Issue 34

Who is Alexander Selkirk? Aside from being our publisher’s brother, he was also the inspiration for the world’s most famous castaway. Writer Daniel Defoe based his novel, Robinson Crusoe, on the true adventures of a Scottish sailor, one hot-headed Alexander Selkirk, who was marooned on a tiny island, off the coast of Chile, from 1704 to 1709.
But what, if anything, remains of Alexander Selkirk’s enforced occupation on that island – now named Robinson Crusoe Island? Archaeologist Daisuke Takahashi had a possible lead: an elderly islander had shown him the little-known ruins of a small building, deep in an overgrown clearing in the forest. Could this have been Alexander’s camp? Its location seemed perfect. Moreover, we know that following several months of frantic panic and depression, Selkirk built himself two huts: one to live in, the other for his food, just as he had back home.
So the archaeologists began digging the abandoned building. But what did they find? Did they uncover the secrets of Alexander Selkirk, the real Robinson Crusoe? And what does their work reveal about island life in the 18th century? Was it really a desert island idyll of balmy days under the coconut fronds? If so, why did Alexander Selkirk swiftly turn to piracy after his rescue?
Heave ho and up he rises.

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

Richard Hodges explores Byzantine Kastoria in Greece

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

Babar Javed takes us to Borobudur, Java

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

This title is a general survey of the classical world, but one which includes material…

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Greece Jenifer Neils British Museum Press, pb £14.99…

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

Alexandra has suffered badly. The once magnificent city has been a quarry for builders throughout…

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

The British Museum Concise Introduction to Ancient Greece Jenifer Neils British Museum Press, pb £14.99…

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

When Arthur Evans started digging at Knossos on Crete in 1900, a major aim was…

Current World Archaeology 11 years ago
0

The third of a series on great rulers, following on from the Chinese first Emperor…