Category: North America

Museum: Smithsonian Institute

Ceramics of the Ancestors Central America’s ancient past at the Smithsonian Institution By 1500 BC, the inhabitants of Central America had settled in large villages. This more sedentary lifestyle and the development of maize farming that came with it allowed rapid population growth, and the evolution of complex and sophisticated forms of organisation, religion, and art. […]

James Fort APV JR3081

Cannibalism at Jamestown colony

Ongoing excavations at Jamestown, VA, the first permanent English settlement in America, have revealed grisly evidence that within months of establishing the outpost, its desperate inhabitants had resorted to dismembering and eating a child. Contemporary written sources from Jamestown refer to the winter of 1609-1610 as the ‘Starving Time’, a devastating period when around 80% […]

1950s time capsule found at Cold War reactor

Environmental workers have made an unexpected discovery while preparing a building on the site of Hanford’s Cold War-era nuclear reactor in Washington for demolition: a time capsule from the 1950s. In a building close to the site’s D reactor – a relic of the Manhattan Project, involved in the development of the Atomic bomb – the team […]

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The Manhattan Project

Tom St John Gray reports on the legacy of the atomic bomb: is it heritage, horror, or both?

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Straits of Florida: Black Rats & Spanish Pearls

Shipwercked off the Florida Keys In 1622, the Tierra Firme fleet, laden with gold, silver, pearls, and rats, was sunk off the Florida Keys. Sean Kingsley and Ellen Gerth describe 20 years of research into the world’s first deep-sea wreck excavation, and discover a time capsule of daily life from the dying days of Spain’s […]

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Sealing Norse Greenlanders’ fate?

The mystery of what happened to Greenland’s Norse population is one step closer to being solved, as new evidence suggests that the colony did not die out because its inhabitants were unable to adapt to their new environment. The first Viking settlers arrived in c.AD 1000, and over time their population swelled to around 3,000 […]

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Terra Nova Revisited

Another sunken vessel recently rediscovered is the Terra Nova, which carried Captain Robert Scott on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. It has now been found off the south coast of Greenland. Described by Scott as ‘a wonderfully fine ice ship’, after the polar trek the Terra Nova worked as a sealing vessel and […]

Alaska: Chinese buckle

An ancient Chinese-style bronze buckle found by a team from the University of Colorado Boulder in Alaska may prove the earliest evidence of trade links with East Asia. The CU-led excavations are part of a National Science Foundation-funded project to study human responses to climate change at Cape Espenberg from AD 800 to AD 1400, […]

Smithsonian: Tang Treasures special report

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC has withdrawn from hosting a controversial maritime exhibition. Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds was due to open in the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in spring this year, but has been cancelled following a two-day conference in December 2011, attended by an international advisory committee of experts that included the […]

Caribbean: Something cooking on Carriacou

A tiny Caribbean island has produced one of the most diverse collections of prehistoric non-native animal remains ever found in the region. Excavations at two sites on Carriacou revealed that five species were introduced from South America between c.AD 1000-1400. One, opossums, can still be found there today, but the other four – peccaries, armadillos, […]

USA: Staffordshire Hoard goes stateside

The Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure to be found in the UK, has gone on tour to America. more than 100 artefacts, including some of the collection’s most famous finds – like the gold and garnet sword-fitting, the helmet cheek-piece, and the folded cross – are now on display at Washington DC’s […]

Yorktown: America’s first stoneware potter

Archaeologists in Yorktown, Virginia have found a well-preserved kiln site manufacturing fine stoneware pottery at a time when colonial pottery-making was banned: the illegal pottery was set up as a sign of the growing American desire for economic independence from the British Crown, and a desire to end the imposed reliance on imported British-made goods. […]

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