|Chinese cave 'graffiti' tells a 500-year story of climate change and impact on society|
August 13, 2015, ScienceDaily by Staff
An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of Cambridge, has discovered unique 'graffiti' on the walls of a cave in central China, which describes the effects drought had on the local population over the past 500 years.
The information contained in the inscriptions, combined with detailed chemical analysis of stalagmites in the cave, together paint an intriguing picture of how societies are affected by droughts over time: the first time that it has been possible to conduct an in situ comparison of historical and geological records from the same cave. The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also point to potentially greatly reduced rainfall in the region in the near future, underlying the importance of implementing strategies to deal with a world where droughts are more common.
|Twelve skeletons found beneath Swedish castle|
August 13, 2015, The Local (Sweden) by Staff
Two of the skeletons were preserved in coffins, while the others were buried in soil beneath the wall of Kalmar Castle, which is one of southern Sweden's most famous historical sites.
...He said it remained a mystery how the people had died, but added that his team's best guess was that they were castle staff who became sick in the late 1400s or early 1500s.
|Price of Britain’s slave trade revealed|
August 12, 2015, ScienceDaily by Staff
Letters and papers revealing in detail how human beings were priced for sale during the 18th century Transatlantic Slave Trade have been made available to researchers and the public.
Letters discussing the value and sale of slaves in the 18th century, which provide a distressing reminder of the powerful business interests that sustained one of the darkest chapters in British history, are to be made available to researchers and the public by St John's College, University of Cambridge.
|17th-century HMS London gun carriage lifted from Southend seabed|
August 12, 2015, The Guardian (UK) by Maev Kennedy
A unique 17th-century gun carriage has been successfully lifted from the seabed off Southend, where it went down with the warship the London 350 years ago.
The ship, which sank in 1665 after a mysterious explosion with at least 300 crew members on board, lies broken up on the seabed and is being further damaged with every tide. But the gun carriage has come to the surface in startlingly good condition, still with a length of rope threaded through a pulley block.
|Possible 1665 'plague pit' latest unearthed link to London's storied past|
August 12, 2015, CNN by Laura Smith-Spark and Kellie Morgan
If you scratch the surface of a 2,000-year-old city like London, you frequently find clues to its past -- whether Roman, medieval or remnants of the 20th century's greatest conflict.
Three-hundred and fifty years ago, London suffered its last major outbreak of plague. As many as 100,000 people, or a fifth of its population, died as the disease swept through the city.
|Gruesome Great Plague burial pit unearthed by Crossrail|
August 12, 2015, Wired by James Temperton
A mass burial pit thought to contain 30 victims of the Great Plague of 1665 has been discovered by Crossrail workers near Liverpool Street station in London.
The bodies and a gravestone marked "1665" were unearthed during excavations of the Bedlam burial ground, which will one day form the eastern entrance of the new Crossrail station in the City of London.
|Archaeologists discover forgotten castle in Sierpc|
August 12, 2015, Science and Scholarship in Poland by Staff
Remains of the peripheral walls of the sixteenth-century castle in Sierpc (Mazowieckie province) have been discovered by researchers during archaeological and architectural research.
Remnants of the castle are not visible on the ground. Only during extensive excavations that started in early July, archaeologists stumbled upon the several hundred years old walls.
|'Sea monster' figurehead salvaged from Baltic Sea wreck|
August 11, 2015, Reuters by Ilze Filks
A wooden figurehead of a sea monster with ears like a lion and a crocodile's jaw was carefully lifted from the sea in southern Sweden on Tuesday by divers bringing up treasures from the wreck of a 15th-century Danish warship.
The figurehead came from the wreck of the Gribshunden, which is believed to have sunk in 1495 after it caught fire on its way from Copenhagen to Kalmar on Sweden's east coast.
|When Christopher Columbus Made the Moon Disappear|
August 11, 2015, Now I Know by Dan Lewis
The image above is what the Moon looked like, from Earth (of course), on April 15, 2014. You’ll note that it’s reddish and not nearly as bright as the moon typically is. The cause: a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned, as depicted in the (not-to-scale) graphic below, via Space.com. The Earth blocks most (but not all) of the sunlight which would have otherwise reflected off the Moon’s surface, leading to a dull, red sphere in the sky.
If you know what’s happening, a lunar eclipse is a really neat phenomenon — a nice example of the majesty of space visible from Earth. But if you don’t know what’s happening, a red, disappearing Moon can be terrifying.
Just ask Christopher Columbus.
|Was William Shakespeare a stoner?|
August 11, 2015, CNN by Mairi Mackay
Was playwright William Shakespeare stoned when he penned masterpieces like "Hamlet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?
New correspondence published in the South African Journal of Science highlights how an analysis of residue found in early 17th-century tobacco pipes excavated in Stratford-upon-Avon, central England, found indications of cannabis and nicotine. The report, which was first published in 2001, said that several of the pipes came from Shakespeare's garden.
|How 16th Century Observations Paved the Way for Darwin's Landmark Study|
August 10, 2015, Science Newsline by Staff
Close but no cigar: How 16th Century observations paved the way for Darwin's landmark study
This is a hand colored copper-plate print, engraved by Sydenham Edwards for William Curtis´ Flora Londinensis published between 177 and 1798. Credit: University of East Anglia Documents dating back to the 16th Century provide a unique insight into one of Darwin's landmark studies - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.
In 1862, Darwin presented the case that some plant species have two floral forms that differ in height and arrangement of the male and female sexual structures - and adopted the term 'heterostyly'.
|The Roanoke Island Colony: Lost, and Found?|
August 10, 2015, The New York Times by Theo Emery
Under a blistering sun, Nicholas M. Luccketti swatted at mosquitoes as he watched his archaeology team at work in a shallow pit on a hillside above the shimmering waters of Albemarle Sound. On a table in the shade, a pile of plastic bags filled with artifacts was growing. Fragments of earthenware and pottery. A mashed metal rivet. A piece of a hand-wrought nail.
They call the spot Site X. Down a dusty road winding through soybean fields, the clearing lies between two cypress swamps teeming with venomous snakes. It is a suitably mysterious name for a location that may shed light on an enigma at the heart of America’s founding: the fate of the “lost colonists” who vanished from a sandy outpost on Roanoke Island, about 60 miles east, in the late 16th century.
|After 190 years, NY's Erie Canal a relic with a hefty cost|
August 09, 2015, The Associated Press by George M. Walsh
The Erie Canal was an engineering marvel when it opened in 1825, linking the Hudson River to the Great Lakes and humming with commerce that opened up the West.
Long ago eclipsed by railroads and interstates, the waterway has for many years been a historical curiosity that's seen waning use by recreational and commercial vessels.
Now a renewed court fight has drawn fresh attention to the 360-mile-long ribbon of channels, lifts and locks between Albany and Buffalo, calling into question whether taxpayers will again have to foot the hefty bill to keep it and the other canals in the system operating.
|Missing for 35 years, the stunning discovery of a stolen Stradivarius|
August 06, 2015, The Washington Post (DC) by Geoff Edgers
A rare, 281-year-old Stradivarius violin stolen in 1980 from a beloved musician and teacher has been found, according to Nina Totenberg, the National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent and daughter of the late violinist Roman Totenberg.
The prized Strad, crafted by the famed Italian luthier in 1734, disappeared after a performance by Totenberg in 1980 in Cambridge, Mass. Later today, at the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York City, the instrument will be returned to his three daughters. Nina Totenberg declined to speculate on its value, though a Stradivarius violin sold for more than $15 million in 2011.
|300-year-old Armenian monastery stands in ruins|
August 03, 2015, Dogan News Agency by Staff
The 300-year-old Armenian monastery of Surp Astvatsatsin (Tomarza Monastery) has completely deteriorated in the Tomarza district of Turkey’s central Anatolian Kayseri province, with merely a few ruined walls remaining.
The monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is situated in Kayseri’s Cumhuriyet neighborhood.
|This 390-year-old bonsai tree survived an atomic bomb, and no one knew until 2001|
August 02, 2015, The Washington Post (DC) by Faiz Siddiqui
Moses Weisberg was walking his bicycle through the National Arboretum in Northeast Washington when he stopped at a mushroom-shaped tree. The first thing he noticed was the thickness of the trunk, estimated at almost a foot and a half in diameter. And then there was the abundance of spindly leaves, a healthy head of hair for a botanical relic 390 years old.
...“One of the things that makes it so special is, if you imagine, somebody has attended to that tree every day since 1625,” Sustic said. “I always like to say bonsai is like a verb. It’s not a noun; it’s doing.”
|Remains of 4 early colonial leaders discovered at Jamestown|
August 02, 2015, The Associated Press by Staff
Archaeologists have uncovered human remains of four of the earliest leaders of the English colony that would become America, buried for more than 400 years near the altar of what was America’s first Protestant church in Jamestown, Virginia.
The four burial sites were uncovered in the earthen floor of what was Jamestown’s historic Anglican church from 1608, a team of scientists and historians announced Tuesday. The site is the same church where Pocahontas famously married Englishman John Rolfe, leading to peace between the Powhatan Indians and colonists at the first permanent English settlement in America.
|HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later|
August 01, 2015, The Independent (UK) by David Keys
One of Britain’s greatest maritime mysteries has finally been solved.
More than two and a half centuries on, archaeologists have now worked out what caused one of the Royal Navy’s worst disasters – the sinking of the mid 18th century British fleet’s flagship, the Victory. The vessel sank in the English Channel in early October 1744 some 50 miles south-east of Plymouth – and all 1,100 men on-board perished.
|Uncovering what Thoreau uncovered|
July 31, 2015, Harvard Gazette (MA) by Colleen Walsh
Some might say the pioneering feminist, literary critic, social reformer, teacher, and war correspondent Margaret Fuller died as she lived, determinedly on her own terms.
On a journey back to the United States from Europe, Fuller’s ship, the steamer Elizabeth, ran aground off New York’s Fire Island during a violent storm in the early hours of July 19, 1850. According to Megan Marshall’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Fuller stood firm with her husband and 2-year-old son on the sinking deck.
|Archaeologists extract clues from Kiskiack’s pre-colonial past|
July 30, 2015, William and Mary College (VA) by Joseph McClain
It was the last day of the dig and rain was threatening.
Madeline Gunter and Jessica Bittner were using tablespoons to work around some rocks that were just beginning to peek through the troweled-flat, muddy-looking surface of their working unit. They weren’t just random stones.
“It’s a hearth feature,” said Gunter, a Ph.D. student in William & Mary’s Department of Anthropology. “We’re making sure to collect all these little charcoal flecks that are concentrated here in the center. That’s going to help us date this feature.”
|Dig returns to artifact-rich Colonial American site in NY|
July 30, 2015, The Associated Press by Staff
An archaeological project has returned to an artifact-rich state park in the southern Adirondacks on what was the focal point of the warring British and French empires more than 250 years ago.
A team of students and volunteers is trying to determine if a low stone wall along the edge of Lake George Battlefield Park and another structure being unearthed nearby were built during the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763, when thousands of British and Colonial American troops were posted here while fighting raged along the northern frontier separating Britain's New York province and French-held Canada.
|“Hamilton,” Based on a Book, Is Becoming One Again|
July 29, 2015, The New York Times by Alexandra Alter
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s raucous hip-hop musical, “Hamilton,” sprang from an unlikely source: a dense, 818-page biography of Alexander Hamilton by the historian Ron Chernow. Mr. Miranda picked up the book as vacation reading before a trip to Mexico, and soon after tearing through the first chapter, he had the idea to adapt Hamilton’s life story into a musical.
Now, the play, which just opened on Broadway in previews after a critically lauded, sold-out, Off-Broadway run, will get its own life in print. Grand Central Publishing has acquired Mr. Miranda’s book “Hamilton,” which blends the history of Hamilton’s life with Mr. Miranda’s lyrics and annotations and behind-the scenes content from the show. The book will include photographs, interviews, essays and sidebars that explore how Mr. Miranda translated Hamilton’s life — from his tough childhood as an orphan to his military career and his role as the nation’s first Treasury secretary – into musical theater. Grand Central plans to publish the book in April 2016.
|Mentor shipwreck excavation continues|
July 28, 2015, Archaeology News Network by TANN
Another cycle of underwater excavation around the “Mentor” shipwreck near Kythira island has been concluded yielding evidence that the ship that carried other antiquities besides what has already been discovered so far. Excavations took place in June 26-July 12 and focused on the western boundary of the shipwreck.
The Mentor had set to travel to England but in September 1802 sunk at the entrance of the port of Avlemonas, Kythira. It probably carried antiquities collected by Earl of Elgin team, besides the Parthenon sculptures destined to Britain. Since underwater excavations started at the site, various fragments have been discovered indicating that other antiquities were carried.
|Unearthing Jamestown’s Leaders, and a Mystery|
July 28, 2015, The New York Times by Nicholas Fandos
One man was thought to be the first Anglican minister in the Americas. Another, an early explorer of the Mid-Atlantic region, was a rival of Capt. John Smith’s. And two of them, kin of Sir Thomas West’s, the governor of Virginia, helped save a colony on the brink of collapse.
All four, some of European America’s earliest leaders, died in colonial Jamestown from 1608 to 1610 and were long thought lost to history.
But on Tuesday, a team of researchers from the National Museum of Natural History and the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation announced that they had unearthed and identified the men amid the ruins of a church on the site of Fort James.
|Florida family finds $1 million in treasure from sunken Spanish armada|
July 27, 2015, Reuters by Barbara Liston
A Florida family who has hunted treasure for years found more than $1 million worth of gold artifacts this summer from the wreckage of a 1715 Spanish fleet that sank in the Atlantic, according to a salvage company’s estimate.
The find included 51 gold coins of various denominations and 40 feet (12 meters) of ornate gold chain, said Brent Brisben, whose company, 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC, owns the rights to the wreckage.