Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse

One of my favorite areas of study (on any day of the year, not just Halloween, although it certainly dovetails nicely with the grisly ghouls from every tomb closing in to seal your doom) is now the subject of a multi-disciplinary research program at the University of Leicester: the fate of executed criminals in Britain …

1922 Ohio carousel in Brooklyn besieged by Sandy

Jane’s Carousel, the 1922 Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel which once delighted the crowds at Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio, which was lavishly restored and returned to duty last year in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the banks of the East River, looked like this last night around 9:35 PM: The picturesque location right on the river …

Scarlett O’Hara’s dresses conserved and on display

Six hundred Gone With the Wind fans from around the world donated more than $30,000 over three weeks in August 2010 to restore five dresses worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in the iconic movie. After nearly a year of preliminary study, conservation began in July of 2011 and continued through spring of this …

The oldest piggy banks are also the cutest

Containers with slots have been used as home savings banks since ancient times. A miniature Greek temple from the 2nd or 1st century B.C. was found in the Ionian town of Priene (now in Turkey) with a slot in the pediment to drop coins through and an opening in the back that could be locked …

Iconic Civil War flag on display at NY State Museum

A huge Confederate flag which played a starring role in the dramatic end of the first Union soldier killed in the Civil War is now on display at the New York State Museum in Albany. The Marshall House Flag was loaned to the museum for its “An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil …

“Iron Man” meteorite carving may be fake

Not the meteorite part. The figure was definitely carved from a piece of the Chinga meteorite which fell near the Mongolian-Siberian border 15,000 years ago. It’s the part about it being an 11th century Bön culture artifact that is suspect, and, even more sadly, the part about it having been found during Ernst Schäfer’s Tibet …

Stone slabs stolen from Brontë chapel churchyard

More than one hundred feet of gravestones, paving stones and coping stones have been stolen from the churchyard of the Old Bell Chapel (also known as the Brontë Bell Chapel because Patrick Brontë, father of the literary sisters, was the curate there from 1815 to 1820) in the West Yorkshire village of Thornton. It appears …

14th c. sword looted in Alexandrian Crusade for sale

An arming sword (a knight’s sword for single-handed use smaller than a broadsword) from the 14th century with a storied past from the waning days of the Crusader kingdoms will be the star of Bonham’s Antique Arms and Armor sale on November 28th. The auction catalogue won’t be available until four weeks before the sale; …

Revolutionary War general gets a grave marker

General Horatio Gates was the commanding general at the Battle of Saratoga, which took place in eastern New York in two phases on September 19th and October 7th, 1777. The conclusive victory resulted in the surrender of British General John Burgoyne’s army and was the immediate cause of France’s agreement to negotiate an alliance with …

Germany using signs to stop Baltic shipwreck looters

The low salinity and cold temperatures of the Baltic Sea provide ideal conditions for the preservation of shipwrecks and their contents. There are an estimated 100,000 shipwrecks resting on the floor of the Baltic Sea, with perhaps 6,000 of them deemed of particular archaeological and historical significance. Although Swedish Baltic archaeological finds have made much …