December 12, 2014

History revealed

Filed under: Historic — acagle @ 10:59 am

Well, not quite yet anyway: Time capsule found at Massachusetts Statehouse

Crews removed a time capsule dating back to 1795 on Thursday from the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where historians believe it was originally placed by Revolutionary War luminaries Samuel Adams and Paul Revere among others.

The time capsule is believed to contain items such as old coins and newspapers, but the condition of the contents is not known and Secretary of State William Galvin speculated that some could have deteriorated over time.

Officials won’t open the capsule until after it is X-rayed at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to determine its contents. The X-ray is scheduled for Sunday.

They don’t say too much about it. It was removed earlier and put in a copper box — good move — but the condition of the contents is unknown. I’d say that if it didn’t get any moisture damage it might be in pretty good shape.

December 8, 2014

Any round tables in there?

Filed under: Historic, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 8:18 pm

Archaeologists find vast medieval palace buried under prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum

Archaeologists in southern England have discovered what may be one of the largest medieval royal palaces ever found – buried under the ground inside a vast prehistoric fortress.

The probable 12th century palace was discovered by archaeologists, using geophysical ground-penetrating ‘x-ray’ technology to map a long-vanished medieval city which has lain under grass on the site for more than 700 years.

Located inside the massive earthwork defences of an Iron Age hill fort at Old Sarum in Wiltshire, the medieval city was largely founded by William the Conqueror who made it the venue for one of Norman England’s most important political events – a gathering of the country’s nobility at which all England’s mainly Norman barons and lords swore loyalty to William.

From a geophysical survey, hence no need for excavation:

December 2, 2014

“People were just literally able to see their houses being ripped apart, and there was nothing they could do about it,”

Filed under: Historic — acagle @ 7:57 pm

Not ‘lost’ exactly, but sort of lost: Ironbridge lost cottages uncovered during works

The remains of cottages buried by a landslide in the Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire more than 60 years ago have been uncovered.

The landslip destroyed 27 dwellings in 1952 and reduced the width of the nearby River Severn by 15m (52ft).

The discovery was made during a £17.6m project to stabilise land between the Jackfield Tile Museum and the Boat Inn.

I would imagine people knew it was there, but the story reads like it was unknown. They’re planning on covering it up again, which is fine by me.

October 29, 2014

Amelia Earhardt. . . . .found. Again.

Filed under: Aerial Archaeology, Historic — acagle @ 1:54 pm

Amelia Earhart Plane Fragment Identified

A fragment of Amelia Earhart’s lost aircraft has been identified to a high degree of certainty for the first time ever since her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

New research strongly suggests that a piece of aluminum aircraft debris recovered in 1991 from Nikumaroro, an uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, does belong to Earhart’s twin-engined Lockheed Electra.

Well, you can judge for yourself. Thus far, none of the evidence has convinced me of anything much. They’ll have to find a more definitive link such as the actual plane or identifying remains (human or personal).

October 22, 2014

Old news that’s not new news but old news

Filed under: Egypt, Historic — acagle @ 6:53 pm

Archaeologists dig up silent-movie set from California sands
More than 90 years ago, filmmaker Cecile B. DeMille erected 21 giant sphinxes and an 800-foot-wide temple as a set for the silent, black-and-white classic movie “The Ten Commandments.”
But in 1923, when filming was over, DeMille abandoned them there among the sands of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes in Santa Barbara County.
Now archaeologists are digging for the fragile plaster sphinxes and this week began excavations on one that they hope will eventually be on display at the nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, which has raised $120,000 for the dig, the Los Angeles Times reported.

They’ve been working on this for years, but are now really excavating it. Not sure how significant it all is from a historical standpoint though.

But hey, it gives me another excuse to post a pic of Morena Baccarin. . .

October 12, 2014

DESTROY THE BEER??!!!

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology, Historic — acagle @ 8:45 am

Kent archaeologists discover Sheppey WW1 trenches

It was once known as “Barbed Wire Island”: a flat, marshy area in the Thames Estuary that was heavily fortified and bristled with guns in anticipation of a German invasion that never came.

But when archaeologists began excavating the island of Sheppey off the north Kent coast, what they found took them by surprise.

They expected to uncover structures from World War Two, but instead discovered “fantastic” trenches dating back to World War One that they believe to be of national importance.

Beer, you say? What about the beer?

he network of trenches was just one aspect of a huge security operation centred on the island during war. Residents were issued with “Sheppey passports” and plans were drawn up that would have seen the entire north Kent community facing evacuation and the loss of their livelihoods.

A devastating “scorched earth” policy aimed at hindering and frustrating the invaders would have seen livestock slaughtered and even beer destroyed.

These seem to have been actual defensive structures rather than for training which is primarily what the other WWI trench systems I’ve linked to before were used for.

September 29, 2014

Finding Avondale

Filed under: Cemeteries, Historic, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 12:47 pm

Neat article and video on locating burials in a cemetery under realistic conditions: Finding Avondale: Remote Sensing for an Unmarked Cemetery in Difficult Subsurface Conditions>

Cemetery researchers frequently turn to remote sensing technics when there are little to no trace of a burial ground visible on the surface. The effectiveness of these methods has been evaluated by numerous case studies however, these studies tend to be conducted under optimal and under more controlled conditions then we tend to find in the field. In this study we used real world situation where the adverse settings encountered at the Avondale burial place also known as 9BI164, an unmarked cemetery in southern Bibb County Georgia.

In short, records were nonexistent, informative data was sparse and we only had a rough estimate of where the cemetery was located. The grounds were over a century old. There were no surface features and it was situated in Georgia red clay, a notoriously difficult substrate for successful remote sensing.

I haven’t watched the video yet. As I’ve said, this sort of thing is getting more and more common, finding disused private and even public cemeteries that have long since been forgotten, often with no headstones or decayed monuments (wood). And in this case they not only used hi-tech remote sensing technologies, but also dogs! Well worth a viewing and a read.

September 25, 2014

I’ll take a Galaga and a Battle Zone please.

Filed under: Historic, Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 7:25 pm

Historical nonetheless. And decaying. Comments Off

September 22, 2014

Archaeologist?

Filed under: Antiquities Market, Historic — acagle @ 7:16 pm

Well, sorta: The Urban Archaeologist

Salvaging is a bit more interactive than the more traditional forms of antique dealing, combining a talent for reverse engineering and an intimate acquaintance with masonry, millwork, metalsmithing and design. It certainly doesn’t hurt if you have also developed some business sense, and Nordstrom got his practice in early. “I started a roofing business when I was 11,” he grins. “I was a weird kid.”

You also need plenty of cash just to ante into the salvaging game at Nordstrom’s level. Securing rights to a building isn’t cheap. And if it has the kind of historic significance that galvanizes community backlash, you can expect to have to ride out protests from preservationists intent on preventing demolition, or even salvaging. In 2012, when Nordstrom went to work on the 1886 David C. Cook Mansion, the job turned out to be an on-again, off-again nightmare lasting a year. “It was so stressful,” he remembers. Recently an activist sent him a tart letter to “cease” removing items from the Gethsemane. He’s sensitive to the issue, but like the fall off the ladder, “It’s part of the job.”

The impression I get is that these buildings are already condemned or beyond repair. I’d hope so, but often there are very few takers for a lot of these old buildings.

September 21, 2014

Good for the coming zombie apocalypse

Filed under: Experimental archaeology, Historic — acagle @ 2:20 pm

Or just a regular apocalypse: Medieval Weapon Finds Modern Appeal

Longpoint, held in July, is one of several annual tournaments around the world, manifestations of renewed interest in what enthusiasts call historical European martial arts, or HEMA. It includes events like grappling — similar to Greco-Roman wrestling — and several types of swordfighting. But the focus is on the most iconic medieval weapon, forged from cold, lustrous steel: the longsword.

“The longsword specifically is just very accessible,” said Pettersson, a management consultant from Gothenburg, Sweden, “because that is what the old masters wrote about the most. It was called the ‘queen of weapons’ in the old days.”

Embedded video which is worth watching.

I linked to something like this a couple of years ago, not sport-fighting like this but someone who had studied the old manuals and developed the techniques. I think this is neat. Be nice if it really developed some and we ended up with gear something like fencing where one could tell from embedded sensors the type of hit that was landed, etc. Not sure it would really get us all that close to actual historical combat techniques being rediscovered — and seen — because taking the lethality angle out of things (mostly) will still develop different techniques. If you look at the video there you can see that they’re really not doing any sort of theatrical sword play; it’s much faster and looks more like actual fighting.

I’m guessing this may end up being really useful for the film industry. Get people with motion capture suits on and let them fight like they would be for real and battle scenes on-screen would be much more realistic.

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