Below are current event articles that relate to events, topics, and people found in Treasure of the Peacock's Eye.
Jean-Baptiste Chevance senses that we’re closing in on our target. Paused in a jungle clearing in northwestern Cambodia, the French archaeologist studies his GPS and mops the sweat from his forehead with a bandanna. The temperature is pushing 95, and the equatorial sun beats down through the forest canopy. For two hours, Chevance, known to everyone as JB, has been leading me, along with a two-man Cambodian research team, on a grueling trek. We’ve ripped our arms and faces on six-foot shrubs studded with thorns, been savaged by red biting ants, and stumbled over vines that stretch at ankle height across the forest floor. Chevance checks the coordinates. “You can see that the vegetation here is very green, and the plants are different from the ones we have seen,” he says. “That’s an indication of a permanent water source.”
They show the battered wrecks of several of the 25 warships - 14 of them British - that were blown up during the Battle of Jutland on 31 May, 1916. Among them is HMS Invincible which was torn apart by a German shell, killing more than 1,000 sailors. HMS Defence and HMS Queen Mary were also scanned during the survey.
On December 5, 1930, just over 12 years after the end of World War I, German moviegoers flocked to Berlin’s Mozart Hall to see one of Hollywood’s latest films. But during the movie, a cadre of 150 Nazi Brownshirts, nearly all too young to have fought in World War I, were led into the theater by propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Spewing anti-Semitic invective at the screen, they repeatedly shouted “Judenfilm!” as they tossed stink bombs from the balcony, threw sneezing powder in the air, and released white mice into the theater. A somewhat shocking turn of events, considering the movie was the highly anticipated adaptation of countryman Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front, the blockbuster novel that had transfixed the nation months earlier.
RIGHT now, in the jungle some 50 miles inland from the Mosquito Coast of Honduras, sits an astounding cache of ancient artifacts, until this month most likely unseen by human eyes for somewhere between 600 and 1,000 years. I traveled there three weeks ago with a team of archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnobotanists, filmmakers and Honduran soldiers, who were following up on lidar images — a laser-based aerial surveillance technology — that suggested the presence of ruins.
The arrival of the Spanish in South America in the late 16th century heralded the destruction of the once mighty Inca empire—and triggered a surge in air pollution levels that was not exceeded until the 20th century.
The Amazons got a bum rap in antiquity. They wore trousers. They smoked pot, covered their skin with tattoos, rode horses, and fought as hard as the guys. Legends sprang up like weeds. They cut off their breasts to fire their bows better! They mutilated or killed their boy children! Modern (mostly male) scholars continued the confabulations. The Amazons were hard-core feminists. Man haters. Delinquent mothers. Lesbians.
Nearly a century after they died in battle, the remains of unidentified Canadian soldiers who fought in the First World War are still being found in Europe.
Today the Department of National Defence released the names of four who died during the Battle of Amiens in August 1918.
Their resting place was discovered in 2006 by then 14-year-old Fabien Demeusere, while digging in his back garden in Hallu, France, 120 kilometres north of Paris.
History remembers trench warfare as wasteful, futile, and uninspired, but in reality it was a deeply thought-out system that underwent constant revision. Here's how it worked during World War I.
Top image: A painting by Captain Kenneth Keith Forbes shows a Canadian 6-inch howitzer supporting British troops in the attack on Thiepval on 16 July 1916 during the Somme offensive. Via Canadian Artillery in Action.
It was around this time 100 years ago that the mobile battlefield along the Western Front ground to a screeching halt — a 440 mile stretch that barely moved in the ensuing four years.
During World War I, No Man’s Land was both an actual and a metaphorical space. It separated the front lines of the opposing armies and was perhaps the only location where enemy troops could meet without hostility. It was in No Man's Land that the spontaneous Christmas truce of December 1914 took place and where opposing troops might unofficially agree to safely remove their wounded comrades, or even sunbathe on the first days of spring.
The United States had entered the war with high hopes and dreams—aiming to make the world “safe for democracy” as President Woodrow Wilson would proclaim, but by the 1920s there were strong feelings that the U.S. should never have gotten itself involved in the byzantine affairs of the European powers. Isolationist sentiments grew across the country especially after the rejection of the Versailles Treaty by the U.S. Congress in 1920. These feelings of bitterness and disappointment found their fullest expression in the literature of the day, written by members of what has become known as the “Lost Generation,” most notably John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Britain went to war on August 4 1914. In the second part of a four-day series, we document the dramatic events leading up to the declaration of war as they happened, hour-by-hour.
These days, however, Big Pit digs tourism, not coal; the party descending into the earth are American visitors. There are no working deep-mines remaining in South Wales; already in decline, the area's coalfield was annihilated in the wake of the 1984-5 Miners' Strike, the names of the closed collieries to toll like funeral bells. Mardy. Tower. Deep Navigation. Markham. Lady Windsor. How black was my valley a century ago, on the eve of the Great War, when there were a dozen collieries within sight, and another 600 coal mines across South Wales, employing 232,000 men, who hewed 57 million tons a year, a fifth of the entire output of the United Kingdom. The very earth vibrated to the metronomic percussion of thousands of subterranean men wielding the pick. Coal for the Navy. Coal for industry. Coal for locomotives. Coal for homes.
The National Archives currently has in its collection 1.5 million pages of handwritten diaries kept by soldiers of World War I. They're some of the most requested documents in the National Archives reading room, but until now have been accessible only to anyone who's made the trip to D.C. But now the archivisits are working to put them online, and you can help them. The project is called Operation War Diary, and it comes from a partnership between the National Archives, the citizen science initiative Zooniverse and the Imperial War Museum in the UK. The diaries have all been scanned and posted online for citizen historians to look at and transcribe. According to the project: "The war diaries contain a wealth of information of far greater interest than the army could ever have predicted. They provide unrivalled insight into daily events on the front line, and are full of fascinating detail about the decisions that were made and the activities that resulted from them."
No one nation deserves all responsibility for the outbreak of war, but Germany seems to me to deserve most. It alone had power to halt the descent to disaster at any time in July 1914 by withdrawing its "blank cheque" which offered support to Austria for its invasion of Serbia. I'm afraid I am unconvinced by the argument that Serbia was a rogue state which deserved its nemesis at Austria's hands. And I do not believe Russia wanted a European war in 1914 - its leaders knew that it would have been in a far stronger position to fight two years later, having completed its rearmament programme.
On the cobbled streets of industrial Sheffield an Indian elephant dutifully lumbered along. Her task was important - she had to cart munitions, machines and scrap metal around the city, a job previously done by three horses taken off to war. Lizzie - as she was known - was used to performing tricks as part of a travelling menagerie. But with the outbreak of World War One she was conscripted to help with heavy labour, fitted with a harness and sent to work at a scrap metal merchants.
It was a stunning discovery: the first unlooted imperial tomb of the Wari, the ancient civilization that built South America's earliest empire between 700 and 1000 A.D. Yet it wasn't happiness that Milosz Giersz felt when he first glimpsed gold in the dim recesses of the burial chamber in northern Peru. Giersz, an archaeologist at the University of Warsaw in Poland, realized at once that if word leaked out that his Polish-Peruvian team had discovered a 1,200-year-old "temple of the dead" filled with precious gold and silver artifacts, looters would descend on the site in droves. "I had a nightmare about the possibility," says Giersz.
The harsh winter of 1609 in Virginia’s Jamestown Colony forced residents to do the unthinkable. A recent excavation at the historic site discovered the carcasses of dogs, cats and horses consumed during the season commonly called the “Starving Time.” But a few other newly discovered bones in particular, though, tell a far more gruesome story: the dismemberment and cannibalization of a 14-year-old English girl.
A blogger passionate about historic photography techniques serendipitously found some old photos inside his newly-purchased camera. As in, World War I old. Last week, Anton Orlov of the Photo Palace blog was cleaning the Jumelle Belllieni stereoscopic camera that he'd bought at an antique store a few days prior, and found the images completely by accident. According to his blog, he opened the film chamber and saw the negatives on a stack of glass plates.
An entrance to a Maya burial chamber is decorated with vibrant red wall murals—the first look scientists have gotten of a mysterious tomb discovered in 1999. For the first time, a team of researchers from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently entered the tomb, which also contains 11 vessels as well as pieces of jade, according to an INAH statement.
Every civilization has its rise and fall. But no culture has fallen quite like the Maya Empire, seemingly swallowed by the jungle after centuries of urban, cultural, intellectual, and agricultural evolution. What went wrong? The latest discoveries point not to a cataclysmic eruption, quake, or plague but rather to climate change. And faced with the fallout, one expert says, the Maya may have packed up and gone to the beach.
Researchers have uncovered a remarkably well-preserved Maya mural and calendar markings that add perspective on Maya thinking. National Geographic Society grantee William Saturno and his team uncovered the artwork in what was either a home or workplace abandoned hundreds of years ago. The findings are published in the May 11 issue of the journal Science and the June edition of National Geographic magazine.
The world's last surviving First World War veteran has died - marking the end of an era in British history. Florence Green, who joined the war effort in September 1918, when she was aged just 17, passed away in her sleep at a Norfolk care home just two weeks before her 111th birthday. The great-grandmother, who lived through all but 400 days of the 20th century, signed up to the Women's Royal Air Force two months before the end of the First World War. She was the last surviving person to have seen active service in the Great War following the death of British-born sailor Claude Choules in Australia last year.
Flanders fields today bears little sign of the four years of war that claimed so many thousands of lives and ravaged this small corner of the Western Front. But further down, deep below the surface there remains a constant reminder of the bravery and daring of the men who risked their lives for their country.
WA's national treasure Claude Choules, Australia's oldest man and the world's last surviving World War I veteran, has died in Perth aged 110. Mr Choules was a man who made the best of life and devoted himself to his family and country. His fighting spirit helped him survive two world wars, and also live long enough to become the oldest man in WA and the last World War I veteran living in Australia.
Had we been traveling overland, it would have taken two or three days to get from the end of the road at Carmelita to El Mirador: long hours of punishing heat and drenching rain, of mud and mosquitoes, and the possibility that the jungle novice in our party (that would be me, not the biologists turned photographers Christian Ziegler and Claudio Contreras) might step on a lethal fer-de-lance or do some witless city thing to provoke a jaguar or arouse the ire of the army ants inhabiting the last great swath of subtropical rain forest in Mesoamerica.
Frank Woodruff Buckles, a onetime Missouri farm boy who was the last known living American veteran of World War I, has died. He was 110. Buckles, who later spent more than three years in a Japanese POW camp as a civilian in the Philippines during World War II, died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Charles Town, W.Va., family spokesman David DeJonge said.
Centuries before the first speakers and subwoofers, ancient Americans "intentionally or not" may have been turning buildings into giant sound amplifiers and distorters to enthrall or disorient audiences, archaeologists say. Temples at the ancient Maya city of Palenque (map) in central Mexico, for example, might have formed a kind of "unplugged" public-address system, projecting sound across great distances, according to a team led by archaeologist Francisca Zalaquett of the Universidad Nacional Autanoma de Mexico. (See an interactive map of the Maya civilization.)
Armed with rubber grenades, wooden rifles and bayonets, about 70 Grade 10 students from Woodstock, London, Strathroy and other communities exper ienced first hand what it felt like for soldiers in the trenches of the First World War on Tuesday. The experience is nothing new to Robin Barker-James, owner of "The Trenches" farm on New Road, but the 14-and 15-year-old students were clearly overwhelmed by the experience and the prospect of going to war. "I just couldn't handle it," Daniel Vandenbr ink said. "I don't want to kill anyone. It's not worth all the lives people lost." Daniel and his friend, Kyle Dejong, agreed war would take a toll on them. "I'd probably go insane," Kyle added.
Chris Rainier has seen bare flesh etched by the crudest of implements: old nails, sharpened bamboo sticks, barracuda teeth. The ink might be nothing more than sugar cane juice mixed with campfire soot. The important part is the meaning behind the marks.
Unique marble slab with the image of Alexander the Great and a passage of an inscription was discovered in archaeological excavations in the ancient Baktriya, Baktriya Press Agency informed. The slab represents an ancient king on a horse heading Macedonian cavalry and Macedonian phalanx at the background.