|The mystery of where Plymouth got its start|
June 21, 2014, The Boston Globe (MA) by David Filipov
Every American schoolchild knows the story of the Pilgrims’ settlement of Plymouth. But even the most exacting US historian cannot say for sure precisely where that settlement stood.
Now, a team of archeologists is digging through the sand at the bottom of Burial Hill in Plymouth center, their hopes set on unlocking a mystery that has intrigued researchers for generations: the location of the early 17th-century palisades that would define the original borders of the town that calls itself America’s Hometown.
|Power company clashes with US history in Virginia|
June 21, 2014, The Associated Press by Steve Szkotak
A power company's plan to build high-rise transmission towers within sight of Jamestown Island has stirred opposition from historic preservationists who say they'll be a visual blight from the swampy shore where America sprouted.
Dominion Virginia Power is awaiting permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to construct 17 towers across 4 miles of the James River. The towers would rise above the river to a height ranging from 160 feet to 295 feet, nearly the same height of the Statue of Liberty.
|The Gory New York City Riot that Shaped American Medicine|
June 17, 2014, Smithsonian by Bess Lovejoy
For most Americans, being a physician is a respectable profession, held in high esteem and relatively untarnished by the constant health care debates. But that wasn’t always the case, and one of the first major riots in the post-revolution United States was caused by popular anger against doctors. The so-called “Doctors’ Riot,” which began on April 16, 1788, and killed as many as 20 people, influenced both the perception of American medicine and the way it was carried out for decades to come, even though it has been mostly forgotten today
|Fly Found With Da Vinci Princess Spurs Mystery|
June 14, 2014, Discover News by Rossella Lorenzi
A fly larva discovered among the remains of an Italian Renaissance princess -- often credited to be the true Mona Lisa -- has a produced a zoological puzzle, raising questions about the origins of the insect.
Widely believed to be a native of the Americas, the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) thrives on decaying organic material. It was thought to have first reached Europe in the early 1900s.
|Washington’s flag awaits museum’s 2016 opening|
June 13, 2014, The Associated Press by Kathy Matheson
Even as Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the nation’s official flag in 1777, another American banner was making history on Revolutionary War battlefields.
The plain blue standard with 13 white, six-pointed stars traveled with George Washington to denote his presence as commander in chief of the Continental Army.
|Vermeer's paintings might be 350 year-old color photographs|
June 10, 2014, BoingBoing by Tim Jenison
I was sitting in the bathtub in 2008 when I thought of a simple way Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring) might have painted his photorealistic pictures 350 years ago, long before the invention of photography. Vermeer's paintings are legendary for their realism, and many have speculated that he must have used some sort of optical technology, like the camera obscura, to get that result.
It's common knowledge that you can trace the images projected on the screen of a camera obscura, which is basically a black box with a lens mounted on one side. This helps you get the size and shapes of things established on the canvas. Intuitively it seems that you could paint colors right on the projected image and get a photoreal result.
|Interior chief: Jamestown at risk from rising seas|
June 05, 2014, The Associated Press by Steve Szkotak
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell got a firsthand look Thursday at the effect of climate change on ever-receding Jamestown island, concluding that America's first permanent European settlement is clearly vulnerable to rising seas.
Led by National Park Service rangers, Jewell trekked around the island, where some sections now lie beneath the James River, and heard of the devastation in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel raked the low-lying landscape. The storm left many parts of the island underwater and destroyed thousands of artifacts retrieved from archaeological digs. Many are still being restored.
|Reader warning: Harvard experts say book is bound with human skin|
June 05, 2014, CNN by Jethro Mullen
It's reading matter not for the faint of heart.
Experts at Harvard said this week that they have confirmed that a 19th-century book housed in one of the university's libraries is bound in human skin.
|Ohio Millstones Have French Origins|
June 04, 2014, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History by Glenda Bogar
A geologist studied fossils to confirm that stones used in 19th century Ohio grain mills originated from France. Fossils embedded in these millstones were analyzed to determine that stones known as French buhr were imported from regions near Paris, France, to Ohio in the United States. Dr. Joseph Hannibal, curator of invertebrate paleontology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, was lead author on research published in the Society for Sedimentary Geology journal PALAIOS.
The study documents a technique that uses fossils to definitively distinguish French buhr from similar-looking Ohio chert (also known as flint). The most revealing fossil is a one-millimeter wide reproductive structure of a charophyte (a type of algae also known as a stonewort) that occurs in the rocks of the Paris Basin, a geological province centered around Paris, France.
|The Ice King Cometh|
May 30, 2014, Now I Know by Dan Lewis
The 2013 movie Frozen (which you probably should watch if you haven’t) opens with an squadron of men, armed with sharp objects, transversing the ice and snow in frigid, remote areas. While plunder is on their minds, in a sense, they aren’t going to war. They’re going to a lake. Their goal: to harvest as much ice as possible and carry it back with them to their kingdom.
In modern times, this seems kind of strange. We have things called freezers which, when furnished with a tray filled with water, can provide us with enough cubes of ice to make any drink invitingly cold. Some refrigerators even come with ice makers which can provide ice almost on command. But that wasn’t always the case, and in the 1800s, a man named Frederic Tudor skated his way to riches because of it.
|How A Cryptoanalyst Discovered The Identity Of The Man In The Iron Mask|
May 26, 2014, IO9 by Esther Inglis-Arkell
For those of you who have only seen the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, the Man in the Iron Mask was an actual historical figure. He was a mysterious prisoner in the time of Louis XIV. Two centuries later, a cryptoanalyst finally discovered his probable identity.
In 1698, the Man in the Iron Mask had gained quite a reputation for himself (some said herself) when he had been in a prison in Savoy. In Paris, he was the subject of so much gossip that he became a legend for centuries to come. Theorists tried to work out his identity. Some, most famously, Alexandre Dumas, made up an identity, and spun a tale in which the Man in the Iron Mask was the secret twin of Louis XIV. Twins were a threat to orderly succession, but no one could kill a prince of royal blood, so the second twin was masked and imprisoned.
|New exhibit on Revolutionary War in SC opening|
May 24, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
A new exhibit chronicling the American Revolution is opening at the South Carolina State Museum.
The exhibit opens at the museum in Columbia on Saturday and runs through Aug. 17.
|Plas Newydd: Heat from the sea to warm historic house|
May 22, 2014, BBC News )UK) by Roger Harrabin
One of the finest old mansions in Wales is making history with a new technology that sucks heat from sea water.
Plas Newydd, with spectacular views of Snowdon from Anglesey, will in future have its collection of past military uniforms warmed by a heat pump.
|$50K book prize goes to Revolutionary War writer|
May 21, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
The author of a revisionist account of the British leaders who lost the North American colonies in the Revolutionary War has won one of the nation’s largest literary awards.
University of Virginia history professor Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, author of “The Men who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire,” won the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize Tuesday night at a reception at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.
|Military museum slates program on Iroquois battle|
May 19, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
The American offensive against the Iroquois Confederacy in western New York during the Revolutionary War is the subject of an upcoming program at the New York State Military Museum.
The free Memorial Day weekend program at the museum in Saratoga Springs on Saturday will be presented by sociologist, artist and writer Robert Spiegelman.
May 16, 2014, Now I Know by Dan Lewis
The term “coronal mass ejection” sounds like something best avoided, even if one has no idea what it means. It’s true — they’re particularly troublesome and, in some contexts, rather dangerous. That’s because, as Wikipedia notes, coronal mass ejections — CMEs, for short — release “huge quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation into space” when they occur. And they happen pretty often. Depending on the time of year, we could see as many as three CMEs daily. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid them. Thankfully, CMEs occur on the Sun, and it’s rare that they have much of an effect on Earth.
But they can — and have.
On August 28, 1859, a British astronomer named Richard Carrington was observing and tracking sunspots, like he typically did. But that was hardly a typical day. Carrington noticed a pair of solar flares – NASA describes them as “two brilliant beads of blinding white light” — which shrunk only a few minutes after. The oddity, though, wasn’t lost on Carrington, who grabbed a witness. The two, together, watched the white lights disappear quickly thereafter.
|Explorer: Underwater pirates looted what he says is likely Santa Maria|
May 15, 2014, CNN by Ashley Fantz, Jethro Mullen and Haimy Assefa
An underwater explorer who says he's confident he's discovered the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus' flagship, said Wednesday that there's evidence that the ship has been looted.
During a news conference, 68-year-old Barry Clifford said that the remains of the possible ship off the coast of Haiti probably hold "a great deal of cultural material" but that he and his team of divers can tell that thieves have disrupted the wreck and taken things.
|These Maps Reveal How Slavery Expanded Across the United States|
May 15, 2014, Smithsonian Magazine by Lincoln Mullen
In September of 1861, the U.S. Coast Survey published a large map, approximately two feet by three feet, titled a "Map showing the distribution of the slave population of the southern states of the United States." Based on the population statistics gathered in the 1860 Census, and certified by the superintendent of the Census Office, the map depicted the percentage of the population enslaved in each county. At a glance, the viewer could see the large-scale patterns of the economic system that kept nearly 4 million people in bondage: slavery was concentrated along the Chesapeake Bay and in eastern Virginia; along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts; in a crescent of lands in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; and most of all, in the Mississippi River Valley. With each county labeled with the exact percentage of people enslaved, the map demanded some closer examination.
|The Art of a Beautiful Friendship: George Washington Portrait at the Battle of Princeton|
May 15, 2014, Epoch Times by Yvonne Marcotte
One spring morning I visited Princeton, N.J. I drove down Mercer, crossed Nassau Street, and headed toward the Princeton Museum of Art. I wanted to see an exhibit of drawing masterpieces then on display. Afterward, I thought I’d take in a guided tour of selected pieces throughout the museum.
Toward the end of the tour, our group approached a large painting placed prominently on the wall at the entrance of a side gallery. The guide brought us to a commemorative portrayal of George Washington’s victory at Princeton in 1777 by Charles Willson Peale. The artist placed Washington front and center in a heroic contrapposto stance. He holds a sword and the flag of the new country waves in the dark clouds.
|The Strange, Secret History of Isaac Newton’s Papers|
May 14, 2014, Wired Magazine by Adam Mann
When Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727, he left behind no will and an enormous stack of papers. His surviving correspondences, notes, and manuscripts contain an estimated 10 million words, enough to fill up roughly 150 novel-length books. There are pages upon pages of scientific and mathematical brilliance. But there are also pages that reveal another side of Newton, a side his descendants tried to keep hidden from the public.
|10 European colonies in America that failed before Jamestown|
May 14, 2014, National Constitution Center by Staff
The Jamestown settlement in Virginia, which officially was started on May 14, 1607, was one of the first European colonies to last in North America, and was historically significant for hosting the first parliamentary assembly in America.
But Jamestown barely survived, as recent headlines about the confirmation of cannibalism at the colony confirm. The adaption to the North American continent by the early Europeans was extremely problematic.
|Thomas Jefferson letter on land inheritance for grandchildren expected to fetch $35,000|
May 14, 2014, Fox News by Joshua Rhett Miller
A previously unknown letter written by President Thomas Jefferson offers a rare glimpse into the personal life of the Founding Father, a dealer of historical documents told FoxNews.com.
The July 24, 1805, letter from Jefferson to Bowling Clark — his friend and real estate manager who once oversaw Jefferson's home of Monticello — details the then-62-year-old president’s desire to commission the appraisal of his 4,812-acre Poplar Forest plantation so the property could later be divided up for his eight grandchildren.
|Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria|
May 13, 2014, The Independent (UK) by David Keys
More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti. It’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries.
|Revolutionary War re-enactors keep history alive|
May 12, 2014, The Associated Press by Shelly Birkelo
When Bill and Marilyn Hess participate in a Revolutionary War re-enactment, they transform into those who lived 18th century life.
Bill, 75, becomes a captain in Alexander Hamilton’s New York Provincial Company of Artillery.
Marilyn, 75, portrays an officer’s wife, a woman traveling with the Army or an 18th century prostitute.
|'Vampire' Skeleton Unearthed in Poland|
May 07, 2014, Discovery News by Rossella Lorenzi
Archaeologists in Poland say they have discovered a skeleton with a brick stuck into the mouth — evidence that the subject was believed to be a vampire.
Dated to the 16th-17th century, the grave was unearthed during excavations in the town of Kamien Pomorski, in northwestern Poland, the Kamienskie.info website reported.
In addition to the brick, which was wedged so violently into the mouth to knock out the upper teeth, the skeleton featured a leg with a hole likely made from a puncture. This would suggest the leg had been staked to the ground to prevent the individual from rising from its grave.