Archive for May 10th, 2008

Happy Train Day!

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

I couldn’t let the first annual National Train Day pass without comment.

May 10 was chosen as the National Train Day in commemoration of the day the last rail and the last spike — an engraved golden spike now residing in the museum — joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869.

I love me some trains, and in this day and age when air travel costs far more than the ticket price in discomfort, humiliation and delays, and car travel gets increasingly more prohibitive as the price of a full tank skyrockets, it’s good to see Amtrak actually wake the hell up and get some PR steam.

For some fantastic period pictures and scans of news articles published on the day, check out the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.


Builders stumble on 27 Etruscan graves

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

The looters got there first, of course, but at least some of the 27 might be intact, and even the empty ones might have beautiful frescoes, which are fairly rare among archaeological explored tombs (60 painted tombs out of 6,000).

Archaeologists say there is also a “good chance” that there may well be other tombs waiting to be discovered. The tombs were discovered at Tarquinia, 50 miles north of Rome in an area named a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Covering more than 400 acres, the area was the burial ground for the Etruscan tribes who predated the Romans. Maria Tecla Castaldi, an archaeologist, said: “This is the most exciting discovery here in decades. There are frescoes of two figures on the walls, but we need to carry out a proper excavation and search.

Tarquinia is like a honeycomb of Estruscan necropolises. There’s not just a “good chance” that there are other tombs in the area. It’s a given.

That good chance would convert into a sure thing if archaeologists could ask the local tombaroli (tomb robbers). Twenty-seven tombs is a week’s work for these guys. They’re miles ahead of the authorities.






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