Bronze Age axe hoard found on Channel Island Jersey

This has been a banner year for Jersey Island archaeology. This summer metal detectorists discovered a massive hoard of approximately 70,000 Celtic coins weighing three quarters of a ton, and now another metal detector enthusiast has discovered a hoard of a different color: a pottery vessel from the late Bronze Age (ca. 1000 B.C.) containing …

100-million-year-old spider attack captured in amber

A hundred million years ago, back in the Early Cretaceous when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, a tiny male parasitic wasp was going about his business when he flew into the web of an orb spider. Stuck in the silken strands of death, the wasp could only stare at his impending doom as the juvenile …

The last will and testament of Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet is awarding the Nobel Prizes this week. Yesterday the prize for Medicine went jointly to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for their discoveries, Gurdon’s in 1962, Yamanaka’s in 2006, that mature cells dedicated to one specific tissue can be reprogrammed into unspecialized stem cells. This morning the …

The Great Chicago Fire started 141 years ago today

    Around 9:00 PM on Sunday, October 8th, 1871, a barn on the corner of DeKoven and Twelfth Streets that housed Mrs. Catherine O’Leary’s five dairy cows began to burn. Despite the legend that would later envelop Mrs. O’Leary and her bovines in eternal ignominy, it’s not clear that the fire started exactly in …

50 skulls, 200 jaws found at Mexico’s Templo Mayor

Archaeologists have unearthed 50 skulls and more than 200 lower mandibles in the Sacred Precinct of Mexico City’s Templo Mayor, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced Friday. The bones are estimated to be around 500 years old and are the largest single collection ever discovered in the Templo Mayor. The skulls were …

First $5 bill issued in Fairbanks, given to Fairbanks

In 1905, just four years after the city of Fairbanks, Alaska was founded as a trading post by riverboat captain, price-gouger, embezzler and convicted swindler E.T. Barnette, the First National Bank of Fairbanks released the first national bank notes in Alaska from the US Treasury into circulation. Alaska wasn’t even a Territory at this time. …

Tomb of Maya queen “Lady Snake Lord” found

Archaeologists excavating the royal Maya city of El Perú-Waka’ in northwestern Guatemala have discovered the tomb of Lady K’abel, a powerful 7th century Maya queen previously known from an elaborate portrait of her on a stela dedicated in 692 A.D. that was looted from Waka’ in the 1960s. The stone slab is currently in the …

Millions in gold, gems stolen from Cali museum

Thieves wearing black hoodies, face masks and what appeared to be night vision goggles brazenly walked into the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa last Friday and stole millions of dollars’ worth of precious minerals. There were at least two men armed with weirdly historically appropriate pickaxes. It was just before 4:00 PM, …

Ancient 44-foot-long bog oak to make best table ever

In February of this year, farmers G.S. Shropshire & Sons found a massive trunk of black bog oak thousands of years old in their field at Downham Market, Cambridgeshire, east England. The marshy Fenland area is known as a treasure trove of ancient timber which fell when sea levels rose starting around 7000 years ago. …

Set of 18th c. Venetian paintings return to The Elms

The Elms, a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island designed by architect Horace Trumbauer for coal baron Edward Julius Berwind, opened its doors to the first of many lavish parties in 1901. In keeping with the exterior, copied almost exactly from the Château d’Asnières outside of Paris, the interior of the home was decorated …