Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Celtic Myth Podshow

"Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to Your Fireside," is what the banner reads. The blog is the Celtic Myth Podshow, which I just discovered and wish I'd found sooner. Because then I'd know more about Seahenge, pictured at left. (the picture, btw, appeared in The Guardian and was taken by Michael Walter/PA). More about Seahenge in a moment. Here's what Celtic Myth Podshow offers, very briefly:

  • Over 30 podcasts from 2008-2009, each reciting tales from Irish, Breton, Welsh, and other Celtic sources. Some are holiday musical programs.

  • Photo and art galleries from various contributors

  • A cute little button to become a fan of their Facebook site, which triggered an unstoppable avalanche of facebook pages opening up, one after the other, until I had to reboot. Don't click on that.

  • The Celtic news blog mentioned in the first paragraph.

The blog offered news about the rebuilding of "Seahenge". The Seahenge site was discovered in 1998 near Holme-Next-the-Sea, is about 4000 years old, and consisted of 55 timbers in a circle--with an upturned oak tree stump in the center. The timbers have been on display at the Lynn Museum, and now the exhibit will close for 4 months so that the stump can be added.  This picture is from the museum's website.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mary Robert Rinehart's Writing Room

Try saying that ten times in a row...Mary Robert Rinehart's writing room, Mary Robert Rinehart's writng room, Mary Robert Rinehart's robin room...nope. Can't do it.

Anyhow, this was her room in 1926. In Washington DC. Thanks to Shorpy, a wonderful collection of ye olde photos, who displayed this today.

Rinehart, the "American Agatha Christie" according to Wikipedia, would have been about 50 that year. This is a home she shared with her husband, a doctor, from the early 20s till his death in 1932. The lady wrote mysteries, and is credited with the phrase "The butler did it." She didn't actually write those words, but she wrote a bestselling mystery in which the butler, dang him, actually did do it.

For 1926, this is a pretty cool room, doncha think? There's a fan that looks a lot like the fan I bought at Home Depot recently. As for that furniture--would it be out of place on any patio today? Ferns, an exquisite lamp, sheer curtains...the only thing that dates this room is the radio. Or was it called a wireless still?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pharaonic DNA

King Tut Exhibit Opens At The Field Museum

King Tut had a cleft palate, as did his father, Akhenaten. His mother was Akhenaten's sister. Tut suffered from Kohler's disease and clubbed feet, inherited from grandpa Amenhotep III. And he wasn't murdered.

We know all this from DNA analysis. Cool, huh?

A CT scan discovered that King Tut's leg was broken just before death, and that brain malaria most likely killed him. But it's the DNA confirmation of his paternity and maternity that settles a lot of questions.

For two years, winding up in October 2009, researchers did all sorts of tests--twice--on several royal mummies in Tutankamun's family. Ten possible near-relatives were analyzed, as well as five royal mummies from the previous century (Tut died around 1323 BC). The results are just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  (JAMA...wouldn't you assume this would be in an archaeologica or Egyptology journal? Just a thought.)

And all those theories of Marfan's disease, or a biological basis for elongated skulls and womanish curves in Akhenaten's family? No genetic evidence of any of that was found. Possibly, the portrayals of Akh & Tut & co. just reflect a passing artistic style.  It's in all the papers today, so here's a link to the Science Daily piece. I like it particularly because it ends by bringing up some of the ethical questions that come with this type of work. Who's entitlted to a right of privacy, even after death? for example.