Titanic postcard goes under the hammer

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A rare postcard written on the Titanic by a third class passenger who died alongside nine members of her family when the ship sank in April 1912, could fetch up to £15,000 at auction this weekend. The postcard was sent from Cobh in County Cork, Ireland, three days before the ship sank, and was purchased onboard the luxury liner. Also under the hammer is a rare promotional brochure in Danish for the ship, which could sell for up to £10,000.

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Royal Navy log books from around 280 First World War Royal Navy ships are to be used to help build a more accurate picture of how the climate has changed over the last century. Volunteers with the OldWeather.org project will transcribe information from log books spanning the period between 1905 and 1929, which will be used to help test models of the Earth’s climate.

In other history news, experts have voiced concerns that legislation introduced in 2008 stating that all human remains found during digs in Britain must be reburied within two years, is putting archaeology at risk. Scientists are worried that key information on British history will be lost due to insufficient time to carry out essential research on the finds.

In London, a new project is underway to map the site of every murder case in the city since the 19th century. The website, which launched in May this year, uses Google Maps to plot the sites of over 400 homicide cases, including that of the notorious Jack the Ripper. The website has come under fire from some who feel that it is insensitive to the families of the victims, while others hope it could eventually provide insight into shifts in crime patterns.

A prehistoric Spanish pelvis dating back 500,000 years could belong to the world’s first-known elderly human who had clear signs of ageing and impairment, according to a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nicknamed ‘Elvis’, the fossilised bones belonged to an adult male thought to have been a member of the species Homo heidelbergensis, a type of ancient human.

Meanwhile, a Russian archeologist claims to have discovered the ruins of a “Caucasian Stonehenge” in the North Caucasus mountains of southern Russia. The circular settings of stones were found at one of 200 settlements dating back to 1600 BC and are thought to have been built by a previously unknown Bronze Age civilisation.

Back in the UK, an unperformed choral work by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams is to be performed next year, more than 100 years after it was originally written. A Cambridge Mass, a 45-minute piece discovered during an exhibition at the Cambridge University Library, was written by Williams in 1899 for his Doctor of Music examination at Cambridge University, and still has the examiner’s pencil markings.

Eleven culture ministry employees have been found guilty of negligence and sentenced to three years in jail by an Egyptian court following the theft of a Van Gogh painting from a Cairo museum in August. The £32 million painting, known as Poppy Flowers or Vase and Flowers, was cut out of its frame. A subsequent investigation found that none of the museum’s alarms and only seven of 43 security cameras were working at the time. The officials have been bailed pending an appeal.

In other art news, a painting by renowned Northern Irish painter Paul Henry that was revealed on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow television programme has sold for £64,000 at auction. The Bog Road, is the second Henry painting to be discovered on the show and had been in the Toone family since 1938.

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And finally, an Oxfordshire vet has suggested that the 3,000-year-old Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire may in fact be a hunting hound at full stretch rather than a cantering horse. A spokesman from the National Trust, however, dismissed the claims, saying the figure, which dates back to the Bronze Age, is stylised and therefore “not a complete figure of a horse, it’s a suggestion.”