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  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Badger digs up medieval treasure in Germany

    A badger helped discover the tombs of two medieval lords in Germany in what archaeologists are hailing as a significant find. The 12th century burial site contains a sword, bronze bowls, an ornate belt buckle and skeletal remains that tell stories of a violent life. A badger in Germany deserves a reward for making a significant archaeological discovery: the medieval tombs of two Slavic lords buried with an array of intriguing artefacts.The striped animal, perfectly equipped for digging with its short legs, had made its underground home on a farm in the town of Stolpe in Brandenburg, some 75 kilometers northeast of Berlin....

  • Originally published 07/21/2013

    Amid Greek austerity, plunder of priceless treasures

    The financial crisis in Greece has already had far-reaching consequences for many people, but now it is claiming a new casualty as some of the country's ancient treasures become a target for thieves.Detective Gergios Tsoukalis puffs nervously on his cigar. In the passenger's seat of a taxi, he grapples with four different mobile phones as he tries to co-ordinate the arrest of yet another antiquities smuggler.As the driver pulls into the port, he sees ahead of him that plainclothes police officers have already pounced on the unassuming man, who is completely shocked by the early-morning operation....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Beware Civil War relics

    GETTYSBURG, Pennsylvania (REUTERS) - With 250,000 visitors expected to converge on the Gettysburg battlefields this week, historians and antiquarians say the 150th anniversary of the clash that defined the United States (US) Civil War has prompted an increased interest in Civil War relics - and an apparent uptick in the thefts and faking of conflict memorabilia.While there are no national statistics about thefts of war mementos, museums and law enforcement officers around the nation have reported a range of incidents involving the plundering of Civil War artifacts.The thievery even extended to the current Gettysburg re-enactment, where criminals made off with a trailer containing war items valued at US$10,000 (S$13,000) in Frederick County, Maryland, last month....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Truce ends tussle over Bill of Rights

    For years, historians have disagreed whether the New York Public Library's original copy of the Bill of Rights is the one that went missing long ago from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.On Wednesday, the state and the library are expected to call a truce after agreeing to share custody of the 223-year-old document for the next century, at which point the agreement must be renegotiated or extended.While no clear-cut answer has emerged as to the document's rightful owner, the pact ends five years of discussions between Pennsylvania and the library and closes the door on a legal fight."One of the things we have avoided here is the tremendous cost of litigation and the uncertainty in a court of law," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Lincoln relic or just an old hat?

    ...In the wake of Dave McKinney’s stories in the Sun-Times, it has been joy to watch the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield shimmy, trying to escape the obvious conclusion: that no real evidence links the top hat they claim was worn by Lincoln to the 16th president.Yes, it is his size, and yes, it comes from the Springfield hat shop that Lincoln patronized. But to accept that as proof of anything is to believe that every 7 1/8 hat sold in Springfield back then must have belonged to Lincoln. That’s like saying that every sandal from Roman times was worn by Jesus.The library claimed, at first, the hat was given to an Illinois farmer, William Waller, during one of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates. This ran into a problem when the Sun-Times pointed out a 1958 affidavit that the hat was given to Waller “during the Civil War in Washington.” Now they had two stories, a conflict, like the three churches that each claimed to own a head of John the Baptist....

  • Originally published 02/23/2013

    German police return smuggled artifacts to Kosovo

    Seven artifacts dating as far back as 4,000 B.C. have been returned to Kosovo after German police stumbled on them in an unrelated raid, the country's culture minister said Friday.The artifacts date to the Neolithic period and are believed to belong to the Vinca, a prehistoric culture that traces back to 5,500 B.C. in southern Europe. Police in central Germany found them in 2005 during a separate undisclosed investigation, discovering the pieces in a sports bag belonging to two Serbs...

  • Originally published 02/04/2013

    Hitler’s Toilet Is in New Jersey

    Florence, N.J., isn’t too different from other small towns in the Garden State, one marked, if anything, by a slew of very ordinary sights—chain flower shops at every major intersection, decidedly lower gas prices, and a few cozy diners. But it is also home to something else, acquired by Greg Kohfeldt when he bought Sam Carlani’s auto-repair shop here almost 20 years ago: Adolf Hitler’s toilet.

  • Originally published 10/10/2013

    The Myth That Makes the GOP Suicidal

    Right-wingers' desire to be left alone and safe behind symbolic fences is driving their party's self-destructive policies.    

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