Boy unearths English Civil War cannonball

english civil war cannonball

An English schoolboy digging a hole in his family’s yard unearthed an eight-pound cannonball dating back more than 350 years to the English Civil War.

Jack Sinclair, 10, of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, continued tunneling after his father had dug down to remove a tree root and the lad came across what he at first thought was a rock.

Further work revealed that it was bigger and denser, and when Jack pulled it from the ground he had a heavy, rusty, muddy lump.

“His mother was concerned that it might be an unexploded bomb from World War II, but when they cleaned off the dirt, they saw it was an iron cannonball,” according to The History Blog.

Jack’s grandfather researched the artifact and took it to the nearby Museum Resource Centre in Newark, where experts verified with 90 percent certainty that it is a 17th century cannonball used during the English Civil War.

Its weight and dimensions suggest it was shot from a saker cannon, a medium-caliber long-range cannon widely used in the early 16th century and 17th century, according to The History Blog.

The find strengthens Southwell’s strong links with the 1642-51 conflict.

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Mayan temple demolished for road fill

noh mul pyramid

A 2,300-year-old Mayan temple in Central America was recently razed for use as road fill, it was revealed late last week.

The construction company that demolished the temple, which was approximately 160 feet square at the base and 20 feet high, is owned by a local Belizean politician.

The temple was located 50 miles north of Belize City, near the border with Mexico, and was part of the pre-Columbian Mayan archaeological site at Noh Mul, on the eastern Yucatan Peninsula.

“This total disregard for Belize’s cultural heritage and national patrimony is callous, ignorant and unforgivable,” said Tracy Panton, Belize’s Tourism and Culture Minister. “This expressed disdain for our laws is incomprehensible.”

The archeological complex, like all pre-Columbian ruins, was under the protection of the state even though it was located in a privately owned sugar cane plantation, according to Agence France-Presse.

Noh Mul was the center of a Mayan community of 40,000 that was initially occupied between 350-250 BC. It was inhabited off and on until about 900 years ago.

Authorities learned of the incident at the end of last week, blaming the D-Mar construction company, which is owned by Denny Grijalva, a candidate for mayor of Belize City.

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Powder, ball found in 18th century cannon

central park cannon

A cannon that sat in New York’s Central Park for nearly 150 years was discovered last week to have been loaded with a cannonball and black powder the entire time, it was announced last week.

Parks workers came upon a live cannonball, loaded in a Revolutionary War-era cannon currently being refurbished, New York television station CBS 2 reported. The artillery piece was one of two British cannon being stored at a Central Park shed near the 79th Street transverse, according to the station.

Preservation workers for the Central Park Conservancy called police last Friday after opening up the capped artillery piece for cleaning and finding the cannonball, cotton wadding and 28 ounces of black powder wrapped in wool, still capable of firing, according to the New York Times.

The loaded cannon was on public display from the 1860s until 1996, when the Central Park Conservancy decided to bring it indoors to protect it from vandalism. It was donated to the park around the time of the War Between the States.

The cannon, believed to be more than 220 years old, was apparently donated after it is believed to have been salvaged from the HMS Hussar, a British frigate that sank in the East River around 1780 during the American Revolution, according to the Associated Press.

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Russian boy finds ‘mammoth of the century’

An 11-year-old Russian boy recently stumbled upon the best-preserved adult mammoth discovered in more than a century.

Zhenya Salinder discovered the frozen animal in the permafrost of northern Siberia while he was walking along the banks of the Yenisei River in late August, according to Agence France-Presse.

“He sensed an unpleasant odor and saw something sticking out of the ground – it was the mammoth’s heels,” said Alexei Tikhonov, director of the Saint Petersburg-based Zoological Museum.

Tikhonov rushed to the area after the boy’s family notified scientists of the find, described as the best such discovery since 1901.

“So far we can say it is the mammoth of the century,” Tikhonov said.

The mammoth is believed to have been aged 15 to 16 when it died around 30,000 years ago, according to Tikhonov.

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Roman ship discovered in remarkable condition

It’s been nearly 2,000 years since a Roman cargo ship sank in shallow waters along what is now known as the French Riviera.

Yet, not only are saw and wood-cutting marks still visible on the vessel’s frame, but archaeologists have even found a small caulking brush that was likely left in the ship’s hold during construction.

The wreck was discovered in May during a dig in Antibes, in Southeastern France. The excavation was being done prior to the construction of a parking lot on the site of the ancient Roman port of Antipolis, according to an article that first appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde.

Archaeologists have gradually uncovered a 50-foot length of hull and structural timbers, described as being in “exceptional” condition, according to Giulia Boetto, a specialist in ship design at Aix-Marseille University who is involved in the dig.

“The remains consist of a keel and several boards that covered the hull, held together by thousands of pegs inserted into sheave slots cut into the thickness of the boards,” according to artdaily.org. “Around forty transverse ribs are present, some of which were attached to the keel with metallic pins.”

The ground in which the vessel was discovered is permanently waterlogged, which prevented the timber from rotting and decomposing, Le Monde reported. In addition, sprinklers have been used to keep the ship’s remnants moist since it was found.

It is believed the vessel, which was probably about 72 feet long and about 20 feet across, sank in the second or third century.

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Is Richard III buried under a UK parking lot?

Archaeologists began digging up a parking lot in central England this past weekend looking for the remains of the last English king killed in battle.

Historians believe they may have finally located where infamous monarch Richard III is buried – under a parking lot in Leicester.

Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, the last clash of the War of the Roses, and according to records his body was interred in a Franciscan friary in the area.

A team from the University of Leicester is excavating the site, with an initial goal of finding the remains of the friary, according to Reuters.

“The friary was, however, knocked down during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, and the exact location of the burial site has been one of Britain’s enduring historical mysteries ever since,” according to The Daily Mail.

Archaeologists came to the conclusion that Richard, who was last Plantagenet ruler and is considered England’s last Medieval King, was buried in the parking lot after closely examining ancient maps, the publication added.

Archaeologists have access to Richard III’s DNA after swab samples were taken from a direct descendant of the king’s sister, Canadian-born Michael Ibsen, Reuters reported.

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‘Vampire’ skeleton found entombed in Bulgaria

Evidence that funerary rites have evolved considerably over the past several centuries was made unmistakably clear last month when a “vampire-proof” skeleton was found in Bulgaria.

Found entombed among church ruins in the Black Sea town of Sozopol was a 700-year-old skeleton that had been stabbed in the chest with an iron rod and had also had its teeth pulled.

“Scholars believe the rod and tooth-pulling were techniques villagers used to prevent dead men from turning into vampires,” according to National Geographic.

The iron rod, which was in the tomb next to the body, is visible in the above photo.

The idea of vampires dates back far before Bram Stoker’s famous 1897 horror novel Dracula.

In fact, vampire myths go back millennia around the world, particularly in countries across Europe.

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Viking sword uncovered after 1,000+ years

A Viking sword dating back more than 1,000 years has been found in Norway.

Construction workers building residential homes in the village of Melhus, in central Norway, recently unearthed what is being described as an “unusually well-preserved Viking sword,” possibly from a grave site.

The site developer then contacted archaeologists from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in nearby Trondheim.

Museum officials confirmed that the piece is indeed a Viking weapon, what is classified as a Type H sword, and likely dates from between 800 and 950 AD.

The H sword is well-preserved and experts are very enthusiastic about the discovery, according to The Foreigner, an English-language Norwegian media outlet.

Of the more than 200 H swords recovered, about seven of every 10 have been double-edged weapons.

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World’s oldest bell found in Northern Ireland

Archaeologists in Northern Ireland believed they have discovered the world’s oldest-known church bell.

Derry-based Templemore Archeaology discovered a bronze bell dating back exactly 600 years stored in a farmyard in Shantallow near Derry, where it has remained since being excavated in the 1930s, according to the Derry Journal.

The artifact, which measures around one foot in height, is in good condition and shows evidence of Christian design.

Four symbols decorate the bell, which dates to 1411, with one quite clearly visible as “Our Lord on the Cross,” according to Ian Leitch of Templemore. “Another may be St Patrick,” he added.

The team believes the bell may have been made in France.

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Icon box from 600 AD uncovered in Israel

Israeli archaeologists are showing off a 1,400-year-old box decorated with a cross and featuring inside portraits of two figures, probably Christian saints, possibly Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

What makes the box even more interesting is its size: It measures just eight-tenths of an inch by six-tenths of an inch, or barely the size of a man’s thumb.

It was probably carried by a religious believer around the end of the sixth century, according to Yana Tchekhanovets, a member of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who found the relic, reported the Daily Telegraph.

A tiny, exquisitely made box, carved from the bone of a cow, horse or camel, was found in an excavated street in Jerusalem two years ago. 

It was treated by preservation experts and extensively researched before it was unveiled at an archaeological conference last week, according to The Associated Press.

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