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Captain’s Kidd treasure neither treasure nor Kidd’s

A UNESCO investigation into the claimed discovery of a massive silver ingot from the wreck of Captain Kidd’s ship Adventure Galley has found that the silver ingot isn’t silver and the wreck isn’t a ship. The so-called ingot is 95% lead and has no silver in it at all. It’s just a large hunk of [...]

A Beautiful 1930s Sportsman's Map of American Saltwater Fish

The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. This 1936 pictorial map of saltwater fish of North America was originally sold as a collector's item; 1,000 were produced. Show More Summary

The 48th/150th: The End

The Remnants of the First State Flag Presented to the 48th Pennsylvaniain September 1861 (pacivilwarflags.org) 150 years ago today...on July 22, 1865, the 48th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry would cease to any longer exist. The regiment was disbanded, its soldiers and officers mustered out of service, its veterans returning to their homes. Show More Summary

“A tolerable cannonade ensued”

Here’s yet another contemporaneous account of the capture of British troop transports in Boston harbor in June 1776, this time from the ranking army officer aboard those ships: Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell (shown here).Campbell’s letter to his commander, Gen. Show More Summary

“Upon which an Engagement began”

Yesterday’s account by a Massachusetts artillerist of a battle with British troop transports in Boston harbor mentioned “a fine privateer Brigt. commanded by Capt. Harding of New Haven.”That brig had actually been commissioned and equipped by the colony of Connecticut. Show More Summary

Projecting the financial costs and gains of colonizing emancipated slaves

This is the one instance in this series, where I’ll allow the pamphlet’s authors to speak for themselves. What did they see as both the financial costs and gains in colonizing emancipated slaves? Captain Paul Cuffee, from actual experiment, estimated the expense of transporting free person of colour to Africa, at 60 dollars each. The […]

“This Time We Aren’t Fighting the Yankees”

With the release of Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman: A Novel, I decided to go back and re-read To Kill a Mockingbird…

Sharp flint dug cavity out of tooth 14,000 years ago

Researchers have found the earliest known evidence of dentistry in the molar of a Palaeolithic man who lived between 13,820 and 14,160 years ago. The young man, who was around 25 years old at the time of death, had a cavity removed with a sharp flint, beating the dental work previously thought to be the [...]

The Fight from the Other Side

For the past few days I’ve been quoting an 1835 account written from the perspective of a young British officer captured in Boston harbor in June 1776.That article names “Colonel Crofts” as the American official who took charge of him and his fellow prisoners. Show More Summary

Encouraged discussion about Confederate monument removal… expedites monument removal?

One of the arguments I’ve read over the last week or two, is about the fight over monuments. Wait, now… let me be clear. It’s this part of that discussion… Does encouraging discussion of monument removal open a forum that encourages monument removal. Does it, perhaps, even increase the probability that monuments WILL BE removed? […]

Metal detectorist finds actual Nazi gold

On October 10th of last year, licensed metal detectorist Florian Bautsch struck gold on the outskirts of Lüneburg in the northern German state of Lower Saxony. Nazi gold. Scanning an area with hillocks that archaeologists suspected might be ancient burial mounds, Bautsch first found a single gold coin and then nine more in the hollow [...]

Jack London's Candid 1903 Advice to Writers Trying to Get Into Print

The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. The Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin recently...Show More Summary

Confederate Iconography and the “Dream” of White America

A week later and I am still digesting Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book, Between the World and Me. I read it in two sittings and it…

The History of Boko Haram

The origins, tactics, targets, and current status of the Nigerian, separatist Islamist group known to the world as Boko Haram.

“Forgotten Winchester” had cartridge in butt stock

The cracked and weathered Winchester ’73 rifle found leaning against a Juniper tree in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park like its owner just stepped away for a moment 132 years ago and forgot to come back gets more mysterious the more it’s studied. The rifle was found in November of last year by park archaeologists [...]

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