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Help save the battlefield at Trevilian Station!

I’ve known about this for months, but I was sworn to secrecy. I was involved in identifying these parcels and in determining their historic significance. I’m finally able to discuss some great news with you. The Battle of Trevilian Station lasted two long, hot, bloody days. Show More Summary

James Kirke Paulding provides a window to the early nineteenth century Shenandoah

In digging backwards from the Civil War, through the literature that mentions the Shenandoah Valley, I came upon a great work written by James Kirke Paulding. In 1816, Paulding ventured into the Valley and apparently stuck around a bit, providing some details as to what he encountered. So, what is the value of reading experiences […]

Two Different Samuel Adamses

This is Samuel Adams. In 1773 he was fifty-one years old. His father had been a selectman, merchant, and church deacon. He had gone to Harvard College and earned a master’s degree. As a young man he had helped to found a short-lived newspaper, which honed his writing skills, and discovered that he had no interest or luck in business. Show More Summary

Were Cervantes’ bones under piles of old books?

Last April, the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid, burial place of Miguel de Cervantes, author of The Adventures of the Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, one the most important books in the Western literary canon, was scanned with ground-penetrating radar in the first phase of a search for the iconic writer’s [...]

Upcoming Events at the Royall House

The Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford will host a series of book talks on the history of slavery in America over the next three months. Thursday, 5 February, 7:00 P.M.Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites This event...Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 01/25

The following list includes advanced reader copies, books sent directly from the author or books purchased through my Amazon affiliate account. I am currently reading Martha Hodes’s new book and I can’t recommend it enough. She is a wonderful storyteller. Megan L. Bever & Scott A. Suarez eds., The Historian behind the History: Conversations with […]

Mons Meg leaves Edinburgh Castle for tune-up

Mons Meg, the six-ton 15th century cannon that guards the parapets of Edinburgh Castle, has left her post for the first time in 30 years. Before dawn on Monday, January 19th, a crew of specialists strapped Meg up so she could be gingerly lifted her out of her carriage by a crane, loaded onto a [...]

CFP: Exploring Roman Comedy and Its Reception

Submitted for posting:   Call for Papers: Graduate & Undergraduate Students Class Acts II: Exploring Roman Comedy and its Reception March 21-22 2015 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA   Send anonymous abstracts of 500 or fewer words to pittclassicsevents AT gmail.com by February 16, 2015. Keynote address: Sharon L. James, PhD University of North Carolina, Chapel […]

William Russell’s Toasts on Offer

Last month I quoted an 1874 profile of William Russell that contained a description of a “Sons of Liberty” medal, worn by Boston activists on public occasions. Noting that no example of such a medal survives and no other source describes...Show More Summary

Tut’s beard glued back on like a bad craft project

The AP reported on Thursday that the false beard on the gold funerary mask of Tutankhamun, probably the single most recognizable ancient artifact in the world, had come off and was reattached with a sloppy mess of irreversible epoxy glue. Cited in the article are three conservators at the Cairo Museum, all unnamed due to [...]

New Research on Peruvian High-Elevation "Lost City"

Choquequirao is a truly “lost city,” abandoned around 1572 when the last Inca ruler, Tupac Amaru, was captured in the distant jungles, dragged back to Cusco and executed by Spanish colonial authorities. Choquequirao’s ancient houses,...Show More Summary

Jim Downs Comes to the Defense of John Stauffer

We can now add Jim Downs to the list of historians who has decided to wade into the debate about the existence of black Confederate soldiers. Rather than directly engage Stauffer’s claims, however, Downs offers a meta-analysis of my response. He begins by mis-characterizing my own view by suggesting that I believe there were no […]

The Wolf off Wall Street

I still haven’t whittled that blog post down to size. In fact it’s now bigger. Meantime here’s another something on the web: a TLS essay I wrote on Martin Wolf’s The Shifts and the Shocks. There’s no paywall. Here’s a snippet, which provides the piece its rather nice illustration: In the 2011 film Margin Call, […]

Discovering Prince Demah, an African-American Artist

Back in 2006 and 2008 I wrote about a young black artist mentioned in the letters of Christian Barnes, a Marlborough merchant’s wife (shown here). All I knew about him was the given name “Prince.”Paula Bagger, working with the Hingham Historical Society, has found out a lot more. Show More Summary

Roman Silenus bed fitting found in Denmark

A metal detectorist has discovered a bronze figure of Silenus on the island of Falster in southeastern Denmark. When she first unearthed the bust of a togate, bearded figure, the metal detectorist thought it was a modern piece because it was so finely crafted and in such good condition. It wasn’t until she showed it [...]

More Uses Deduced for Antikythera

Scientists keep edging closer to determining the who, what and why of the Antikythera Mechanism recovered from an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901. So far, we know the strange, complex assembly of bronze gears could accurately predict...Show More Summary

Aboriginal Stories Tell of Rising Sea Levels

New research into early Aboriginal stories set along Australia's coast has detected evidence of dramatically rising shoreline waters over several thousand years. It seems that sea level about 20,000 years ago was 120 meters below its current level, rising 13,000 years ago to about 70 meters below current sea level. Show More Summary

Reading the Smiles of 18th-Century Art

The 12 January New Yorker includes Jonathan Kalb’s article “Give Me a Smile,” which describes in personal terms the importance of being able to smile. Kalb writes, “The spontaneously joyful smile is the facial expression most easilyShow More Summary

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