U.S. Archives showcase Magna Carta in new gallery
The only original copy of the Magna Carta in the United States is the centerpiece of a new museum gallery at the National Archives, tracing the evolution of rights and freedoms through present day.
On Wednesday, the archives will open its new “Records of Rights” permanent exhibit in an expanded museum space on the National Mall. Philanthropist David Rubenstein donated $13.5 million to fund the project, along with funds from Congress. Rubenstein also is loaning the 1297 copy of Magna Carta to the archives.
Magna Carta was the first English charter to directly challenge the monarchy’s authority. It became a precedent for the concept of freedom under law as envisioned by America’s founding fathers.
The historic document will be surrounded with documents and images exploring the evolution of citizenship, equality and free speech. [x]
The University of Oregon has a remarkable specimen in its paleontology department: a rare fossil of a fish. In this case, Onchorynchus rasters, the distant ancestor of the salmon you might enjoy draped on sushi rice or served over wilted spinach. The fossil is five million years old. It is seven feet long. It is saber-toothed. And while these features must have made the proto-salmon quite terrifying in life, in death its remains are incredibly fragile. So much so that it’s hard for researchers to examine the specimen without damaging it. As for anyone else interacting with it? Out of the question.
Enter 3D printing.
[Image: University of Oregon]
GALLERY: 100-Year-Old Negatives Found in Antarctica
Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators recently made a stunning discovery: a box of 22 exposed but unprocessed negatives, frozen in a block of ice for nearly one hundred years. Take a look at some of the processed pieces of history
[UPDATE: Broken links fixed… apologies! ~Ian]
Stunning medieval murals survive under twenty paint layers
The BBC reported today about an amazing find in a local church in Llancarfan, Wales. A thin red line was discovered some time ago and upon further investigation expert discovered numerous 15th-century wall paintings behind the 20 layers of lime wash that were added over the past five centuries. They have been restored over the past months and can now be enjoyed by everybody. It’s fascinating how these medieval paintings lay dormant - were able to survive, really - behind layers and layers of paint.
Read more about it here - including a short film.
Here are many more examples. Both references via @ETreharne.
[image source here]
(Photo: Philip J. Currie, Robert Holmes, Michael Ryan, Clive Coy, Eva B. Koppelhus)
The tiny, intact skeleton of a baby rhinoceroslike dinosaur has been unearthed in Canada.
The discovery helps to fill in a blank spot in the evolution of horses as the animals became more accustomed to grassy fields.
Archaeologists in Nepal say they have discovered traces of a wooden structure dating from the sixth century B.C. that they believe is the world’s oldest Buddhist shrine.
Kosh Prasad Acharya, who teamed with archaeologists from Britain’s Durham University, said Tuesday that the structure was unearthed inside the sacred Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini. Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, is generally thought to have been born in about the sixth century B.C. at the temple site.
AP Photo/National Geographic, Ira Block
Scientists have reached farther back than ever into the ancestry of humans to recover and analyze DNA, using a bone found in Spain that’s estimated to be 400,000 years old. So far, the achievement has provided more questions than answers about our ancient forerunners.
The feat surpasses the previous age record of about 100,000 years for genetic material recovered from members of the human evolutionary line. Older DNA has been mapped from animals.
Experts said the work shows that new techniques for working with ancient DNA may lead to more discoveries about human origins.
Photo: AP Photo/Madrid Scientific Films, Javier Trueba
10,000-year-old house unearthed in Israel
Live Science: At a road construction site in Israel, archaeologists say they’ve found some stunning finds, including stone axes, a “cultic” temple and traces of a 10,000-year-old house.
The excavation took place at Eshtaol, located about 15 miles west of Jerusalem, in preparation of the widening of an Israeli road.
"This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah," archaeologists with the IAA said, referring to the plains west of Jerusalem.
Photo: Ya’akov Vardi, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
New dinosaur discovered in Utah, scientists say
Scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum have discovered a new “top predator” dinosaur in a region of 100-million-year-old rock in Utah.
The 4-ton, 30-foot animal is a significant precursor to Tyrannosaurus rex and an important part of an emerging fossil record for the continent, the museum says.
DNA study suggests dogs originated in Europe
This large DNA study aligns with the earliest known doglike fossils, which also came from Europe. Other DNA studies have suggested that dogs originated in east Asia and the Middle East.
Scientists agree that dogs became the first domesticated animals after emerging from wolves.
Photo: This photo provided by the Center for American Archaeology on Nov. 12, 2013 shows canine bones buried at the Koster site in Greene County, Ill.(AP Photo/Center for American Archaeology, Del Baston)
Lost billion-dollar Nazi art haul discovered in Germany
BBC News: A collection of artworks looted by the Nazis has been found in Munich, German news magazine Focus reports. If confirmed by authorities, it will be among the largest ever recoveries of looted art.
The collection, believed to contain 1,500 pieces, may be worth over $1 billion and includes works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall.
Photo: Replica of Picasso’s artwork Guernica which depicts German bombing during the Spanish Civil War. (AP)
In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq.
American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.
And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.
Over the next several years, the documents would be cleaned, rehoused in custom-built boxes, stabilized, cataloged, and digitized. Experts in Jewish history, Iraqi and Jewish history, the Iraqi Jewish community, and Jewish rare books lent their skills and knowledge.
On November 7, 2013, the exhibit “Discovery and Recovery: The Iraqi Jewish Archive” opened to the public at the National Archives, and it will be on display until January 5, 2014. You can also see the documents online in a new website.
Read the full story on the Prologue blog: http://go.usa.gov/W82m