Happy weekend everyone! Here is an Open Thread/News Lounge where the usual ‘no links’ rule has been lifted in the name of sharing and lounging. Please use this post as your general point for chiming in about whatever news of the day is stuck in your craw
Here are some history notes to get us started:
…Local townspeople aided by the site’s archeological police patrolled 24/7. The Leptis Magna museum scattered its precious artifacts around various tightly secured warehouses.
Its director went one step further, distributing a thoroughly documented inventory to friends in the capital an hour’s drive away, so even if the town were destroyed during the war its history would not be lost. Indiana Jones would have been impressed.
And it explains why UNESCO’s senior crisis first responder, lawyer and archeological expert Louise Haxthausen was so happy during her recent visit. No signs of damage and its treasures intact. But it’s a different story a day’s drive to the east in Benghazi.
Haxthausen says the museum there has had some of its most valuable and historic exhibits stolen, and to make matters worse for tracking them no photographic documentation has so far come to light.
Louis de Bourbon said the embalmed head, identified by forensic scientists in December, should now be reinterred with his body so that one of France’s best-loved monarchs can “rest in peace”.
Henri IV was 57-years-old when he was assassinated by a Catholic militant in 1610.
He was buried alongside France’s other kings in the Basilica of Saint Denis, outside Paris. French revolutionaries dug up his body in 1793 but a mystery admirer of “Good King Henri” managed to make off with his head.
Over the next 200 years, it was lost from view until a private collector finally handed it over to Louis de Bourbon, 37, the Duke of Anjou, a banker and King Henri’s direct descendant.
A lesion near his nose, a pierced ear and a healed facial wound – from a previous assassination attempt – were among the marks that finally identified the head.
Now Louis de Bourbon has written to President Nicolas Sarkozy asking for it to be returned to its rightful resting place.
After the Black Death reached London in 1348, about 2,400 people were buried in East Smithfield, near the Tower of London, in a cemetery that had been prepared for the plague’s arrival. From the teeth of four of those victims, researchers have now reconstructed the full DNA of a microbe that within five years felled one-third to one-half of the population of Western Europe…
The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, is still highly virulent today but has different symptoms, leading some historians to doubt that it was the agent of the Black Death.
Those doubts were laid to rest last year by detection of the bacterium’s DNA in plague victims from mass graves across Europe. With the full genome now in hand, the researchers hope to recreate the microbe itself so as to understand what made the Black Death outbreak so deadly.