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This morning I sat in front of the rear of the Robert Gould Shaw and Fifty-Fourth Regiment Memorial before heading into the Boston Athenaeum for a day of writing. It is certainly not the first time I have read the inscription on the rear of the memorial, which most people miss when they visit. This […]

Roman fort built after Boudiccan revolt found in London

A Roman fort built in London in the aftermath of the Boudiccan uprising is shedding new light on this little-known period in the development of the capital. The site, on the edge of the early town 750 feet or so northeast of Roman-era London Bridge, was excavated by experts from the Museum of London Archaeology [...]

Continuing Along

Things are starting to move a bit faster here at Polis, and more people are arriving here every day. Last week, it was just Bill and me, by Saturday night, there will be twelve people working on the Polis material, … Continue readin...

“Unaffected Gaiety” on the Repeal of the Stamp Act

News that Parliament had repealed the Stamp Act arrived in Boston on 16 May 1766, as described yesterday. That quickly set off a public celebration.The town’s newspaper printers collaborated on a broadside announcing the news from London...Show More Summary

Not So Far Removed from the Lost Cause

Much of my writing about the Civil War 150th is framed around a sharp contrast with how Americans commemorated the war in the early 1960s, during the Centennial. There can be no doubt that we have witnessed significant shifts in how Americans remember and commemorate the war. The most significant shift has got to be […]

Rome subway build finds Praetorian guard barracks

Construction of Rome’s third subway line, Metro Line C, has made a sensational discovery: the remains of a 2nd century Praetorian Guard barracks. Thirty feet under Via Ipponio between the Baths of Caracalla and the Basilica of St. John in Lateran in the historic center of Rome, the barracks cover an astonishing 1,753 square meters [...]

Long Day

Yesterday was a long day for me, and not because of work at the apotheke. We put in our usual day’s work, nothing really different happened – except for Bill’s unprovoked assault on my choice of music to listen to … Continue reading...

Hancock and the Harrison

In 1763 the London merchant Jonathan Barnard took on Gilbert Harrison (d. 1790, his monument in the church at Newton Purcell shown here) as a full partner and successor.One of Barnard and Harrison’s major customers in Boston was Thomas...Show More Summary

Conscientious objector graffiti to be preserved

Hundreds of graffiti on left on the walls of Richmond Castle by conscientious objectors during World War I will be preserved by English Heritage, thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Richmond Castle was built a few years after the Battle of Hastings by the Alan Rufus, a relative of William the Conqueror’s [...]

Thomas Jefferson’s hair sells for $491 a strand

The first lock of hair from the head of third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson ever to be offered at public auction sold on Saturday, May 14th, for $6,875 including the buyer’s premium. You might think for that amount you’d get traditional tuft of hair, maybe [...]


Last night we went out for dinner and decided to do a Cypriot meze, a course of lots of small dishes. We chose the meat meze, and it was quite a bit of food. And I mean a lot. It was … Continue reading ?

“When we shall receive certain advice of the Repeal of the Stamp Act”

Like the Stamp Act itself, Parliament’s repeal of the Stamp Act was no surprise. The measure was debated in London for months, and colonists in North America eagerly awaited the results.On 1 Apr 1766, Boston’s official records say, “A...Show More Summary

One Final Confederate Memorial Day Celebration

The debate over Confederate iconography in public spaces may still be very much alive, but Confederate heritage is dead. The other day I suggested that Confederate heritage organizations like the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy ought to confine their activities to specific times and places. Not everyone agreed with the […]

Celebrating Ten Years of Blogging at Boston 1775

You can’t escape the history and heritage of the American Revolution in and around Boston and if you read and write about it you can’t escape John L. Bell’s fabulous blog, Boston 1775. Today is the 10th anniversary of John’s blog and it’s a big deal for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the […]

Saturday at the Apotheke

Since it today was Saturday and the museum closes early, we were only able to work a half of a day. Things are pretty much in a routine and we are moving through the pottery pretty quickly. We have read a … Continue reading ?

Huckleberries, mountain fires, and meaning

Perhaps it’s the mountain fires we’ve had in the Shenandoah Valley recently, but I’ve found myself thinking about something more commonly associated with summer… that incredible wild fruit known as the humble huckleberry. What do mountain fires have to do with huckleberries? Well, ultimately fires help huckleberry crops, of course. Yet, these raging mountain fires […]

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