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  • Barbecuing Friars in Late Medieval Florence April 7, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Barbecuing Friars in Late Medieval Florence

      Beachcombing promised just the other day that he would leave blood alone for at least a month. He wants then to be very clear that this post will not involve bloodshed. It will describe though one of the last ordeals by fire of the Middle Ages, an attempt to use flames to judge a human […]

    First Unicorns? April 6, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    First Unicorns?

    Beachcombing is returning with some relief to familiar territory after the Shakespeare wars of the last couple of days. The subject: unicorns and the earliest human accounts of these mysterious creatures. In the Indus Valley about 3000 BC a series of seals were created that portray an animal with one horn: they predate the mention […]

    Review: Shadow Pasts April 5, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Review: Shadow Pasts

    Beachcombing has only a few minutes today before class begins – a spring cold has meant that he is sleeping double his regulation five or six hours. But he wants to take what little time he has to celebrate William Rubinstein’s Shadow Pasts: ‘Amateur Historians’ and History’s Mysteries (2007), a gem of a book he […]

    Sweet Will of Stratford April 4, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Sweet Will of Stratford

    One of the great joys of writing posts for this blog in the last ten months has been the experience of coming across new mysteries. And of the many that Beachcombing has tripped over in his sorry excuse for research none has bemused him more than the mystery of Will of Stratford, otherwise known as […]

    Crocker Land April 3, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Crocker Land

    Where do good bizarrists go when they die: why to Crocker Land, of course. And where is this anomalist’s World of Cockayne? Well, unusually for such a fantastical place we can be exact: it stands at 83 degrees N, longitude 100 degrees. Hell, Heaven, Eden and Purgatory never enjoyed these kinds of specifics. And how was it […]

    Best of Enemies April 2, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Best of Enemies

    Beachcombing is always going on about how he is looking for historic pictures, especially of the lesser known kind. He was most excited then when a correspondent recently opened up a raw and largely unmined vein: what Beachcombing will call ‘the best of enemies picture’.  Foes brought together after the event… Ok three rules. 1) Photographs […]

    Beachcombed 10 April 1, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
    Beachcombed 10

                  Dear Readers, 1 April Here is Beachcombing’s monthly round up of exceptional emails and comments. Unfortunately this post was accidentally published a couple of hours early through characteristic incompetence on Beachcombing’s part and he has not yet got all the emails and comments in place, which will now have to […]

    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 […]

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