387-Year-Old Shopping List Discovered Under Floorboards In Historic English Home
Such must-have items were listed on a shopping list 387 years back, including pewter spoons, frying cups and “greenfish.” Under the floors of Knole, a historic country house in Kent, England, a scrap of paper has recently been discovered.
Jim Parker, an archeology volunteer at Knole, has found the 1633 note for the restoration of the building, as reported for Kent Live by Oliver Porritt.
The team also found two other 17th century letters nearby. One, like the shopping list, was located under the attic floorboards; another was stuffed into a ceiling void.
The shopping list was penned by Robert Draper and addressed to one Mr. Bilby.
According to the UK’s National Trust, the note was “beautifully written,” suggesting that Draper was a high-ranking servant.
In addition to the aforementioned kitchenware and greenfish (unsalted cod), Draper asks Mr. Bilby to send a “fire shovel” and “lights” to Copt Hall (also known as Copped Hall), an estate in Essex. The full text reads:
Mr. Bilby, I pray p[ro]vide to be sent too morrow in ye Cart some Greenfish, The Lights from my Lady Cranfeild[es] Cham[ber] 2 dozen of Pewter spoon[es]: one greate fireshovell for ye nursery; and ye o[t]hers which were sent to be exchanged for some of a better fashion, a new frying pan together with a note of ye prises of such Commoditie for ye rest.
Your loving friend
How did this rather mundane domestic letter come to be stashed in an attic at Knole, which is some 36 miles away from Copt Hall? As the National Trust explains, Copt Hall and Knole merged when Frances Cranfield married Richard Sackville in 1637.
Cranfield was the daughter of the Earl of Middlesex, who owned Copt Hall; Sackville, the 5th Earl of Dorset, had inherited Knole, his family’s home.
Household records indicate that large trunks filled with domestic items—including various papers—were moved from Copt Hall to Knole at the time of the marriage, and subsequently stored in the attic. Draper’s note may have slipped under the floorboards.
The marriage of Cranfield and Sackville was important for Knole, according to the National Trust Collections, because Cranfield inherited a trove of expensive paintings and furniture from her father.
Draper’s letter certainly was not among the more prized items that Cranfield brought to the marriage, but for modern-day historians, it is exceptionally valuable.
“It’s extremely rare to uncover letters dating back to the 17th century, let alone those that give us an insight into the management of the households of the wealthy, and the movement of items from one place to another,” Nathalie Cohen, regional archaeologist for the National Trust, tells Porritt.
She added that the good condition of both the list and the two other letters found at Knole “makes this a particularly exciting discovery.”
Kansas Archaeologist Rediscovers Lost Native American City
A conqueror named Juan de Oñate led an expedition of 200 soldiers in 1601 into uncharted territories of what is today the state of Kansas.
Along with the soldiers and canons, the group was accompanied by a number of priests as well as adventurers who were attracted by the expedition’s final goal ― the legendary city of Quivira, whose streets were allegedly paved with gold.
Before Oñate chose to venture into the Great Plains, two other conquistadors ― Antonio Gutiérrez de Humana and Francisco Leyva de Bonilla ― already lost their lives there in 1594, while embarking on a similar quest.
But Oñate’s thirst for fame and riches, as well as an appetite for terror, led him and his posse deep into the unknown where he indeed discovered a large settlement, but it wasn’t exactly what he expected.
More than 400 years later, archaeologists from the Wichita State University flocked around a site which they believe was the place where Oñate found his Quivira, or Etzanoa, as it was known to the Native Americans.
Located in southern Kansas, at the confluence of the Walnut and the Arkansas rivers, it has been known for decades as a place of historical findings. Since 1959, both archaeologists and locals have discovered various artifacts belonging to the Wichita people.
Literally tons of objects belonging to an ancient civilization were collected after a road construction in 1994. Many of the objects are kept in private property, as it became common to find shards of pottery or pieces of arrowheads. However, never before was the connection made between these traces of settlement with the almost mythical city of Etzanoa ― discovered by Oñate’s expedition in 1601.
The research was conducted under the supervision of Donald Blakeslee, a veteran archaeologist who became intrigued with finding the lost city in 2013, after new translations of various accounts of Spanish colonialists serving under Oñate during the Etzanoa expedition were made by scholars from UC Berkeley.
Together with the National Park Service, Blakeslee scanned the area with a magnetometer, enabling him to determine the variations in the earth’s magnetic field and locate remains of houses, cellars, and fireplaces belonging to a once vibrant settlement. Not far from the settlement’s location, in what is today a suburb of Arkansas City, traces of battle were also found, including three Spanish cannonballs, a horseshoe, and a number of other objects.
Let’s head back to the year 1601 and the fate of Juan de Oñate’s expedition, to further unravel the story which led to this amazing discovery. After his vanguard came with reports that a large settlement lay ahead of them, the conquistador must have rubbed his hands in delight ― it was the chance to amass gold, and to convert the natives into Christianity, gaining favor from the Spanish Crown in return.
According to his scouts’ reports, the city seemed as though it stretched for miles. Large beehive-shaped houses with thatched roofs and fields of corn, squash, and beans overtook the horizon. Their estimate was that there must have been more than 20,000 people living there.
After they were approached by a friendly delegation bringing offerings, the Spanish took the welcoming committee as hostages, as they needed leverage while possibly facing an entire city in battle. As a response, Wichita warriors, who were calling for a fight with the invaders, put on their battle paint. Spanish soldiers named them Rayados ― due to tattoos and paint they wore on their faces and bodies.
Even though at one moment it looked as though they were going to face an army eager to fight, only a handful of people were found in the city as the conquistadors marched into it. The inhabitants of Etzanoa, perhaps familiar with the stories of vicious invaders and their firepower, decided it was safer to just evacuate the entire city for a while than to battle the treacherous Spaniards.
So when the conquistadors entered the city, it was already empty. They wandered the city for several days in their search for gold, counting more than 2,000 houses, all of which were big enough for 10 people.
Once they decided to leave, however, they were met with a horde of 1,500 warriors belonging to the Escanxaques tribe, which rivaled the Wichita. Apparently, they were on a warpath, but instead of fighting their historical enemies, they ended up battling a small detachment of Spaniards who attempted to break through using cannons and muskets. By sheer luck alone, the conquistadors managed to withdraw from the battlefield, suffering heavy casualties.
Afterward, the accounts of their mishaps have often been discarded as exaggerated ramblings of adventurers who sought glory or support from the Spanish Crown. Modern historians dismissed the notion of a settlement of such scale, in part because of yet another expedition, this time under French leadership, that ventured into the same area around 100 years later, only to find what looked to them like untouched nature.
It is most likely that the settlement was abandoned and left to waste due to some sort of disease epidemic, which was the most common reason for the extinction of many other Native American cultures. Thanks to Blakeslee and his team, a real breakthrough is happening, as Etzanoa is estimated to be the second-largest ancient settlement in the United States, the first one being Cahokia in Illinois.
The discovery is also reshaping the way that the history of Great Plains tribes is perceived. It was mostly believed that the tribes inhabiting North America lived in rural settlements or as nomads, as opposed to the vast cities of the Mayans and Incas in the south. However, the unearthing of Etzanoa goes to show that large urban areas existed and thrived as trade centers of civilizations long gone.
According to Jay Warren, an Arkansas City council member, plans are already put in motion to turn the site into a tourist attraction.
“We’re not talking about putting together a one-day wonder. We’re looking at creating something that could be great for the region, and for 50 years and more down the road. We’re talking with (Unified School District) 470 about how it could enhance education. And we think the site could also be a hands-on field training facility for archaeologists from all over the world.”
This 5,500-Year-Old Leather Shoe is the Oldest Ever Discovered
The oldest leather shoe known to archeologists was discovered lodged in a sheep dung pit in a cave in Armenia, and is about 5,500 years old, according to a BBC article. The so-called Areni-1 shoe is an example of early, simplistic footwear which may have influenced the creation of other types of shoe design in the ancient world.
Anthropologists believe that humans started wearing shoes around 40,000 years ago contributing to anatomical changes in human feet and limbs. However, we have very little idea of what these prehistoric shoes might have looked like.
Entrance to the Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia near the town of Areni. The cave is the location of the world’s oldest known winery and where the world’s oldest known leather shoe has been found.
Several pairs of rope sandals discovered by archaeologists in a cave in Oregon are thought to be the oldest footwear ever discovered, dating to approximately 8,000 BC. However, the oldest shoe, made from leather and featuring a closed toe, was found in a remote cave in Armenia in 2008.
The shoe was excavated as part of a project led by archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.
The team was exploring a cave known as Areni-1, in the Vayots Dzor region. Areni-1 contained a number of Neolithic and Copper Age remains, including food containers holding barley, wheat and apricots.
The shoe itself was found inside a pit, perfectly preserved in the cool, dry conditions of the cave. It was cemented in with several layers of sheep dung, which acted as a seal, protecting the contents of the pit from the air and water.
The Areni-1 shoe was made from a single piece of tanned leather from the hide of a cow. It was seamed at the front and the back and tied together with leather cords, and appears to have been made to measure.
According to National Geographic, the leather was probably wrapped around the foot before stitching to ensure a tight fit. It corresponds to a size 7 (US) in modern footwear, and so could have conceivably been worn by either a man or a woman.
The shoe was also found stuffed full of grass. The archaeologists could not determine whether this was intended as a way to ensure that it held its shape while not being worn, or whether it was insulation designed to keep the wearer’s feet warm.
The Areni-1 shoe was carbon-dated to around 3,500 BC, making it the oldest footwear of its kind ever to be discovered. Shoes would have been particularly important to the Copper Age inhabitants of the cave, as the area around the site is well known for its rocky terrain, with sharp, pointed rocks and thorny plants.
The shoe itself showed considerable signs of wear and tear, particularly at the heel and ball of the foot, suggesting that the wearer habitually walked very long distances. This assumption is further supported by the other items discovered in the cave including obsidian, thought to have been brought from a site over 75 miles away.
According to National Geographic, the Areni-1 shoe appears to be an example of the earliest leather footwear designs, creating a basic prototype that would be exported throughout the region.
The shoe closely resembles other ancient shoes discovered in the Middle East and North Africa and even draws a comparison with traditional clothing from the Balkans and North Africa, which are still worn in festivals today. In particular, it bears close similarities to the opanke, a form of traditional Balkan footwear.
The second oldest leather shoe discovered by archaeologists was found on Ötzi “the Iceman”, a mummified corpse uncovered in the Austrian Alps and dating from between 3,400 and 3,100 BC.
Ötzi’s shoe was significantly more sophisticated, comprising a bearskin base and deerskin side panels, pulled tight with a bark-string net. Dating just a few hundred years after the Areni-1 shoe, Ötzi’s shoe represents a significant leap forward in footwear design and technology.
Nevertheless, the Areni-1 shoe provides an important and extremely rare insight into the clothing and footwear worn by the Copper Age inhabitants of Armenia. Today it is on display in the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan.
A gigantic natural quartz crystal cluster was mined from the Colemans quartz mine near Jessieville
On a Reddit site on Sunday, almost two years after it was found in the Arkansas mine, a picture of 3.5 million dollars chunk of quartz was taken.
This mine was and is the most productive quartz mine in Arkansas. It has been producing quartz crystals in large quantities since 1943. When it is operating it has produced about 60,000 pounds of quartz crystals during a good month.
The image shows a man posing with an 8-foot block of crystals found in the Ron Coleman Mine in Jessieville, about 30 minutes north of Hot Springs.
The man pictured was not a visitor to the mine, which is open year-around for public digging, but an employee who worked on a team to extract the mineral over a four-day excavation said Joel Ledbetter, an online marketer for Ron Coleman Mining.
A $3.5 million chunk of quartz found in Arkansas was featured on the Reddit home page Sunday.
“We had a good guess it was there because there’s a 170-mile quartz vein that runs through Arkansas, so we started digging,” Ledbetter said.
Crews blasted the area until they found the vein and then used hand tools to dig out the 2,000-pound chunk that machines lifted out of the mine.
The crystal cluster is one of the most impressive pieces to come out of the quarry since people started digging before World War II — in part to retrieve crystals used in early radios, Ledbetter said.
The 8-foot, 2,000-pound crystal cluster found at the Ron Coleman mine is being kept at the quarry until a buyer is found.
The latest find is second in size to only a 9-foot, a 3,000-pound circular formation that was found in the mine just a year or two before.
While the larger piece is on display at various trade shows in Arizona, the other remains in Jessieville until it can be sold.
Ledbetter said several people have inquired about the $3.5 million crystal cluster, but the company has not yet found the right buyer.
That may change as the photo gains popularity as it spreads among various social media platforms.
“Someone really big into crystals probably shared it, and other people who hadn’t seen it saw it and got excited about it,” Ledbetter said. “Anytime people talk about mine, it’s good publicity. People get into crystals but don’t necessarily get to see all that comes out of here.”