Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "19th century"

Jackie Perusse’s desire to plant more day lilies, tulips and daffodils in her garden led to the discovery of a cache of 19th-century artifacts.

"I was digging, and there was this huge rock," said Perusse, who owns the historic Stephen Keese Smith property with her husband, Frank, in Peru. Smith, a Quaker and underground-railroad agent, assisted fugitives from American slavery through the villages of Keeseville, Peru and Champlain to freedom in Canada.

"I called Frank over, and he started digging," Perusse said. "We had to get my grandson to help him to get the rock out of the hole that’s part of the circle (below-ground chamber). That started it. That big rock. Frank got it out and started digging."

Her husband uncovered a number of bottles and told Don Papson, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association, about the find. Papson then relayed the information to Andrew T. Black, principal investigator of Black Drake Consulting, a prehistoric and historic archaeology and cultural-resources management firm based in Champlain. Read more.

There’s grisly irony in the fact that one of the country’s more nefarious human remains traders had his own head lopped off.

During the early 19th century Joe Rowe, a tough-arms-dealing frontier character known as “Te Rauparaha’s Pakeha”, had a store on Kapiti Island.

He’d display toi moko - mummified preserved heads - for interested buyers.

But familiar moko patterns on some of Rowe’s stocks caught the eyes of a visiting group from Ngati Tuwharetoa.

They recognised relations and asked Rowe to return them. A blunt refusal sealed his fate.

On a trading trip up the Whanganui River he was captured. Others in his party were spared but Rowe was killed, his head preserved and taken back to Taupo.

It was simple and direct form of payback, says Te Papa archaeologist Amber Aranui. Read more.

Havana, Cuba, May 5.- An exhibition of pharmaceutical bottles from the second half of the 19th century, found in excavations in the historical center of Havana, will open its doors on May 18th.

Titled Archaeology and Pharmacy, the exhibition will show glass jars for medicines and perfumes issued by health and trade institutions, dating from the beginning of the previous century.

Also on display will be the most emblematic drugs made at that time and various utensils, including a rubber syringe for enemas and fragments of catheter for forced feeding. Read more.

WATERBURY, Conn.— Despite a simmering controversy, researchers are finalizing plans to exhume the body of the 19th-century enigma known as the Leather Man.

A team of experts led by Connecticut State Archaeologist Nicholas F. Bellantoni expects to break ground next month on the project. They believe the remains may yield valuable clues into the vagabond’s identity, which has been shrouded in mystery due to his taciturn demeanor and nomadic lifestyle.

According to research compiled by Dan W. DeLuca, author of “The Leather Man: Historical Accounts of a Connecticut and New York Legend,” the Leather Man was a homeless wanderer who trekked a 360-mile loop between the Hudson and Connecticut rivers every 34 days between 1883 and 1889. He slept in caves, wore a 60 ­pound, hand-stitched leather suit made from scraps collected along his journey and spoke little. Read more.

An archaeological dig in Toronto has turned up relics from city’s 19th century railway boom near the shores of Lake Ontario.

And although building plans, which include a condominium project in the Library District adjacent to the Bathurst Street bridge, are still on track, the future of the artifacts is still up in the air.

Among the findings is a massive cruciform-shaped engine-house complex, which was the starting point of the railway’s westbound ribbon of track, constructed by the Grand Trunk Railway in the 1850s.

The area of interest, which is south of Front Street, is close to where a library would be built. But construction would also see a condominium tower, social housing and a park built.

Railway historian Derek Boles, who believes the relics should be saved, told the Globe and Mail that the railways turned Toronto into a manufacturing hub and that the artifacts are “important for understanding Toronto’s history.” Read more.

The world’s oldest astronomical calculator is famous for having intricate gear systems centuries ahead of their time. But new work shows the Antikythera mechanism used pure geometry, as well as flashy gears to track celestial bodies’ motion through the heavens.

The device, a 2,000-year-old assemblage of gears and wheels that matched 19th century clocks in precision and complexity, was salvaged from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901.

Called the Antikythera mechanism, the machine gracefully kept track of the day of the year, the positions of the sun and the moon, and perhaps the other planets. It also predicted eclipses and kept track of upcoming Olympic games. Read more.

A WA Museum research team is using modern technology to rediscover a historical treasure trove deep beneath the ocean surface off Rottnest Island – five wrecks have been identified so far. Read more.