Just east of 32nd Street and Rhodes Avenue on Friday, on a patch of Near South Side parkland that had been undisturbed for generations, Scott Demel dug toward a forgotten piece of the Civil War.
There’s a sidewalk a few feet away and a high-rise apartment building across the street — nothing to suggest that below the moisture-starved grass is where about 30,000 captured Confederate soldiers were held prisoner, many ill or dying.
But under 150 years worth of accumulated dirt, Demel and his team of mostly volunteer diggers uncovered limestone that likely made up the foundation of Camp Douglas, the most important legacy of Chicago’s role in the War between the States. Read more.
An international team have been carrying out research on the zoological collections at the world famous Field Museum in Chicago, taking DNA samples and photographing the teeth of rats mice and shrews from around the world.
The research group comprising PhD students and postdoctoral research fellows from the universities of Aberdeen, Durham, Oxford and Cornell, have been photographing the tiny teeth and carefully removing samples of dried brain tissue still present in the skulls of these small mammals as part of a research project to unravel the early prehistory of human dispersal and migration into the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Read more.
A Chicago man’s bid to search for Sir John Franklin’s grave in the Arctic has been rejected by the Nunavut government, which ordered him to stop or else face possible jail time.
Ron Carlson, a Chicago-based architect and pilot, planned a self-funded solo trip this summer to King William Island, where he would survey the area with thermal imaging cameras aboard his DeHaviland Beaver aircraft.
“It’s just a personal passion,” Carlson told CBC News.
Carlson said he has been drawn to all things Franklin, whose ill-fated 1845 expedition to chart the Northwest Passage has captivated historians for nearly 170 years. Read more.
After 90 years, the University of Chicago, Oriental Institute project of creating an Ancient Assyrian Dictionary is finally finished, according to reports by several international news sites.
Based on the reports, the Assyrian Dictionary, started in 1921, is based on words recorded on clay or stone tablets discovered in ancient ruins in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. These words were reportedly written in a language not spoken for over 2,000 years. It was believed that the translated cuneiform texts may have been written using wedged-shaped characters.
The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary was a collaboration of several team of scholars from Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Berlin, Helsinki, Baghdad, London, US and Canada. The dictionary is similar with a an encyclopedia rather than the usual glossary type and it has 21 volumes of Akkadian, a Semitic dialect that includes Assyrian, that is 2,500 years old. The collection has about 10,000 pages and 28,000 words.
The project was considerably slow during the early generations as the researchers use manual typewriters, mimeograph machines and index cards. Scholars were able to use millions of index cards. Read more.
CHICAGO — A US federal appeals court has sided with Iran in a long-running legal battle over whether Persian artifacts in Chicago museums can be seized as compensation for victims of a terror attack in Israel.
Tuesday’s ruling overturns a lower court’s rejection of Iran’s sovereign immunity and order that Iran must provide the victims with a list of all its US assets.
“Both orders are seriously flawed; we reverse,” judge Diane Sykes wrote in the 41 page ruling.
“The property of a foreign state in the United States is presumed immune from attachment unless a specific statutory exception to immunity applies.”
The appeals court did not rule on whether the artifacts were subject to seizure.
However, the ruling will make it harder for the victims to find other assets which could be considered exempt from the immunity rules.
The case stems from a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that was carried out by Hamas.
Five US citizens injured in the attack won a $71.5 million civil judgment against Iran because it provided material support and training to Hamas. Read more.
For a king who has been around for almost 5,000 years, Khasekhem hasn’t traveled much, hence the tense cluster of handlers who sweated over his arrival Friday at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago.
“This is like getting the ‘Mona Lisa’ for us,” said Emily Teeter, curator of the museum’s “Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization” exhibition, which opens Tuesday.
The statue of King Khasekhem, she explained, is “the oldest inscribed statue of a king known from Egypt,” which may make it the oldest known king statue with an inscription, period. This king is about 2 feet tall, seated, made of limestone and weighing something approaching 100 pounds. The inscription notes that he killed 47,209 “rebellious inhabitants of the Delta”— that is, northern Egyptians resistant to the unifying of the north and south regions into one country ruled by a king. (Apparently ancient Egyptians were meticulous about their body counts.) Read more.