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The Death Dealer of Kovno March 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Death Dealer of Kovno

Call it the month of the massacres: Beachcombing in the past four weeks has gone knee deep in blood ‘that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er’. Even he gets a little queasy thinking about it. There was Queen Victoria drinking blood; then killer ice-cream; followed up by a horrific […]

Eden in the Persian Gulf March 30, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Prehistoric
Eden in the Persian Gulf

Beachcombing finds himself on the train hurtling through the early morning. He cannot then do the necessary research into an unusual theory he just ran across, though he throws it out there for anyone who might be interested or opinionated. The theory is described by Colin Tudge in Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers (1998) (p. 37) – […]

Vikings Vikinged in Dorset UK March 29, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
Vikings Vikinged in Dorset UK

Beachcombing has sometimes confessed in this place that he is not a great fan of the Vikings. Indeed, say ‘Viking’ to your average medievalist and they will get lyrical about sturdy boats and trips to Greenland. Beachcombing, on the other hand, sees burnt monastic libraries, lines of children being brought to slavery in the fiords […]

Discovering Australia in the Sixteenth Century March 28, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Discovering Australia in the Sixteenth Century

  Beachcombing has been wondering in the last few days about the various maps from the Age of Discover when Europe was laying claim to the world. These charts are a dream for mystery lovers as there are so many ‘irregularities’ that can be explained in the hushed tones of a conspiracy theory: drbeachcombing is always interested in […]

Headless Races March 27, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Headless Races

  After all those head lice (see previous posts) Beachcombing gets back to some decapitation stories, not least because it would be the most efficient way to solve his family’s present problems. In any case, before anyone makes contact with the social workers… In response to an earlier beheading post RR wrote in with the following […]

John and Paul: The Patagonian Giants March 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
John and Paul: The Patagonian Giants

Antonio Pigafeta aka Antonio Lombardo (obit 1531) was a lucky man. He was one of 17 of circa 230 men to make it back from Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world. He was also a fine writer and described in his Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo (1524) Magellan’s adventures, death and the mission’s return […]

Reading Runes at Runamo March 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Reading Runes at Runamo

The horror! The horror! Beachcombing joined the rest of his family this morning with headlice and so is rushing this post in between a delousing shower and the preparation of an application for a new job for Mrs B. Apologies too to all those many correspondents to whom he has not yet replied. He hopes […]

Playing Solitaire in Hitler’s Bunker March 24, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Playing Solitaire in Hitler’s Bunker

  Crisis in the Beachcombing household tonight. Yesterday it was discovered that every member of the family save Beachcombing himself had been stricken with head lice. And so Beachcombing has spent most of the last six hours combing what look like wood ants from his darling wife’s and elder daughter’s fair locks. By way of […]

Image: Tupaia’s Map March 23, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Image: Tupaia's Map

History faculties have spent much of the last forty years demonstrating to their own satisfaction that the rise of the West is not ‘the whole story’. Hiding behind enslaved Africans, small-poxed Carribean islanders and various downtrodden Asian peoples there are other narratives struggling to get out. Beachcombing is all for looking at the other side […]

Review: Atlas of Remote Islands March 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Review: Atlas of Remote Islands

Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will (Penguin 2010). St Jerome, long ago, said that books should not be treasures and Beachcombing, is happy to subscribe: he wants cheap functional paperbacks with a lot of glue on the spine. However, every so often someone produces […]

Mermaids Sighted from Early Submarine March 21, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mermaids Sighted from Early Submarine

Beachcombing promised a month ago a mermaid text from the Isle of Man that would amaze one and all. And what Beachcombing particularly likes about the following eighteenth-century description is the way that the we have not only mermaids but also a ‘submarine’, using the word very loosely, that makes an appearance a century before such vehicles had […]

Lancashire Kick Boxing March 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Lancashire Kick Boxing

  Old time readers of this blog will know that Beachcombing once expressed an interest in ‘purring’ or ‘clog fighting’ when in the nineteenth century the natives of Manchester, Preston and Liverpool in the north-west of Britain were alleged to settle their disputes through kicking contests. Back when he wrote this post Beachcombing expressed some […]

Capital Punishment and Prehistoric Burials March 19, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
Capital Punishment and Prehistoric Burials

    You are a member of the minor nobility in some part of northern Europe found guilty of murder in the fifteenth century. After the capital sentence is passed you are thrown in the back of a cart and driven out to the local place of reckoning.  However, as you are also interested in history […]

Jesus Christ and an Egg from Leeds March 18, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Jesus Christ and an Egg from Leeds

Beachcombing has recently become curious about a passage in Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (160). ‘A panic terror of the end of the world seized the good people of Leeds and its neighbourhood in the year 1806. It arose from the following circumstances. A hen, in a village close by, […]

Coke-head Spiders March 17, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Coke-head Spiders

    Beachcombing is having a bad day. First Little Miss B keeps on waking up with the screaming eejey weejees and second, Gary V, writes in to tell Beach that he meant Frederick I (Barbarossa) rather than Frederick II in yesterday’s post. The shame, the shame… The worst single accuracy disaster since Beachcombing misquoted […]

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