Saturday, October 30, 2004

Teaching Archaeology

Teaching Archaeology - This is a good essay which gives tips on teaching about archaeology. This is an important way to teach students history.

From the site:

How could handchipped stones, ancient ruins, old broken dishes, and antiquated garbage help students learn about the world and themselves? Within archaeology, these seemingly irrelevant items can enlighten students about the world around them through science, culture, and history. By using archaeology in the classroom, educators can lead students on learning adventures while engaging them in thinking about life in the past and who we are as humans today. This Digest discusses (1) the discipline of archaeology, (2) archaeology in the classroom, and (3) resources for teaching archaeology.


Archaeology is one of four subfields of anthropology; the others are cultural anthropology, linguistics, and physical anthropology.

Archaeology is the scientific study of past human cultures through their physical remains. By studying the remains of objects people created in the past, archaeologists can understand how those people lived and interacted with each other. Prehistoric archaeologists study cultures without written histories. Historical archaeologists study cultures with written records, and usually focus on the diffusion of those cultures throughout the world.

The archaeological process begins well before an archaeologist moves the first shovel of dirt. Archaeologists first develop questions about past life that they want to answer. They base these questions in the social sciences and seek answers through scientific methods.

Friday, October 29, 2004

History of Colombia

History of Colombia - This is a general overview to the historu of the South American nation of Columbia.

From the site:

During the pre-Colombian period, the area now known as Colombia was inhabited by indigenous peoples who were primitive hunters or nomadic farmers. The Chibchas, who lived in the Bogotá region, were the largest indigenous group.

The Spanish sailed along the north coast of Colombia as early as 1500; however, their first permanent settlement, at Santa Marta, was not established until 1525. In 1549, the area was a Spanish colony with the capital at Santa Fe de Bogotá. In 1717, Bogotá became the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, which included what are now Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. The city became one of the principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City.

In August 2000 the capital's name was officially changed from "Santa Fe de Bogotá" to the more commonly used "Bogotá." On July 20, 1810, the citizens of Bogotá created the first representative council to defy Spanish authority. Full independence was proclaimed in 1813, and in 1819 the Republic of Greater Colombia was formed.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Historic Resources on the Marshall Islands

Historic Resources on the Marshall Islands - Annotated directory of sites covering the culture and history of the Marshall Islands from pre-colonial times through independence, with a section on nuclear testing.

From the site:

The European history of the Marshall Islands commences in the 1500s, when Spanish galleons sailed through the Marshalls en route from New Spain (Mexico) to the Philippines. Intensive contact between the Marshallese and the Europeans developed from the 1850s onwards. This section contains original source material, listings of ships and people, as well as various papers on aspects of the German, Japanese and US periods.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

James Knox Polk

James Knox Polk - This is a good biography of American President James Knox Polk. It is a short and informative read.

From the site:

James Knox Polk ( November 2 , 1795 - June 15 , 1849 ) was the 11th ( 1845 - 1849 ) President of the United States .

Born in North Carolina in 1795 , James Polk was studious and hard working. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1818 , became a lawyer , and entered politics . Polk was a member of the United States House of Representatives ( 1825 - 1839 ), also serving as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives ( 1835 - 1839 ), and Governor of Tennessee ( 1839 - 1841).

Democrats nominated dark horse candidate Polk on the ninth ballot of the Democratic National Convention after party favorite Martin Van Buren lost the bid because of his opposition to annexing Texas , a position deemed unacceptable by Southerners and by former president Andrew Jackson .

Told of his nomination in a letter, Polk penned the reply: "It has been well observed that the office of President of the United States should neither be sought nor declined. I have never sought it, nor should I feel at liberty to decline it, if conferred upon me by the voluntary suffrages of my fellow citizens."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Wikinfo - Muhammad

Wikinfo - Muhammad. This is a nice biography of the Prophet Muhammad from the Web encyclopedia Wikinfo.

From the site:

Muhammad was born after his father Abd Allah had died. April 20 570 is sometimes given as his birthdate. He was first placed under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib who was a former leader of the prestigious Hashim clan (which was part of the tribe to Quraysh). Because the climate of Mecca was considered unhealthy Muhammad was given as an infant to a wet nurse from a nomadic tribe and spent some time in the desert. (This was a common practice among the Meccan upper class.) When he was 6 Muhammad's mother Amina died and when he was 8 his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib also died. Muhammad now came under care of his uncle Abu Talib the new leader of the Hashim clan, of the Quraysh tribe - the most powerful in Mecca.

Mecca was a desert city-state whose main distinction was the Kaaba, reputedly built by Abraham, the traditional patriarch of the Jews. Most of Mecca's inhabitants were idol worshippers. It was a commercial centre with no natural resources of its own, visited by many foreign traders.

As a teenager Muhammad began accompanying his uncle on trading journeys to Syria. He was thus well travelled and familiar with many foreign ways.

By all accounts Muhammad played a very active role in the civic life of his city. His uncle Zubair founded the order of chivalry known as the Hilf al-fudul, which assisted the oppressed of the city, local inhabitants and foreign visitors. Muhammad was an enthusiastic member. He assisted in some dispute resolution, most notably when the Ka'aba caught fire and burned to the ground, and the Meccan leaders all wanted the honour of fixing the sacred Black Stone in place when it was rebuilt. Muhammad was the judge chosen to solve the problem; His solution was to spread a white sheet on the ground, place the Black Stone in the middle, and ask the tribal leaders to carry it to its site by holding the corners of the sheet. Muhammad himself then fixed the stone in its place.

Monday, October 25, 2004

History of Micronesia

History of Micronesia. This is a "micro" history of Micronesia. There isn't a lot here...

From the site:

The ancestors of the Micronesians settled the Caroline Islands over 4,000 years ago. A decentralized chieftain-based system eventually evolved into a more centralized economic and religious empire centered on Yap. European explorers -- first the Portuguese in search of the Spice Islands (Indonesia) and then the Spanish -- reached the Carolines in the 16th century, with the Spanish establishing sovereignty. The current FSM passed to German control in 1899, then to the Japanese in 1914, and finally to the U.S. under UN auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

On May 10, 1979, four of the Trust Territory districts ratified a new constitution to become the Federated States of Micronesia. The neighboring trust districts of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands chose not to participate. The FSM signed a Compact of Free Association with the U.S., which entered into force on November 3, 1986, marking Micronesia's emergence from trusteeship to independence.

The Governments of the FSM and the U.S. signed the final version of the Compact of Free Association on October 1, 1982. The Compact went into effect on November 3, 1986, and the FSM became a sovereign nation in free association with the United States. Under the Compact, the U.S. has full authority and responsibility for the defense of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. The Compact provides U.S. grant funds and federal program assistance to the FSM. Amended financial assistance provisions came on-line in FY 2004. The basic relationship of free association continues indefinitely.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Funeral of Duke Philip the Good

The Funeral of Duke Philip the Good - How the Funeral of Philip the Good (died 1467) was used by the Burgundian aristocracy to demonstrate their ducal power and munificence.

From the site:

The whole history of the house of Burgundy is like an epic of over-weening and heroic pride, which takes the form of bravura and ambition with Philippe le Hardi, of hatred and envy with Jean sans Peur, of the lust of vengeance and fondness for display with Philip the Good, of foolhardy temerity and obstinacy with Charles the Bold.

So wrote Johan Huizinga in summarizing the legacy of Valois Burgundy. Indeed the Burgundian state does appear chimerical, fleeting across the complex tapestry of late medieval political and dynastic arrangements in Western Europe. In scarcely a century, Burgundys rulers had attained a respect and power that placed them on equal footing with the monarchs of England and France, so that diplomatic settlements between the two could not be made without considering the interests of "the Grand Duke of the West." Further, Burgundys Valois dukes are credited with having initiated and sponsored a chivalric revival, which though in a large sense anticlimactic, nevertheless produced a vast cultural flowering encompassing literature, etiquette, and ceremony.

Yet the Valois dukes fell far short of attaining many of their ambitions. Though fond of recalling as precedents both the ancient Burgundian kingdom and early medieval Lotharingia, they were unable to secure royal status for themselves, in spite of several attempts by both Philip the Good and Charles. In more practical terms, the Burgundian state failed to make significant progress toward effective administrative centralization. Until its end the polity was fundamentally held together through various dynastic loyalties and concessions of local privilege.