Public release date: 23-May-2005
Contact: Joseph Blumberg
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Founding fathers & mothers: How many crossed the land bridge?
NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Programs on the Discovery Channel and PBS have sparked fresh interest in the prehistoric peopling of the New World. Now, for the first time, we have a realistic estimate of how many ancients made that ice age trek across the long-lost land bridge from Asia to become the first Native Americans.
Jody Hey, a professor of genetics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has developed a computational method that uses genetic information to create models of population divergence – where a group has split off from its ancestral population to pursue its own destiny.
In a paper appearing in the June 2005 issue of PLoS (Public Library of Science) Biology, Hey disclosed his findings. "The estimated effective size of the founding population for the New World is about 70 individuals," Hey said. "Calculations also showed that this represents approximately 1 percent of the effective size of the estimated ancestral Asian population."
"Effective size" in population genetics is often thought of as the number of adults of reproductive age. One rule of thumb is the effective size might be about one third of the 'census population size' which, in this case, comes out to about 200 people.
In addition to population size, Hey's rigorous and complex methodology also generated historical estimates of when the divergence occurred. His dates are consistent with much of the archaeological record – in the range of 12,000-14,000 years ago.
He was also able to discern changes in population size and the extent of gene flow between populations, potentially representing renewed contact. Hey used nine genes in which sequences and frequencies were well documented in the scientific literature.
"The beauty of the new methodology is that it uses actual DNA sequences collected from Asian peoples and Native Americans, an approach that can provide a detailed portrait of historical populations," Hey said. The method doesn't use summary statistics or averages as some approaches do, but gleans as much information as possible directly from the genetic data.
Hey focused on the genetics of Amerind-speaking populations, one of three major language groups in the New World representing the earliest migrants who extended deep into the Americas. The other groups, the more recent Athabascan speakers and the even more recent Eskimos and Aleuts, had less comprehensive genetic information available and were not included in Hey's study.
Bacteria Eating Away at Otzi the Iceman?
By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
May 23, 2005 — Ötzi the Iceman, the world's oldest and best-preserved mummy, could be at risk of decomposition, according to the latest tests on the 5,300-year-old mummy.
Eduard Egarter Vigl, Ötzi's official caretaker, said that X-rays show suspicious grey spots on one knee.
"We noticed that these spots change aspect over time. This would indicate the formation of air or gas bubbles inside the tibia. And we know that gas is produced by bacteria," he said at a recent conference at the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano, Italy, where the mummy is kept.
Concerned that bacteria could damage the mummy, Egarter Vigl suggested a needle biopsy in order to analyze the "bubbles". He also advised tissue samples be taken.
He warned that the mummy is dehydrating, dangerously losing weight by water evaporation despite an igloo-like refrigerated cell which recreates the conditions in the Similaun Glacier where the mummy was found.
"In Ötzi's mummified tissues, chemically bound water — basically water present in proteins and fats — is evaporating inexorably," Egarter Vigl said.
"For this reason, the mummy is vaporized every two to three months with sterilized water, which forms a thin ice crust aimed at preserving the tridimensional structure of proteins and fats."
Discovered in 1991 in a melting glacier in the Ötztal Alps by the German hiker Helmut Simon, Ötzi is thought to have died at age 45 following a violent hand-to-hand encounter with one or more assailants.
He was hit by an arrowhead while being assaulted by his enemies, some of whose blood was found on the mummy's cloak and weapons.
According to Egarter Vigl, Ötzi managed to flee up the mountain until he collapsed and was entombed in the ice of the Similaun Glacier.
Probably caught in a storm at 10,000 feet, Ötzi died in pain, most likely from blood loss, hunger, cold and weakness.
Despite Egarter Vigl's warnings, local officials have dismissed the idea of a knee biopsy and other invasive exams on the mummy.
"At present there is absolutely no risk for Ötzi's preservation, thus there is no need for invasive tests," Bruno Hosp, president of South Tyrol provincial museums, said in a statement.
Four years ago, local authorities had decided that no more invasive tests would be performed on Ötzi.
Body Art or Acupuncture?
"During all these years, the mummy has been suffering a lot. The time has come to leave him in peace," Hosp told the local daily Alto Adige.
The Ötzi Curse
He might have a point.
Last month, the death of historian Konrad Spindler, head of the Ötzi investigation team at Innsbruck University, strengthened the legend of the "Ötzi curse".
Indeed, five other people who had direct contact with the mummy have died under mysterious circumstances.
The first was Guenter Henn, the forensic pathologist who picked the mummy from the snow with bare hands. A year later, Henn died in a head-on collision while on his way to present "sensational findings" on the mummy at a conference.
Shortly after, Kurt Fritz, the mountain guide who was one of the first to see the mummy's face, was killed in an avalanche.
Rainer Hoelzl, who died of a brain tumor, was the third victim. Hoelzl was the only journalist allowed to film the removal of the mummy from the ice.
The Ötztal Alps were also fatal to Helmut Simon, whose body was found trapped in ice last October just like his famous find.
As if that wasn't enough, Dieter Warnecke, head of the rescue service who found Simon's frozen body, died of a heart attack an hour after Simon's funeral.
On April 18, it was Spindler's turn. He died, aged 66, from complications arising from multiple sclerosis.
After Simon's death, Spindler had been asked if he believed the curse. He replied "No. Next thing you will be saying I will be next."
Mutilated Bronze Age lord found in Germany
Thomas Schoene | Halle, Germany
30 May 2005 05:23
Archaeologists have discovered the skeletons of a lord and his retainers in a burial mound at Germany's most celebrated Bronze Age site.
Archaeologist Olaf Schroeder said the intact, 4 200-year-old mound was one of at least eight "barrows" within view of the ancient holy site that yielded the 3 600-year-old Nebra celestial disc, a bronze and gold depiction of the heavens, in 1999.
Government archaeologists began excavating the wooded area after being tipped off that treasure-hunters were digging over the area in search of gold. The first find was the skeleton of a sentry just inside the entrance to the grave.
Schroeder, who is based in the nearby city of Halle, said: "We kept on digging. Deep in the barrow, we found the Bronze Age burial chamber. It was two metres square and the roof had sagged to about half-a-metre high. It was fully lined with sandstone slabs.
"In the middle lay the lord, but his upper body and legs were missing. There was a precious bronze knife and a bronze needle next to him, and the remains of his court lay in a circle round him. The skulls were deformed. These people had died violently.
"They were put to death with a blunt instrument. Three were children, aged four, five and 10," the archaeologist added. The eldest child, a girl, still had her spiral-shaped bronze earrings lying by her skull.
The tomb was dated to 3 000 years ago, making it much newer than the mound itself.
Schroeder said retainers of Bronze Age lords expected to be buried with their master.
"It was just like in Egypt. They had to follow him to the death. But instead of pyramids, our ancestors built monumental graves of earth and sandstone slabs," he said.
An archaeological park is to be built in the Nebra area, in eastern Germany, to inform visitors about the mysterious culture, which is believed to have lived from farming and to have traded with other parts of the ancient world.
The Nebra disc is believed to be the world's oldest surviving star map. -- Sapa-DPA
NASA science uncovers texts of Trojan Wars, early gospel
By Tom Hundley
Tribune foreign correspondent
May 19, 2005
OXFORD, England -- The scholars at Oxford University are not sure how it works or why; all they know is that it does.
A relatively new technology called multispectral imaging is turning a pile of ancient garbage into a gold mine of classical knowledge, bringing to light the lost texts of Sophocles and Euripides as well as some early Christian gospels that do not appear in the New Testament.
Originally developed by NASA scientists and used to map the surface of Mars, multispectral imaging was successfully applied to some badly charred Roman manuscripts that were buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Examining those carbonized manuscripts under different wavelengths of light suddenly revealed writing that had been invisible to scholars for two centuries.
Now scientists are shining the multispectral light on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, an enormous collection of texts unearthed from the rubbish heaps of the vanished city of Oxyrhynchus, about 100 miles south of Cairo.
First excavated by two Oxford archeologists in the late 19th Century, the hoard of papyrus from Oxyrhynchus has long been a source of fascination and frustration for scholars: Fascination because it holds some of the lost masterpieces of classical literature, frustration because much of it is in such poor condition it's impossible to read.
But the multispectral imaging has "produced miraculous results," according to Dirk Obbink, a lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature at Oxford who is directing the project.
"No one knows exactly why it produces the results it does," Obbink said of the technology. "But with texts that are difficult to read, it's a night-and-day difference."
In the past few weeks alone, researchers have succeeded in deciphering a 70-line fragment from a lost tragedy by Sophocles and a 30-line fragment from Archilochos, a Greek soldier-poet who chronicled the Trojan Wars.
The Archilochos fragment confirms what scholars have long suspected: that the Greeks got lost on their way to invade Troy and mistakenly landed at place called Mysia. There they fought a battle, lost and had to regroup before heading off again for Troy.
The Archilochos fragment will be published later this month. The newly discovered lines from Sophocles are scheduled for publication in August.
High-tech Lazy Susan
"To get a piece like that every 10 years, we think ourselves lucky, so I'd have to say that this is a very exciting development," said professor Richard Janko, head of the classics department at the University of Michigan.
Multispectral imaging uses digital cameras equipped with a kind of revolving Lazy Susan of light filters that isolate the waveband at which the obscured ink contrasts most vividly with the dark background of the papyrus, the paper of the ancient Egyptians.
"Some parts [of the writing] respond well to infrared; other parts respond to something further along the spectrum," Obbink said.
A sequence of images taken at all ranges of the light spectrum are then put together, and the result often is a document of startling clarity. The technique for adapting NASA's technology to the reading of ancient manuscripts was developed at Brigham Young University in Utah, which is assisting Oxford with the Oxyrhynchus project.
The Oxyrhynchus collection, housed at Oxford University's Sackler Library, consists of more than half a million scraps of papyrus. Some of it is in excellent condition, but much of it is worm-eaten and darkened by time.
All of it was collected from the rubbish dumps of Oxyrhynchus, a city that flourished after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. The city remained prominent in the Roman and Byzantine periods but declined after the Arab conquest in A.D. 641.
For a thousand years, the inhabitants dumped their trash in the desert. Over time the dumpsites were covered by sand, and they remained covered until 1896 when Oxford archeologists Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt began excavating the area.
At first, Grenfell thought that what he and Hunt had found was "nothing but rubbish mounds," but they quickly came to appreciate that they had found a remarkable window into the literary and ordinary lives of the ancients.
There were plays by Sophocles and Euripides, poems of Pindar and Sappho, and some of the earliest documents recording Christianity's spread to Egypt. The gospel of Thomas, for example, records the "Sayings of Jesus" in a manner that some scholars of early Christianity believe is more authentic than the Gospels in the New Testament.
There also is an abundance of life's everyday stuff and miscellanea--tax records, marriage contracts, horoscopes, erotic musings, advice on how to buy a donkey and advice on how to cast a decent magic spell.
"It's as if you took a slice out of everybody's hard drive, or every 10th page out of every 10th book in the library--what you have is a complete slice of life," said Obbink, the project director.
The problem was sorting the wheat from the chaff and deciphering scripts that had been damaged or obscured.
1 percent in a century
Working steadily for more than a century, scholars at Oxford managed to decipher, interpret and publish about 5,000 text fragments, about 1 percent of the total collection, according to Nick Gonis, the collection's curator. Multispectral imaging could help speed the process.
Meanwhile, the Oxford team is looking at another promising application of the technology. Scholars have long known that the elaborately painted cartonnage used to encase mummies was a kind of papier-mache made from papyrus. A lot of the papyrus has writing on it, but there didn't seem to be a way of reading it without destroying the decorative cartonnage.
In one recent trial, the imaging process was able to read writing beneath the painted surface of a cartonnage fragment. Scholars were thrilled, even though it turned out to be just another government report. firstname.lastname@example.org
Giant Figures in Peru Desert Pre-date Nazca Lines
The Epoch Times
May 24, 2005
PARACAS GEOGLYPHS: Three figures made by the ancient Paracas culture can be seen outlined on the rocky hillsides near Palpa, southern Peru. The figures are known as the “Temple of Fertility”, with a man (top left), a woman (bottom right) and a divine figure (bottom center). (Johny Isla)
A group of about 50 drawings of giant figures recently discovered in the hills of Peru’s southern coastal desert near the city of Palpa has been said to predate the famous Nazca lines nearby.
Mr. Johny Isla, director of the Andean Institute of Archaeological Studies, said the “geoglyph” figures appear to have been created by the Paracas communities between 500 and 400BC, whereas the Nazca culture developed after 50 BC. Mr. Isla and his partner Dr. Markus Reindel from the Dutch Institute of Archaeology discovered the Paracas figures using aerial photography and land-based surveys. The figures of humans, birds, monkeys and cats vary in size from 10m to 50m across, and are also grouped together in areas up to 60 m to 90 m across.
The Paracas figures were created by removing dark stones in order to expose the lighter surface underneath. Some areas were cleared and others built up with rock, creating figures in high and low relief. With the Nazca lines though, the geoglyphs were only made by clearing low-relief areas. Until recently scientists believed that the figures in the Palpa and Nazca regions were only from the Nazca culture. Mr. Isla says cultural dating and style of the newly found Paracas figures sets them apart.
Mr. Isla told The Epoch Times: “Most of these geoglyphs belong to the Nazca culture but our recent studies demonstrated that there are at least 50 geoglyphs pertaining to the Paracas culture. These new figures are definitely different and older than those of the Nazca culture.
“First, the Paracas figures were drawn on the slopes of the hills, while the Nazca images were drawn in level areas. Second, the Paracas figures are smaller and were made in a naturalistic style, while the Nazca figures are bigger and stylised. Third, the Paracas figures are mostly arranged in groups, while the Nazca figures are arranged individually. Finally, it is important to note that not one of the Paracas figures were repeated in the Nazca iconography,” Mr, Isla said.
Although the existence of some of the Paracas figures was previously known, most were undiscovered due to their remote location, and their visibility is highly affected by the position of the sun. One set of figures is known as the “Temple of Fertility” as one image represents a man, another a woman and the center image seems to represent a divine figure with a head from which emanates a series of rays that end in human heads.
Mr. Isla said: “The principal idea is that together the three figures represent the reproduction of the human species, the continuity of life.” “According to results obtained from our studies of the Nazca geoglyphs, we can suggest that the Paracas geoglyphs were made also in the context of a religious culture related to water. The Palpa and Nazca valleys are in the middle of one of the most arid deserts of the world, where the surface water is a vital resource to develop life,” said Mr. Isla.
Further studies may tell more about the Paracas people, their ways of life and early history of the area.
RELEASE DATE: Tuesday 31 May 2005
SPACE AGE SCROLL-SCANNING SUCCESS
FUELS THE ROW OVER ANCIENT LIBRARY
The space age technology that is unlocking manuscripts embedded in volcanic ash during the AD79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius is also fuelling a row over whether the Roman library where it was found should be re-excavated without delay.
According to a report in the June issue of BBC HISTORY Magazine (on sale from today, 31 May) experts are divided on how to approach the Villa of Papyri, the one-time home of Julius Caesar’s in-laws, at Herculaneum, near Pompeii.
The villa was first excavated in 1752, when hundreds of rolls of papyrus were recovered from its library, including works by Archimedes, Aristotle, Virgil, Seneca and the Roman poets, Accius and Catullus. Further digging has been haphazard, though, and the villa is currently abandoned, partly exposed to the elements and crumbling - just as scholars are starting to decipher the some of the most fragile early finds, using multi-spectral scanning systems developed by NASA.
The latest success, by researchers at the British Library, reveals almost all of one of the ancient world’s most famous books on philosophy - On Nature - written by Epicurus in around 300BC. As a result, new calls are being made for a thorough investigation of the villa, to discover if other, similarly important, classical scripts remain buried. There’s a dispute, however, about whether such a move would imperil the building and its contents.
Professor Robert Fowler, of Bristol University, is among the archaeologists backing a controversial $20m dollar appeal for a new excavation. He told BBC HISTORY Magazine: “I worry that the argument will rumble on for another century without anything happening. Eventually the villa could be put beyond reach by seismic or volcanic activity. So long as there is a chance of finding the rest of the library, we owe it to the world to dig.”
Other scholars, however, argue that further work on the library should wait until the rest of Herculaneum is preserved. Andrew Wallace-Hall, director of the British School at Rome, is on the side of those who say more digging now will only add to the site’s vulnerability. “The Villa of the Papyri is indeed of exceptional importance. That is why it would be a scandal to expose it to daylight before we can guarantee that it would be saved for the future.”
June’s BBC HISTORY Magazine also offers insights into life in Pompeii, revelations from a new study of Nelson’s letters, a poll to find the best-regarded wartime leader, a look-back at the celebrity chef who championed healthy eating 150 years before Jamie Oliver, and Sex in the Georgian City - excerpts from an 18th century directory of London prostitutes.
For more info, or interviews (using our ISDN studio, if required), please contact: contact Tabitha Morton on 0117 314 8300; email@example.com.
New city search for Roman remains
A £47,500 project using 21st-century technology could lead the way to new discoveries of ancient remains in the Chichester area.
It may help establish for the first time whether a Roman fort is buried away somewhere close to or in the city, as well as highlighting areas which archaeologists should be focussing on.
Chichester is one of 30 historic English towns chosen to make a detailed computer record of their complex archaeology.
Apart from its implications for archaeological discovery, the so-called 'intensive urban study' is intended to help with giving planning advice on the heritage implications of new developments, and on the management of the historic environment.
Full report in May 19 issue of the Chichester Observer
24 May 2005
Sixth century Buddhist statue discovered:-
Sirpur | May 24, 2005 7:26:11 PM IST
Indian archaeologists have discovered a rare statue of a Buddhist female monk dating back to the sixth century. The discovery was made during recent excavations in Sirpur, situated 84 kms. from Raipur, capital of central Chhattisgarh state.
The excavators unearthed the statue of Haritika, who as per legend abducted infants and later on killed them.
Arun Kumar Sharma, chief of the excavation project, said that it was for the first time they have discovered the image of Haritika, which proves that female deities were as popular as their male counterparts in that era.
"This is for the first time the image of Haritiki has been found in Sirpur. So far Jambal image was discovered but this Haritiki is first, which too inscribed in 6th century. It shows that female deities were as important as the male deities," Sharma said.
The archaeologists have also excavated a unique nine-room area with eight ladders leading to the rooms.
Rare emblems of Hindu lord Shiva have also been discovered for which the excavators are trying to trace the roots.
"So far I have excavated nearly seven mounds and this (includes) Shiva temples. This Buddha Vihar (residence) is unique. You have to climb eight steps to enter the Buddha Vihar and there are nine rooms and 12 pillared Mandapa (a columned hall) in the centre and in the south there is a sanctum sanctorum where Buddha statue must have been there, which is stolen," Sharma said.
Buddhism in India began with the life of Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), also known as the "Buddha", a prince from a small kingdom located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal who sacrificed luxury and wandered as a beggar in search of meaningful life.
At the age of eighty, the Buddha achieved his final passing away and died, leaving a thriving monastic order and a community to carry forth his work.
Legend says that when Buddha came to know about it, he kidnapped the two-year-old child of Haritika which made her realise the sufferings of the mothers. Haritika then turned into a monk to remorse her past conduct.
Till 13th century, the monastery in eastern Nalanda in Bihar was a world centre for Buddhist philosophy and religion. Though Buddhism has its roots in India, the religion has all but vanished from the country but is widely followed in East and South East Asia. (ANI)
Wed 25 May 2005
The Auldhame Farm excavation site is within view of Bass Rock
Ruins may have links to St Baldred
AN INNOCENT accident between a farmer's plough and fragments beneath the soil has led to a remarkable discovery that is shedding new information on the beginnings of Christianity in eastern Scotland.
The owner of Auldhame Farm, near North Berwick, has uncovered skeletal remains while tilling the land that looks on to the Firth of Forth. Archaeologists have been astonished at their early findings.
The church foundation shows rounded corners that experts believe may date the structure to the 10th century or earlier
"A church has been found, and it's a most intriguing church in the sense that it has rounded corners," says Patrick Ashmore, principal inspector of ancient monuments at Historic Scotland. "When it was first discovered it was thought it might go with some pottery from the 13th century, (but) to me it looks if the church may be earlier."
The original church measures 6.5 metres by 4.1 metres and is made of stone, similar dimensions and construction to a chapel excavated 20 years ago at the Hirsel, an estate and park near Coldstream, which was dated to the 10th century. However, what has Ashmore and the archaeologists working at the site intrigued is that the building – with its four rounded corners – is similar to houses constructed in the 7th or 8th century, making it possible the church is from the first millennium.
"I think we've got a very surprisingly early church – if the evidence turns out to be correct," Ashmore notes with caution. "It's very exciting indeed."
An archaeologist carefully digs at the church cemetery
Up to 200 skeletons dating from the early second millennium or possibly earlier have also been found. Some bones will be tested through carbon dating and the findings should be accurate within two centuries. The people buried were probably wealthier than most at the time because jewellery was found in some of the graves.
The church was built in stages over many centuries and is located on the edge of land that looks directly out to sea toward Bass Rock, the small island home to St Baldred in the 8th century. The Celtic bishop was sent from his native Strathclyde to the Lothians to spread Christianity and establish the first churches.
With the dark rock about two miles off the coast, could this new discovery be the site of one of St Baldred's churches?
"There appear to have been three churches around the time of St Baldred and this might be the site," says Ashmore, who is overseeing the archaeological project. "More likely, perhaps it's a church but not one of the three main early churches in the area."
The site reveals two of the earliest signs of Christianity in the east of Scotland, notes John Barber, director of AOC Archaeology, the company charged with carrying out the excavation for Historic Scotland.
A cross-bearing headstone is one of the key findings
"We have cross-engraved slabs, and in the junction between the earlier and the older buildings we see a square stone with a rectangular … cut in the middle, and that's the sort of thing in which a simple stone cross would have been erected," Barber says. "Taken together, those tend to indicate earlier medieval – maybe 7th, 8th, 9th centuries.
"It's certainly amongst the earliest indications we have of Christianity in East Lothian," he offers.
Barber also highlighted some of the soil on the edge of the excavation as being man-made – characteristic of early Christian establishments.
"The Christian missionaries came with an information package, having had access to Roman texts on farming. They knew how to make up for deficiencies in local soils by adding manure, by adding peat to sand, by adding sand to peat, and so on. And together with the very deep ditches, it is definitely signalling the Dark Age".
The archaeologists will concentrate on the visible sections of the cemetery and church, and they hope to dig as little as necessary before Ashmore, his colleagues at Historic Scotland and other experts decide how to proceed.
The artefacts found will be specially treated and safeguarded by AOC and then catalogued by the National Museums of Scotland before it is decided where they are to be displayed. They are the latest in a series of findings that include relics next to what is now the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.
"I have a real feeling that (this) is going to make us rewrite prehistory and early history," Ashmore says of the recent findings. "Auldhame will be a vital part of that."
This article: http://heritage.scotsman.com/places.cfm?id=573232005
Last updated: 25-May-05 13:19 GMT
Posted on Mon, May. 23, 2005
'Discovery of a lifetime' thrills mayor, archaeologists
UNION'S STANFORD FORT PROTECTED SUPPLY ROUTE, THEN WAS FORGOTTEN
By Emily Burton
STANFORD - On a forgotten hilltop sprinkled with daisies and horse manure, an astounding remnant of history was discovered recently at what was once thought to be a Cherokee graveyard.
But rather than burial ground, Stanford Mayor Eddie Carter discovered that his pasture land was once home to heavy artillery and Union troops.
"This is big time," Carter said. "This is one of the largest Civil War mound forts. They say it's a very significant find ... I'd thought for years it was an old Cherokee burial ground."
Archaeologists who visited the site were thrilled to find that the series of small hills encircling Carter's hilltop is in fact one of the region's best preserved earthen Civil War forts.
"This is the discovery of a lifetime," said Tom Fugate, site identification program administrator with the Kentucky Heritage Council. "This is one of the largest, if not the largest, earthen fortifications in Kentucky."
The unnamed fort overlooked the major supply route of the day, connecting the area's main supply depot at Camp Nelson and a sub-depot in Burnside, about 60 miles away, Fugate said. "This fort was built, we believe, in 1863, 1864, as a part of the defense to protect the transportation routes in central Kentucky."
Historians had suspected that soldiers built fortification in the area, he said, but "we had no idea where it was, and bingo, it appears in the mayor's back yard."
The fort would have been used by Union troops, firing at Confederate Cavalry raiders from behind the fort's berm. The hilltop gave troops at the fort a 360-degree view for miles. It also presented several obstacles to charging troops, including a steep upward march, a trench and six to eight cannons, estimated Fugate.
Troops used pickaxes and shovels to construct the trench and surrounding, rolling wall that encircle the hill, said Stephen McBride, director of archaeology at Camp Nelson Civil War Park near Nicholasville.
Local Civil War historian David Gambrel speculated the fort could have been used by Union Major James H. Bridgewater.
"No doubt we're treading on the same ground as Bridgewater," Gambrel said. But, with further excavations, "you'll find artifacts here to tell you what type of troops used this."
McBride said the immediate focus is to research the name of the fort, possibly registered in Washington, D.C., and to get money for further study and preservation. "We hope we can get it on the National Registry," he said.
Without that protection, developers can take their toll on what many don't realize is historically significant. "These things get destroyed pretty often," McBride said.
Progress put the fort in jeopardy as well.
The expansion project of U.S. 27 includes several possible routes, one of which would have toppled the 140-year-old treasure, Carter said. When he first saw the possible route, he asked the Department of Transportation to inspect the site, still thinking it was an Indian graveyard.
But after a brief tour of the hilltop, the Transportation Department's Berle Clay e-mailed a photo of the site to Fugate, asking whether he had actually "blundered" on to what he suspected.
"Based on the image, I could tell it was certainly more than an Indian burial ground," Fugate said. He and several experts explored the site in person less than 48 hours later. The possible path of the highway is expected to be changed.
"This is a wonderful find, an outstanding find," Fugate said. "Four national experts looked at it, and we all agree ... It's an absolutely beautiful fort."
27 May 2005
Book reveals fate of Australia’s ‘Ten Pound Poms’
Title: Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants
Author: Thomson Alistair Hammerton A. James
Publication type Books
Publication Date 20 May 2005
Number of pages 416
Page size 234 x 156
Price £ 15.00
Muriel Miller found out what Australia thought of her family when her children returned home from their first day at school there in 1963 and said: “Mum, what’s a Pommie b*****d?”
“That’s what they called my children,” remembers Muriel, one of more than one million “Ten Pound Poms” who set sail for the promise of a new life in Australia in the decades after World War II.
Muriel returned with her family to England in 1966. Now settled in Hove, East Sussex, Muriel regards those three years as among the most exciting times of her life.
This opinion, common among returning migrants, is one of the key themes of a fascinating new book out now – Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants, by Dr Alistair Thomson of the University of Sussex and Dr Jim Hammerton of La Trobe University, Melbourne.
The book draws on the life histories of more than 200 respondents in the UK who answered an appeal for stories from those who, like Muriel, had taken up the offer of assisted passage to Australia. These so-called “Ten Pound Poms” helped to plug the skills gap in the Australian labour market between the 1940s and 1970s. It was one of the biggest migrations of the postwar era, yet it has remained little explored until now. In today’s fractious climate surrounding immigration issues, the book offers a glimpse of the white British experience of being an immigrant.
Dr Hammerton follows the Britons who settled permanently in Australia, but it is the experiences of the returning Britons that has fascinated Australian Dr Thomson. The story is told through accounts detailing the excitement of the month-long outward voyage via exotic ports of call, the problems of assimilation and finding homes and work, to the decision by some to return to England.
Dr Thomson says: “Migrant history usually looks at the success stories of those who stayed. The interesting thing here is that even for the migrants who went back to Britain, this was the most exciting time of their lives. It pulled them out of the rut. They looked back on the experience and converted something that might be seen as failure into a success story of travel and adventure.”
Dr Thomson adds: “The real reason why 250,000 Britons returned to the UK wasn’t the anti-British feeling or the awful immigrant hostels – it was family responsibility. The guilt, isolation and homesickness people felt when confronted with ageing parents, marriage break-ups and pregnancy was too much to bear. People also felt culturally alienated in a land that was very familiar in some ways but also shockingly strange.”
Muriel, who returned home to care for her ailing mother, says: “I was young and craved adventure. We saw the world and tried new things. I never felt accepted there though, and we made mistakes: we had a beautiful bungalow, but it was miles from the city, in an immigrant settlement. I don’t think the Australians were prepared for why we were there. But I never regretted my big adventure.”
Notes for editor
• Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants, by A. James Hammerton and Alistair Thomson, is published by Manchester University Press. For details of the launch at the Australia High Commission on June 16, for interviews or a copy of the cover photograph featuring Muriel Miller’s daughter Susan on board the Achille Lauro in Sydney Harbour, please contact University of Sussex Press office.
Press office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing, tel: 01273 678 888 or email M.T.Clune@sussex.ac.uk or J.A.Bealing@sussex.ac.uk