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America’s ‘birth certificate’ map found in Germany

Published: July 6, 2012 at 10:48 am
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A copy of a rare 16th-century map, known as ‘the birth certificate of America’, has been discovered between the pages of a 19th-century book in Germany. The map, created by the famous cartographer Martin Waldseemueller, is credited with being the first to document and name the newly discovered Americas, and was thought to been copied only four times. Now, researchers at Munich University have discovered a fifth copy.


There is already a large version of the map in the Library of Congress in Washington DC, which was given as a present by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007 to mark the 500th anniversary of the naming of America.

Record sale for Constable’s painting The Lock

John Constable's 1824 masterpiece The Lock has sold for £22.4 million at Christie's in London, making it one of the most expensive British paintings ever sold. The painting had been on view at Madrid’s Bornemisza Museum. Its former owner, Baroness Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza, has sparked controversy with her decision to sell The Lock. Sir Norman Rosenthal, one of the museums trustees, has resigned in protest, criticising the baroness for putting one of the museum's prized exhibits up for sale. Announcing the sale of the Constable painting in May, the baroness said she needed to sell because of the current economic crisis.

Images of ‘Britain’s Atlantis’ on show

Images of what ‘western Europe’s Atlantis’ may have looked like are now on display thanks to scientists. The huge expanse of now submerged land, dubbed ‘Doggerland’ stretched from the northern coast of France all the way to the highlands and Denmark, and is thought to have been inhabited by tens of thousands of Mesolithic Europeans.

The sunken area’s history has been pieced together using artefacts recovered from the bed of the North Sea, such as the fossilised remains of a mammoth, ancient tree stumps and flint used by humans to build weapons and tools.

You can see a recreation of what experts think ‘Doggerland’ may have looked like before it was swallowed up by rising sea levels at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London.

Roman mosaic corridor uncovered

Archaeologists at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire are excavating one of the longest corridor mosaics in the country. Visitors to the villa have been given the opportunity to watch the excavation of the 35-metre-long mosaic from installed walkways above the dig. Although Victorians discovered the mosaic they re-covered the site in order to preserve it. Now 150 years later, archaeologist Martin Papworth and other members of the National Trust archaeological team working on the corridor are eager to see what lies beneath the soil. Mr. Papworth said: “We're gradually working back through the 150 different layers worth of soil and we're excited by the bottom of it where we'll find this pattern mosaic."

Expedition to solve lost aviator mystery

An expedition has been launched to discover the fate of aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Seventy-five years after Earhart's plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, experts are on the hunt for the ‘smoking gun’ of this mystery in a new twist to the story of one of America’s most famous female aviators.

A team of scientists believe Earhart ditched her plane in the sea and now hope to find wreckage on the ocean bed off the small island of Nikumaroro, part of the Pacific archipelago Republic of Kiribati. A recent glut of clues has steadily been uncovered on the island including pieces of a woman’s compact, a woman’s shoe and a clothing zip from the 1930s.

15-ton Zeppelin memorabilia at auction

British property tycoon David Kirch has put nearly 600 items of memorabilia from the 1937 Hindenburg disaster up for sale. The private collection, amassed over 40 years and thought to weigh 15 tons, is expected to fetch £1 million. The collection includes rare artefacts from the Hindenburg, such as rare stamps, a bronze medal, a passenger list and a burnt ticket receipt.


The airship burst into flames while attempting to dock at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey. The artefacts were rescued from the remains of the doomed airship and later became part of Kirch’s vast collection.


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