What lies beneath

Another example of why urban archaeology is a fascinating pursuit — From the New York Times:  Beneath Washington Square, Forgotten Tombs Begin to Yield Their Secrets 

Who Were the Acadians?

Since I was a teenager, I have been fascinated by all things southern Louisiana.  And as an adult, that fascination has been joined by strong interests in the French in North America, France, and Canada.

It has been 260 years since the British expelled the Acadians from what is now Nova Scotia.  And it is been 250 years since the first group of Acadians made their way to southern Louisiana, where their descendants are better known to us today as “Cajuns.”

The story of the Acadians — their expulsion from the north, their long and perilous trek to southern Louisiana, their survival as a people, and their amazing culture which thrives to this day, is one that everyone should know.

The article linked below tells that story.  It mainly hits the highlights, but it leaves the reader wanting to know more about this group of people, who they were, and who they are today.  And if you can read through it without craving some good Cajun cooking and a listen at some fine cajun music, well, you are a stronger person than I. Enjoy!

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2015/10/02/250-years-who-were-these-acadians-anyway/

What lies beneath a supermarket in Paris

I use the word fascinating a lot on this blog. So much in fact, I consulted the online thesaurus to attempt to find better synonyms of the word.

So to describe the archaeology find recently unearthed by INRAP archaeologists in Paris, France, I will use words such as captivating, intriguing, and riveting.  The New York Times used the term “grisly” but that’s a little macabre and sensational to me.

But I digress…

Beneath a supermarket in the 2nd arrondissemont in central Paris, archaeologists are working to excavate the remains of hundreds of individuals who were originally buried there in Medieval times when the site was home to the Hôpital de la Trinité.  According to the article, the site “was the first medieval hospital setting to be excavated in Paris.”

This find is significant in that most burial sites dating from that time period were dismantled in the late 18th century and the remains were relocated to the catacombs beneath the city.  To find a burial ground of this size and complexity in modern-day Paris is, well, a really big deal.

Based on initial exams, the remains exhibit an excellent cross section of the Medieval Parisian population; young and old, male and female.  Most did not die as the result of major trauma, and research is ongoing to learn more about these individuals.  Researchers think some might have been victims of an epidemic that hit the city in the 1340s.  Through DNA testing and carbon dating, INRAP hopes to be able to learn much more about these people, their lives, and live in Paris during the 14th century.  Fascinating stuff, indeed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/world/europe/medieval-mass-grave-under-a-paris-supermarket-shines-a-light-on-citys-past.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

From Live Science: ‘Bedlam’ Graveyard Excavation May Reveal Thousands of Skeletons

http://www.livescience.com/50104-archaeologists-excavate-bedlam-graveyard.html

The Whitney Plantation

I’m a little slow on sharing this amazing story.  After you read the linked articles from the New York Times, you’ll understand my apology.

The Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana, is a restored plantation.  Dating to the 18th century, Whitney is devoted to not just telling the story of slavery, but memorializing those who suffered through the horrible institution.

The New York Times ran an amazing piece in its magazine last week, and there is also an article dating from 2013, which tells the story of the Whitney Plantation’s evolution.  Key to that evolution is John Cummings, a New Orleans attorney who spent over $7,000,000 of his own money to make the current Whitney a reality.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/magazine/building-the-first-slave-museum-in-america.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/arts/design/a-restored-louisiana-plantation-and-its-lifeblood.html?_r=0

After reading these articles (and just about everything else I could find about it), I look forward to visiting the Whitney Plantation soon.

Here’s the Whitney online:  http://www.whitneyplantation.com/

From Jezebel.com – Ellen Craft, the Slave Who Posed as a Master and Made Herself Free

What a fascinating and truly brave couple!

Ellen and William Craft (photo from Wikipedia)

http://jezebel.com/ellen-craft-the-slave-who-posed-as-a-master-and-made-h-1677144886?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Time capsule from 1795 unearthed in Boston

Placed in the Massachusetts State House by Governor Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, the 219 year-old artifact was extricated from the building’s cornerstone.

The full story from the Boston Globe:  https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/11/officials-attempting-remove-massachusetts-state-house-time-capsule-from/GqKAGMB8zvxF6F3L7tWBpM/story.html