Friday, June 29, 2007

On Vacation Again

I will be travelling internationally over the next few weeks. I anticipate having little free time and sporadic Web access. As such, I have no choice but to take another break from this blog.

I anticipate getting back to blogging the week of July 8th. Thanks for you patience. There are a lot of other history blogs out there if you get bored. Check out Cliopatria's History Blog Roll! It gets bigger every time I look...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mystery mummy is lost female pharoah

Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt. She is considered by many historians to have been the most powerful (and successful) woman in ancient Egypt.

Unfortunately for Hatshepsut, Thutmose III attempted to subject Hatshepsut to damnatio memoriae after her death. Statues and monuments to her were destroyed and she was written out of the official histories. The attempt failed as evidence of her reign survived but the attempted historical revisionism of Thutmose III may have inspired Hatshepsut' s supporters to move her mummy to a safer location.

Has it now been found? CNN has an article titled Egyptians: Mystery mummy is lost female pharoah. The article notes, "The mummy of an obese woman, who likely suffered from diabetes and liver cancer, has been identified as that of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's most powerful female pharoah, Egyptian archaeologists said Wednesday. Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt in the 15th century B.C., was known for dressing like a man and wearing a false beard. But when her rule ended, all traces of her mysteriously disappeared, including her mummy. Discovered in 1903 in the Valley of the Kings, the mummy was left on site until two months ago, when it was brought to the Cairo Museum for testing, Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said. DNA bone samples taken from the mummy's pelvic bone and femur are being compared with the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut's grandmother, Amos Nefreteri, said molecular geneticist Yehia Zakaria Gad, who was part of Hawass' team."

Not everyone is convinced that this mummy is Queen Hatshesput. It may not be. However, if it is and it can be proven, this is a huge discovery. I am hoping that it is...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A possible impact crater for the 1908 Tunguska Event

In 1908, something crashed into a remote forest in Russia. 770 square miles of trees were flattened in an instant. Over the last 99 years, there have been many theories about what happened including an asteroid strike, a mini-black hole, and even a UFO crash. However, the mystery may have been solved.

A possible impact crater for the 1908 Tunguska Event by L. Gasperini, F. Alvisi, G. Biasini, E. Bonatti, G. Longo, M. Pipan, M. Ravaioli, R. Serra has some of the details. It was published in the journal Terra Nova.

The abstract of the article notes, "The so-called 'Tunguska Event’ refers to a major explosion that occurred on 30 June 1908 in the Tunguska region of Siberia, causing the destruction of over 2000 km2 of taiga, globally detected pressure and seismic waves, and bright luminescence in the night skies of Europe and Central Asia, combined with other unusual phenomena. The ‘Tunguska Event’ may be related to the impact with the Earth of a cosmic body that exploded about 5–10 km above ground, releasing in the atmosphere 10–15 Mton of energy. Fragments of the impacting body have never been found, and its nature (comet or asteroid) is still a matter of debate. We report results from the investigation of Lake Cheko, located 8 km NNW of the inferred explosion epicenter. Its funnel-like bottom morphology and the structure of its sedimentary deposits, revealed by acoustic imagery and direct sampling, all suggest that the lake fills an impact crater. Lake Cheko may have formed due to a secondary impact onto alluvial swampy ground; the size and shape of the crater may have been affected by the nature of the ground and by impact-related melting and degassing of a permafrost layer."

Not everyone is convinced. Another article notes, "Many are skeptical about the discovery, though. For example, there are trees surrounding Lake Cheko. An impact should have blown down all these trees as well. Any object that created an airburst with the energy of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs should have dug out a much larger crater. Lake Cheko is also missing a characteristic flap of material that's ejected on the opposite side of an impact crater."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Citizenship Preparation for Adult ESL Learners

The United States of America is a land of immigrants. As the current debate over a new immigration bill in the US Senate shows, this has not changed. One important consideration for all immigrants is how well they will assimilate and accept American culture even as their presence makes important contributions to it.

I found an older ERIC Digest from 1997 titled Citizenship Preparation for Adult ESL Learners. It was from the Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education and written by Thomas Nixon and Fran Keenan. I think it is still helpful and has good advice on teaching civics (and English) to immigrants.

From the site:

Learning to become good citizens has been part of immigrant education throughout US history. Early in this century, for example, settlement houses established programs to help newcomers assimilate. Classes to assist immigrants through a naturalization process that includes passing the U.S. Immigrant and Naturalization Service (INS) exam are a newer phenomenon. Such classes have seen dramatic enrollment gains as record numbers of people--five million in the last five years--have become citizens (Constable, 1997). This trend is due to recent high levels of immigration, new federal laws regarding immigrants and public benefits, and immigrants' fears about anti-immigrant sentiment and where it might lead.

This digest will describe the educational requirements of the naturalization process and give ESL teachers a variety of activities to use when preparing learners for the citizenship exam.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in America

(Cape Coast Castle, Door of No Return)

Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in America. This site contains information on slavery and the slave trade in America. Includes facts and figures related to slavery, images, and lists links and sources on the subject.

From the site:

Welcome to I have created this website to serve as a resource for information about the Atlantic slave trade and slavery in America. It contains many references and links to primary sources of information, a list that I hope will grow to become one of the most complete that can be found anywhere. The website, however, is intended to be more than a list of sources. I have included information about a number of slavery-related topics of interest, for those who want a basic understanding of the subject. For a deeper understanding, and access to a wealth of images, maps, and accounts of historical events available on the internet and in textbooks, I invite you to consult the sources listed in the Sources and Selected Links section of this website. - Dr. Neil A. Frankel