But now, after researching European shipbuilding techniques of the 1600s and wrecks near North Carolina for two years, maritime archaeologist Dan Brown thinks he's figured it out.
|November 9th- A Bloodbath|
November 09, 2015, Today I Found Out by Kathy Padden
The situation in Sweden in 1520 was chaotic. The point of contention was Swedish sovereignty. The pro-union faction that championed allegiance to King Christian II of Denmark was headed by Archbishop Gustavus Trolle. The supporters of Swedish independence were led by Sweden’s Regent Sten Sture the Younger.
King Christian II had already stepped in to assist Archbishop Trolle, who was under siege in his fortress. Sten Sture and his army defeated the King’s troops and forced him to make an undignified retreat to Denmark. Christian tried once again to get Sweden under his control in 1518 but was bested by Sture yet again. But the third time proved to be a charm for the King when Sten Sture was killed on January 19, 1520 at the Battle of Bogesund.
|Sixty Minutes Interview: Hamilton|
November 08, 2015, CBS News by Charlie Rose
Imagine the pitch: a Broadway musical about the life and times of founding father Alexander Hamilton and his contemporaries. They are played by a young, multiracial cast; dancing, singing and rapping to hip hop and popular music. This unlikely combination is called "Hamilton" and it is being hailed as a theatrical "game-changer."
"Hamilton" is the brainchild of a 35-year-old playwright named Lin-Manuel Miranda. He also composed the music, and plays the title character. Miranda worked six years on the project. His biggest challenge was fitting the immense story of one of the most brilliant and misunderstood men in American history into a single evening of musical theater.
|Earliest church in the tropics unearthed in former heart of Atlantic slave trade|
November 06, 2015, University of Cambridge (UK) by Staff
Remains of a church on Cabo Verde’s Santiago Island, off the West African coast, dates back to late 15th century – when Portugal first colonised the islands that played a central role in the global African slave trade. Archaeological excavations are helping Cabo Verdeans gain new insight into their remarkable and long-obscured history.
Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge have unearthed the earliest known European Christian church in the tropics on one of the Cabo Verde islands, 500km off the coast of West Africa, where the Portuguese established a stronghold to start the first commerce with Africa south of the Sahara. This turned into a global trade in African slaves from the 16th century, in which Cabo Verde played a central part as a major trans-shipment centre.
|US Mint to honor Saratoga battlefield with new quarter|
November 06, 2015, The Associated Press by Staff
The U.S. Mint is honoring the Saratoga National Historical Park with a new quarter.
The site of a crucial Revolutionary War battle will be honored later this month through a program in which national parks are depicted on the back of quarters. The mint’s Beautiful Quarters program is a 12-year initiative designed to honor 56 national parks and other national sites.
|17th-Century Letters Finally Reveal Their Secrets|
November 05, 2015, University of Groningen (The Netherlands) by Staff
The archive of a 17th-century postmaster has been rediscovered in the Museum f or Communicati on in The Hague . A chest on the premises contains 2,600 undelivered letters, 600 of which are still sealed . Thanks to new scanning techniques, an international research team Signed, Sealed & Undelivered , led by D r David van der Linden ( University of Groningen) and D r Nadine Akkerman ( Leiden Universit y / NIAS), will soon be able to reveal the secrets of this archive .
The letters, most of which were posted in France, were stored by The Hague-based postmaster, Simon de Brienne, and his wife, Maria Germain. The Briennes held onto letters that were undeliverable because the addressee had moved, died or simply refused to accept them, in the hope that the addressees would eventually come by and collect them. These letters now represent a treasure trove, untouched by time: 2,600 letters, brimming with gossip, scandal and intrigue.
|Centuries-Old Coffins, Skeletons Found Under New York Street|
November 05, 2015, The Associated Press by Jake Pearson
Two centuries-old burial vaults discovered beneath a street in the heart of New York University's campus by workers replacing a water main were likely part of a Presbyterian church cemetery, an archaeologist said Thursday.
One of the roughly 15-by-18-foot crypts was clearly disturbed, with the skeletons and skulls of between nine and 12 people pushed into a corner while more than a dozen stacked wooden coffins can be seen in the second one, said Chrysalis' Alyssa Loorya, the project's principal investigator.
|Rare find of Edo Period ruins in Lake Biwako|
November 05, 2015, The Asahi Shimbun (Japan) by Mitsuo Ueno
Archaeologists have discovered late Edo Period (1603-1867) ruins of a suspected shrine in Lake Biwako here.
The Biwako Suichu Kokogaku Kenkyukai (Lake Biwako underwater archaeology research group) at the University of Shiga Prefecture in Hikone announced the rare find on Nov. 4.
|Ben Carson States, Wrongly, That Founding Fathers ‘Had No Elected Office Experience’|
November 05, 2015, The Wall Street Journal by Mark Maremont
Ben Carson tried to compare his own lack of political experience to that of the Founding Fathers. The trouble is, he got his history wrong.
In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon seeking the GOP presidential nomination, asked if the American people really want officials with political experience. He added, “Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.”
“That’s just patently false,” said Benjamin L. Carp, an associate professor of history at Brooklyn College and author of books on the American Revolution.
|Workers discover 19th century burial vault under New York City park|
November 05, 2015, Fox News by Staff
Workers upgrading water mains under New York City’s Washington Square Park this week discovered a vault containing a large pile of skeletal remains dating back approximately 200 years.
Officials from the city’s Department of Design and Construction told Newsday that the vault measured 8 feet deep, 15 feet wide and 20 feet long. It contained the remains of at least a dozen people. Anthropologists and archaeologists would be asked to investigate the vault to determine its exact age.
|Burial vault discovered 'accidentally' at Gloucester Cathedral|
November 02, 2015, BBC (UK) by Staff
An "extremely well preserved" family burial vault has been discovered "accidentally" at Gloucester Cathedral.
The tomb in the North Transept contains coffins belonging to the Hyett family dating from the 17th and 18th Century.
It was found by archaeologists who lifted a neighbouring ledger stone while carrying out an evaluation ahead of the installation of a new lift.
|The Slave Ship|
November 01, 2015, CBS News by Scott Pelley
Two hundred years ago, a ship named for St. Joseph, sank in a terrible storm. Half the passengers survived but the sea closed over more than 200 men, women and children who were locked below the deck. You would think a disaster like that would be legendary. But the St. Joseph was a slave ship. And the screams bursting from the hold were the cries of cargo.
Today, the silence of those lost voices is unbearable to Lonnie Bunch. He's the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, now under construction in Washington. Bunch found that to tell history the Smithsonian would have to make history. And, so began a quest for the remains of a shipwreck in a land so unchanged that an 18th century slave would recognize it today as the last shore he called home.
|At Amherst College, Some Say It’s the Mascot’s Turn to Embrace Diversity|
October 31, 2015, The New York Times by Jess Bidgood
The Amherst homecoming game had all the trappings of a classic day at this prestigious liberal arts college: a home team victory, cheering alumni and the scent of charred burgers in the air as sienna leaves flitted toward the ground.
And then there was the moose.
Or, rather, the student in a floppy-antlered moose costume, whose presence at last weekend’s game was a controversial rebuke to Amherst College’s longtime unofficial mascot, Lord Jeff — or Lord Jeffery Amherst, the 18th-century military commander whom this photogenic college town is named for. In recent years, Lord Jeff has fallen out of favor with some students and faculty members because, in 1763, he endorsed giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans.
|Did this sleepy village stop the Black Death?|
October 29, 2015, BBC (UK) by Eleanor Ross
Over the course of eight days in August 1667, Elizabeth Hancock lost her six children and her husband. Covering her mouth with a handkerchief against the stench of decay, she dragged their bodies to a nearby field and buried them.
Hancock’s loved ones were victims of the Black Death, the deadly plague that intermittently reared its head in Europe between the 13th and 17th Centuries, killing an estimated 150 million people. The epidemic of 1664 to 1666 was particularly notorious, and the last major outbreak of the disease in England. Some 100,000 people, one quarter of the city’s population, died in London alone.
|Holy smokes! Clay tobacco pipe factory found intact during Sawclose excavation|
October 23, 2015, The Bath Chronicle (UK) by Staff
A clay pipe factory dating back to the 18th century has been found intact underground in Bath.
Archaeologists excavating an area in Sawclose discovered dozens of tobacco pipes inscribed with workers' initials.
They found two five-and-a-half foot kilns among a series of other production rooms while preparing the site ahead of a planned £19 million casino, hotel and restaurant complex.
|What Really Killed Notorious English Leader Oliver Cromwell?|
October 23, 2015, LiveScience by Megan Gannon
The last weeks of Oliver Cromwell's life were marked by a roller coaster of illness. From the beginning of August 1658, the man who (briefly) abolished the British monarchy complained of sharp bowel and back pains. He suffered from insomnia, cold and hot fits, sore throat, cough, confusion, diarrhea and vomiting. He would get worse and then seem like he was recovering, but by the end of the month, his fever gave his attendants "the sadde apprehension of danger." He died suddenly in London at age 59.
Cromwell's doctors at the time were unable to come up with a precise cause of death. Of course, that hasn't stopped other people from coming up with their own diagnoses in the intervening centuries. Suspicions have ranged from the mundane — infected kidney stones — to the conspiratorial — poisoning by a closeted Royalist doctor.
|Unraveling the Many Mysteries of Tituba, the Star Witness of the Salem Witch Trials|
October 23, 2015, Smithsonian Magazine by Stacy Schiff
Few corners of American history have been as exhaustively or insistently explored as the nine months during which the Massachusetts Bay Colony grappled with our deadliest witchcraft epidemic. Early in 1692, several young girls began to writhe and roar. They contorted violently; they complained of bites and pinches. They alternately interrupted sermons and fell mute, “their throats choked, their limbs wracked,” an observer noted. After some hesitation, after much discussion, they were declared to be bewitched.
|Daedalus sea serpent may have been skimming whale|
October 22, 2015, Doubtful News by Staff
One of the most famous “sea serpent” cases, that of the sighting from the crew of HMS Daedalus in 1848, has long been cited as a mystery animal. Dr. Gary J. Galbreath, an evolutionary biologist, authored an article featured on the cover of the September/October 2015 issue of Skeptical Inquirer that makes an argument that the identity of the mysterious creature is now solved: it is a sei whale.
|Free Black Man Who Helped Slaves Escape Posthumously Pardoned|
October 22, 2015, The Root by Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
In 1847 Samuel Burris, a free black man, was caught trying to help slaves escape. He was sent to jail, and part of his sentence included a requirement that he be sold into slavery for seven years, but an anti-slavery association purchased him and set Burris free.