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1  History / Amerindian History / Re: Old Copper Culture of Lake Superior on: October 29, 2007, 03:37:46 AM

One of my favorite mysteries.  What I'd love to see is a comparative study of the smelting methods used by these folks and their counterparts on the other sides of the oceans.  Where was it discovered?  How did it end up on both sides of the oceans?  As with the bow and arrow, the question remains, was it independently invented or did the knowledge travel in other ways?

We probably don't have enough info to draw conclusions yet, but great curiosity, no? 
2  History / Amerindian History / Re: Old Copper Culture of Lake Superior on: October 29, 2007, 03:16:37 AM
Crucibles For Casting Found At Cahokia?
Neiburger's Evidence: Native Americans
Melted, Cast Copper at 1,000 BC Site

Scientific evidence of prehistoric Indian copper casting was published in an article in North American Archaeologist, written by an Evanston, IL dentist, Ellis J. Neiburger, a man who became interested in metallurgy while in dental school. The title of Neiburger's paper is "Melted Copper From the Archaic Midwest," 1991, V 12-4, Baywood Publishing Co., Amityville, NY. This paper offers xeroradiographic proof of ancient casting. All of Neiburger's photos and images which appear in this web site are: Copyright, E.J. Neiburger, 2001. His 1991 paper contains important evidence of prehistoric copper melting and casting.

Describing this copper artifact from an archaeological site in Menominee County, Michigan, Neiburger said it is "a large lump of documented copper" from the 1000 BC Riverside side just north of the Wisconsin state line. The lump weighs 5407 gm and is 6.1 cm long, 4.1 cm wide and 0.8 cm thick.

This xeroradiograph of the Riverside copper lump shows numerous large, ovoid radiolucenties grouped in clusters. This indicative of melting in which gas bubbles, trapped in the molten metal, will cause porosity as the artifact hardens. Hammered (unmelted) or natural float copper will show faint elongated voids where laps and folds in the metal occur. In the R666 lump, however, one sees aggregate porosity indicative of casting.

Photomicrographs (200x) of (FC) cast and hammered float copper, (prepared by author), on left side, is compared to that of the R666 Riverside sample, on the right side of the image.

The abstract of this article says that: "A large lump of documented copper from the 1000 BC Riverside, Michigan site was found to posses internal porosity and a microstructure indicative of casting and hammering as the means of manufacture. Prior to this discovery, Archaic Native American Indians were considered technologically primitive and incapable of possessing the high heat technology necessary to cast metal."

Neiburger's article thus offers photographic proof of small voids in the 1000 BC copper artifact. These would only form as bubbles of gas in molten copper. Also in his article he points out that the Great Lakes native copper deposits were not the result of the cooling of molten lava, but were rather deposited by geologic precipitation about one billion years ago. Thus the native metal would contain no such gas voids.

So far the Riverside lump is the only such artifact from a well documented site known to Neiburger which shows clear evidence of prehistoric casting. Other artifacts examined by Neiburger and found to have evidence of casting are surface finds, and therefore not completely conclusive, because of the possibility that they are modern copies of Indian artifacts.

An example of evidence of casting in a surface find can be seen in Neiburger's xeroradiograph of a copper celt from the Perkins Collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, WI. A photo of the celt is on the left and the xeroradiograph is on the right. The casting bubble can clearly been seen near of the middle of the wide end of the xeroradiograph of the celt, right:

Commenting on the need for further testing, Neiburger said "Further xeroradiographic surveys and analysis of the 25,000 existing copper artifacts from that period (Archaic Midwestern United States) are necessary for the determination of how extensively early Native Americans had used melted metal."

Seeking more answers to the question of whether or not prehistoric North American Indians cast copper, recently I wrote to Dr. Ellis Neiburger, who seems to be one of the world's most knowledgeable amateur archaeo-metallurgists in the field of copper casting.

As it turns out, after a telephone conversation with him, I've learned that much of his knowledge comes from his hobby of metal casting. He is the operator of a so-called "backyard foundry," and has been for many years. He told me he has made over 2,000 castings.

Neiburger, of Waukegan, Illinois, has enlightened me on some things he has learned which I am using to revise this web page. I'm sure his input will lead to a better understanding of the issues involved in our project to examine and evaluate evidence of prehistoric copper casting in North America.

He pointed out to me, for instance, that evidence suggesting the use of casting such as surface depression or concavity, large size and symmetrical form are not by themselves fool-proof evidence of prehistoric casting. This calls into question evidence of casting cited by Arlington Mallery and Earle Caley 50 years ago, which is discussed further on in this section of "America's Mysterious Furnaces."

Also, and equally important, he said any copper artifact considered for xeroradiographic testing should first be subjected to a specific gravity test.  If the artifact is found to weigh less than an equal volume of native copper, the presence of casting voids is indicated. The Riverside lump R666 was first given a specific gravity test. After it tested less (8.2) than native copper (8.9), Neiburger had the xeroradiograph made shown above.


Could Radiographic Tests Of Large Copper Artifacts
'Revolutionize' North American Archaeology?

Inconclusive Test Was A Result Of Discussion By Internet E-Mail Group;

Author Of This Site Was Unable To Have Larger Artifact Tested

A program of Radiographic (X-ray) testing of large copper artifacts to seek evidence of casting should be conducted to determine if any prehistoric North American artifacts were made by casting!  An unsuccessful test was made by the author of this web site, but unfortunately, the artifact selected for the test was, in my opinion, too small.   While large prehistoric copper artifacts are valuable, and while those in charge of such artifacts are reluctant to send them away for testing, failure to conduct such tests in my opinion is just unscientific.

This project came about a result of the author's participation in the Arch-Metals e-mail discussion group. Some Arch-Metals members agreed recently, after a prolonged discussion, that most large, prehistoric copper artifacts had been cast nearly everywhere in the prehistoric world except in North America.

At this point in the discussion, I posted the fact that North American copper artifacts had been tested by X-ray imaging and the results, which were published 50 years ago by Arlington Mallery, showed evidence of casting. But somehow the opinion that North American Indians never cast copper had become a "fact" among professional archaeologists. One member of Arch-Metals, who responded to my posting of Mallery's test results, asked why they had never been republished and said that if North American prehistoric copper artifacts are found to have been cast, it could "revolutionize" North American archaeology.

I established the "Early Caley Research Fund" to pay for the cost of a program of prehistoric North American copper artifact testing for evidence of casting. Dr. Martha Otto, curator of archaeology of the Ohio Historical Society Museum of Columbus, and the author of this web site, conducted the test. I also consulted with Dr. David Scott of the Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA.  At the time, I had serious reservations about the small size of the artifact chosen for testing.  And, unfortunately, the test conducted by the Getty for Dr. Otto indicated the small copper celt had been formed merely by cold working. 


The 28-pound Seip Mound Celt Of The Ohio Historical Society Museum

Evidence Of Prehistoric Copper Casting
Endorsed By Caley Nearly 50 Years Ago

Although archaeologists today seem united in their view that large prehistoric North American Indian copper artifacts were not cast from molten copper, amateurs have been finding evidence to the contrary for many years and their findings have been supported by metallurgists.

For instance, amateur Arlington Mallery's studies of prehistoric copper use by native Americans of the Great Lakes region convinced him that they melted copper and cast it into axes, chisels, spearheads and sheets. This conclusion received favorable comments from some American professional archaeologists of the 1950's.

The widely accepted theory that the native North Americans used copper only as malleable stone is wrong, Mallery declared, because many of the heavier pieces, such as axes and chisels, had never been touched by a hammer except at the cutting edge. Therefore, he concluded these pieces could not have been hammered out of material from the naturally occurring native copper deposits, but would have had to have been cast from molten copper.

50-Year-Old Evidence of Prehistoric North American Copper Casting

As Mallery pointed out in "Great Lakes Copper Culture," an appendix in The Rediscovery of Lost America, micrographs made of samples of these prehistoric objects indicated that the copper had been melted in an open crucible. Tests showed that surfaces of these copper artifacts were impregnated with cuprous oxide, and Mallery said this proved that alloying with oxide during melting had occurred, to produce copper artifacts which are harder and more brittle than pure Great Lakes copper.

He reasoned that objects made with this pure, native metal would not have cuprous oxide on their surfaces if shaped simply by hammering. Formation of the cuprous oxide would occur only while the copper was molten, reacting with the air to produce the alloy.

According to Mallery, an indication of the degree to which the native Americans were involved in the production of artifacts of copper can been seen in the fact that over 100,000 copper objects, such and tools and ornaments, have been found in North America. As he said in Lost America, if only a small percentage of the many thousands of copper objects made by the Indians were accepted by archaeologists as being made from cast copper, the whole theory of a stone age pre-Columbian North America must be rejected.

Dr. Earle E. Caley, then a professor of chemistry at The Ohio State University, reviewed the metallurgical content of Lost America as part of an evaluation of the book by five OSU professors in the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, July 1953. All but Caley had nothing much positive to say about Mallery's conclusions. Caley, while not in agreement with Mallery that the pit furnaces were iron smelters, was in agreement with him about the copper casting. Caley said, "the technical evidence he presents for the existence of the practice of melting and casting copper at an early date in North America is important and appears to be both sound and adequate..."

This is a very strong endorsement, running against the grain of what the other OSU professors said about Mallery, but it seems to have had little effect. Caley in 1953 was already a published archaeo-metallurgist, and later became noted for his studies of the pre-Inca Moche Indians of Peru, who smelted copper from the ore beginning in 200 AD.

In the 1950's, evidence of such copper ore smelting in South America was just beginning to be scientifically studied, and Caley's conclusions in "The Smelting of Sulfide Ores of Copper in Preconquest Peru" were controversial. But during the1980s, much more evidence came to light, especially with the publication of "Batan Grande: A Prehistoric Metallurgical Center in Peru" by Izumi Shimada, Stephen Epstein and Alan K. Craig in Science. Shimada, Epstein and Craig reinforced Caley's earlier work, showing that the pre-Columbian Indians of Peru did indeed smelt sulfide and oxide ores of copper.

To my knowledge, Caley never reversed his positive evaluation of Mallery's evidence of copper melting and casting by North America's pre-Columbian Indians. It is really strange that no American archaeo-metallurgists have seen fit to follow up on this.

Quite likely, they've never been made aware of it. So today, our archaeology textbooks still read that the North American Indians did not know how to melt and cast copper. But if the metallurgical tests cited in Lost America are accurate (as conducted by a disinterested commercial laboratory) there is no question that the tested artifacts were copper castings.

While much of what archaeologists study consists of only of rather enigmatic artifacts and habitation sites, which may shed little direct light on the cultures of its origination, the technological evaluation of metals involves physical science and thus is quite straightforward. Such evidence needs little of the creative interpretation which they of necessity must apply to other prehistoric evidence. So it is difficult for those who wish not to accept such evidence to argue against it, but it has been quite easy for them to just ignore it.

Indeed, I know of no published technical refutation of Mallery's claims about the Indian copper casting as published in his books. Mallery tells us that at the suggestion of Matthew Stirling, then director of the Bureau of American Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, he examined copper artifacts of the Perkins collection in the National Museum of Natural History. Mallery says right away he noticed that there were "a number of castings in the collection." Further, he states that "there are similar castings in nearly every museum in America." And, he says "expert foundrymen who examined the Perkins collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society declared that many of these specimens were cast in a mold."

And, after examining the results of Mallery's test of prehistoric copper artifacts, Dr. George Ellinger of the National Bureau of Standards said, "The centers of some of these chisels were decidedly depressed or concave. This is caused by the decrease in volume (or shrinkage) of the molten metal upon solidification. It is a common phenomenon well known by all foundrymen and those connected with the melting and casting of metals. This concavity is more or less pronounced in many of the ancient specimens and particularly so in the pentagonal chisels."

Chisels, spearheads and axes were among the prehistoric North American artifacts Mallery had tested for evidence of casting 50 years ago. The above comments by Ellinger also appeared in "Appendix A, Great Lakes Copper Culture," of both Lost America and The Rediscovery of Lost America.

Mallery's expertise with metallurgy came from his occupation as a pioneer steel bridge builder. As a registered professional engineer, he designed and built many highway bridges in the 1920's and 1930's. But his expertise in metallurgy wasn't matched by his knowledge or use of archaeological methodology, and this made it easy for his critics to dismiss all of his work, both the good and the bad. Mallery was, very simply, not very good as an archaeologist.

But since metallurgy is rather straightforward, Mallery, Stirling and Ellinger must have been surprised that the American archaeological community of the day was unresponsive to the news about casting, despite what seemed to be an "overkill" of pro-casting technical evidence.


Archaeologist Was Confused About 'Smelting'

The opposition of American archaeologists to ancient American copper casting is reflected in an otherwise excellent booklet Miskwabik: Red Metal, The Roles Played by Michigan's Copper In Prehistoric North America published in 1983 and written by John R. Halsey, state archaeologist of Michigan. Halsey says in his book "Of one thing we are certain: no native copper was deliberately smelted. Metallographic analysis of numerous copper specimens from eastern North America has not found telltale changes in their internal crystalline structure that would have occurred if metals were heated to their liquid state to remove their impurities."

With this statement Halsey deserves a failing grade in Metallurgy 101 since he thinks native copper needs to be smelted and that impurities need to be removed from pure copper! Also, I'm sure a collection of thin copper artifacts could be assembled to "prove" no Indian copper artifacts were ever cast.

Mistaken, unscientific opposition to evidence of ancient American copper casting is not harmless! A privately owned site such as Spruce Hill in Ross County, Ohio is always in danger of destruction. Indeed considerable destruction has already occurred there. But much evidence remains, which could be highly useful to our understanding of the evidence of ancient metallurgical processes at this important site.

Still abundant there is evidence of the use of charcoal fueled furnaces to achieve temperatures and conditions which permit the creation of multicolored iron oxide glazes on rocks. Carbon-14 and thermoluminescence tests of such materials, could reveal when these furnaces were in operation. Then perhaps Spruce Hill, which has already been considered, could be included in the Hopewell Culture National Park of the US Park Service and the site could be recognized as a center of ancient metallurgical industry.


A Mold For A Hopewell Copper Celt?

The Cahoon Mold

The lump of heat-hardened clay above was found at Spruce Hill near Bourneville, Ohio by John Cahoon on April 25, 1993. Spruce Hill is a 140-acre plateau enclosed by a prehistoric wall of laid-up stone attributed by archaeologists to the Hopewell Culture (200 B.C. to 400 AD). Cahoon, owner of an orchard which adjoins the site, was with members of the Archaeo-Pyrogenics Society (APGS) on a field trip when he found the lump.

Cahoon found the mold in a rain-filled bulldozer trench in "the isthmus" area of Spruce Hill where ancient furnaces were located. On the day of the field trip, about an inch of rain fell which may have dissolved softer soil from the mold. The object weighs 13.5 pounds. The cavity of the Cahoon mold is about one-half inch deep, two inches wide and six inches long. It widens somewhat at the end facing the ruler, suggesting it perhaps was used to form an elongated celt. Vitrified clay on both sides of the cavity bear witness to the intense heat of the material in the mold. The clay of the mold looks like bog iron ore, and in fact, Cahoon described it as "an ore body."

The author of this web site has researched copper metallurgy and Native American artifacts made of copper for many years. I've suspected that the Cahoon Mold was used by ancient Indian metal workers to cast a copper celt. But was the Cahoon mold used by Hopewellian Indians to cast copper as I have proposed?

Maybe not. Replying to my posting about this on Arch-Metals, the archaeo-metallurgy Internet mail list, Chris Salter, of the Materials Science-Based Archaeology Group, Oxford, U.K. replied:

I am sorry but I have to agree with the others that have said that the material illustrated is not a fragment of a mould. Having examined several hundred mould fragments from all periods, none look like the material illustrated.

It is difficult to determine what the material is from a single image, but the most likely origins are as a hearth lining, or the result of an uncontrolled fire in a timber and clay building (I have seen similar vitrification in the walls of timber-laced ramparts of British hill forts, and on a stone built charcoal store).

The essential features required to produce such vitrification appear to be a sufficient supply of fuel, and flue ventilation (good air supply at base, and venting at top, with some mechanism to create a forced draught (be that height of flue, or wind).

Another viewer of the Cahoon Mold, Wes Clark replied:

Your speculations and information connected to a possible prehistoric copper celt mold are very interesting.  I have a suggestion, however.  Could you provide a better photo of the "mold"?  A lab photo with oblique lighting would show better detail.  The present photo shows to some extent the morphology you contend is a mold for a celt, but is still a little too amorphous for my taste.

Dr. Neiburger, however, a man who has made some 2,000 castings, believes the "Cahoon Mold" could have been used to cast a copper artifact and has suggested it be tested for traces of copper.

If the Cahoon mold is not the remains of a copper casting mold, but is a prehistoric Hopewellian artifact, it is still remarkable because of its rectangular shape. Were these Indians sophisticated carpenters who made use of square boards or posts? Is the Cahoon mold an accidental impression left by a burned away prehistoric board or post? Was this impression made by a post used to support a wooden palisade at the top of the fort's walls?


Fire Pits or Furnaces, They Remain A Spruce Hill Mystery

Spruce Hill, the "Ancient Stone Work" as mapped in Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley by Squier and Davis, has attracted generations of archaeologists to its plateau enclosed by walls of loose stone. The purpose of the many mysterious fire pits or furnaces found in the walls has long been a mystery, as has the existence of "the fort" itself.

Although the Cahoon mold may not be the "smoking gun" evidence of copper casting, conclusive evidence needed to solve mystery of the Spruce Hill furnaces may still exist somewhere at the site. And, because of other supporting evidence, I'm still convinced some sort of prehistoric metallurgical operations were conducted there.

The furnace remains were first reported in 1811 by James Foster, editor of the Chillicothe, Ohio newspaper. He was asked to view the site by local residents who were astonished by its existence.

Foster reported seeing "about 30 furnaces" in the Spruce Hill walls upon which huge trees were growing. This implies that the furnaces were at least hundreds of years older than 1811. Foster's Spruce Hill observations were reported in a letter found tucked inside an 1814 book, the American Medical and Philosophical Journal.

For more information on Spruce Hill and its furnaces, go to Ohio's Prehistoric Furnaces  this web site.


Did Native North Americans Cast This Celt?

The affirmative answer to this question came during a 1992 interview with Carroll Mobley, professor of metallurgical engineering at the Ohio State University. David Orr and I, representing the APGS, requested a meeting with the professor to discuss metallurgical questions posed by our investigation of Ohio's mysterious pit furnaces. When questioned about the copper controversy, the professor told Orr and I that the large Seip celt on display at the Ohio Historical Society Museum in Columbus is evidence of copper casting because it is a copper casting!

The Seip Mound celt in its display case at the Ohio Historical Society Museum.

Mobley in 1992 said he is amused every time he passes by this artifact because archaeologists believe it was created by some means other than melting and casting. Metallurgists passing by the celt know better he said, because native copper's malleability is limited. While small copper nuggets can be hammered into thin sheets of copper, the professor said it would have been impossible for prehistoric Indians to shape copper into such a massive and symmetrical piece as the 28-pound celt or ceremonial axe above. (Photo by Bill Barr)

However, now in 2001 I find that Dr. Neiburger isn't as sure of this as Mobley was. He has examined other celts of comparable size, well documented to be prehistoric, and found evidence of hammering and annealing, but none of casting. He said the smooth and symmetrical shape could have be attained by hammering, annealing and the use of abrasive materials. It is also the case that such "cold working," if applied to artifacts that were originally cast, could obliterate evidence of the casting.

The size of the Seip Celt is illustrated by the arm of James Leslie, Barr's assistant. His hand is 4" wide and his arm is 17" from middle fingertip to elbow. The elongated shape of this celt or axe suggests a purely ceremonial or symbolic purpose for the artifact. Was it an indication of a community's wealth or prosperity?

Seip Mound is part of the Seip group of mounds, located in Ross County, Ohio in the Paint Creek valley, five miles upstream from prehistoric Spruce Hill where the Cahoon Mold was found.


3  History Hunters / Coffee Shop / Re: Today's History Question on: October 23, 2007, 04:49:46 AM
Getting ready to celebrate his 189th birthday by signing copies of the Emancipation Proclamation for $175 a pop for history buffs...
4  History / Making History / Robin Hood's greenwood under threat as ancient trees die off on: October 18, 2007, 06:25:30 PM
 �50m rescue plan has been drawn up to save collection of mighty oaks.

For the people who care for Sherwood Forest it is like a death in the family when one of the ancient oaks falls, a tragedy that is now becoming depressingly frequent. They used to lose an average of one a year, now it is usually five, and the rate is accelerating.

The appalling calculation, which almost breaks the foresters' hearts, is that in 50 years' time the greatest collection of ancient oaks in Europe, many 1,000 years old and more, may be no more.

Yesterday, in still hazy autumn sunshine, the forest seemed magically unchanged since time immemorial, but that is an illusion. The great oaks came almost unscathed through the hurricane that 20 years ago today felled millions of trees in the south. But this year alone four fell in the January storms, two were destroyed by arson, and on August 13, with a splintering crash that sent passersby running, another toppled without warning. "It's devastating when it happens. To be honest, I cried over that one," Izi Banton, the chief ranger, said. "We had our eye on it, and we were planning a bit of gentle intervention, but nature got there first."

A rescue plan, for which a �50m bid will be made this winter from the Big Lottery Fund, includes planting 250,000 oaks on 350 acres, linking the surviving fragments and creating new stretches of the equally important grazed open heath.

"People might say, having waited three centuries what's the rush?" Austin Brady, a conservator with the Forestry Commission, and coordinator of the lottery bid, said. "But if we don't do it in the next decade or so we might well go past the point where we can claw the forest back. That won't show for another century - but then people will look back and see that we failed to save it."

"This is the beating heart of the forest," he said, standing by a 600-year-old giant believed to hold the oldest colony of wild bees in the country. "We have been raided for centuries for buildings all over the country, including Lincoln cathedral and St Paul's. Now we want something back in return."

Maps traced by archaeologist Ursula Spence show that if there ever was a Robin Hood, living at the time of the Crusades, he could have escaped from the back door of Nottingham castle into the forest and ridden under trees as far as Sheffield. Now the furthest he could ride without breaking cover would be three miles, through a landscape carved up by towns and villages, agriculture, roads and coal mining.

Since Victorian times the legends of the outlaw have drawn millions of tourists into the forest. Bob White, of the International Robin Hood Society, has traced thousands of organisations and businesses across the world named in his honour. "They all see him as a symbol of freedom. We found one radio station in Finland called Robin Hood, and when we asked why, they said 'We want to be a champion of the people'."

But beyond the allure of the merry archers in green, the landscape is of international scientific importance, sheltering a wealth of wildlife, including several beetles found nowhere else.

The oldest tree definitively dated by Charles Watkins, professor of rural geography at Nottingham University, grew in 1415, but conventional dating by counting tree rings does not work for the hollow-hearted ancients. Their age has traditionally been estimated by people linking arms around the trunk: the Major Oak, which by legend sheltered Robin Hood, takes a dozen sets of arms to span, and is estimated to be 1,140 years old.


Ms Banton says they have learned that the giants, known as veteran oaks, should be handled with kid gloves: any intervention, even propping branches, or felling encroaching birches to give them more sunlight and nutrients, can change the delicate ecology which has given them such stupendous lifespans. However, the Major Oak is a monument to her heavier-handed predecessors: it was lashed together in 1904 with steel collars and hawsers now bitten deep into the wood, and since then propped, and patched with concrete and fibreglass. It is still flourishing, and producing acorns. "We wouldn't do any of this now, but it seems to be tougher than anything we've thrown at it," Ms Banton said.

Sherwood's problem is what the rangers call generation gaps: periods of complete neglect, or when timber was taken and not replaced - including the time of the Spanish Armada, and the English civil war. The gnarled veterans were left, but the younger straight trees that should have replaced them were lost.

Professor Watkins's research shows that people have worried about the health of the forest for centuries. Two centuries ago, when the Royal Forest was sold off, the surveyors found: "The far greater part of those trees are now in a state of decay, and it is not easy to find such as have not some defect in the heart where such trees begin to fail."

"We have trees 500 years and older, 250-year-olds and 50-year-olds - and very little in between," Ms Banton said. "We have to be ready to fill those gaps."

Some of the most famous oaks fell long ago, including the Greendale Oak, which had a natural split that was widened into a huge archway after the owner bet that he could drive a coach and six through one of his noble trees. Others have romantic names such as Robin Hood's larder.

However, the Major Oak was named after a man who had no interest in the outlaw. Major Hayman Rooke was a retired army officer and amateur archaeologist, and was really on the trail of the druids, whom he believed responsible for planting many of the oaks as part of their rituals. He was the first to carry out a systematic study of the oldest trees - of no interest to earlier surveyors because they were useless as building timber - and wrote: "Were we even now to enter a grove of stately oaks, seven or eight hundred years old, I think we could not behold them without some degree of veneration."

Unfortunately, while Ms Spence and Mr White are agreed that there were outlaws in the forest, and that there must have been some notable around whom the Robin Hood legends congealed, she has never found the slightest evidence of Druid activity, although folk magic customs, including breaking a cup and dropping it into water as an offering, persisted in the forest into the 1960s, and she suspects until this day.

Many have been fooled by the illusion of virgin forest. The novelist Washington Irving wrote rapturously in the 19th century of riding through "a genuine wild wood, of primitive and natural growth", when he was actually riding along an avenue cut by an aristocratic landlord a century before.

What Prof Watkins's research shows, and Ms Spence is uncovering is evidence of human activity, including the ridges and furrows of ancient ploughed land where wheat and barley was grown. For over 1,000 years it was the interaction of man and nature which created a unique environment.

5  History / History / Ruins of royal complex of Thang Long are excavated in Hanoi on: October 17, 2007, 11:06:33 PM
HANOI: Nine hundred years before Ho Chi Minh declared Hanoi the capital of a newly independent Vietnam in 1945, the first king of the Ly Dynasty issued a similar decree.

Excavation work being carried out at Thang Long in Hanoi. Only one percent of the site has been excavated so far.

In 1010 King Ly Thai To picked Thang Long ("Ascending Dragon"), situated within present-day Hanoi, as the capital for a country that had defeated the Tang Dynasty less than a century before, ending a millennium of Chinese rule.

"It is situated at the very heart of our country," the king declared in Edict on the Transfer of the Capital. "It is equally an excellent capital for a royal dynasty for ten thousand generations."

The enormous royal complex that Ly Thai To built did last, not 10,000 generations, but 900 years, through three major dynasties and repeated foreign invasions. For the last five years, archaeologists from the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology have been slowly unearthing the remains of Thang Long, uncovering millions of artifacts and building features spanning 1,300 years. Hanoi is gearing up to celebrate its 1,000th anniversary in 2010, and Thang Long, a potential Unesco World Heritage Site, is its centerpiece.

"The history of Thang Long citadel is the history of the Great Viet," Bui Minh Tri, an archaeologist, said as he looked over the 7.3-square-mile site, thought to be the largest archaeological excavation in the history of Southeast Asia. The Great Viet are considered the founders of northern Vietnam. They probably descended from the Bronze Age Dong Son culture, which is famous for its enormous bronze drums. In 2002, the site, across the street from where Ho lies in state, was scheduled to be the new home of the National Assembly, the highest government body. Modern residences were razed. Archaeologists were called in to see whether anything remained of the citadel.

They had a good sense of where to look. The flag tower and Confucian university, the Temple of Literature, survive as tourist attractions. The area had also been mapped twice, by Vietnamese cartographers in the 15th century and by the French 400 years later. Earlier archaeological work had turned up a 13th- to 14th-century brick road.

One to four meters beneath the surface, the archaeologists found the foundations of at least 11 palaces, pillar bases, brick roads, drainage systems and deep wells. A dried riverbed held what immediately became the largest collection of ceramics in Vietnam, virtually all imprinted with imperial marks.

Terra cotta sculptures of five-toed dragons and coil-tongued phoenixes, symbols of the king and queen, eyed the excavators from the dirt. Similar artifacts had been found in the past at Buddhist temples built by Great Viet rulers. Now archaeologists had a confirmation of their royal origin.

After 1010, the Great Viet ruled the northern half of present-day Vietnam, continually expanding southward in wars against the Indian-influenced Champa state. The north-south divide witnessed in "the American War" had a precedent going back a millennium.

By the 18th century, the south was ascendant. The Nguyen Dynasty moved the capital to Hue in central Vietnam in 1802, and the Thang Long citadel fell into disuse. Shortly after Hanoi became the capital of French Indochina in 1887, the French destroyed it.

The royal complex once covered an area now home to Ba Dinh Square, the modern military citadel, the military history museum, the presidential palace and Ho's mausoleum. It had dozens of palaces for the king, queen and royal family; pagodas and communal houses for the court and staff; and audience halls for government business.

As the military command center, it was enclosed by brick walls and guarded by armies who were also laborers.

From architecture to diet, Thang Long was an imperial capital in the tradition of Beijing's Forbidden City and Japan's Heijo Palace. The court feasted on deer, pig, chicken, fish and shellfish. They drank clean water from nearly 12 wells, the earliest dating from the seventh century. The rulers commissioned artisans to create ceramics and sculptures with classic Chinese designs.

They surrounded the complex with walls and roads built from bricks made all over the state. Today, these bricks are stacked in the thousands at the site, imprinted with Chinese characters describing where and when they were made, and for whom.

The Vietnamese clearly inherited their royal tradition from the Chinese. Yet Thang Long shows evidence of singularly Vietnamese traits. Examples are on display in the small on-site museum. Among them are terra cotta tile caps on the roof tiles in the shape of Bodhi leaves decorated with dragons and chrysanthemums, and terra cotta phoenixes that once reared, gargoyle style, from palace roof corners. Neither have been seen before.

"We knew very well the architecture from the 15th to the 19th centuries, but until we found Thang Long, we didn't know about architecture from the 10th to 15th centuries," Dr. Bui said.

Some collections may need to be reassessed in light of Thang Long. At the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, a 15th-century bowl long thought to be Chinese was recognized as Vietnamese only after nearly identical examples were found at the site.

These and other finds are discussed in the Vietnamese Institute of Archaeology's bilingual volume "Thang Long Imperial Citadel."

One percent of the site has been excavated. Archaeologists expect to learn more about individual dynasties as the dig continues over the next five years.

Today, the long pits excavated from 2002 to 2004 lie under corrugated metal roofs that channel heavy summer rain to be pumped out. Workers scrape the pottery-laden riverbed clear of moss that grows easily in the humid climate. In an adjacent closed area, some 200 more are excavating a section as large as the initial dig.

Only military officials, a handful of journalists and Vietnamese diplomats can visit Thang Long. Many people expect it to open to the public for Hanoi's celebration in 2010. Although some of the festivities take the form of public works like industrial parks, high-rise housing and road improvements, Thang Long is central to the commemoration.

A museum planned for 2010 will trace the development of the city from its beginnings as Thang Long, and an effort to designate it a Unesco World Heritage Site is in the works.

"It's very important to us that Unesco recognize Thang Long as a World Heritage Site," Dr. Bui said. "Thang Long is a symbol of the country."

Thang Long resonates today. (The city became known as Ha Noi, or between rivers, in the 1830s.)

It can be seen on shop signs for washing machines and on banners draped between sycamores greening the jammed streets. An oilfield discovered a few years ago off the southern coast of Vietnam was renamed Thang Long.

The city will have a second opera house, perhaps meant as an answer to the French-built Hanoi Opera House, by 2012. One guess what its name will be.

Thang Long may also develop as a case study in how archaeology can serve nationalistic goals, said Dr. Robert Murowchick, director of the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History at Boston University.

"This is not necessarily a bad thing," Murowchick said. "It can promote tourism and economic development, and inspire national pride and unity."

There can, however, be cause to worry if the information is distorted "to provide 'concrete evidence' of the glory of a particular culture, as we often see in Chinese archaeology," he said.

So far, this doesn't seem to be the case at Thang Long. Considering that the construction of the Parliament building was delayed by the discovery of the site, the finds could have been "disappeared," as occurs in many countries, Murowchick said.

Instead, the project was moved to southwest of the municipal center, and Vietnam enacted its first heritage preservation laws. Unesco and foreign universities have been permitted to run field schools and conferences at the site.


6  History / Making History / Re: Man and Ape on: October 12, 2007, 02:10:36 AM
Scientists sounding out how baboons think

Royal is a cantankerous old male baboon whose troop of some 80 members lives in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana. A perplexing event is about to disturb his day.

From the bushes to his right, he hears a staccato whoop, the distinctive call that female baboons always make after mating. He recognizes the voice as that of Jackalberry, the current consort of Cassius, a male who outranks Royal in the strict hierarchy of male baboons. No hope of sex today.

But then, surprisingly, he hears Cassius's signature greeting grunt to his left. His puzzlement is plain on the video made of his reaction. You can almost see the wheels turn slowly in his head:

"Jackalberry here, but Cassius over there. Hmm, Jackalberry must be hooking up with some one else. But that means Cassius has left her unguarded. Say what � this is my big chance!"

The video shows him loping off in the direction of Jackalberry's whoop. But all that he will find is the loudspeaker from which researchers have played Jackalberry's recorded call.

The purpose of the experiment is not to ruin Royal's day but to understand what goes on in a baboon's mind, in this case how carefully the animals keep track of transient relationships.

Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth, a husband-and-wife team of biologists at the University of Pennsylvania, have spent 14 years observing the Moremi baboons. Through ingenious playback experiments performed by themselves and colleagues, the researchers say they have worked out many aspects of what baboons use their minds for, along with their limitations.

Reading a baboon's mind affords an excellent grasp of the dynamics of baboon society. But more than that, it bears on the evolution of the human mind and the nature of human existence. As Darwin jotted down in a notebook of 1838, "He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke."

Cheney and Seyfarth are well known for a 1990 book on vervet monkeys, "How Monkeys See the World," in which they showed how much about the animals' mental processes could be deduced from careful experiments.

When a baby vervet's call is played to three females, for instance, the mother looks to the source of the sound. The two others look to the mother, evidence that vervets know whose baby is whose.

An experiment like this � recording the sounds, waiting until the animals are in the right place and performing numerous controls � can take months to complete, but the results are widely admired by other biologists. "Any work of Dorothy and Robert's is going to be as good as you get in the field," said Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford biologist and an author who has studied baboons in the wild for many years.

"There is no one else in the area of animal behavior who does such incredibly interesting experiments in the field," said Marc Hauser, a biologist at Harvard who was their first student.

Cheney and Seyfarth have summed up their new cycle of research in a book titled, after Darwin's comment, "Baboon Metaphysics." Their conclusion, based on many painstaking experiments, is that baboons' minds are specialized for social interaction, for understanding the structure of their complex society and for navigating their way within it.

The shaper of a baboon's mind is natural selection. Those with the best social skills leave the most offspring.

"Monkey society is governed by the same two general rules that governed the behavior of women in so many 19th-century novels," Cheney and Seyfarth write. "Stay loyal to your relatives (though perhaps at a distance, if they are an impediment), but also try to ingratiate yourself with the members of high-ranking families."

Baboon society revolves around mother-daughter lines of descent. Eight or nine matrilines are in a troop, each with a rank order. This hierarchy can remain stable for generations.

By contrast, the male hierarchy, which consists mostly of baboons born in other troops, is always changing as males fight among themselves and with new arrivals.

Rank among female baboons is hereditary, with a daughter assuming her mother's rank.

News of that fact gave great satisfaction to a member of the British royal family, Princess Michael of Kent. She visited Cheney and Seyfarth in Botswana, remarking to them, they report: "I always knew that when people who aren't like us claim that hereditary rank is not part of human nature, they must be wrong. Now you've given me evolutionary proof!"

Baboons live with danger on every side. Many fall prey to lions, leopards, pythons and the crocodiles that in the wet season stalk the fords where baboons cross from one island to another. Baboon watchers are subject to the same hazards. Cheney and Seyfarth say their rules are not to work alone or to wade into water deeper than knee high. They often find themselves sitting in a tree with baboons waiting out a lion below. But going into New York is more petrifying, they contend, than dodging Botswana's predators.

A Moremi baboon gingerly crossing a ford in Botswana as it watches for crocodiles. Baboons bark to warn others of danger.

The baboons will bark to warn of lions and leopards, but pay no attention to some other species dangerous to humans like buffalo and elephant. On two occasions, baboons have attacked animals, a leopard and a honey badger, that threatened their human companions. "We haven't lost any post-docs," Seyfarth said.

For female baboons, another constant worry besides predation is infanticide. Their babies are put in peril at each of the frequent upheavals in the male hierarchy. The reason is that new alpha males enjoy brief reigns, seven to eight months on average, and find at first that the droits de seigneur they had anticipated are distinctly unpromising. Most of the females are not sexually receptive because they are pregnant or nurturing unweaned children.

An unpleasant fact of baboon life is that the alpha male can make mothers re-enter their reproductive cycles, and boost his prospects of fatherhood, by killing their infants. The mothers can secure some protection for their babies by forming close bonds with other females and with male friends, particularly those who were alpha when their children were conceived and who may be the father. Still, more than half of all deaths among baby baboons are from infanticide.

So important are these social skills that it is females with the best social networks, not those most senior in the hierarchy, who leave the most offspring.

Although the baboon and human lines of descent split apart some 30 million years ago, the species have much in common. Both are primates whose ancestors came down from the trees and learned to survive on the ground in large social groups. The baboon mind may therefore shed considerable light on the early stages of the evolution of the human mind.

In some of their playback experiments, Cheney and Seyfarth have tested baboons' knowledge of where everyone stands in the hierarchy. In a typical interaction, a dominant baboon gives a threat grunt, and its inferior screams. From their library of recorded baboon sounds, the researchers can fabricate a sequence in which an inferior baboon's threat grunt is followed by a superior's scream.

Baboons pay little attention when a normal interaction is played to them but show surprise when they hear the fabricated sequence implying their social world has been turned upside down.

This simple reaction says a lot about what is going in the baboon's mind. That the animal can construe "A dominates B," and distinguish it from "B dominates A," means it must be able to break a stream of sounds down into separate elements, recognize the meaning of each, and combine the meanings into a sentence-like thought.

"That's what we do when we parse a sentence," Seyfarth said. Human language seems unique because no other species is capable of anything like speech. But when it comes to perceiving and deconstructing sounds, as opposed to making them, baboons' ability seems much more language-like.

Assuming that early humans inherited the same ability from their joint ancestor with baboons, then when humans first started to combine sounds in the beginning of spoken language, "their listeners were all ready to perceive them," Seyfarth said.

Baboons may be good at perceiving and thinking in a combinative way, but their vocal output consists of single sounds that are never combined, like greeting grunts, the females' sexual whoop and the males' competitive "wahoo!" cry. Why did language, expressed in combinations of sounds, evolve in humans but not in baboons?

A possible key to the puzzle lies in what animal psychologists call theory of mind, the ability to infer what another animal does or does not know. Baboons seem to have a very feeble theory of mind. When they cross from one island to another, ever fearful of crocodiles, the adults will often go first, leaving the juveniles fretting at the water's edge. However much the young baboons call, their mothers never come back to help, as if unable to divine their children's predicament.

But people have a very strong ability to recognize the mental states of others, and this could have prompted a desire to communicate that drove the evolution of language. "If I know you don't know something, I am highly motivated to communicate it," Seyfarth said.

It is far from clear why humans acquired a strong theory of mind faculty and baboons did not. Another difference between the two species is brain size. Some biologists have suggested that the demands of social living were the evolutionary pressure that enhanced the size of the brain. But the largest brains occur in chimpanzees and humans, who live in smaller groups than baboons.

But both chimps and humans use tools. Possibly social life drove the evolution of the primate brain to a certain point, and the stimulus of tool use then took over. Use of tools would have spurred communication, as the owner of a tool explained to others how to use it. But that requires a theory of mind, and Cheney and Seyfarth are skeptical of claims that chimpanzees have a theory of mind, in part because the experiments supporting that position have been conducted on captive chimps. "It's bewildering to us that none of the people who study ape cognition have been motivated to study wild chimpanzees," Cheney said.

"Baboons provide you with an example of what sort of social and cognitive complexity is possible in the absence of language and a theory of mind," she said. "The selective forces that gave rise to our large brains and our full-blown theory of mind remain mysterious, at least to us."


7  History / Post-Columbian America / Archaeologists Probe Secret Tunnels in California on: September 28, 2007, 04:54:56 PM
FRESNO, Calif. �  Tunnels run beneath Chinatown in Fresno, Calif.: brick-walled passages that were once home to people and activities that couldn't be mentioned aboveground.

Rick Lew knows, because he walked the passages as a child, entering through a trapdoor in his grandfather's liquor store.

"There was a nightlife you couldn't see from the streets," he said.

But to many others, the lace-work of tunnels sprawling under the city was just another tall tale from Fresno's days as a Western railroad town and a hub of gambling and prostitution.

Now, a group of archaeologists is using ground-penetrating radar to find evidence of the secret passages, which are believed to branch out from long-abandoned basements littered with animal and human waste, cobwebs and other filth.

The project, funded by the city and headed by a group working to preserve Chinatown, will take data gathered via radar and compare the findings to the memories of those who recall the neighborhood's heyday, said Kathy Omachi, vice president of Chinatown Revitalization. That will help archeologists decide where to dig trenches and look for the passages, researchers said.

The approximately six blocks just west of the railroad tracks that make up the historic Chinatown were Fresno's birthplace, said Karana Hattersley-Drayton, the city's historic preservation officer. Unlike the better-known Chinese quarters of San Francisco and New York, there's little left of it today � at least on the surface.

But fire insurance maps from the 1880s show a densely populated area offering a stark contrast from the wide-open ranch and farm country all around.

It was home to the Chinese laborers who laid Fresno's foundations, and to successive layers of immigrants � Japanese, Armenians, Mexicans, Portuguese, Basque and others � who were kept separate from the growing white population by the iron boundary of the train tracks.

The area long housed family run stores, temples, churches, Chinese and Japanese schools. But it was also host to illicit activities � gambling, drinking during Prohibition, and prostitution � not deemed respectable enough for the "good side of town."

Omachi's father, a Japanese immigrant, was born here in 1913 "between a bar and a house of ill repute," she said.

Many establishments had basements, some of them interconnected. Of those that can still be seen today, some end in bricked-off walls that longtime residents say hide tunnel entrances.

As late as the 1950s, when Lew was a boy, Chinatown was still thriving � both its respectable establishments and as its shadier side.

He remembers visiting the underground world with his father, first passing though a dark basement before descending into a lit tunnel with an arched roof and enough space for two people to pass by each other. There were people there he recognized from the neighborhood. And then there were the glamorous women whose images remain seared in his memory decades later.

"They were off to the side, in bright satin dresses, one red, one blue," said Lew, speculating that they were probably prostitutes. "I later asked my father about it. He said it was something we don't mention."

Jon Brady, lead archaeologist on the project, said the tunnels may have been built to provide cool underground storage in a region known for sweltering summer heat. But they later proved handy for communication, transportation, and even escape when necessary.

"These groups that lived on the fringe could have resorted to them to protect themselves, communicate away from public view, who knows what else," Brady said.

Local lore holds, though it still hasn't been proved by research, that a tunnel one time extended beyond the railroad tracks into the traditionally white part of town, possibly allowing "respectable" citizens access to the illicit charms of Chinatown.

"Some say that was blown up during prohibition," said Hattersley-Drayton, who got a lot of calls from longtime residents once the project got started. "I'm hearing that from a lot of people, but we just don't know yet."

In the 1950s and '60s, many of Chinatown's buildings were torn down to make way for new development or freeways, and much of the history was buried, Lew said.

"Many of the older residents packed up and left, and it started getting rough," Lew said. He now lives far from Chinatown, but remains surrounded by artifacts from the days his family was an important part of the neighborhood: tall, elaborately decorated vases, paintings and sculptures handed down by his grandfather, and the old manual cash register that rang up purchases at the liquor store.

Today, Fresno's Chinatown is largely abandoned, peopled by the homeless, with many of its facades boarded up and only a few remaining businesses � an herb shop, a fish market � serving as evidence of the lively commercial center and night spot it once was.

It's a part of the region's history that's been forgotten, but that was an important aspect of the city's development, and of the settlement of the West, researchers said.

"This is an opportunity for us to look at where we were," said Patti Miller, spokeswoman for the city. "As we turn our eyes to revitalizing downtown, this aspect is critical."

Although the archaeological study is just beginning, there appears to be some evidence of underground "linear structures" that could be large drainage pipes, or tunnels, said Brady.

Hattersley-Drayton hopes someday Chinatown and its excavated tunnels might be developed for heritage tourism, bringing some income to what is now an impoverished area.

For now, it's just about understanding what's there, Brady said.

"This is a first step, and it's about approaching parts of community history that are not in books," said Brady. "Parts that are literally below the surface, but that deserve to be told."

8  History / Making History / Modern Humans Retain Caveman's Survival Instincts on: September 25, 2007, 10:20:18 PM
Like hunter-gatherers in the jungle, modern humans are still experts at spotting predators and prey, despite the developed world's safe suburbs and indoor lifestyle, a new study suggests.
The research, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that humans today are hard-wired to pay attention to other people and animals much more so than non-living things, even if inanimate objects are the primary hazards for modern, urbanized folks.
The researchers say the finding supports the idea that natural selection molded mechanisms into our ancestors' brains that were specialized for paying attention to humans and other animals. These adaptive traits were then passed on to us.
"We're assuming that natural selection takes a long time to build anything anew and that's why this is left over from our past," said study team member Leda Cosmides, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Ancestor's eyes
Immersed in a rich, biotic environment, it would have been imperative for our ancestors to monitor both humans and non-human animals. Predators and prey took many different forms�lions, tigers and bears�and they changed often, so constant eyeballing was critical.
While the environment has changed since then, with high-rises emerging where forests once took root and pampered pets taking the place of stalking beasts, our instinct-driven attention has not followed suit.
"Having this pop-out attentional bias for animals is sort of a vestigial behavior," said study team member Joshua New of Yale University's Perception and Cognition Lab.
In the study, groups of undergraduate students from UCSB, watched images displayed on computer monitors. The flashing images alternated between pairs of various outdoor scenes, with the first image showing one scene and the next an alternate version of that scene with one change. Participants indicated each time whether they detected a change.
The photographs included animate categories, such as people and other animals, as well as inanimate ones, such as plants, artifacts that can be manipulated (stapler or wheelbarrow) and fixed artifacts, such as landmarks (windmill or house).
Modern hunter-gatherers
Overall, the subjects were faster and more accurate at detecting changes involving all animals compared with inanimate objects. They correctly detected nearly 90 percent of the changes to "living" targets compared with 66 percent for inanimate objects.
In particular, the students spotted changes in elephant and human scenes 100 percent of the time, while they had a success rate of just over 75 percent for photos showing a silo and 67 percent for those with a coffee mug.
Though we are more likely to meet death via an SUV than a charging wildebeest, the results indicated subjects were slower and less successful at detecting changes to vehicles than to animals.
The researchers compare our attentional bias toward animals to the appendix, an organ present in modern humans because it was useful for our ancestors, but useless now.
These results have implications for phobias and other behaviors that involve focus toward specific categories of objects over others.
"People develop phobias for spiders and snakes and things that were ancestral threats. It's very infrequent to have somebody afraid of cars or electrical outlets," New told LiveScience. "Those statistically pose much more of a threat to us than a tiger. That makes it an interesting test case as to why do tigers still capture attention."

9  Revealing the Treasures of History / Maritime archaeology / Archaeologist Takes 2nd Look at Cannon on: September 25, 2007, 09:35:24 PM
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. �  An archaeologist is taking a second look at a small cannon found by fishermen off the Virginia coast more than two decades ago in hopes of determining how it got to the bottom of the ocean _ and who left it there.

Rod Mather, a professor of maritime history and underwater archaeology at the University of Rhode Island, has studied the 25-square-mile area surrounding the site where the cannon was found the past two summers.

Some historians believe the 4-feet-long, 300-pound cannon, which was loaded when it was found 24 years ago, is an English cannon from the 1580s, making it one of the oldest English artifacts ever found in the Americas.

Others argue that even if the cannon dates back to the 1580s, it could have been in use in the early 17th century when more ships were up and down the Virginia and Carolina coasts.

"If it's a shipwreck, and it's an English shipwreck, it would be the earliest English shipwreck in the New World," Mather said. "If you think about what we know about American history, the fuzzy part is the part about the early exploration of America."

Mather also questions if the cannon could have even more significant historical value _ possibly answering the question of what happened to the so-called Lost Colony.

The "disappearance" of 117 English colonists in the late 1580s on what is now Roanoke Island in North Carolina has baffled experts. Mather suggests the cannon possibly could have been left by the colonists _ either because their ship sank or by simply falling overboard _ as they fled in search of better living conditions.

Curators at East Carolina University in the mid-1980s _ where Mather was a graduate student who worked on the cannon _ dated it to 1587 and determined it was an English, land-based piece called a "falcon."

John White, whose 1590 expedition to Roanoke discovered that the colonists were no longer there, wrong in his journal: "From thence we went along by the water side, towards the point of the creek to see if we could find any of their boats or pinnaces, but we could perceive no sign of them, nor any of the last falcons and small ordinance (sic) which were left with them, at my departure from them."

"It's easy to run wild with that," Mather said. "But it's also true."

Many historians believe a faction of the Roanoke colonists fled the island, possibly to the Chesapeake Bay or other nearby areas.

While Mather doesn't necessarily favor the Lost Colony theory, he hopes to find evidence of a shipwreck.

He is aided in his search by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship Thomas Jefferson, based in Norfolk. The ship's advanced side-scan sonar capabilities and other devices help him map the ocean bottom to find any irregularities that might indicate other artifacts or ballast stones from a ship.

The NOAA's Office for Ocean Exploration funds Mather's work, which is in its early stages.

He has yet to find anything that demonstrably appears to be a shipwreck, but Mather is undeterred. Still, he has his doubters.

Ivor Noel Hume, former chief archaeologist at Colonial Williamsburg and noted author on America's early English settlements, doesn't believe the Lost Colony possibility.

"There is nothing to be said about it," Noel Hume said. "It's a loose cannon. It really is."

Noel Hume said the cannon more likely was jettisoned during a storm, possibly after it had been in use for decades, off any of a number of ships sailing up and down the coast after the 1607 founding of Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in North America.

"A lot of ships went up and down the East Coast. A lot of ships sunk that we don't know about," he said.

"A pirate would take on cannon and put it on another ship. They would keep on using them. You could argue that gun was still on a ship in the 1620s."

He also said he doesn't agree with the cannon's 1580 dating: "You can't date it that closely, I think."

Mather and his colleagues face months of work to analyze the data collected for his July trip to the site, which will determine if he returns to the site.

"We have different sensors that we're using that are starting to point to specific areas," he said. "There's some cause for optimism."


10  History Hunters / Coffee Shop / Re: The Strange Disappearance of Steve Fossett on: September 22, 2007, 05:02:17 AM
I have seen many old crashes from the air and have explored many in the Sierras and the mountains of the San Diego area and the Baja on foot.  They are hard to spot from the air and depressing to explore on foot.  Fossett was flying a Super Decath that probably had a plexiglass roof and was looking for a place to break the land speed record.  I knew a guy who had a similar airplane and wanted to take pics of his ranch here in Ramona, so he flew inverted over it and was taking pictures of it through the roof when he broke the land speed record for a few milliseconds when he hit the mountain.

I have no idea what happened to Fossett but understand what may have motivated him to do whatever he did last.  I have serious doubts he wanted to dissapear.

There are more of Mofac's stories at http://www.mofak.com/tins_tales.htm and if you doubt any of them, you'll have to deal with me.  I have others he might deny.  Just ask.
11  History Hunters / Coffee Shop / Re: The Strange Diappearance of Fossett on: September 22, 2007, 04:44:56 AM
I have to reply to this because I recently got this email from an old (older than me) and trusted friend.  It doesn't answer Cyn's questions but tells a wonderful story.  As Mofak always has.

 San Gorgonio Mountain:  The Magnet For Aircraft

Old Greyback Peak Hidden in Clouds During Winter of 1950

Living at 228 South Second Street in Yucaipa provided me with towering, majestic San Bernardino Mountain every time I looked out the bay window or stepped out the front door.  It was huge.  It was beautiful.  And it beckoned to me every day.  During 1950-1952, I climbed the 10, 650 foot high mountain several times.  By age 15 my name was in the logs on all the high peaks that had metal boxes with a log for signing.  Mr. Fiddler lived next door and asked me to take him to the top of the mountain.  Grandad dropped us off at Forest Home and we took the trail to Dobbs Cabin and on up to the top of San Bernardino Mountain.  We spent the night just below the summit where we looked down steeply at our homes in Yucaipa.  The next morning after breakfast, we came straight down the face of the mountain until stepping out on the Forest Home Road.  Mr. Fiddler could never quit talking about his round trip to the peak.

San Gorgonio Mountain was a constant challenge.  Old Greyback as it was called by everyone in the area, is the highest peak in Southern California and recorded as 11,502 feet high.  It was always white on top because it was above the tree-line and in the winter it was covered with snow, while in the summer the white granite gleamed through any remaining snow.  I climbed it whenever the opportunity existed.  Grandad would drop me off at Forest Home or Fallsvale on Friday and then pick me up on Sunday in Banning.  It was a pristine wilderness but I never saw or heard a mountain lion but I saw herds of big horn sheep and other wild animals.  Hunters kept the mountain lions killed out.  It was safe for humans anywhere in the San Bernardino National Forest.

In the summer of 1951 I visited my mother in the midwest.  A bomber wing plant was being built cost-plus in Kansas City and I hired on as a 16 year old by saying I was 18.  The pay was about $2.25 per hour with double time on weekends.  Working for my Grandad who was a Home Building Contractor paid me only 75 cents per hour.  I was rolling in money as a plumber's assistant while on summer vacation.  I stayed with the job and entered high school while still working for double time on weekends.  That lasted about two weekends and I was fired. 

My Grandma called from California about December 1, 1952, telling me about the crash of a DC-3 into the side of Old Greyback.  She said, "There's snow on Greyback and the officials say they can't get to the crash.  Mr. Fiddler says that you could get them to the crash."  She wrote me and sent a clipping.  she told how a helicopter had crashed trying to get to survivors.  Apparently only the helicopter crew survived.  She said the rescuers were going to wait until Spring to try and get the 13 bodies out of the wreckage because there was too much snow.  She told me to come on back to Yucaipa and take them to the crash site.  All that made me feel good but I knew the government would get to the wreckage if it was possible.  Besides, I was playing football on a team with an unbeaten and untied record.  A bowl game was a certainty.

Old Greyback Looks Down on a Section of F-8E Crusaders

In the summer of 1970, I was flying a Marine VMA-214 Blacksheep A-4C Skyhawk west through the Banning Pass.  The weather was CAVU  [Clear of clouds and visibility unlimited].  From my altitude of about 13,000 a flash caused me to look toward Old Greyback.  It was a bright reflection from an object near rocky cliffs below a ridge about half as high as Old Greyback.  I circled the brilliant object and could see wreckage from what had to be an airplane.  I took several pictures of the wreckage and the surrounding terrain.  If the crash had not been reported, the photos would be helpful for rescuers.  Checking with the FAA after landing at El Toro revealed that a Cessna Skymaster had crashed the previous October near the location I described.

The Wreckage Was Near Rocky Cliffs in the Wilderness Area

My sons, Mike 12 and Chris 10, watched me looking at the pictures of the crash site.  They had been climbing Old greyback with me twice a year since I returned from Vietnam.  They liked climbing the mountains that I had enjoyed as a youth.  They became interested in the crash.  Mike said, "We could climb up Greyback and down to Big Tree and cut across to the wreckage." 

I said, "Yes we can.  But why do it?  The people were killed in the wreckage and rescuers recovered the bodies." 

Chris joined in with Mike and both pleaded to hike up the next free weekend.  We discussed how arduous the trek would be.  The boys did not care.  They wanted to take along John, their friend next door.  Being always ready for a trip to Old Greyback, I agreed we would go to the crash site.

Sport the dog, Mike, Chris and John piled into the station wagon and at 5 AM we drove from Tustin and arrived at the parking area beyond Barton Flats at 6:30.  Mike and Chris donned 15 lb packs that contained only water and their sleeping bag.  John was out of shape so I carried his sleeping bag and all food and everything else necessary for spending the night in the wilderness.  My pack weighed about 60 lbs.  Mike and Sport were first up the trail.  The first leg to Poop Out hill was tough.  No switchbacks.  Just a steady climb up the mountain.  Poop Out was aptly named.  Many starters quit before reaching the first goal.

Two hours of switch backs later we had covered the 3 and 1/2 miles to Dry Lake. Sport was in the water cooling his paws and the boys were exploring.  The lake was at the 9,000 foot level.

After a brief rest the boys were eager to press on up the trail.  The divide was reached by 10 AM.  We started down the back side towards Big Tree.  Downhill went fast.  I called a halt when we reached the end of the trail.  Our maps indicated we were at the point where we should cut across the ridges to the rocky cliffs.  Mike took the lead and headed across to the first ridge.  After turning the corner on the first ridge, we saw many more ridges than we counted on the map.  The hike became grueling.  The green grassy looking growth on the pictures was manzanita and buckthorn bushes.  We clawed and pulled our way across and around each slope as we slowly worked toward that last ridge with the cliffs.  We stopped, rested and checked the maps and photos frequently.  The buckthorn caused us to detour around, over, backtrack, and push through where possible.  We finally reached the saddle in the ridge we had picked for our final checkpoint.  We rounded the corner and what a beautiful sight we found.  Not only were the cliffs that marked the crash site in front of us but we could also see Saddleback Mountain in the distance and the entire Los Angeles Basin.  Numerous deer and big horn sheep were scattered about the mountain slopes.

We guessed the crash site was only about 300 yards away.  So it was decided to leave the packs and only take the camera and our canteens over.  The final distance proved the toughest of all.  The manzanita and buckthorn brush was so thick we could find no trails.  We were back to crawling and climbing over the tops which ranged from knee high to over our heads.  It took over an hour to make the short distance to the other side of the cliffs.  I suggested we give it up but the boys said "No!  We want to see the wreckage!  We can make it!"

It was 3:30 in the afternoon when we passed the edge of the last cliff and saw the wreckage.  We saw it was an Air Force FAC aircraft with an engine in the front and one in the back.  We called them a push-pull.  It had a double boom tail but it was unrecognizable.  The wreckage was demoralizing.  The boys realized it was just a pile of broken airplane parts and was not really worth all that pain and exertion expended to reach it. 

It Was Not Worth All the Pain and Suffering to Get to the Crash!

Sport and the boys drank up their water and rested.  I took pictures of the wreckage. Mike said, "It is just a crash.  I'm not sure why I wanted to make such a difficult trip.  I'm disappointed and I don't think I will ever do this again."

"You will look back at this trip as an adventure.  Something to be proud of.  You proved that you can do anything you set out to do.  You will have the confidence to make sacrifices in the future when someone has to be rescued from a crash." I reassured them.

We climbed up higher to make the trip back to our packs.  The brush was not as thick and we quickly arrived back at the saddle.  Our water was depleted.  We had to hurry down to the creek before dark.  The canyon was steep but lacked the brush we had fought across the slopes.  It was 6 PM when we reached the creek.  The brook was deep, clear and cold.  We went face down in the refreshing water.  Sport was submerged for a while as he tried to both drink and cool down.  We ate our big meal, rested for an hour and then started up the canyon to find a secluded place to bed down out of the wind that rushes down the canyon.  A half mile up the creek we found a willow grove, made a fire and laid out our bags for the night.  We talked about our trip until John started snoring.  We all slept soundly until daylight.

Next morning we were up early, loaded our packs and canteens and prepared for the climb back up Old Greyback.  Soon, we were past Big Tree and on the switchbacks up to the 10,000 foot ridge.  We reached Dry Lake before noon and soaked our blistered feet while we ate the last of our canned food.  We set out at a fast pace down the final 3 and 1/2 miles past Poop Out Hill and to the parking lot.  We were in the car and starting down the road to civilization by 1 PM.  We were looking forward to stopping at Barton flats and buying a soda pop or other belly wash to replenish our energy.

Old Greyback called us back many times over the years.  It is more difficult to visit our National Parks and Wilderness areas than when I was young and when my children were kids.  The reservations and waiting take a lot of the enjoyment away.  Nothing can be spontaneous any more.  Permission required well in advance, otherwise stay away.  Doing it alone is dangerous because of the protected species of predators reestablished where it once was safe for boys and girls to explore and camp.

Old Greyback has been a magnet for airplanes throughout 100 years of aviation.  Many aviator ghosts surely linger around the massive white top of the mountain.  Famous people have died in crashes into Grey Back.  Frank Sinatra's mother died in a flight out of Palm Springs.  Dean Martin's son was killed when his F4 Phantom impacted near the crash site where the boys and I trekked to the O-2 Skymaster crash.   Flying is inherently dangerous, but it is suicidal to fly around Old Greyback at night or in clouds without knowing exactly where the aircraft is and where Old Greyback is lurking.

Semper Fi

Donald E. Cathcart

Back to Back We Face the Past.


12  History Hunters / Making Sense of Evidence / Re: Compelling Evidence, New Study, 'Hobbit' Fossil Not New Species on: September 22, 2007, 04:03:14 AM
You are probably right, Lubby, about the order of the images, but the article wasn't specific.  I think it is a wonderful idea to try to find out if more apelike hands could have fashioned such tools.  I seem to remember we have a member with expertise as a knapper but who it is escapes me at this moment.  Bart?  If we could get that person together with an orthopedic anthropologist, assuming there is such a specialist, we might get a better idea of the possibility of this being a new species.

One of the comments that stuck in my mind (not that many things do anymore) when this first became public was by one of the first anthropologists to claim Hobbit was Floresiensis.  He said he would have been much less surprised to find the remains were of an alien from somewhere other than earth.  That got my attention.
13  History Hunters / Making Sense of Evidence / Re: Compelling Evidence, New Study, 'Hobbit' Fossil Is New Species on: September 20, 2007, 10:44:57 PM
'Hobbit' Was Distinct Species, Wrist Bones Indicate

A smoking gun that could snuff out a hot debate over skeletal remains dubbed the "hobbit" is in hand, literally, according to a group of scientists.

Three wrist bones provide key evidence supporting the argument that fossil remains of an ancient, undersized individual represent a new hominin species that walked the Earth with modern humans, say the study scientists.

The wrist bones resemble those in apes more than those in humans, the researchers write in the Sept. 21 issue of the journal Science.
Until now, most had assumed that we (modern humans) strode the planet with just one other Homo species, the Neanderthals, and when these guys went extinct, we represented the sole-surviving members of the human genus.

Now it seems, we might have hung out with another Homo species.

"Up until [the hobbit remains] were discovered, we thought we were the only ones for at least 30,000 years, because 30,000 years ago Neanderthals went extinct," said lead author Matthew Tocheri, an anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Three species' wrist bones; the colors show where other bones touch

Tiny humans?

First unearthed in 2003 in the Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, the remains belong to a three-foot-tall (one meter) adult female, who was about 30 years old when she died 18,000 years ago.

Her stature, combined with evidence from other fossils found at the site, paint a picture of a diminutive bipedal individual who used stone tools and fire while hunting the island's pygmy elephants, Komodo dragons and giant rats.

Since the discovery, scientists have debated whether the specimen represents a new hominin species called Homo floresiensis, possibly a dwarfed offshoot of Homo erectus, a human ancestor that lived as far back as 1.8 million years ago.

Critics, including biological anthropologist Robert Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago, say the remains belonged to a human with microcephalia, a pathological condition characterized by a small head, short stature and some mental retardation.

The hobbit's brain was about one-third the size of a modern adult human's brain.

Hands down finding

In the new work, Tocheri and his colleagues analyzed three wrist bones from the hobbit skeleton, technically called Liang Bua 1 or LB1.

The shape and orientation of the bones matched those of non-human apes and were very different from the wrist bones of Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) and modern humans.

For example, the human trapezoid is boot-shaped, while the same wrist bone in LB1 is wedge-shaped.

"Are they a distinct species or are they pathological modern humans?" asks study leader Tocheri. "I think it's pretty clear that this is a smoking gun, that they are not pathological modern humans. Modern human wrists, normal or abnormal, don't look like an otherwise normal chimpanzee wrist."

After considering the new findings, Martin, who doubts the Homo floresiensis theory, said: "I think it's a pathological modern human," meaning it represents one of us, but with a disease.

He said microcephalia, which shrinks human heads, could also have affected the wrist bones (though nobody has tested this idea).

While Martin says he believes the wrist bones of LB1 match those of earlier hominin species, he points out they weren't compared with Homo erectus, for which wrist bones don't yet exist.

In addition, the finding doesn't rule out microcephalia as the cause of the primitive-looking wrist bones, he said.

However, Martin admits many scientists are on the "new species" side of the debate.

"Most of my colleagues believe this is a new species and that the tiny brain is normal, and I just don't accept that," Martin said.


14  History / History / Traditional English cooking: nettle pudding and other ancient recipes on: September 17, 2007, 05:18:08 PM
When you think of old-fashioned English cooking, it probably conjures up images of roast beef or steak and kidney pie. But nettle pudding makes those dishes look like young pretenders.

The creation from 6,000BC was yesterday declared Britain's oldest recipe. It was a staple of Stone Age man, who made it by mixing nettles and other leaves such as dandelion and sorrel, with barley flour, salt and water.

Almost as old are smoky stew, which was made of bacon and smoked fish, and meat pudding, a forerunner of haggis and sausages.

Roast hedgehog was also a firm favourite some 8,000 years ago, the UKTV series The People's Cookbook will reveal.

Served with a wild duck or cinnamon sauce, hedgehog was the provenance of the rich, with its thorny nature meaning it would have been avoided by all but the most adventurous cooks.

Barley bread was popular from around 5,000BC, while pottage, or meat and vegetable stew, became part of the Ancient Briton's diet 3,000 years later.

Nettle pudding has been declared Britain's oldest recipe, dating from 6,000BC

Prior to the arrival of the Romans, popular English dishes included smokey fish stew and roasted hedgehog

With the arrival of the Romans came the concept of using eggs to blend and set foods, rather than just eating them whole.

Cracking the egg brought custards, pies and pastries, including the original mince pie.

Unlike the sweet versions favoured by 21st century Britons, the first mince contained meat. Fruit was also included, while alcohol and spices were used to preserve the mixture.

Passed on by word of mouth at first, recipes were written down from Roman times, with many going on to form part of today's staple diet.

Paul Moreton, of UKTV Food said: "Although British eating habits have obviously changed over the years, this shows that home-cooked dishes like pancakes and pottage have been passed down from generation to generation."

But, while pies, stews and dumplings may still be popular diet today, other ancient foods have fallen off most menus.

These include garum and liquamen. Made by the Romans from the 1st century AD, these pungent pastes and sauces, made from fish guts and heads, were used to flavour dishes.

Dr Ruth Fairchild, who spoke to food experts and archaeologists to compile the list of Britain's oldest recipes, said there is much to be learned from our forefathers' attitude to food.
The University of Wales Institute home economist, said: "You have to think how much more is wasted now than then.

"Food waste today is huge. A third of the food in our fridges is thrown away every week without being eaten.

"But they wouldn't have wasted anything, even hooves would have been used for something.

"They had to eat what was grown within a few miles, because it would have taken so long to collect everything, and even collecting water would have been a bit of a trial.

"Yet today, so many people don't want to cook because they think of it as a chore."
Nettle pudding

1 bunch of sorrel
1 bunch of watercress
1 bunch of dandelion leaves
2 bunches of young nettle leaves
Some chives
1 cup of barley flour
1 teaspoon salt

Chop the herbs finely and mix in the barley flour and salt. Add enough water to bind it together and place in the centre of a linen or muslin cloth. Tie the cloth securely and add to a pot of simmering venison or wild boar (a pork joint will do just as well). Leave in the pot until the meat is cooked and serve with chunks of bread.

Smokey Fish Stew

125g bacon
2 leeks
500g of any smoked fish
1 litre milk
1 cup cream
Some chives
1 tsp salt

Fry the bacon until the fat comes away from it and add the chopped leeks. Cook until tender. Add the fillets of fish and cover with the milk. Slowly cook in a pot near the fire until the fish is cooked, which is about 30 minutes. Pour in the cream, along with the chopped chives and salt. Among the fish remains found in prehistoric middens (waste pits) in northern Europe are: eel, carp, pike, perch, trout, salmon, plaice, bass, mullet, cod and spurdog.

Taken from Prehistoric Cooking by Jacqui Wood (Tempus, 2002); also at www.channel4.com/history/microsites/T/timeteam/snapshot_recipes

Patina of Elderberries

6 bunches of elderberries
tsp pepper
1 tsp anchovy essence
4 fl oz (125ml) wine
4 fl oz (125ml) passum
4 fl oz (125ml) olive oil
6 eggs

Remove the fruits from the elderberry bunches. Wash, place in a saucepan with a little water, and simmer gently until just softened. Drain and arrange in a greased shallow pan. Add the pepper, moisten with anchovy essence, then add the wine and passum and mix well. Finally add the olive oil and bring to the boil. When the mixture is boiling, break the eggs into it and stir well to bind. When set, sprinkle pepper over it and serve hot or cold. If you are unsure of any of the plants in these recipes please check before picking in the wild and eating.
Given in Roman Cookery by Jane Renfrew (English Heritage, 1985)

Liquamen or Garum

1 jar of salted anchovies (100g/3 oz)
700ml/24 fl oz water
400g/14 oz sea salt
A pinch of dried oregano
1 tbsp sapa

Dissolve the salt in the water over a low heat. Add the anchovies to the salted water with the oregano and sapa. Simmer gently for 20 minutes and then leave to cool. Strain the garum through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and store in a jar ready for use.

Another Roman recipe, mentioned in Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant (Serif, 1999)

Mussels in Mitulis

Liquamen (see above)
Chopped leek
Passum (very sweet wine sauce made by boiling the must � could use sapa above)

Mix the liquamen, chopped leek, cumin and passum or sweet wine. Add water. Cook until the mussels are tender.

Cited at: www.romans-in-britain.org.uk/arl_roman_recipes-mussels_in_sweet_wine_sauce

Roasted Meats (Hedgehog)
According to medieval experts: "Hedgehog should have its throat cut, be singed and gutted, then trussed like a pullet, then pressed in a towel until very dry; and then roast it and eat with cameline sauce, or in pastry with wild duck sauce. Note that if the hedgehog refuses to unroll, put it in hot water." (Taken from www.medievalcookery.com/oddities.shtm) This is, however, a dish based on traditional methods of cooking meat going back to prehistoric times.

2�2.5kg joint of meat (or leg of lamb)
Sufficient long grass to cover the meat

Season the meat. Wrap it in long grass, first lengthways and then tying more grass crossways to secure the green wrapping in place. Prepare your barbecue and place a large pot filled with water on it. Cook the meat for about two hours. Once the meat has cooked, remove the grass then place the meat back in the barbecue to sear. Then carve and serve. (Nettle pudding can be boiled in the same pot and served as an accompaniment.)

See: www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/ancient/boiled_ meat_grass.html

Prepare some stock. It can contain meat or be vegetarian. Use stock cubes or leftover bones boiled and chopped up meat. Us
e about as much stock as the quantity of pottage you wish to end up with. In this stock cook as many different kinds of vegetables and herbs as you like. (Tomatoes and potatoes would not have been used.)

Suggestion of ingredients:
Onions of all varieties
Cabbage of any kind (sorrel, cabbage)
Green beans or dried beans
Thyme, sage, parsley, marjoram, rosemary

When all the vegetables are cooked, add some porridge oats. If you want your pottage to be runny, like soup, add a couple of tablespoons of oats. If you want it to be extra thick and filling add a large cupful. Continue to simmer until the porridge is cooked. Adjust the seasoning and serve with bread and cheese.

Cited at www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk/recipes.htm

Porridge � a Roman speciality � was made not just from oats but wheat, millet and barley with milk or water salt or honey. Variants included Breakfast Porridge and Carthaginian Porridge.

In ancient times these would have been a seasonal delicacy as eggs would not have been available all year round. Perhaps that's why they have become associated with the season of Lent and Easter, when eggs would have been in abundance as the birds would be laying.

125g wholewheat flour
500ml milk (from any domestic animal)
2 eggs (duck eggs get you closer to ancient times but hen eggs will do)
pinch of salt
butter to cook

To make pancakes simply whisk all the ingredients together then leave to stand for at least 90 minutes. At the end of this time heat a pan or a griddle, add a knob of butter and cook small spoonfuls of the mixture. The pancakes work well hot with honey or can be served cold spread with butter and jam.

Alternatives: Finely chop wood sorrel (has a lemony flavour) and mix into some honey and spread over the pancakes. Mix about 100g of toasted, chopped hazelnuts into the pancake mixture. Mix some fruit such as blackcurrants, blackberries, wild strawberries or elderberries into the mix.

See: www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/ancient/pancakes

Nettle Pudding

1 bunch of sorrel
1 bunch of watercress
1 bunch of dandelion leaves
2 bunches of young nettle leaves
Some chives
1 cup of barley flour
1 tsp salt

Chop the herbs and mix in the barley flour and salt. Add enough water to bind and place in the centre of a linen or muslin cloth. Tie the cloth and add to a pot of simmering venison or wild boar (a pork joint will do just as well). Leave in the pot until meat is cooked.

This dish is thought to date back to 6,000BC. It is described in Prehistoric Cooking by Jacqui Wood (Tempus, 2002)

Meat Pudding
1 sheep's stomach or ox secum, cleaned and scalded, turned inside out and soaked overnight in cold salted water heart and lungs of one lamb
450g/1lb beef or lamb trimmings, fat and lean
2 onions, finely chopped
225g/8oz oatmeal
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground dried coriander
1 tsp mace
1 tsp nutmeg
water, enough to cook the haggis stock from lungs and trimmings

Wash the lungs and heart. Place in large pan of cold water with the meat trimmings and bring to the boil. Cook for about 2 hours. When cooked, strain off the stock and set aside.

Mince the lungs, heart and trimmings. Put the minced mixture in a bowl and add the finely chopped onions, oatmeal and seasoning. Mix well and add enough stock to moisten the mixture. It should have a soft crumbly consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the sheep's stomach, so that it's just over half full. Sew up the stomach with strong thread and prick a couple of times so it doesn't explode while cooking.

Put the haggis in a pan of boiling water (enough to cover it) and cook for 3 hours without a lid. Keep adding water to keep it covered. To serve, cut open the haggis and spoon out the filling.

Another Neolithic treat, this recipe can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/haggis

Barley Bread with Beer
500g barley flour
500g stone-ground wheat flour
1 tsp salt
250g butter
Beer to mix

Mix the flours and salt together and rub in the butter. Add enough beer to make a soft dough and shape into small cakes. Cook on a hot stone (or griddle) until firm. This is a very light bread because of the addition of the beer and is good with cheese.

This is another ancient recipe described in Prehistoric Cooking by Jacqui Wood (Tempus, 2002)


15  History / Post-Columbian America / Re: The Jesuits. You asked for proof, here it is! on: September 04, 2007, 03:32:14 AM
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