|Fantastically Wrong: Magellan’s Strange Encounter With the 10-Foot Giants of Patagonia|
September 17, 2014, Wired by Matt Simon
In 1520, Ferdinand Magellan took time out of his busy schedule of sailing around the world to stop in what is now Patagonia, where he found a naked giant dancing and singing on the shore. Magellan ordered one of his men to make contact (the unwitting emissary’s no doubt hilarious reaction to this sadly has been lost to history), and to be sure to reciprocate the dancing and singing to demonstrate friendship.
|How to Reassemble a 300-Year-Old Lost Ship|
September 17, 2014, Popular Mechanics by Jacqueline Detwiler
In a winter storm in 1686 a 54-foot French frigate carrying a skeleton crew on an exploratory mission off the Texas coast sank in Matagorda Bay, halfway between Galveston and Corpus Christi. For more than 300 years it sat and decomposed, but portions of its keel and hull were mummified in 6 feet of mud. When those diminished but very important remains were raised in 1996, preservationists had an astonishing piece of good luck almost unheard of in the world of shipwreck rescue: Every important plank of wood had been marked with a Roman numeral, like a model in a box. Jim Bruseth, one of the research archaeologists leading the $17 million effort to recover and rebuild the frigate's remains—which are currently in some 600 pieces—calls it a ship kit.
September 15, 2014, Archaeology.org by Samir S. Patel
On the night of July 31, 1761, Jean de Lafargue, captain of the French East India Company ship L’Utile (“Useful”), was likely thinking of riches. In the ship’s hold were approximately 160 slaves purchased in Madagascar just days before and bound for Île de France, known today as Mauritius. It had been 80 years since the dodo had gone extinct on that Indian Ocean island, and the thriving French colony had a plantation economy in need of labor. However, though slavery was legal at the time, de Lafargue was not authorized by colonial authorities to trade in slaves.
According to the detailed account of the ship’s écrivain, or purser, as L’Utile approached the vicinity of an islet then called Île des Sables, or Sandy Island, winds kicked up to 15 or 20 knots. The ship’s two maps did not agree on the small island’s precise location, and a more prudent captain probably would have slowed and waited for daylight. But de Lafargue was in a hurry to reap his bounty. That night L’Utile struck the reef off the islet’s north end, shattering the hull. Most of the slaves, trapped in the cargo holds, drowned, though some escaped as the ship broke apart. The next morning, 123 of the 140 members of the French crew and somewhere between 60 and 80 Malagasy slaves found themselves stranded on Île des Sables—shaken and injured, but alive.
|Uncovering Hidden Text on a 500-Year-Old Map That Guided Columbus|
September 15, 2014, Wired by Greg Miller
Christopher Columbus probably used the map above as he planned his first voyage across the Atlantic in 1492. It represents much of what Europeans knew about geography on the verge discovering the New World, and it’s packed with text historians would love to read—if only the faded paint and five centuries of wear and tear hadn’t rendered most of it illegible.
But that’s about to change. A team of researchers is using a technique called multispectral imaging to uncover the hidden text. They scanned the map last month at Yale University and expect to start extracting readable text in the next few months, says Chet Van Duzer, an independent map scholar who’s leading the project, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
|Mystery Surrounds Skeletons in Mass Grave|
September 12, 2014, Popular Archaeology by Staff
Further tests will be conducted on skeletons initially recovered from a centuries-old mass grave in Durham City, in the UK, in 2013.
...The remains of two individuals have been radiocarbon dated and the results point to a date of death sometime within 1440-1630.
|Ship From Doomed Franklin Expedition Found in Arctic After 169 Years|
September 09, 2014, NBC News by Gil Aegerter
A ship that figures in one of the greatest mysteries in Arctic exploration — the 1840s disappearance of the Franklin Expedition — has been found, Canadian authorities said Tuesday.
It’s not known yet whether the ship found in Canada’s Arctic is the HMS Erebus or HMS Terror, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement, but the discovery was confirmed Sunday using a remote underwater vehicle.
|Famous George Washington Painting To Be Restored|
September 08, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
One of the most famous portraits of George Washington will soon get a high-tech examination and face-lift of sorts with its first major conservation treatment in decades.
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has begun planning the conservation and digital analysis of the full-length “Lansdowne” portrait of the first president that was painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796, museum officials told The Associated Press. The 8-foot-by-5-foot picture is considered the definitive portrait of Washington as president after earlier images in military uniform.
|'Old Ironsides' sails across Boston Harbor before 3-year-rehab|
August 29, 2014, United Press International by Frances Burns
The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship of war in the U.S. Navy, went for a final sail Friday before a three-year rehab.
The vessel, nicknamed Old Ironsides, will make one more trip across the Boston Harbor in October, said Peter Melkus, a spokesman. But it will be pushed by a tug instead of moving by sail power in an exhibition to mark the 217th anniversary of its launch.
|All the Bar's a Stage, And All the Players Are Drunk|
August 26, 2014, The Wall Street Journal by Pia Catton
Ross Williams aims to put the bar back into the Bard.
His latest ShakesBEER series in August took thirsty theatergoers to four bars in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. At each stop, actors launch into a scene from Shakespeare plays, such as "Romeo and Juliet" or "As You Like It," often in front of regulars and tourists who have no idea what's going on.
At the end of the scene, the ShakesBEER crowd moves on to the next venue. Drink, watch, repeat.
|Camp Security archaeological dig starts Monday|
August 26, 2014, The York Daily Record by Teresa Boeckel
An archaeological dig started Monday morning to search for 18th century artifacts that could reveal more about the history of a Revolutionary War prison camp in Springettsbury Township.
"We're just hoping we find something," said Carol Tanzola, president of the Friends of Camp Security.
|Past Masters heritage group defends throwing old Chinese coin into sand dune|
August 23, 2014, ABC (Australia) by Xavier La Canna
A Northern Territory heritage group is defending a decision to throw an old Chinese coin found on a remote island back into sand dunes, saying it did not have a choice.
The brass coin, thought to be from the Qing Dynasty and minted between 1736 and 1795, was found on Elcho Island last month by a group of heritage enthusiasts called Past Masters.
|On the trail of the 'Blood Countess' in Slovakia|
August 22, 2014, CNN by John Malathronas
With a ruined centuries-old castle looming up on the hill above, the Slovakian village of Cachtice could easily take a starring role in a Gothic horror film.
However, exactly 400 years ago, on August 21, the horror was all too real, as the life of the most prolific female mass murderer of all time -- a noblewoman by the name of Countess Elizabeth Bathory -- came to a grim end.
|Sunday Is the 200th Anniversary of the Burning of the White House|
August 22, 2014, Time by Jay Newton-Small
Look around Washington D.C. this summer and you’ll find parades, speeches and shows to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the 100th anniversary of World War I. Heck, there are even exhibits honoring the 25th anniversary of Prague’s Velvet Revolution and the fact the 50 years ago the Beatles first invaded America, to much teenage frenzy.
But what you won’t find are a lot of mentions about the War of 1812’s bicentennial. “Wait,” you may ask, “if it was the War of 1812, why would we celebrate it in 1814?”
|Still 'drinkable': 200-year-old booze found in shipwreck|
August 18, 2014, LiveScience by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe
A 200-year-old stoneware seltzer bottle that was recently recovered from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea contains alcohol, according to the results of a preliminary analysis.
Researchers discovered the well-preserved and sealed bottle in June, while exploring the so-called F53.31 shipwreck in Gdansk Bay, close to the Polish coast. Preliminary laboratory tests have now shown the bottle contains a 14-percent alcohol distillate, which may be vodka or a type of gin called jenever, most likely diluted with water.
|This Art Form Disappeared for 300 Years. Meet the Man Who Brought It Back|
August 12, 2014, Indian Country Today by Harlan McKosato
Joshua Madalena believes that Jemez black-on-white pottery is the original art form of the Jemez Pueblo people. This unique form of ceramic pottery is tempered with volcanic tuff or rock, slipped with white clay, painted with carbon (vegetable) paint, and fired in an oxygen-free atmosphere. The pottery was used, based on archaeological findings, from about 1300 to 1700 AD throughout the Jemez (pronounced hey-mess) Mountain range and surrounding areas, before being extinguished by Spanish occupation of modern day New Mexico.
|Mona Lisa Mania: Our Bizarre Infatuation with That ‘Happy Woman’|
August 06, 2014, Biographile by Dianne Hales
Presidents and princes lauded her. Poets penned sonnets to her. Singers crooned of her. Admirers reproduced her image in beads, bread, bulbs, jellybeans, Legos, seaweed and just about every other material imaginable.
But Leonardo da Vinci’s model has stirred more than adulation. A vandal threw acid at the lower part of the painting. A young Bolivian flung a rock, chipping the left elbow. A Russian woman distraught over being denied French citizenship hurled a souvenir mug. The portrait, barricaded behind bulletproof glass, was unharmed
|Happy Birthday, U.S. Treasury|
August 02, 2014, Time by Victor Luckerson
It was 225 years ago today that the still-nascent United States finally decided to get its financial house in order. The Department of the Treasury was established on Sept. 2, 1789, during an early session of the 1st United States Congress. The Department’s duties, according to the founding law, are:
“…to digest and prepare plans for the improvement and management of the revenue…to prepare and report estimates of the public revenue, and the public expenditures; to superintend the collection of revenue; to decide on the forms of keeping and stating accounts and making returns, and to grant under the limitations herein established, or to be hereafter provided, all warrants for monies to be issued from the Treasury, in pursuance of appropriations by law.”
|Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida's east coast|
July 30, 2014, Reuters by Barbara Liston
A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday.
Eric Schmitt, a professional salvager, was scavenging with his parents when he found the crumpled, square-shaped ornament on a leisure trip to hunt for artifacts in the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that sank in 1715 during a hurricane off central Florida's east coast.
|Origins of mysterious World Trade Center ship revealed|
July 29, 2014, LiveScience by Megan Gannon
In July 2010, amid the gargantuan rebuilding effort at the site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, construction workers halted the backhoes when they uncovered something unexpected just south of where the Twin Towers once stood.
At 22 feet (6.7 meters) below today's street level, in a pit that would become an underground security and parking complex, excavators found the mangled skeleton of a long-forgotten wooden ship.
|Oldest recorded near-death experience discovered|
July 27, 2014, The Times of India by Staff
The oldest medical description of a "near-death" experience has been discovered in a report from a French physician in 1740, scientists say.
The description was found by Dr Phillippe Charlier, a medical doctor and archeologist in France, in a book he had bought in an antique shop.
|Shipwrecked and kidnapped: a tale of two castaways on the Great Barrier Reef|
July 25, 2014, ABC by Iain McCalman
This is a story of shipwreck, near death, rescue and unexpected friendship. In the mid-19th century, two European youths were separately lost at sea off the Great Barrier Reef, 1000 kilometres apart. Both were rescued and nurtured by Aborigines and by a strange coincidence, each lived with their separate rescuers for 17 years.
At the end of those 17 years, the English sailor chose to leave his adopted people and join the invading British colonists around Bowen, while the other was kidnapped by British trepang (sea cucumber) hunters near today’s Lockhart River on Cape York and returned to his native France. The British men, brandishing guns, believed they were rescuing him. He regarded himself as kidnapped.
|State to renounce Trail of Tears at Friday event|
July 25, 2014, The Tennessean by Andy Humbles
Lawmakers will publicly renounce Tennessee’s role in the Indian Removal Act of 1830 known as the Trail of Tears at a ceremony on Friday, in the chamber of the House of Representatives.
The ceremony follows a resolution passed by the state legislature and now signed by Gov. Bill Haslam that states regret over the state’s involvement.
|The Myth of the Perpetual Motion Machine|
July 22, 2014, Disinformation.com by Marcie Gainer
History is rife with intriguing stories of conmen and their ploys. The pathetic, but interesting, story of Charles Redheffer is a testament to the fact that smart men will always expose the dumb man (especially when they are as arrogant as Charles Redheffer).
In 1812, Mr. Redheffer arrived in Philadelphia claiming that he had invented a “perpetual motion machine.” He claimed that it required nothing to run. Quickly Redheffer became something of a celebrity in Philadelphia, where he charged the locals to witness his fantastical machine at work.
|Exhibit on real Johnny Appleseed will hit the road|
July 19, 2014, The Associated Press by Lisa Cornwell
If you picture Johnny Appleseed as a loner wearing a tin pot for a hat and flinging apple seeds while meandering through the countryside, experts say you're wrong.
They're hoping that a traveling exhibit funded by an anonymous donation to a western Ohio center and museum will help clear misconceptions about the folk hero and the real man behind the legend.
|The Descendants of Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison Donate Family Heirlooms to the Smithsonian|
July 18, 2014, Smithsonian by Max Kutner
Growing up, the descendants of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison knew the attic was off-limits. The Victorian house near Boston had been in their family since the turn of the 20th century, and as family members passed away, heirlooms accumulated on the top floor. When the Garrisons decided to sell the house four years ago, they moved those heirlooms into storage. Last week, the family donated ten of them, including stunning photographs, a watch and Civil War weaponry, to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, set to open in 2016.
Garrison, who was white, helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society, the first abolitionist society to include both blacks and whites. “It’s really the bedrock for where white America begins to demonstrate inequality with African Americans,” says museum curator Nancy Bercaw. In 1831, Garrison founded The Liberator, an anti-slavery publication that Bercaw says likely inspired the Nat Turner slave rebellion.