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World's Oldest Wooden Statue Twice as Old as Pyramids

New dating puts Shigir Idol at 11K years old, 1.5K years older than thought

(Newser) - When scientists first tried in 1997 to date the famous Shigir Idol wooden sculpture —originally found in a Siberian peat bog in 1890—radiocarbon dating suggested the art was so old the findings were widely disputed. Now, armed with better tech, scientists turned to one of the world's... More »

Scientists Study Lost Site of Largest Native American Massacre

Cavalrymen killed at least 250 Shoshone men, women, children in Idaho in 1863

(Newser) - By the end of that frigid day in January 1863, the blood of at least 250 men, women, and children stained the ground in Idaho. But rather than occupying a dark place in American history, the victims of the nation's single largest Native American massacre—Shoshone Indians slaughtered in... More »

Scurvy: Horrific as It Was Deadly for Sailors

The 'plague of the sea' was not a pleasant way to go

(Newser) - A ship's chaplain in the 1740s wrote of sailors' gums that would grow out of control until they protruded from the mouth and rotted away, leaving a horrific case of bad breath, the BBC reports. So it turns out that not only was scurvy once incredibly dangerous, it was... More »

University Moving Statue of Confederate President

Jefferson Davis will no longer be on Main Mall at University of Texas

(Newser) - In the midst of a continued backlash against Confederate symbols following the deadly shooting at a black church in South Carolina, the University of Texas at Austin said today it will be relocating a statue of Jefferson Davis, the Dallas Morning News reports. The statue of the Confederate president, which... More »

After Strange Saga, Oswald's Gravestone Is Moved 900 Miles

Bar owner spends hundreds of thousands in court to bring it home to Texas

(Newser) - Dallas bar-owner David Card spent nearly four years of his life and a "brutal" amount in legal fees for the right to return the grave marker of Lee Harvey Oswald, who he calls "the most famous assassin in the history of civilization," home to Texas. And, last... More »

MLK's First 'I Have a Dream' Speech Is Revealed

Long-lost reel-to-reel tape turned up in North Carolina library

(Newser) - Thanks in part to the "mysterious appearance" of a box containing an old reel-to-reel tape and bearing the message "Please do not erase," Martin Luther King Jr.'s original "I Have a Dream" speech has been replayed in public for the first time. It's... More »

1M Minutes of History Now on YouTube

AP, Movietone upload enormous newsreel archive

(Newser) - If you're a history buff, you may be about to lose a huge chunk of your day. In what the AP says is "the largest upload of historical news content" to be placed on YouTube, the agency's newsreel archives and those of British Movietone are now online.... More »

New Texas Texts: Slavery Was 'Side Issue' of Civil War

It was mainly states' rights that was war's impetus, per state education standards

(Newser) - About 5 million Texas schoolchildren will get their hands on brand-new social studies textbooks when school starts up again, the Houston Chronicle reports—textbooks that USA Today says are "misleading, racially prejudiced, and, at times, flat-out false." The beef with the new primers: They're in keeping with... More »

Japan's Secret WWII Tunnels Finally Open

Site served as Imperial Navy headquarters in war's final days

(Newser) - On a hillside overlooking a field where students play volleyball, an inconspicuous entrance leads down a slope—and seemingly back in time—to Japan's secret Imperial Navy headquarters in the final months of World War II. Here, Japan's navy leaders made plans for the fiercest battles from late... More »

Panama Shipwreck's Tale Is Finally Told

Researchers came upon Spanish ship Encarnacíon in 2011

(Newser) - It's been some four years since researchers discovered a shipwreck at the mouth of Panama's Chagres River; now, they're finally revealing its secrets. The Encarnacíon, built in Mexico, sank in 1681, and it tells a tale of a key historical moment, archaeologist Filipe Castro tells National ... More »

'Priceless' Gold Coins Found in Record Israel Haul

Israeli diving club at first thought the coins were toy versions

(Newser) - Many divers search long and hard for sunken treasure, but an Israeli diving club out for a recent dive in their local harbor struck literal gold by chance: 2,000 priceless gold coins that had been sitting on the seabed for about 1,000 years, the largest stash of gold... More »

Discovered: How Oscar Wilde's Wife Died

Constance Wilde's early passing may have been tied to misguided surgery

(Newser) - The cause of Constance Wilde's death at age 40 has long been a mystery, but now, 116 years later, it appears to have been solved. Family letters unveiled by Oscar Wilde's grandson suggest that the writer's wife died within days of a gynecological operation gone wrong, the... More »

Authors: Here's Why We Think Van Gogh Was Murdered

His wound likely wasn't self-inflicted: outside expert

(Newser) - Back in 2011, a pair of biographers argued that the accepted theory of Vincent Van Gogh's death may have been wrong. He didn't commit suicide, they suggested; instead, it was a local teen who killed him. Their theory was met with some serious pushback, but they stand behind... More »

King-Protecting 'Witchmarks' Uncovered in Home

Though King James I never made it to the Knole estate in Kent

(Newser) - Most old homes bear normal signs of wear and tear. The strange gouge marks beneath the floorboards of "one of Britain's most important historic houses," however, tell a pretty interesting story, the Independent reports: They were intended to guard King James I from witches and other evil... More »

Investigators: We've Got a Piece of Earhart's Plane

And it suggests she never crashed

(Newser) - A team investigating the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is reporting, with "increasing confidence," that it has managed to identify a piece of her plane that was retrieved in 1991. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, says the part in question is a metal patch that... More »

Historian: Shroud of Turin a Medieval Prop

Charles Freeman dug through descriptions, depictions of it

(Newser) - You can add one more name to the list of those claiming the Shroud of Turin dates only to medieval times . According to British historian Charles Freeman, Jesus' supposed burial cloth—believed by many to show his image after crucifixion—is a 14th-century prop that was likely used during an... More »

After 3 Centuries, Scientists Read Burnt Magna Carta

Copies of document to be brought together for first time ever

(Newser) - Almost three centuries ago, one of the world's most important documents was burnt in a fire. That copy of the Magna Carta was unreadable after the 1731 blaze—until now. Scientists have turned to special imaging techniques to read one of the four existing copies of the 1215 document... More »

More Denver Students Walk Out in History Protest

They say school board wants to whitewash America's past

(Newser) - High school students in a big Colorado district walked out for the third straight day today to protest proposed changes to their history curriculum. Today's protests, the largest yet, mean that about half of all high school students in Jefferson County have participated this week, reports the Denver Post... More »

Archaeologists' Puzzle: Where Was Plymouth Colony?

Researchers conducting major dig to find site of original settlement

(Newser) - It's one of the most important sites in the history of the United States—but we still don't know where, exactly, it was. That's why University of Massachusetts archaeologists are digging for signs of the original Plymouth colony, the Boston Globe reports. The borders of today's... More »

Real History Behind Game of Thrones' Epic Duel

Trial by combat really happened in medieval times

(Newser) - The Game of Thrones duel between Oberyn "The Red Viper" Martell and Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane might seem like an outlandish fantasy construction. But believe it or not, the scene actually echoes some real-life incidents. Longwood University medieval history professor Steven Isaac breaks down the real events that... More »

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