Seoul’s 14th c. South Gate restored after 2008 arson

The Namdaemun, or Great South Gate, a wooden pagoda-style gate built in 1398 to serve as the main southern entrance to the walled city of Seoul, will officially reopen on Saturday, May 4th, after five years of painstaking restoration following a devastating fire. On 8:40 PM on Sunday, February 10th, 2008, a man climbed a …

Slice of ancient Thessaloniki to remain in situ

A section of ancient Thessaloniki discovered during subway construction in 2006 and threatened with removal to accommodate the state company in charge of building the rail will remain in place where it was found. This is a big turn-around from four months ago when the ancient remains were slated to be moved far out of …

First images of Native Americans in Vatican fresco?

A new restoration of Resurrection, a fresco by Renaissance master Pinturicchio in the Vatican’s Borgia Apartment, has revealed what may the first images of Native Americans in European art. After cleaning the fresco, art restorer Maria Pustka found that some previously indistinct, distant figures in the middle of the composition beneath the risen Christ and …

Pinault to return bronze rat, rabbit heads to China

The vicissitudes of the bronze rat and rabbit heads looted from the Summer Palace by Anglo-French troops in 1860 and offered for sale at the epic Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre BergĂ© auction in February 2009 will come to an unexpected end later this year with their repatriation to China. François-Henri Pinault, husband of Salma …

Medieval skeleton bonanza under Edinburgh car park

Archaeologists excavating an Edinburgh parking lot destined to become the site of a rainwater catchment tank keep running into medieval skeletons. The first one discovered in March was a dramatic find: a knight with a richly carved sandstone slab marking his high rank and likely profession. This was just a month after the Richard III …

“Hear my voice. Alexander Graham Bell.”

Two years after successfully recovering six experimental early recordings Alexander Graham Bell’s Volta Laboratory Association stored at the Smithsonian in the late 19th century, researchers at the Library of Congress and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California have found the first and only known recording of Alexander Graham Bell’s voice. He’s reciting a long …

Medieval skeletons found holding hands in Romania

As an avowed lover of skeleton sweethearts, I’m charmed to report the discovery of a double burial in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, Romania, wherein a male skeleton and a female skeleton from the late Middle Ages were found facing each other and holding hands. The dearly beloved were unearthed by archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and …

Richard III documentary airs on Smithsonian Channel

The Smithsonian Channel is airing a documentary on the discovery of Richard III’s skeleton. I caught The King’s Skeleton: Richard III Revealed last night. You can watch it next on Saturday, April 27th at 5:00 PM, and on Sunday, April 28th at 10:00 AM. Even though it was advertised as “new,” I assumed when I …

Rare gold find in 4,400-year-old Beaker burial

Archaeological from Wessex Archaeology excavating a gravel quarry in Berkshire discovered a rare 4,400-year-old Beaker burial 18 months ago. The news was kept under embargo until Friday to give the team time to analyze the bones and grave goods, both of which make the grave even more rare: beads made of folded sheet gold and …

King Charles I’s Order of the Garter sash?

Anthony Van Dyck painted many portraits of doomed King Charles I and his courtiers. The most famous among them is probably Charles I in Three Positions, a triple portrait that shows the king face-on, in full left profile and in three-quarters right profile. Now one of the gems in the Royal Collection, the portrait was …