|Historical Society Sells Artifacts to Survive|
January 14, 2011, The Star-Ledger (NJ) by Staff
Call it a high-end garage sale, or a fabulous rent party: the New Jersey Historical Society is auctioning off prime artifacts from its collection to help pay the bills. You don’t have to be a historian to gasp at the $2.1 million sale last month of an extremely rare 1784 map of the United States. It had been in the historical society’s possession since 1862. No more. Other items will go on the auction block soon, including oil paintings, silverware and 18th-century furniture.
Something is dreadfully wrong when an institution cannibalizes itself to survive. It’s fair to ask whether the society correctly managed its meager resources over the years, and whether corporate and other donors could have been more generous, too.
|Blackbeard's Sword, Found! Archaeologists Discover Pirate Treasure Off North Carolina Coast|
January 14, 2011, Time Magazine by Staff
It's likely Edward Teach didn't need much to scare his enemies. After all, the notorious pirate better known as Blackbeard boasted a thick mass of facial hair so intimidating that it got immortalized in history.
He also numbered among the first corsairs to fly a black flag with bones on it. And, according to some accounts, he had a habit of lighting fuses beneath his hat, a halo of smoke giving the bristly sea dog a decidedly demonic aspect.
|Burmese Letter to King George II Deciphered After More than 250 Years|
January 14, 2011, The Telegraph (UK) by Victoria Ward
A letter made from pure gold that was sent to King George II from a Burmese king in 1756 has finally been deciphered by experts.
The letter, sent by King Alaungphaya, was an effusive and gushing appeal for camaraderie and trade with Britain. But although engraved on a gold sheet and adorned with 24 rubies, it was simply banished to a vault in the King's home town of Hanover, Germany, and not deemed worthy of a reply.
|Pictures: Blackbeard's Ship Yields Ornamental Sword|
January 12, 2011, National Geographic by Willie Drye
Could this partly gilded hilt have held Blackbeard's sword? There's no way to know for sure, though it was found amid the North Carolina wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge, the flagship of the infamous 18th-century pirate.
Since 1997, archaeologists have been excavating the Queen Anne's Revenge. The sword hilt—found in pieces but reassembled for this picture—is among their latest finds and was revealed to the public this month.
|Siege Dead Found at First Derry|
January 12, 2011, The Londonderry Sentinel by Olga Bradshaw
HUMAN remains dating to the time of the Siege of Derry, as well as remnants of pipes and crockery typical of the period, have been discovered beneath First Derry Presbyterian Church.
It is also believed that the car park between the church and the rear of the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall could be the site of a mass grave or graveyard, possibly containing human remains from those who perished inside Derry's Walls during the 105-day stand off between the Williamite supporters and the opposing Jacobites.
|Uncovering the Secrets of Pioneering Doctors' Gardens|
January 12, 2011, University of Bristol Press Release (UK) by Staff
Two pioneering eighteenth-century doctors and the unusual uses to which they put their gardens are the focus of a new study by a Bristol University historian.
Funded by a grant from the Wellcome Trust, Dr Clare Hickman of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology will investigate how surgeon John Hunter (1728-93) and vaccination pioneer Edward Jenner (1749-1823) used their gardens to further their outstanding medical activities.
|Amazon Digs Indicate Advanced Indian Civilizations |
January 12, 2011, NPR by Juan Forero
There have been a lot of things said about the Amazon: That it was a vast virgin jungle, that its only inhabitants were hunter-gatherers and that the rain forest was too hostile to have ever supported big civilizations. But increasingly, archaeologists say they are discovering the Amazon was home to large, even advanced civilizations before the Europeans arrived.
...The new thinking has given much more credence to the reports the Spanish explorers penned in the early 1500s. They had written about finding cities gleaming white. But because there were no majestic stone ruins - and later generations of explorers encountered primitive bands of hunters - science considered that Amazonia had pretty much always been the way it is today. Then came Anna Roosevelt and her excavations in the late 1980s at Marajo Island at the mouth of the Amazon.
|Boundary Wall from 1600s Found at Edinburgh Castle|
January 11, 2011, BBC (UK) by Staff
Excavations for the new Tattoo stands on Edinburgh Castle esplanade have revealed the remains of a boundary wall dating back to the 17th Century.
CFA Archaeology will now look at the surrounding area to gain a clearer understanding of what it was part of.
A trench dug for one of more than 100 concrete pad foundations for the new stands revealed the remains of a wall around 1m (3.3ft) wide.
|Cache from Shipwreck Docking at N.C. Museum of History|
January 10, 2011, The Apex Herald NC) by Staff
A case exhibit of small artifacts from the wreck of what is believed to be Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), Blackbeard’s flagship, will be on display at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh from Jan. 7 through Jan. 30. The artifacts are fresh catch from the fall expedition at the shipwreck site near Beaufort.
The QAR (www.qaronline.org) ran aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718, and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (www.ncculture.com) has led research at the site since 1997. The exhibit originated at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, the official repository for the shipwreck artifacts, within the Division of State History Museums.
|1800s-Era Skeletons Discovered as Crews Build L.A. Heritage Center|
January 10, 2011, The Los Angeles Times by Carla Hall
It's not unusual in Los Angeles for construction crews to find buried remains, but it is surprising to find a cemetery.
Under a half-acre lot of dirt and mud being transformed into a garden and public space for a cultural center celebrating the Mexican American heritage of Los Angeles, construction workers and scientists have found bodies buried in the first cemetery of Los Angeles — bodies believed to have been removed and reinterred elsewhere in the 1800s.
|Everyone Digs in as Archaeologists Uncover a Wealth of History|
January 09, 2011, The Age (AU) by Ruth Williams
WHEN an old sewerage pipe near the centre of Ballarat needed replacing last year, archaeologists were called in for what was expected to be a routine dig of the surrounds.
But what they uncovered surprised and delighted heritage experts - a trove of more than a thousand gold rush artefacts, many once belonging to members of Ballarat's mid-19th century Chinese community. As well as European pottery and bottles, they found medicine vials stamped with Chinese characters, intact fig jars, coins, tokens and imported Chinese porcelain.
|Mona Lisa Landscape Location Mystery 'Solved'|
January 09, 2011, The Telegraph (UK) by Nick Squires
A hidden clue in Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa identifies the exact location of the landscape which provides the background to the world's best known painting, an Italian art historian claims.
Carla Glori believes that a three-arched bridge which appears over the left shoulder of the woman with the enigmatic smile is a reference to Bobbio, a village which lies in rugged hill country south of Piacenza, in northern Italy.
|Divers Claim to have Discovered USS Revenge|
January 07, 2011, The Telegraph (UK) by Staff
The ship was commanded by US Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry, known for defeating the British in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie and Ontario in the War of 1812, as well as the line: "I have met the enemy and they are ours."
His battle flag bore the phrase "Don't give up the ship," and to this day is a symbol of the Navy.
|Spanish Archives Yields New Insights into History of Virgin Islands National Park|
January 07, 2011, National Parks Traveler by Jim Burnett
...Thanks to funds provided by the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park, Park Historian Milagro Flores traveled to Spain last summer to conduct research and compile documentation from the Spanish archives relating to the parks history and cultural resources. Flores served as the principal investigator for the project, assisted by Doris M. Diaz, an intern (history graduate student) from the Friends of VINP intern program.
Why the Spanish archives? Information from the park notes, "After the discovery of the New World by the Europeans in 1492, Spain maintained control over the new possessions until a few decades later when the English and French began to take control of Spain’s Caribbean colonies, including the Danish settlement on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas during 17th century."
|Divers Say They Have Found Wreck of Oliver Hazard Perrys Ship off Westerly|
January 07, 2011, The Providence Journal (RI) by Tom Mooney
A team of Connecticut scuba divers say they’ve discovered off the Westerly coast the wreck of a ship once commanded by Rhode Island naval war hero Oliver Hazard Perry, whose actions helped the United States defeat the British during the War of 1812.
It was after the naval victory at Lake Erie in September 1813 — during which Perry had one ship founder beneath him before transferring to another and continuing the battle — that his message to his commanders would become immortalized: “We have met the enemy and they are ours ...”
|DNA Information from 18th Century Giant may Help Sufferers in the Future|
January 07, 2011, Past Horizons by Staff
An international research team, spearheaded by scientists from the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, has identified the genetic mutation responsible for a disease known as “gigantism” or acromegaly.
Leading international paleogenetics experts Professor Dr Joachim Burger and Martina Unterländer of the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany subsequently extracted and analyzed the DNA from the skeleton of an 18th-century acromegaly patient preserved in the Hunterian Museum in London. The research team discovered exactly the same mutation as the one found in living patients. Further analyses of other DNA segments located in the vicinity of this gene led to the conclusion that the Hunterian Museum’s so-called “Irish Giant” had inherited the mutation from a common ancestor that he shared with a number of living Irish families who are suffering from this hereditary disorder today. The subsequent complex biostatistical calculations showed that the original mutation developed around 1,500 years ago and has been passed on from generation to generation ever since. It is estimated that around 200 to 300 people still carry the mutation today.
|Constable's Sketch of Wordsworth Uncovered|
January 06, 2011, The Telegraph (UK) by Staff
The sparse sketch by John Constable has been identified as showing another 19th century artistic great - the poet William Wordsworth.
...It is thought the drawing commemorates a meeting between the two in September 1806, when Constable visited the Lake District on a sketching tour.
|Bhutan Offers Rare Glimpse Inside Historic Temples|
January 06, 2011, CNN by Susannah Palk
The isolated kingdom of Bhutan has opened its doors to a team of art experts in order to preserve its Buddhist history.
Working for the first time in collaboration with Bhutan's Department of Culture, conservators from The Courtauld Institute of Art in England have spent the last three years documenting some of the reclusive kingdom's most precious wall paintings.
According to Lisa Shekede, leader of the project, the wall paintings date from around the 17th century and are some of the best surviving works in the region.
|Professor Discovers Hidden Literary References in the Mona Lisa|
January 06, 2011, Queen's University News Centre by Staff
Queen’s University Classics professor emeritus Ross Kilpatrick believes the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, incorporates images inspired by the Roman poet Horace and Florentine poet Petrarch. The technique of taking a passage from literature and incorporating it into a work of art is known as ‘invention’ and was used by many Renaissance artists.
|"Gulliver's Travels" Tops UK Box Office|
January 05, 2011, Reuters by Staff
The 3D update of Jonathan Swift's 18th century satire on human nature "Gulliver's Travels" gave the British box office a storming start to the year, despite having failed to make much of an impact in North America.
The story of travel writer Lemuel Gulliver taking an assignment in Bermuda but ending up among the little people of Lilliput made a high 7.02 million pounds ($10.9 million) on its opening weekend, according to Screen International on Wednesday.
|Remnants of Boozy Village Found Beneath Downtown San Francisco|
January 05, 2011, The San Francisco Examiner (CA) by Kamala Kelkar
y the time it boasts all its glory, the “Grand Central of the West” will actually sit on the site of an ancient village archeologists recently dusted off one relic at a time on their hands and knees.
They found dozens of vestiges — dolls, a piece of a tent, tableware and “many, many liquor bottles” — that tell stories dating as far back as 1848 under a roughly 100-square-foot portion of a parking lot near First and Minna streets by the future Transbay Transit Center. Underneath the asphalt, archeologists rummaged through what used to be shopkeepers’ and entrepreneurs’ homes that once sat between two enormous sand dunes.
|New Revelations about Slaves and Slave Trade|
January 05, 2011, CNN by David Eltis and David Richardson
Most students of American history understand that a dramatic re-peopling of North and South America began in the years after Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World. But they may not realize that it was Africa, not Europe, that formed the wellspring of this repopulation process.
In the 3¼ centuries between 1492 and about 1820, four enslaved Africans left the Old World for every European. During those years, Africans comprised the largest forced oceanic migration in the history of the world. Who were they? Who organized the slaving voyages? Which parts of Africa did they come from? How did they reach the Americas? And where exactly did they go?
|All the President's Men|
January 04, 2011, The Wall Street Journal by Julia M. Klein
With temperatures in the mid-20s, the mid- December dedication of the President's House was an occasion for celebration (that the site, after eight years of controversy and delays, was finished), thoughtful rumination (about the entanglement of liberty and slavery in Federalist America) and incipient frostbite.
Abutting the Liberty Bell Center in the heart of Independence National Historical Park, the $11.9 million project combines architecture and archaeology, memorial and exhibition, in an open-air setting. The exhibition, "The President's House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation," touches on the uses and abuses of federal power, the spread of slavery, Philadelphia's 18th- century free-black community—and, most tellingly, the occupants of the house itself.
|Soapman: The Mummy Made of Soap|
January 04, 2011, Discovery News by Staff
This is no ordinary mummy. It did not originate from ancient Egypt or the Inca. It is not thousands of years old, nor is it wrapped in bandages. (In fact, if you look closely, you'll see this person died wearing knee-high stockings.)
This mummy is from North America. When he was alive, this person live in 18th-century Philadelphia. During a construction project in Philadelphia in 1875, the body was unearthed by accident.
But that's not what makes this mummy special.
|Comparing the Modern Tea Party to the Original|
January 03, 2011, History News Network by Barbara Smith
In light of the recent anniversary of the original Tea Party, shouldn’t we consult history to clarify what the Boston brouhaha of 1773 was really about? Here are some things we would do well to remember today:
&bul; There was little that was “conservative” about the event. A mob seized and destroyed private property. Conservative interests at the time deplored it, and the respectable descendants of the Revolutionary generation did their best to forget it when they wrote up their official accounts of the Revolution.