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8000 Year Old Memories in Oregon? April 15, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
8000 Year Old Memories in Oregon?

  ***Dedicated to Wade*** By happy chance I recently came across two different references to Crater Lake (Oregon). The most intriguing, given this blog’s longstanding coverage of oral transmission, is a memory (?) of the lake’s creation. Let’s start with the geology of the region: about 8000 years ago Mount Mazma erupted and created a […]

American Indian Map Making: A Rare Talent? March 3, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
American Indian Map Making: A Rare Talent?

Mapmaking is often seen as a modern, even a western preoccupation. But, of course, map-making, albeit with rather different rules, has existed in other cultures from the earliest times. This is true even in hunter-gatherer societies where permanent records are slighter and more difficult to achieve. After all, the hunter-gatherer depends more on knowledge of […]

Small Pox: the Native American Version February 10, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Small Pox: the Native American Version

The greatest weapons that European colonists had at their disposal when they disembarked in the Americas in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries were not their muskets or their swords or their armour. They were, of course, their viruses (and those of their animals) with which they inflicted (at least at first unknowingly) devestation on […]

Condoned Torture and Revenge in Eighteenth-Century New Orleans January 22, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Condoned Torture and Revenge in Eighteenth-Century New Orleans

***Warning this post has some very unpleasant material: if you are having a bad day, do yourself a favour and just click away…*** ‘The west’, that monolith to which most readers of this blog belong, has gradually over the centuries, shied away from torture. But there are moments in history when societies return on themselves […]

American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany #2: The Portuguese September 20, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany #2: The Portuguese

First of all a huge thank to those who, two days ago, sent so many interesting emails about this problem. Thanks, particularly, to Wade, the Count, Borky, Kenton and Filip, I now have the original Portuguese, which was on pdf page 44 of the unnumbered book.  This throws up two interesting points, which were hidden […]

American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany?! #1: Hakluyt September 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
American Indians in Twelfth-Century Germany?! #1: Hakluyt

***Thanks to ANL who sent this one in*** In 1601 Richard Hakluyt translated, into English, António Galvão’s Tratado que compôs o nobre & notauel capitão Antonio Galuão, dos diuersos & desuayrados caminhos, por onde nos tempos passados a pimenta & especearia veyo da India às nossas partes, & assi de todos os descobrimentos antigos & […]

It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession… July 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession…

Imagine Jane Austen at her writing desk while sister is downstairs playing the harpsichord. Suddenly there is an excited knock on the door and Cassandra comes running up the stairs. ‘Jane, tis so exciting, some Inuit have come to the Hall. George Cartwright brought them back from Labrador.’ Jane puts down her pen and passes […]

Crowds #7: Fleeing July 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #7: Fleeing

Beach greatly enjoyed, last year, writing a series of posts on crowds: i.e ransacking the web for likely images with the philosophy that groups, particularly ecstatic, tense or ‘altered’ groups make for interesting studies. There was crowds as art, those silly men with straw hats from August 1914, listening crowds, religion and crowds, prisoner crowds […]

Jim’s Missing Book February 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Jim's Missing Book

Jim was an Iowan, an American Indian, one of a party who in 1844 crossed the Atlantic to see Europe. The Iowans had as their guide in Britain and parts of the Continent George Catlin (obit 1872), the famous American artist and a friend of the first nations, particularly the Mandans with whom he had […]

European America or American Europe? Calculating the Probability of Pre-Columbian Contact December 9, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
European America or American Europe? Calculating the Probability of Pre-Columbian Contact

The idea of pre-Columbian contact between the Americas and Europe or even Africa has been one that has understandably excited a lot of attention. What are the possibilities that Europeans ended up in, say, Florida or that ‘Floridans’ made it to, say, Scandinavia in 1491? Well, in this post we are going to take the […]

American Indians in Galway, Ireland? November 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
American Indians in Galway, Ireland?

One of the most dramatic pieces of evidence for a pre-Columbian crossing of the Atlantic is to be found in a single Latin marginalia, that is some words scribbled into the margin of a book. The sentence in question appears in a copy of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini which was […]

American Indian Settlers in Iceland? November 20, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
American Indian Settlers in Iceland?

Iceland, the tiny nation floating between Britain and Greenland, has been isolated for much of its history. This isolation has given the island two extraordinary resources: one is a spectacular landscape, untainted by industrialisation (see above); and the second is a closed DNA pool. A closed DNA pool = an extraordinary resource? In days gone […]

Animal Effigies and Indian Mounds June 4, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Animal Effigies and Indian Mounds

  Beachcombing has long been attracted to the so called ‘animal effigy mounds’ of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Louisiana. Across these states local Indian populations built a series of giant mounds in the shape of animals. Dating is almost impossibly difficult in such cases, but many archaeologists have placed the creation of these mounds […]

The Last Scalping in History? October 26, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Last Scalping in History?

Beachcombing cannot deny it. He has a bit of a thing about the removal of heads this week. First, there was the question of the last western beheadings, second an exploration by photograph of Japanese decapitations in the Second World War and today he is going to move on to a close cousin of beheading, […]

American Indians in Roman Europe? June 6, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
American Indians in Roman Europe?

                Beachcombing always enjoys attempts by Euro-Asia-Africa’s various ethnic factions to claim the discovery of the New World. Put even a gingerly query into a search engine and you will soon find that, over the years, the Basques, the Welsh, the Babylonians, the Israelis, the Bantu and just […]