L'Anse aux Meadows is (rightly) famous as the archaeological evidence of a Viking settlement in North America. Located on the northern tip of Newfoundland, the site has the remains of eight buildings and could house up to 100 people, and seems to have been occupied around the year 1000.
The interesting thing? The site does not quite fit with the descriptions of "Vinland" in the Norse Sagas. L'Anse aux Meadows has no graves and no cows, but the sagas describe an attempt to found a permanent settlement (suggesting a graveyard was needed) and showing cows to confused locals. L'Anse aux Meadows also has butternuts and butternut wood, which grows at the northernmost much further south around New Brunswick. Even the name - Vineland - and the description of wild grapes does not match L'Anse aux Meadows. Wild grapes grow much further south, also by New Brunswick.
Hopes were briefly raised that another Viking settlement might have been found at Point Rosee on the southern end of Newfoundland. A satellite-based survey seemed to find 'cultural remains.' But the follow-up in-person survey found the remains were entirely natural in origin.
So the search continues. Or perhaps...the Sagas were slight exaggerations, and add descriptions from places scouted but not settled further into North America. Only time (and archaeology) will tell.
On Nov. 5, 1996, (which was Election Day for the presidency of the United States) the popular New York Times crossword puzzle included a surprising clue:
39 [Across]. Lead story in tomorrow’s newspaper (!), with 43 [Across]
The answer for 43 Across was ELECTED. But which presidential candidate fit in 39 Across -- and presumably was the winner of the presidential election? In fact there was not one answer but two. Rather than predict the outcome of the election, the writer of the crossword had managed to make it possible for CLINTON to work and for BOBDOLE to work, by changing the answers to the respective seven down clues. You can read the full crossword here.
A recent study of the area in the Maya city of Tikal has found an unusual complex of buildings, which seems to be similar to the citadel of Teotihuacan. Tikal is in northern Guatemala, and Teotihuacan is central Mexico about 600 miles to the north. Inside the complex in Tikal were found weapons in a Teotihuacan style, including ones made from green obsidian from central Mexico, incense burners, carvings of Teotihuacan's rain god, and a burial in a pyramid with offerings similar to offerings in Teotihuacan burials. Ceramics within the pyramid have been dated to around 300 CE.
Interestingly, an elite Maya compound has been discovered in Teotihuacan, with its murals smashed and buried. Was this site the corresponding Tikal embassy to Teotihuacan, the partner of Teotihuacan's embassy complex in Tikal? The two cities had a difficulty relationship: Teotihuacan invaded Tikal in 378 CE.
The Meteor Crater (yes, that is it's actual name) is one of the best preserved meteor craters in the world. This is due to its young age for a crater, at approximately 50,000 years old, and the dry climate around it in Arizona.
That is not to say the Meteor Crater is perfectly preserved. Scientists estimate that 50–65 ft (15–20 m) of height has been lost at the rim crest as a result of natural erosion, and 100 ft (30 m) of sediment has been added to the basin.
An Aztec creation myth states that there were four failed attempts to create humans who would survive. It was only on the fifth attempt, when humans began to eat corn, that they were able to propogate themselves and continue as a species.
Wyoming's Periodic Spring is well-named. It flows for roughly 15 minutes, then goes dry for 15 minutes, then repeats again. It is the world's largest intermittent spring, or rhythmic spring, or breathing spring. This is likely caused by an oddly-shaped cavern fed by spring water in the rock behind the spring. There's only about 100 known intermittent springs in the world. Another famous one is in Jerusalem! Although it no longer runs intermittently naturally, and a pump is used to imitate it.
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By Lillian Audette
This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!