Monday, December 31, 2012

The History Blog » Blog Archive » Apocalypse tourists damage Mayan pyramid

The History Blog » Blog Archive » Apocalypse tourists damage Mayan pyramid

Apocalypse tourists damage Mayan pyramid

The crowds of tourists who flocked to Tikal in Guatemala to embrace the end of the world as not-really predicted by the Maya on December 21st, 2012, were as careless as they were ignorant. Tikal is the largest extant Mayan urban center and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temples are too fragile to support climbers so they’re for looking only. I suppose when you’re expecting the world to end just because the 13th Bak’tun cycle of the Mayan Long Count calendar is coming to a close, you can’t be bothered to give a crap about preserving irreplaceable archaeological remains.
Ethnic Mayan priests held ceremonies celebrating the end of the cycle and the dawn of a new era at archaeological sites all over Central America. Tikal’s ceremony was attended by 7,000 tourists some of whom thought it would be a nifty idea to climb the stairs of Temple II, also known as the Temple of the Masks. According to Osvaldo Gomez, a technical adviser at Tikal, tourists attending the ceremony climbed Temple II causing irreparable damage. He did not provide specifics on the nature of the damage.
Tikal Temple II was built in honor of his wife Lady Kalajuun Une’ Mo’ by King Jasaw Chan K’awiil I who ruled Tikal and environs from 682 to 734 A.D. in the Late Classic period of Maya civilization. Jasaw Chan K’awiil I was a powerful king who revived the flagging fortunes of Tikal and conquered its main rival polity of Calakmul which you might recall as the hometown of the Lady Snake Lord. In 695, Jasaw Chan K’awiil I Calakmul so soundly that it never built another victory monument. He captured King Yuhknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, who had been on the throne less than ten years since the demise of King Yuhknoom Ch’een the Great, Lady Snake Lord’s father.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Return to Tarawa | Watch the Documentary Film Free Online | SnagFilms

Return to Tarawa | Watch the Documentary Film Free Online | SnagFilms

Cold Steel Wardens: Roleplaying in the Iron Age of Comics by A.P. Klosky — Kickstarter

Cold Steel Wardens: Roleplaying in the Iron Age of Comics by A.P. Klosky — Kickstarter

Andy Klosky kickstarter is in it final days and rapidly approaching his funding goal. Check it out for he is one of the up and coming game designers. Reminds me of a young Lester Smith..

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic] | Copyblogger

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic] | Copyblogger

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content
When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic]

image of copyblogger infographic thumbnail
Yep, we’re introducing the first-ever Copyblogger infographic. It’s about our favorite topic — creating great content.
And, as has been our style since the beginning, we’re practicing what we preach. This infographic demonstrates how to repurpose existing content in a different media format, get more bang from your archives, and reach new and different audiences in the process.
The graphic is based on 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue by Copyblogger guest writer Danny Iny. We’ve re-imagined the way to present these content-creation tips, while adding a meta-fabulous #22 (you’ll see why).
Special thanks to our friends on the BlueGlass infographic team for making this thing look so good!
infographic of 22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don't Have a Clue

Stained Glass d20 by aartifacts on Etsy

Stained Glass d20 by aartifacts on Etsy
Stained Glass d20

Buried Christian Empire in Yemen Casts New Light on Early Islam - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Buried Christian Empire in Yemen Casts New Light on Early Islam - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Fortress in the Sky Buried Christian Empire Casts New Light on Early Islam
The "crowned man" relief found in Zafar, Yemen is seen as evidence that there was a Christian empire in the region before Islam took hold.Zoom
Paul Yule
The "crowned man" relief found in Zafar, Yemen is seen as evidence that there was a Christian empire in the region before Islam took hold.
Archeologists are studying the ruins of a buried Christian empire in the highlands of Yemen. The sites have sparked a number of questions about the early history of Islam. Was there once a church in Mecca?
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The commandment "Make yourself no graven image" has long been strictly followed in the Arab world. There are very few statues of the caliphs and ancient kings of the region. The pagan gods in the desert were usually worshipped in an "aniconic" way, that is, as beings without form.
Muhammad had a beard, but there are no portraits of him.
But now a narcissistic work of human self-portrayal has turned up in Yemen. It is a figure, chiseled in stone, which apparently stems from the era of the Prophet.
Paul Yule, an archeologist from the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, has studied the relief, which is 1.70 meters (5'7") tall, in Zafar, some 930 kilometers (581 miles) south of Mecca. It depicts a man with chains of jewelry, curls and spherical eyes. Yule dates the image to the time around 530 AD.
The German archeologist excavated sites in the rocky highlands of Yemen, an occupation that turned quite dangerous recently because of political circumstances in the country. On his last mission, Yule lost 8 kilograms (18 lbs.) and his equipment was confiscated.
Nevertheless, he is pleased, because he was able to bring notes, bits of debris and bones back to Heidelberg. Yule has concluded that Zafar was the center of an Arab tribal confederation, a realm that was two million square kilometers (about 772,000 square miles) large and exerted its influence all the way to Mecca.
Even more astonishing is his conclusion that kings who invoked the Bible lived in the highland settlement. The "crowned man" depicted on the relief was also a Christian.
Conquerers from Ancient Ethiopia
Yule has analyzed the mysterious, robed figure in a report for the academic journal Antiquity. He is barefoot, which is typical of Coptic saints. He is holding a bundle of twigs, a symbol of peace, in his left hand. There is a crossbar on his staff, giving it the appearance of a cross. In addition, he is wearing a crown on his head like the ones worn by the Christian rulers of ancient Ethiopia.
All of this suggests that the man with a strange, round face is a descendant of the conquerors from Africa who succeeded in making one of the boldest landing operations in ancient times.
In 525 AD, the Negus, or king, of Aksum dispatched a fleet across the Red Sea. Soldiers and fighting elephants were ferried across the water to the East on un-tarred, raft-like ships to spread the gospel. In the ensuing decades, his army captured large parts of Arabia.
The first spearhead was targeted at the capital Zafar. Like a fortress in the sky, the town was perched on an extinct volcano, at an altitude of 2,800 meters (9,184 feet) above sea level. Its walls, riddled with towers and alarm bells, were four-and-a-half kilometers long. About 25,000 people lived in Zafar.
According to Yule, between the 3rd and the 5th century the confederation managed to complete a "meteoric rise" and become a superpower. Its merchants traded in sandalwood from Ceylon and valerian from Persia. The state controlled the port of Aden, where the ships of spice traders from India docked. Frankincense, which was made in Arabia, was also traded. It was a place of luxury. Yule found wine amphorae, the remains of precious fish condiments and palaces decorated with sphinxes and lions.
A Peaceful Multi-Cultural Community
The social structure in Zafar also appeared to be unique. The city had a large Jewish community, as evidenced by a seal with a Torah niche. Hebrew inscriptions were discovered. Zafar's residents also included Christians, who built a church there in 354 AD. Arabs who worshipped old idols lived in the alleys.
But this peaceful, multicultural community soon came to an end, as tensions began to mount in the 5th century, and Arabia was transformed into a front.
The Byzantine Empire, bristling with weapons, operated in the west, and its vassals kept making inroads toward the desert. They were accompanied by Christian missionaries, who brought the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to the shepherds on the edge of the Rub' al Khali, the sand desert that makes up much of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula.
These Sacred Heart imperialists confronted the Persian realm of the Sassanids, with its archers and armies of bearded soldiers clad in heavy metal armor. The Jews, who lived by the tens of thousands in the oases, were to some extent aligned with this power.
It was a confrontation between east and west, and everyone was forced to choose a side.
This also applied to Zafar. To stop the advance of Christianity, individual Arab kings initially converted to Judaism. The entire ruling class of the realm eventually followed suit. From then on, people were given names like Yehuda and Yussuf.
Then they took up arms. In approximately 520 AD, they attacked the Christian colony of Najran, where there were churches and monasteries. Countless Christians were slaughtered. The shocking news traveled all the way to Europe.
A 'Puppet King'
Now the spiral of violence began turning more rapidly. The furious Byzantines and their allies from Africa were out for revenge. Kaleb, the Aksumite king of Ethiopia (who wore gold jewelry in his hair and had himself driven around in an elephant carriage) went on the counter-offensive.
If the sources are correct, his first naval maneuver was a miserable failure. In 525 AD, with the help of additional warships provided by the Byzantines, he successfully completed the crossing to the other side of the Red Sea.
The relief of the "crowned man" from Zafar was apparently created during this period of invasion. Yule interprets it as a representation of the Christian "puppet king" of the Ethiopians.
The invaders continued their attacks. Southern Arabia's holy warrior, Abraha, had taken control of large areas before long. He even attempted to free bishops being held prisoner by the Persian enemy in Nisibis (in modern-day Turkey), some 2,500 kilometers away.
The man embarked on a religious crusade at the same time. He rebuilt the churches that had been destroyed in Najran, and he had new ones built in Marib and Aden.
His most beautiful church was in Sanaa. It had gilded doors and a throne made of ebony and ivory. In the morning, the rays of the sun shone through an alabaster panel in the dome. The Byzantines supported the project, sending craftsmen, marble and mosaics.
The result was an architectural miracle, the likes of which all of Arabia had never seen before.
Year of the Elephant
After the triumph of Islam in the 7th century, the church was torn down and stripped of its treasures, and a mosque was built on the site. As Barbara Finster, an archeologist from the Bavarian city of Bamberg, discovered, some of the columns in the mosque came from the wrecked church, while some of the church's magnificent mosaics were sent to Mecca, essentially as booty.
The enmity between Sanaa and Mecca apparently smoldered from the start. Medieval Koran scholars report that Abraha built his magnificent church to lure the pilgrims away from the Kaaba, Islam's most sacred site.
Another Islamic source describes how the dispute eventually escalated: An angry native of Mecca relieved himself in the Sanaa church, prompting the furious Abraha to dispatch his warriors, mounted on elephants, to destroy the Kaaba. In the interpretation of Sura 105 of the Koran, the only reason he was unsuccessful was that Allah had armed a flock of birds with clay balls that rained down on the Christian army like bullets.
Are these nothing but religious myths? There is historical evidence, in the form of a rock inscription, that Abraha conducted large-scale raids against defiant Arab tribes near Mecca in 552 AD. A few Western historians consider this to be the true year of Muhammad's birth. The scholar Ibn Ishak, who wrote the first biography of the Prophet, states that the proclaimer of the Koran was born "in the year of the elephant."
Oddly enough, the scrawled rock inscription could be interpreted to mean that the tribe of the Kuraish, to which the Prophet belonged, sometimes fought for the Christians. Were they allies? Was Muhammad born in a city that stood under the banner of the cross?
Hard Times
There are indications that this could be true. For instance, a Christian cemetery is mentioned in the oldest history of Mecca, written by the Arab historian Asraki.
What a mess. In ancient Arabia, the three Abrahamic world religions intersected in confusing ways. But the Koran prevailed in the end.
But many things are still unclear. Our perspective is complicated by the fact that the birth of Islam occurred at a time of severe hardship. Climate data obtained from limestone caves in Oman prove that there was a terrible drought in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula in the middle of the 6th century. There was also a plague epidemic that began in 541 and afflicted the entire Orient. Other, smaller epidemics followed, causing thousands upon thousands of deaths.
It was these horrors that probably triggered the demise of Zafar. Yule suspects that the drought devastated the "fragile ecology of the highlands." Cattle died of thirst and barns remained empty.
Are the archeologist's suspicions correct? Even Muhammad, as a young child, was threatened by disease and hunger. According to Ibn Ishak, his wet nurse was deeply concerned when she was told to bring the little boy back to his native city.
The reason, he writes, was the "plague in Mecca."
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Athenaeum of Hadrian dig completed

The History Blog » Blog Archive » Athenaeum of Hadrian dig completed

Athenaeum of Hadrian dig completed

Three years ago archaeologists surveying Piazza Venezia in the center of Rome for a much-needed third subway line found the remains of an athenaeum built by the emperor Hadrian in the second century A.D. The brick manufacturers’ stamps confirmed that the arts center was built in 123 A.D., 12 years earlier than first suggested based on ancient documentary sources.
It had three rectangular rooms in which poets, philosophers, authors and rhetoricians recited their work and taught lessons to audiences of up to 900 people. Characteristic of Hadrian’s particular interests in architecture, it had an unusual arched roof. Hadrian loved him some domed roofs. According to Cassius Dio (Roman History, Book 69, Chapter 4), Hadrian had Trajan’s favorite architect Apollodorus of Damascus exiled and executed because he had once insulted Hadrian’s penchant for domes.
Once when Trajan was consulting him on some point about the buildings he had said to Hadrian, who had interrupted with some remark: “Be off, and draw your gourds. You don’t understand any of these matters.”
The gourd in question was apparently the dome of the Serapeum at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli which Hadrian was in the process of designing at the time.
Apollodorus’ disdain notwithstanding, Hadrian combined his love of architecture with his love of art and Hellenophilic tendencies to create the athenaeum which he had built right next to the Apollodorus-designed Forum of Trajan. Hadrian also wrote poetry in both Latin and Greek, so the auditorium was a perfect storm of the emperor’s interests.
Archaeological evidence indicates the space was used as an auditorium through the 5th century A.D., long after Hadrian’s death and well into the Christian period. Its marble began to be quarried around the sixth century. At the same time, metal ingots and the remains of furnaces found from the 6th and 7th centuries suggest it may have been used a mint in the Byzantine era for the production of bronze coins. It was also apparently used as a necropolis in the late 7th century, and following the trend of an increasingly depopulated, ruralized Rome, as a livestock barn in the 8th.
In the 9th century the roof collapsed during an earthquake in 848 A.D. After that, new structures were built on top of it, including a hospital in the 16th century. A microcosm of millennia of Roman life, t’s a major find, the most important in 70 years, some archaeologists believe.
So now that the excavation is complete, what about the Metro line? The problem isn’t the subway tunnel itself which will be 80 feet underground to avoid the layers and layers of Roman history. It’s the subway stop, which of course has to come up to modern ground level, causing all the headaches. The final decision has yet to be made, but transit authorities are hoping to work with archaeologists to build the exit along an ancient sewer line. The remains of the athenaeum will be right next to the stop, protected but still visible by tourists and riders.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dresden Codex | Atlas Obscura

Dresden Codex | Atlas Obscura

Dresden Codex

To the great disappointment of doomsdayers, this codex merely contains records of the Moon and Venus

The Dresden Codex was named in the tradition of all other codices: not for its point of origin, but for its final resting place. It lives in the Saxon State Library in Dresden, Germany, under glass and above mirrors, allowing for the viewing of both sides of the text.
It's the most complete of the three authenticated codices, and dates to pre-Columbian Mexico, 11th or 12th century Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, and is thought to be a copy of a much older work from two or three hundred years before. Though doomsday enthusiasts would love to believe it holds the secrets of the coming apocalypse, in reality it merely paints of picture of meticulous early astronomers, holding the astronomical charts of the Moon and Venus, including precise calculations of lunar eclipse. These charts would have served as an almanac and calendar for ritual celebrations.
It is speculated that this codex was taken from Chichen Itza by Hernando Cortes in 1519 and presented as a gift to King Charles I of Spain, who financed Cortes’ expeditions and appointed him governor of the Mexican territories. The over 200-year gap between this theorized trip across the ocean and 1739, when the codex was purchased from a private collection in Vienna by Johann Christian Götze, the director of Royal Library of Dresden (now the Saxon State Library), is completely undocumented.
After coming to live in Dresden, it stayed out of the public eye for another one hundred years before being displayed between two plates of glass. During the WWII firebombing of Dresden in 1945, the codex was badly water damaged, and after careful restoration put back under glass in the wrong order. This mistake was never fixed because parts of the Amatl paper (flattened fig bark) and pigment adhered to the glass, assuring its destruction if disturbed again.

Top 10 Medieval News Stories of 2012

Top 10 Medieval News Stories of 2012

Top 10 Medieval News Stories of 2012

The year 2011 was one of fascinating discoveries, some of which made international news. The year ends with something of a cliffhanger, as our #1 story has not yet come to a conclusion. Meanwhile, one of the top stories of 2011 did come to a happy ending with the recovery of a stolen manuscript. One also sees how the research being carried out by medievalists can shed some light on some of the most important issues happening today.

1. Has Richard III been found?

In September, archaeologists made the ‘mind-blowing’ discovery of the skeletal remains of a male body underneath a parking lot in Leicester. They believe that the remains might belong to King Richard III, who ruled England from 1483 to 1485. He was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22nd, and he was buried somewhere inside the Greyfriars Church in Leicester. The church itself was demolished in later years, and for centuries it was believed that resting place of Richard III was a mystery. In August of this year the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council announced that they believed that they had figured out where the Greyfriars Church once stood, and a dig began in parking lot in the city. After several days of digging, two bodies were found, a male and a female, and several intriguing pieces of evidence point suggest the male could be the long-lost English king. DNA and other testing is currently being carried out, and an announcement is expected in early in the new year. If the remains are indeed of Richard III, it will mark one of the most important medieval archaeological finds of all time. It will also lead to debate on where Richard III should be reburied – Leicester, London, or York?

2. Medieval lingerie? Discovery in Austria reveals what really was worn under those tunics

Bras are not usually associated with the Middle Ages, but a discovery in an Austria maybe changing all that. During renovations at Lengberg Castle workers discovered a portion of a room that had been sealed off, and inside were thousands of fragments of medieval textiles which had luckily been preserved. The most exciting part of the discovery was finding several examples of bras, along with an underwear that also looks remarkably like a string bikini. Radiocarbon testing has confirmed that this clothing comes from the 15th century, which has given historians new insights into medieval fashion.

3. British Library purchases the St Cuthbert Gospel for £9 million

The British Library announced in April that it had successfully acquired the St Cuthbert Gospel, a well-preserved seventh-century manuscript that is the oldest European book to survive fully intact and therefore one of the world’s most important books.

4. Medieval heritage in Syria in danger from civil war

The civil war in Syria grew worse throughout 2012, as various rebel groups attempted to overthrow the authoritarian government of Bashar al-Assad. The fighting has endangered many of the ancient and medieval treasures of the country, and has partially destroyed the historic markets of Aleppo. Other important sites, such as the Citadel in Aleppo and Crac des Chevaliers have also been damaged. Observers are worried that the archaeological heritage of Syria could also be stolen or destroyed as the country descends into lawlessness.

5. Stolen Codex Calixtinus manuscript recovered

In July Spanish police were able to recover one of the country’s most important medieval manuscripts, the Codex Calixtinus. The manuscript had been stolen from the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela a year earlier, and their was a wide range of speculation on who stole the book, which experts had valued at over 10 million euros. Manuel Fernandez Castiñeiras, a former caretaker at the Cathedral, was arrested, along with his wife and son, after he confessed to stealing the manuscript.

6. Volcano blast led to thousands of deaths in London in 1258, archaeologists find

Archaeologists working on a mass burial near London had long believed that many of the bodies found there belonged to victims of the Black Death. However, when radiocarbon dating revealed that the hundreds of people buried in mass pits came from the 13th century, researchers had to look for a new cause. The writings of English chronicler Matthew Paris provides an important clue to what may have happened.

7. New research on how the Bayeux Tapestry was made

“It’s clear from my analysis of the Bayeux Tapestry that the style of work is consistent throughout. Some people argue that the style of some figures are so different they must have been embroidered by different people. But my view is it’s not the embroidery which is different – but the way the characters were drawn.”

8. Research examines the ‘abortionist saints’ of medieval Ireland

A recent article on sexuality and childbirth in early medieval Ireland reveals some surprising attitudes towards abortion held among the Christians during this period, and that hagiographical texts recount four Irish saints performing abortions.

9. Crusader sword sells for £163,250

Several news items this year have detailed how medieval treasures were setting record prices at auctions, including a sale in November where a rare medieval sword, which had been looted by a Crusader king during an attack on Egypt, was auctioned off for £163,250.

10. How did medieval Europeans deal with Greek debt? They sacked their capital city

The crisis over Greek financial debt has often made headlines throughout 2012. A recent article published in the Journal of Medieval History shows that Greek debt was a problem back in the thirteenth-century, and led to the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (Inn Generator)

Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (Inn Generator)

Salty Falcon

Rooms Available (1/6)
4 servers and 2 bouncers

Pasarin Farshot (F, Elf, 134)

Class (Common)
Room: 5sp/day, Common Room: 2sp/day

NPCs Present (124)
2 Bards, 35 Commoners, 16 Merchants, 8 Military Elite, 12 Nobles, 10 NPC Adventurers, 4 NPC VIPs, 4 Priests, 9 Shady Characters, 8 Town Guards, 16 Other

Today's Special
Locale (Swamp)
Roast pheasant in oyster sauce, High spirits

Atmosphere (Boring)
The food is bland and uninspired, as is the drink. No one seems capable of cracking a smile or talking to one another.

Topics of Conversation (4)
• Tankards click together in memory of a friend long passed away. Tales and memories are shared.
• Two patrons quietly negotiate a small business deal involving the sale of various local commodities.
• Half-drunk patrons grumble about their tithes and taxes.
• A server chuckles as a customer whispers into her ear—something about a "moonlight stroll."

Randon Events (3)
• A wonderful flowery smell wafts past you as someone moves by.
• There’s a screech as a server accidentally steps on the tail of a cat that has wandered into the area. The cat darts under tables and out of view.
• After dropping her fork, a customer curses as she knocks over her drink while trying to pick it up.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guide to "Les Puces" the oldest Flea Markets in Paris | Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura's Guide to "Les Puces" the oldest Flea Markets in Paris | Atlas Obscura
Atlas Obscura's Guide to "Les Puces" the oldest Flea Markets in Paris
by Laetitia / 26 Oct 2012
In his 1928 novel Nadja, Andre Breton, leader of the French surrealist movement, describes the experience of finding an object in a fleamarket as capable of
“admitting ( him ) to an almost forbidden world of sudden parallels, petrifying coincidences, and reflexes particular to each individuals of harmonies struck as though on the piano, flashes of lights that would make you see, really see.”
Breton illustrated the chapter in his book with surrealist photographer Jacques-André Boiffard's picture of the Saint Ouen Fleamarket, which in turn became a symbol of surrealist ideology: a place full of possibilities for chance encounters.
Jacques-André Boiffard's picture for Andre Breton's Nadja
The story of Saint Ouen Fleamarket started in the 1870s when ragpickers, evicted from the center of Paris for insalubrity - in other words for being unwholesome and unhealthy - the ragpickers installed their bazar in Saint Ouen, situated in the capitals northern periphery.
The first draft of the market was truly anarchic. Items, usually founds in upscale Parisian garbage, were piled directly on the dirt or towered in stacks alongside the road. To rectify this chaos , Saint Ouen's municipality reorganized the settlement in several markets along Rue des Rosiers, providing the bric a brac dealers with water and electricity and the possibility to rent a wooden stand to display their goods.
In 1908 , with the opening of a metro station, Saint Ouen flea market's becomes a highly popular attraction, drawing in hundreds of Parisians each week, all thrilled by the eccentric displays and the opportunity for a good deal. With a steady flow of patrons to the fleamarkets “Guinguettes” - a type of small bar and restaurant where one could drink cheaply - and other entertainment venues began appearing. Music, above all Manouche Jazz, became a fundamental part of the faubourg or "suburban" atmosphere.
Ageless venues like La Chope des Puces hosted tremendous parties where Django Reinhardt, his Hot Club de France quintet, and generations of gypsies musicians have come to get wild and swing the place to the rafters.

Nowadays the flea market has changed, having grown more touristy, with entire sections selling nothing but T-shirts or new shoes. But don't be discouraged if you see only hippy jewelry and street-wear, it simply means you are in the wrong market.
The best “Marchés” are to be founds in a labyrinthian set of streets all merging to Rue des Rosiers. The most ancient, Marchés Vernsaison, remains the closest to the old time antique hodgepodge that the flea market was a hundred years ago. Named after its founder Jules Romain Vernaison, this market and its tortuous alleys presents an unlimited variety of randomly wonderfully odd things: japanese woodcuts, dolls, hybrid taxidermy, china, ancient devices…the only rule being the perennial "early bird catch the worm" at least if you want to find treasures for reasonable price.
 Saint Ouen Les Puces Flea market Paris
Marché Paul Bert possess a less anarchic layout and installations are more fastuous and artful. Some dealers's displays, like Pierre Bazalgues's, embrace a refined curiosity cabinet esthetic, provoking astonishment and pure visual pleasure. Rue Paul Bert is itself full of surprise: after a moment of tropical disorientation at the nearby Colonial Concept at No. 8 - a menagerie of taxidermy, fossils, and other natural wonders - you'll find a thousand and one treasures at every price on the tables of the street sealers, from 60's french records to "Ex Ossibus" (from the bones) relics.
Visiting St Ouen Fleamarket on a spring Sunday, sitting at the terrace of a Manouche Jazz guinguette to sip a expresso, is for a lot of parisian people, a highly esteemed sunday ritual. Saint Ouen's dreamlike, surrealist beauty created through an accumulation of mysteries and amazements, serves as an outdoor museum that gathers both curious object and curious people.
Travel Notes: It is useful to get a map of the area. Try to be very discrete with your cellphone, wallet, and money in general: the way between the metro and the actual antique market is paved with thieves and warm gambling game encouragements.
Above is a map of the various flea markets and below is a list of five of our favorite stops when visiting "Les Puces" or The Fleas as they are commenly called.
article-imageNo. 1: François Richard's Scientific Devices and Odd Machinery - Marche Vernaison, Rue des Rosiers, Allee 3, Stand 107
A charming flea market shop dedicated to scientific equipment and retrofuturistic apparati in general, it is something of a holy temple for obsolete modernity and a wonderful trip down a clanking, humming, hissing and wondrous memory lane. If you have questions about what anything is be sure to ask François.
article-imageNo. 2: Francois Daneck 's Colonial Concept - 8 rue Paul Bert, saint Ouen, Saint-Ouen
Collection of antique taxidermy and natural specimens, complete with a polar bear in the piano room, alligators on type-writers, and a general assortment of natures wonders (all antique) beautifully arranged.
article-imageNo. 3: Alain Baroux 's Antique Curiosity Cabinet - 99 Rue des Rosiers , Stand 90 - Allee 5, Saint-Ouen
An antique curios dealer and hybrid taxidermist, Monsieur Baroux sells naturalia, exotica and others traditional curiosity cabinet items but his real specialty is his own creations transforming dusty mounts into fantastic creatures that will make the standard two-headed duckings and jackalopes pale in comparison.
article-imageNo. 4: Pierre Bazalgues Macabre Antique Stand - rue des Rosiers, Stand 221 - Allee 4, Saint-Ouen
Skeletons, medical artifacts, and other obscure and precious treasures all displayed in a wooden pharmacists cabinet. A true "Memento Mori" specialist, Pierre Bazalgues eye for the morbid brings together animals skeletons, plaster ecorches and human skulls into breathtaking dispays.
article-imageNo. 5: La Chope des Puces: Temple of Gypsy Jazz - 122 rue des Rosiers, Saint-Ouen
After walking through the complex of 2,500 to 3,000 flea market stalls, winding your way from Colonial taxidermy, through medical specimens, among mysterious science antiques, and between the skulls and skeletons, one can grow quite exhausted. There is no better place to rest ones feet and drink a beer than La Chope des Puces an iconic and eccentric bar home to the origins of "Manouche" Jazz music.
If you are lucky you may catch a Gypsy Jazz show in progress!

BBC News - Roman settlement remains found at Kingskerswell bypass

BBC News - Roman settlement remains found at Kingskerswell bypass

Roman settlement remains found at Kingskerswell bypass

Pottery was among the finds in Kingskerswell

Related Stories

The remains of what is believed to be a 2,000-year-old Roman settlement have been uncovered at the construction site of a new bypass.

Artefacts discovered in Kingskerswell include fragments of pots thought to be imported from southern Europe. Trenches used for defence were also found.

Devon county archaeologist Bill Horner said it was an "exciting find".

The artefacts will eventually go on show at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Locals 'Romanised'
Demolition work began in October to clear the route ready for the road linking Torbay and Newton Abbot.

The quantity and the quality of the finds suggested the people who lived there would have been part of the local ruling elite who were becoming "Romanised", Mr Horner said.

Trench excavation Remains of medieval buildings were also found

He said: "The Romans conquered the South West and, for much of the later 1st Century AD, the area was a military zone.

"After the army moved north to conquer the rest of the population, the native elite were becoming more Romanised, and assimilating into the Roman Empire and economy."

As well as the Roman finds, archaeologists also turned up evidence of 800-year-old medieval buildings.

The discoveries are not expected to delay the construction of the £110m, 5.5km (3.4 mile) bypass, construction managers said.

Devon County Council hopes the road will be completed by December 2015

New finds made in Staffordshire Hoard field

New finds made in Staffordshire Hoard field

In the same field in Hammerwich where three years ago metal detectorist Terry Herbert found the massive 3,900-piece collection of Anglo-Saxon gem-studded gold and silver known as the Staffordshire Hoard, archaeologists have now found another 90 pieces of gold and silver. Archaeologists excavated the find site right after the initial discovery in 2009 and thought they had recovered everything there was to find. The dig was closed.
This November the field was plowed for the first time since the discovery. On November 19th, a team of archaeologists aided by metal detectorists with experience in scanning delicate archaeological sites and a phalanx of volunteers from the Hammerwich and the Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeology Society examined the entire 13.69-acre field. First the metal detectors surveyed the field, then the archaeologists and volunteers walked all 13.69 acres of it looking for anything the machines might have missed. Wherever artifacts were discovered, archaeologists excavated the sites. The dig ended on December 1st.
“We think these items were buried at a deeper level which is why we didn’t find them first time around,” said county council archaeologist Steve Dean.
“We always wanted to come back and look for other items – pottery, other metalwork – so we always had the intention of coming back once the field had been ploughed.”
“We will be keeping an eye on the field and we would, with the farmer’s permission, like to go back in a couple of years when he ploughs again to see if it turns up anything else,” he added.
Most of the 90 pieces they discovered are small pieces, fragments that weigh less than a gram. Some are probably mounts from Anglo-Saxon weapons similar to the ones in the Staffordshire hoard. There are two mounts of particular interest: one shaped like an eagle and another shaped like a cross. The largest piece looks like it may be a cheek guard from a helmet. One very much like it was discovered in the original hoard, so this might just be its missing companion.
The artifacts are still in the process of being cleaned and X-rayed. Researchers can’t definitely state at this point if these newly discovered objects were part of the original Staffordshire hoard, nor has their age been determined. We won’t have long to wait before an official determination. The South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh will hold an inquest on January 4th to decide if the gold and silver pieces are part of the same hoard discovered three years ago and whether they should be declared treasure.
If he rules that the artifacts are treasure (which is basically a given) and that they are part of the Staffordshire Hoard, it will be a new windfall for the original finder and the landowner, Fred Johnson. The original find was valued at £3.3 million ($5.5 million) and, as per the terms of the Treasure Act, two local museums — the Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery — raised the princely sum to secure the hoard. The money was then split, with half going to the finder Terry Herbert, who was on disability at the time, and half to Fred Johnson. Even though Herbert was not involved in this follow-up dig, if the gold and silver are ruled to be part of the hoard he found three years ago, he is still the finder as far as the law is concerned.
Because mo’ money mo’ problems, hitting the jackpot caused a rift between Herbert and Johnson which has yet to be mended. They were friends before the discovery. They are no longer. The details are murky, but Herbert says Johnson wanted to keep all the money for himself, which is weird because that’s just not how the Treasure Act works. The two men haven’t spoken in years. Depending on the coroner’s ruling, they might have a few hundred thousand pounds more to fight over.

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