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Brazen Heads and Medieval Robots? March 7, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
Brazen Heads and Medieval Robots?

In the Middle Ages there emerged two kinds of artificial humans into the Christian imagination: the real thing needs, unfortunately, to be dismissed with Aztec jet planes and Pharonic nuclear bombs. First there were moving statues, brass and gold figures that were somtimes found guarding treasure hordes or, what might loosely be called, fairyland. These […]

A French Crusader and A Chinese Sword? February 3, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A French Crusader and A Chinese Sword?

Little is known of Jean d’Alluye’s life. He belonged to the nobility of central France and he travelled to the Holy Land as a crusader in 1241 coming home three years later, 1244. Given that it will have taken him many months to get to Outremer and many months to return this was a relatively […]

A Pregnant Christ?! January 23, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
A Pregnant Christ?!

This beautiful mosaic is an eleventh-century work in the church of San Miniato in Florence, one of the most extraordinary religious buildings in the world. The mosaic is unusual as, though put together in central Italy, it shows, as does an accompanying mosaic outside the church, clear eastern influences. Are we to think of itinerant […]

Pre-Columbian Trips to America? Ballast! January 19, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Pre-Columbian Trips to America? Ballast!

Imagine the excitement of the archaeologists who had gathered at NA-57 off the Florida coast near Fernandina in 1972. In some offshore piles they had found various bits of ‘rubbish’ from European settlers: ceramics, pipes, glass fragments… Nothing special you might think. But what was unusual was the dating. British settlements began in the area in […]

Zeus in China? January 12, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Zeus in China?

This blog has pioneered the scientific reporting of contacts between distant civilisations with our wrong place tag. Today strangehistory offers up a particularly satisfying hint of Greek culture penetrating China in the Hellenic period (crudely fourth century to first century AD) based on the work of sinologist and WANW in the making Lukas Nickel and […]

The Venkov Lenin: the Bizarre Fate of a Communist Era Statue January 9, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Venkov Lenin: the Bizarre Fate of a Communist Era Statue

Picture borrowed from Vacilando, a useful source for information on Lewis Carpenter There are some great stories about Lenin statues and busts, including Lenin in Antarctica, a post featured on this blog a couple of years ago. For now though let’s turn to one of the most travelled of all the statues of the man […]

Chinese Dragons Head West January 3, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Chinese Dragons Head West

Dragons have long been part of the mythic corpus of Europe, Asia and Africa and, if you include the various Amerindian Giant Serpents, the Americas as well. However, different cultures celebrated or reviled dragons in different ways and a dragon from Sweden with a breath that reaked of ragnarok and a wingless dragon from China […]

Tens of Thousands of Egyptian Mummies in English Soil? December 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
Tens of Thousands of Egyptian Mummies in English Soil?

For the hundreds of thousands of cats and kittens brought up for mummification in ancient Egypt life was brutal and short. Most lived six months to a year and then were either hammered on the head, or more typically had their necks wrung before being tightly bound and sold to the religious perhaps particularly pilgrims, […]

The Wessel Coins 5#: Ian McIntosh Interview December 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Wessel Coins 5#: Ian McIntosh Interview

Huge thanks to Dr Ian McIntosh who agreed to this interview about the Wessel Coins, about progress in last summer’s expedition and about hopes for next year. Previous posts on the medieval African coins that ended up in Australia are gathered together in this link. All readers please note that there is also a relevant […]

Men Wearing Mirrors: Portuguese Conquistador in Northern Australia? December 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Men Wearing Mirrors: Portuguese Conquistador in Northern Australia?

The Portuguese ‘discovery’ of Australia is one that has excited Australians and Europeans for most of the last century, since, in fact, it was first realized that there was a very real chance that Portuguese ships could very easily have headed south from their base at Timor and have run smack-bang into ‘the lost continent’. […]

The Wessel Coins #4: The Article November 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Wessel Coins #4: The Article

The Wessel Coins, for those who did not read earlier posts, were a series of medieval Kilwan coins (Kilwa = the east coast of Africa) and modern Dutch India Company coins that were found in 1944 on a beach on the Wessel Islands off the coast of northern Australia. Their presence in Australian sand, particularly […]

A Russian Prince in Seventeenth-Century Rural England? October 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
A Russian Prince in Seventeenth-Century Rural England?

Woolley is a rural parish in what was once Huntingdonshire and what is now Cambridgeshire. Its has provided one very worthwhile episode for the annals of bizarre history and that concerns its seventeenth-century rector Mikipher Alphery. Poor old Alphery was kicked out in 1643 during the Civil War when Cromwell and his devils were getting […]

African in Tenth-Century Britain September 22, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
African in Tenth-Century Britain

***Thanks to Borky for this lovely piece*** People and perhaps particularly kids are forever pulling things out of rivers. So the fact that, in July of this year, a couple of thirteen-year-olds dragged some human bones out of the Coln river in Gloucestershire is hardly a world-stopper.  Nor it is suprising that these bones turned […]

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 […]

The Wessel Coins #2: The Coins July 23, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
The Wessel Coins #2: The Coins

In a previous post we examined the background to the discovery of the Wessel Coins. Today, instead, it is time to look at why the coins are so exciting. It will be remembered that Morrie Isenberg came across nine coins on the beach in Jensen Bay. These coins break down into two classes, and this […]

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