Thursday 19th January 2012
A collection of fossils, including some belonging to Charles Darwin, has been rediscovered in the vaults of the British Geological Survey headquarters near Keyworth in Nottinghamshire.
The fossils had been assembled by one of Darwin’s closest friends, Joseph Hooker, while he worked for the British Geological Survey in 1846. However, Hooker failed to number them in the formal specimen register before embarking on an expedition to the Himalayas. The collection was then moved several times, before gradually being forgotten. This was until their discovery this week by the palaeontologist Dr Howard Falcon-Lang, who found them in a cabinet marked ‘unregistered fossil plants.’ The fossils have since been photographed and are now available to the public through a new online museum exhibit
released this week.
A century after Captain Scott’s epic journey to the South Pole, researchers, explorers and relatives paid tribute to the expedition’s significant contribution to science. Scott was initially viewed as an iconic figure following his death on the return journey, together with four other members of his team, but a number of historians revised their view of the explorer during the mid-20th century, questioning his capabilities and contribution. On the centenary of the expedition, however, experts are drawing attention to the innovative scientific breakthroughs made by Scott and his team.
This included collecting specimens from 2,109 different animals, as well as rock samples, penguin eggs and plant fossils.
You can view some of the specimens recorded during Scott’s expedition at www.historyextra.com/expedition
A group of archaeologists from the University of Basle in Switzerland has unearthed the tomb of a female singer in the Valley of the Kings.
The woman, Nehmes Bastet, was a temple singer during Egypt’s 22nd Dynasty, according to an inscription in the tomb. The coffin found in the tomb contained an intact mummy from almost 3,000 years ago. The tomb is only the second found in the Valley of Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922.
Peter McGee, the head of London based publishing firm Albertas Ltd, has announced plans to publish three passages from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kempf in Germany.
McGee plans to use the excerpts as a supplement to the company’s existing weekly publication, a controversial series called ‘Newspaper Witness’ which reprints pages of Nazi newspapers from the 1920–1930s, along with a commentary. This is a sensitive subject in Germany, where it is illegal to reprint Hitler’s autobiography, except for the purpose of academic study. Indeed, the state of Bavaria, which owns the copyrights to the Nazi vision of Aryan racial supremacy, said it was considering legal steps to block publication. However, McGee refused to back down, believing that it is time for the ‘lousy’ book to be made accessible to the German public to allow them to ‘discard’ it for themselves.
A unique engraving on the back of a Victorian clock stolen from the Royal Berkshire Hospital has led to its safe return. The clock was taken from the entrance hall of the Reading hospital in 2004 but was spotted in an auction catalogue
by David Card, the man who restored it in 1979. Card recognised the stolen clock due to the unusual picture of the clock maker located on the back of the dial. The picture is thought to be of the 19th-century Reading clock maker, W Snowdon. He also inscribed ‘The Bung’, which is assumed to have been his nickname. The timepiece had already been sold to a buyer in New York, but Card was able to persuade the auction house to delay its shipping. The auction house relinquished the clock and it is now back on public display at the Royal Berkshire Medical Museum.
Archaeologists have discovered a second-century AD villa and farm complex in Peterborough.
Although the city was well-documented as a strategic area for the movement of Roman troops, the find sheds new light on the city’s occupants of 2,000 years ago. The grandeur of the newly discovered villa suggests that the city was in fact a place where people settled to show off their wealth and status. A public display of finds from the site will also be held at the Paston and Gunthorpe Community Centre on 28 January.