Tag Archives: United States

‘Scotland’s dodo’ bone found at Scottish Seabird Centre dig

A bone from an extinct bird known as “Scotland’s dodo” has been uncovered following an archaeological dig in East Lothian.

The bone from the Great Auk, a species last seen in British waters on St Kilda in 1840, was recovered at the Kirk Ness site, now known as North Berwick.

It was unearthed during a dig at the Scottish Seabird Centre.

Archaeologists said the find sheds new lights on human habitation of the area in the Middle Ages.

The archaeological dig, by Edinburgh-based Addyman Archaeology, and supported by Historic Scotland, revealed bones of butchered seals, fish and seabirds, including the bone of the Great Auk.

The upper arm bone of the flightless bird was unearthed at the entrance area of an early building and has been radio carbon dated to the 5th to 7th Centuries.

The seabird was a favoured food source in medieval times as it was easy to catch.

Human predation led to the decline of the species, ensuring that by the middle of the 19th Century it had become persecuted and exploited into extinction.

The penguin-like bird was 1m tall and its range at one time extended from the north-eastern United States across the Atlantic to the British Isles, France and Northern Spain.

Tom Brock, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “The discovery of the Great Auk bone on site at the Scottish Seabird Centre is fascinating but also very sad.

“We are so fortunate in Scotland to have a rich variety of seabirds and we must use the extinction of the Great Auk as a warning to future generations to look after our wonderful wildlife and the marine environment as an absolute priority.

“There are both behavioural and environmental lessons that must be taken from this internationally-important finding, and as an educational and conservation charity we will remain dedicated to inspiring people to enjoy, protect and learn about wildlife and the natural environment.”

 

Tom Addyman, of Addyman Archaeology, said: “The discovery of the Great Auk bone at Kirk Ness is an illuminating find, as we seek to understand and document the importance of the area in the history of wildlife and human habitation in the Middle Ages.

“We hope that its discovery helps historians and conservation experts, such as the Scottish Seabird Centre, to educate future generations about the precious nature of our natural resources.”

Rod McCullagh, senior archaeology manager at Historic Scotland, said: “In the last two decades, there has been a renaissance in our understanding of the archaeology and history of early Medieval Scotland.

“The discovery of the remains of domestic buildings and the associated detritus of daily life at Kirk Ness gives us a glimpse of what ordinary life was like in East Lothian at this time.

“That ‘daily life’ involved the killing of such valuable birds as the Great Auk is no surprise but the discovery of this single bone perhaps attests to a time when hunting did not overwhelm such a vulnerable species.”

Source – BBC News    12 May 2014

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Almanac – April 17

1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer told the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.

Chaucer scholars have also identified this as the  date (in 1387) as the start of the book’s pilgrimage to Canterbury.

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1891 – George Adamski born.  Polish-born American citizen who became widely known in ufology circles, and to some degree in popular culture, after he claimed to have photographed ships from other planets, met with friendly Nordic alien Space Brothers, and to have taken flights with them.

The first of the so-called contactees of the 1950s, he was called a “philosopher, teacher, student and saucer researcher”, though his claims were met with skepticism.

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1897 – The Aurora, Texas UFO incident. During the 1896–1897 timeframe, numerous sightings of a cigar-shaped mystery airship were reported across the United States.

One of these accounts appeared in the April 19, 1897, edition of the Dallas Morning News. Written by Aurora resident S.E. Haydon, the alleged UFO is said to have hit a windmill on the property of a Judge J.S. Proctor two days earlier at around 6am local (Central) time, resulting in its crash.

The pilot (who was reported to be “not of this world“, and a “Martian” according to a reported Army officer from nearby Fort Worth) did not survive the crash, and was buried “with Christian rites” at the nearby Aurora Cemetery.

Reportedly, wreckage from the crash site was dumped into a nearby well located under the damaged windmill, while some ended up with the alien in the grave.

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1960 – Eddie Cochran died.  American rock and roll pioneer who, in his brief career, had a lasting influence on rock music.

Cochran’s rockabilly songs, such as “C’mon Everybody”, “Somethin’ Else“, and “Summertime Blues”, captured teenage frustration and desire in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

 He experimented with multitrack recording and overdubbing even on his earliest singles, and was also able to play piano, bass and drums.His image as a sharply dressed, rugged but good-looking young man with a rebellious attitude epitomized the stance of the 50s rocker, and in death he achieved an iconic status.

Cochran died aged 21 after a road accident in the town of Chippenham, Wiltshire, during his British tour.

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1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion. An unsuccessful military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the paramilitary group Brigade 2506 , counter-revolutionary military trained and funded by the United States government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Launched from Guatemala, the invading force was defeated by the Cuban armed forces, under the command of Prime Minister Fidel Castro, within three days.

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Almanac – February 18

1478 – George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, was “executed in private” at the Tower of London.
A tradition grew up that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. This may have originated in a joke, based on his reputation as a heavy drinker. However, a butt was equal to three hogsheads — 477.3 litres (105 imperial gallons) easily enough to drown in.

A body, believed to be that of Clarence, which was later exhumed, showed no indications of beheading, the normal method of execution for those of noble birth at that time.

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1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft,  doing so as part of the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

On the same trip, which covered 72 miles in a Ford Trimotor airplane from Bismarck, Missouri to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes.

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1941 – Irma Thomas born. American singer,  known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans“.  A contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but while never experiencing  their level of commercial success, she still  has a large cult following among soul aficionados.

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