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  • Haunted Chessmen November 25, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Haunted Chessmen

      Invisible writes in with the news that the Lewis Chessmen are about to go on exhibition in New York. And Beach took this as a prompt for one of his favourite archaeological stories. The unnamed Lewis farmer in the following account was one Malcolm ‘Sprot’ Macleod In 1831 a high tide on the coast […]

    DNA Champion November 24, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    DNA Champion

    Our DNA is the damnedest stuff, it gets everywhere: not only forensically but also historically. Just the other day, Beach reviewed the evidence (2010) that one medieval Amerindian woman in Iceland passed on her DNA to eighty modern Icelanders. Then there are plenty of other dramatic examples of DNA spreading through history, especially now that […]

    Impressionist Heresy in the Soviet Union November 22, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Impressionist Heresy in the Soviet Union

    Beach has spent the day in bed reading books he once loved and in doing so came across this fabulous picture by Sergei Gerasimov (obit 1964). While not normally a big fan of Soviet art, except, of course, for its kitsch value, Gerasimov’s Mother of a Partisan (1943) is worth making an exception over. For […]

    Hitler’s Italian Fantasy Life November 16, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Hitler's Italian Fantasy Life

    Beachcombing offers today an other example of a historical dream. However, unlike the nightscapes of Leonardo or Augustine, here, instead, is a fantasy from Adolf Hitler. Now Hitler’s private life is not particularly well known. There are unsubstantiated rumours about his genealogy and his sexual preferences, and his family relations (including a possibly murdered niece). […]

    Fairy Investigation Society November 14, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Fairy Investigation Society

    ***This post is dedicated to Invisible*** Beachcombing has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Wikipedia. But every so often there are pages there that are the closest we come to ‘real knowledge’. Take the Fairy Investigation Society that Beach has been looking into for the last couple of days – since, in […]

    Spitfires and Radars in 1944 November 12, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Spitfires and Radars in 1944

    Beachcombing has a terrible record of not respecting anniversaries. But today, in part to subvert all the 11.11.11 nonsense (has the meteor already gone by?) and in part to assuage his own guilt at not having a red poppy in his lapel (the price of living in Italy) he thought he would remember, through an […]

    The Great Crying November 11, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern

    Beachcombing has been troubling his unpretty little head about notable cloudbursts of tears in modern history. In the ancient world, some honest tears seem to have been acceptable: from Alexander crying at learning he would only ever conquer one world, to Aeneas shedding some big ones over women and burnt cities, to Odysseus ‘We must […]

    Gunfire in Notre Dame November 9, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Gunfire in Notre Dame

    A wibt (wish I’d been there) moment in a snatch of about five minutes as Mrs B is still far away from home and Beachcombing has to undertake full babysitting duties for his two terrifying daughters. 26 August 1944, after four long years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by Allied troops and marching into […]

    Review: The Middle Kingdom November 8, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern