Archive for the 'Ancient Wonders' Category

The dead beneath the city

Oh, what lurks below…


“Human remains and gravestones periodically turn up around New York, and some estimate there are thousands of dead beneath the city. Bryant Park was similarly used as a potter’s field in the 19th century.”


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Two centuries-old tombs unearthed beneath historic New York City park

(The Guardian)
The tombs, which city archaeologists knew existed but were unsure exactly where, were discovered during a water main dig and are about two centuries old


“City workers have discovered two burial vaults underneath Washington Square Park in New York City, uncovering the remains of at least a dozen people interred around two centuries ago.


Contractors for the city department of design and construction (DDC) uncovered the first vault on Tuesday, during excavations to replace a century-old water main on the east side of the park, in the heart of bustling Greenwich Village. The workers called an archaeologist contracted by the city, who opened a way into the chamber only 3.5ft beneath the sidewalk.


Inside they found an arched brick chamber with skulls, femurs and other bones littered on the dirt floor.


The first vault was actually a rediscovery: power company ConEdison first uncovered the vault in 1965, finding 25 skeletons inside. Before this week’s excavation archaeologists knew the tomb existed, but were not sure where thanks to the company’s poor record-keeping….”


For the rest, click here.


The Forgotten Stars of Silent Film

This is a wonderful treasure trove and project.


“You can browse through the Library’s complete database of silent films, which details the 11,000 films made between 1912 and 1929, including the 3,300 that are known to exist”


 Silent film star Dorothy Kelly pictured in the Day Book, 1916. Library of Congress

Silent film star Dorothy Kelly pictured in the Day Book, 1916. Library of Congress


The Forgotten Stars of Silent Film

(The Atlantic)

The Library of Congress wants film buffs to shout out who—and what—they know during a series of special screenings.


“The majority of silent films are long gone.


Some 70 percent of the movies made in the United States between 1912 and 1929—nearly 8,000 titles—are lost to history, according to a study last year by the Library of Congress. Even many of the existing films from the pre-talkie era are mysteries to today’s scholars.


Once-famous starlets are no longer widely recognizable. Films that wowed audiences a century ago have been all but erased from collective memory. And so, for the third year, the Library of Congress is calling on film buffs, historians, and members of the public to help search for clues in old reels. The smallest fragment of a detail—like the furniture used in a film’s set design—may be the key to unraveling a forgotten work’s origins.


Over the course of a weekend-long series of screenings at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia, next month, attendees will be asked to shout out potentially meaningful details in film as the watch—names of actors, locations, car models, and other clues that might help reveal a film’s origins. Film conservationists already know this approach works. After 204 such screenings so far, more than 100 films have been identified….”


For the complete piece, click here.




From the depths, an old church emerges.

As our waters recede due to drought, strange and beautiful things emerge – as if from a time machine.


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Colonial church emerges from receding reservoir in Mexico
SF Gate/Associated Press


“MEXICO CITY — Leonel Mendoza fishes every day in a reservoir surrounded by forest and mountains in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas. But in recent days, he also has been ferrying curious passengers out to see the remains of a colonial-era church that has emerged from the receding waters.


A drought this year has hit the watershed of the Grijalva river, dropping the water level in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir by 82 feet.


It is the second time a drop in the reservoir has revealed the church since it was flooded when the dam was completed in 1966. In 2002, the water was so low visitors could walk inside the church.


“The people celebrated. They came to eat, to hang out, to do business. I sold them fried fish. They did processions around the church,” Mendoza said.


The church in the Quechula locality was built by a group of monks headed by Friar Bartolome de la Casas, who arrived in the region inhabited by the Zoque people in the mid-16th century…”


For the rest, and a video too, click here.


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