Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I got a nice email from someone (who wants to remain nameless... mmmm) asking me about the difference between Oxford and Cambridge.

Firstly, which is better academically? In truth, there's almost nothing to pick them apart, though most tables reckon Cambridge has the edge. There is a difference for each subject though. As a rule of thumb, Cambridge tends to have a reputation for sciences, whereas Oxford does for arts, though there are many exceptions to this. To highlight this, note that Trinity College, Cambridge has more Nobel Prize winners from their Natural Sciences Department than all the Oxford Colleges in all subjects combined. However, Christ Church College Oxford has more Prime Ministers as alumni than all of Cambridge University.

One person told me that those who go to Oxford end up running the country, and those who go to Cambridge end up spying against it! lol

The teaching style, in lectures and supervisions/tutorials is all but the same and you are left to yourself pretty much to yourself to sink or swim - even if you are young. Oxford degrees tend to have one year of 'Prelims' and then 2 years of the course for finals, taken in the last year. Cambridge has the 'Tripos' system, whereby you do part I and part II over three years, but generally have exams every summer. From my knowledge, it seems Oxford degrees provide more options within the subject earlier on, from the second year, whereas many Cambridge courses only give options in the third year. Oxbridge courses give less options than most universities - you're expected to do 100% (or very close to it) of your work in your chosen subject. To do any course here, you have to enjoy that subject or find your time here quite a chore. Cambridge has a fabulous Ancient History reputation and Oxford has Modern History pretty much sown up.

What about the cities themselves? Cambridge is small, green, picturesque and has a river running through it. Oxford is larger, less green more stone, picturesque and has a river running around it. It's all down to personal taste. If you want clubs, shops, entertainment then Oxford may be for you. If you want a non-threatening, peaceful, tourist town, that is famed for it's pubs as much as it's stunning architecture, Cambridge could be better. I would even possibly admit that Cambridge is the nicer looking, though some people here would dispute that. Some students seem to be able to going out partying all night long, some people are quieter and happy with a few friends. Both though, have lots of tourists, but Oxford seems to have more young down and outs hanging around and trying to bite you for money around the High Street.

So I hope that answers your question, anonymous! lol

Some more of Oxford

Friday, March 26, 2010

Here is the pic you wanted Jess! lol

I love these strange museums! lol They really make you think again about just what the function of a museum really is! Why should a museum simply be about reinforcing national propaganda? Why can't they be a bit weird? People are! lol

Museums are important to historians ... but here are some totally freaky ones: Japan's weirdest museums

Sydney Morning Herald March 1, 2010

Kylie Northover gets off the beaten track and on to a bizarre one in Tokyo.

There's no shortage of tourist hotspots in Tokyo, where a walk down an average city street is an experience in itself, but some of the capital's quirkiest encounters are those not always listed in the guidebooks.

The Japanese love a museum and alongside the city's many well-known galleries and institutions are dozens of smaller, often privately-run museums dedicated to just about anything you care to imagine, all well worth a detour from the traditional tourist landmarks.

Meguro Parasitological Museum

You won't find many English translations – or tourists for that matter – at the Meguro Parasitilogical Museum, but its hundreds of jars of preserved parasite specimens, many of them spilling out of organs and dead animals, don't really require much explanation.

The world's only parasite museum aims to be an educational affair, but its value lies more in the astounding gross-out factor. If you've ever wondered what a preying mantis infected with horsehair worm looks like, or a how leeches attach themselves to the eyelids of sea turtles, this museum will provide the answers in gruesome, well-lit detail.

The prized exhibit is a perfectly preserved 8.8-metre long tapeworm, reportedly removed from a healthy(ish) man.
Be sure to stop at the gift shop where you can buy preserved pinworm and hook worm in key rings.

Thankfully, eating and drinking is not allowed inside the museum.
4-1-1, Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo. Nearest train station: Meguro.

Ace World Luggage Museum

This personal collection of the owner of Japan's Ace luggage company (the world's first producer of nylons bags) is better than is sounds, with more than 400 examples of handbags, travel bags and trunks made from every conceivable skin. It could almost double as an endangered species display - from antique trunks made from antelope to zebra-skin handbags and bags made from the skins of seal, elephant, shark and even aardvark. Bizarre.

1-8-10 Komagata, Taito-ku, Tokyo. Nearest train station: Asakusa

ADMT Museum of Advertising and Marketing

Japan loves its advertising, as evidenced by the colossal neon signs that light up every street, and this free museum outlines the history of the country's industry.

The permanent display features a timeline of advertising, from Edo-era woodblocks, revealing that product placement has been around some time, to today's TV ads.

The display of advertising posters from the 20th century is a graphic designer's dream, while their collection of vintage bric-a-brac – toys, games, cereal boxes, etc – is an amazing potted history of Japan's pop culture.

Higashi-Shimbashi 1-5, Caretta Shiodome B1F. Nearest station: Shimbashi.

The Tobacco and Salt Museum

Another of the city's museums that is more entertaining than it sounds, outlining the importance of salt and tobacco in Japan's history, where both were, until recently, government monopolies. As well as the educational side there are great displays of vintage cigarette packets, pipes and all manner of smoking paraphernalia from around the world. This funky museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of all kinds, from 19th century prostitutes' wigs to Mexican silverware. Well worth a visit.

Jinnan 1-16-8, Shibuya-ku, Nearest station: Shibuya

Other bizarre Tokyo museums worth a visit:

Ryogoku Fireworks Museum, 2-10-8 Ryogoku
The Iris Button Museum, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Hamamachi 1-11-8
The Japanese socks Museum, 1-9-3 Midori
The Laundry Museum, 2-11-1 Shimomakuro, Ota-ku

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Here you are Bek! The first daffodils of the Spring.

Not a sea yet I'm afraid Bek. They are just starting to come out and they are beautiful. Cheers! These are just outside the college, in the park.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A few more pics of Lady Margaret

In the top photo the third window on the right with the little balcony thing is mine!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And I forgot to say, one of my favourite historical fiction writers - Lindsey Davis - is an old girl of Lady Margaret too!

Lindsey Davis writes the Marcus Didius Falco series of detective novels set in Imperial Rome.

She was born and brought up in Birmingham, read English at Oxford at Lady Margaret, then joined the Civil Service. After thirteen years, a novel she had written to cheer herself up was runner-up for the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize, which encouraged her to leave her job and try to become a writer. She was accepted for the government's Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and there- after classified as a Small Business lol, although it took years of struggle to achieve her success. She mainly writes about the Romans with The Course of Honour, the true love story of the Emperor Vespasian and his mistress Antonia Caenis, that I have already told you about, probably being her best work - I think. Her research into Imperial Rome then inspired The Silver Pigs, the first in the Falco series about a Roman informer/private detective in the AD 70s. There are heaps of Falco books. I love them and used to read them to my kids at night when we were away on holidays - especially in Italy! They can become a bit of a compulsion, but if you start - start with The Silver Pigs!

Hello from Oxford!

This is the college that I am attached to in Oxford - Lady Margaret Hall - which was the first women's college in Oxford. Now it it co-ed, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be here - unless I was a cross dresser I suppose?? But no! I am quite welcomed here as a guy and there are plenty of us wandering around! Famous ex-students are Nigella Lawson the chef and Benazir Bhutto the assassinated ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan. I am in the new red block this time which is called the Pipe-Partridge Block and is for undergraduates. So I am surrounded by the youngsters again. I used to be in the Lodge - which used to be the youngsters block until this new one was built. I will leave it there for now. But will show you around the college and Oxford in the next few posts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm bringing the chair back for you Da-Hee! I'm just hiding it in the bottom of my bag now! lol

It is great hearing from you all. Thanks, it's nice to be missed! lol

In London now..... no thanks to the girl next to me who coughed and sneezed over me for 13 hours!!!

I am staying at the Sofitel Heathrow and off to Oxford this afternoon. Be nice to Mr Zukerman and make sure that you ask him about his uncle who was a Commando during WW2 and without a doubt the toughest man I have ever met. I met him when I was about 10 and he made one hell of an impression on me. lol

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wow!!!!!!!! Jess you were completely right on all counts! Da-Hee is right you are amazing!!!

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur!

Now the REALLY hard question! What the hell did I have for lunch on my flight??? I'm still not sure! lol

Thursday, March 18, 2010

'Death and the Virgin' - Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart by Chris Skidmore

A brilliant study of the greatest unsolved Tudor mystery — the suspicious death of Amy Robsart, the wife of the only man Elizabeth I ever loved
The Sunday Times review by John Guy

Amy Robsart’s unexplained death at the age of 28 is the greatest unsolved Tudor mystery. Married at 17 to Lord Robert Dudley, she was found lying at the foot of a stone spiral staircase on September 8, 1560, while lodged at Cumnor Place, near Oxford. Her neck was broken, her headdress curiously intact. Was it an accident? Did Amy commit suicide? Or was she murdered to clear the way for Dudley, Elizabeth I’s childhood friend and lifelong favourite, to marry the queen?

London had long been ablaze with rumours about Dudley and Elizabeth. Dudley, said the Spanish ambassador, “does whatever he likes with affairs, and it is even said that her Majesty visits him in his chamber day and night”. Elizabeth would only listen to Dudley and had kissed him in public. It was said that Amy had been ill, and that Dudley had tried to poison her.

Death and the Virgin is a meticulous account of Amy’s death and its aftermath. Skidmore writes brilliantly and his research is impeccable. He refuses to rely on the Victorian printed abstracts of Tudor documents that so often omit large chunks of the material, and insists on returning to the archives. He rules out suicide on the grounds that Amy, despite sending her servants to a fair on the day of her death, was expecting a visit from her husband shortly and had sent a fresh order to her dressmaker.

Skidmore suspects foul play, because the coroner’s report, a dramatic new discovery published here for the first time, shows that Amy had two serious head wounds, one of them two inches deep. Although the sharp edges of stone stair treads could be lethal and the coroner’s jury reached a verdict of accidental death, Skidmore’s sleuthing reveals that the foreman, Sir Richard Smith, had once been Elizabeth’s servant; that Dudley knew another juror personally; and that Thomas Blount, his agent, dined with two more jurors before they reached their verdict.

After several thrilling plot twists, everything boils down to the reliability of two seemingly independent sources. In 1584, a notorious Catholic lampoon called Leicester’s Commonwealth — for in 1564 Elizabeth created her favourite Earl of Leicester — claimed that a servant of Dudley’s henchman, Sir Richard Verney, had murdered Amy. This echoes an identical charge made by John Hales, who kept a secret political diary before 1563. But Hales had no inside information. He didn’t even recognise Dudley when he met him one day in the street. Alas for Skidmore, both sources repeat common gossip. Verney certainly knew Amy, since she’d stayed at his house in Warwickshire in 1559. Maybe he had been sent to steer her towards a divorce and ended up murdering her? But this is speculation and no intruder was spotted at Cumnor Place that day.

Skidmore wisely ends on a cautious note, telling us that he seeks to explore all possible clues, but “clues they must remain”. Since Dudley strained every nerve to discover the true cause of Amy’s death in an effort to save his reputation, few readers will conclude there was a murder plot. Most, however, will agree with Skidmore that Amy was treated shamefully. When she died, her husband hadn’t visited her for over a year, and on his few previous visits (according to Hales), he was commanded by Elizabeth to go dressed in black and “to say [on his return] that he did nothing with her”.

The lasting significance of the scandal is that Elizabeth would become the Virgin Queen: she couldn’t marry the only man she ever really loved and keep her throne. The tragedy is that, even had Amy lived, in Elizabeth’s eyes and Dudley’s, she was dead already.

History Of The World According To Student Test Papers 2!

11. Without the Greeks we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns. . .Corinthian, Doric, and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a feminine moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intollerable. Achilles appears in the Illiad, by Homer. Homer also wrote The Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer, but by another man of that name.

12. In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands,. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

13. Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harold musterded his troops before the Battle of Hastings. Finally, Magna Carta provided that no free men should be hanged twice for the same offense.

14. In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verses and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

15. The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter, Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Guttenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood.

16. The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

This kid should not be doing Extension 2 Maths!

An old sea dog who died in the service of her king

Seated on her haunches and with her tail upturned, the skeleton of the oldest known maritime dog suggests an animal of jaunty disposition with a charmed life. Unfortunately for Hatch, her life aboard Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose was as brutal as it was short: she was not among the 30 crew who survived the vessel’s sinking 465 years ago.

The Mary Rose Trust, which looks after the remains of the ship and the 18,000 objects recovered with her, believes that the two-year-old was a mongrel, but hopes that experts at Crufts Dog Show, where her bones go on display today, may be able to help to identify the breeds she resembles. Her bones were kept in a box until last year, when she was reconstructed for a temporary display at a school. She has not gone on permanent display, for lack of space at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, which has room for just 6 per cent of the objects recovered.

Rear-Admiral John Lippiett, of the trust, said that the dog was probably the ship’s ratter. Sailors “did not like having cats on board, as they thought they would bring bad luck,” he said. “Dogs would have been normal.” Hatch seems to have been good at her job: only partial remains of rats’ skeletons have been found aboard the ship.

Hatch, named after the part of the ship where her remains were found, died on July 19, 1545, in the late afternoon. Her skeleton was found part in the carpenter’s cabin and part outside it. “It leads us to suppose it was trapped in the carpenter’s door, which was ajar when we found it,” the admiral said.

“Analysis of Hatch’s bones suggests that she spent most of her life within the confines of the ship. It is likely that the longest walks she took were along the quayside at Portsmouth.”

Sebastian Payne, chief scientist of English Heritage, said that he was not an expert on Tudor dogs, but that his studies of animal remains allowed him to recognise abnormalities in Hatch’s skeleton. “The narrowness, and the lack of muscle attachment \ suggests that this animal wasn’t very active. It was more of a lapdog than the kind that went down rabbit holes. It is small, at the terrier end of the scale. It was not unusual to have small dogs on boats. The tiny schipperke was kept by Dutch barge masters.” He said that dog experts at Crufts may have difficulty in identifying what type of dog Hatch was because breeds change very quickly. If a significant amount of her DNA can be recovered then science may provide an answer.

After the dog returns from Crufts she will be put on display at the Mary Rose Museum in time for the Easter weekend, Rear-Admiral Lippiett said. “We’re squeezing her into a corner of the museum. In the new museum she will have more kennel space.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So much for a master race!

Cats that Look Like Hitler!



I marked some great answers in this year's mid-course exams. Well done all!!!

But the essay that really made me go wow was by Angela Wong. She took Mary Beard's concept of "risk taking" and applied it to the Greek world, Cleisthenes and the concept of tyranny.

Great stuff Angela! Again... wow! I wish I had thought of that!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

History Of The World According To Student Test Papers!

1. Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in
Hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot.
The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live

2. Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red sea, where they made
unleavened bread which is bread made without any ingrediants. Moses
went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before
he ever reached Canada.

3. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

4. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we
wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had Myths. A Myth is a female

5. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of
that name.

6. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people
advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.
After his death his career suffered a dramatic decline.

7. Eventually the Romans conquered the Greeks. History calls people
Romans because they never stayed in one place for long.

8. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul.
The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to
be made King. Dying he gasped out: 'Tee hee, Brutus'

9. Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard
Shaw. Finally Magna Carta provided that no man should be hanged
twice for the same offense.

10. Another story was William Tell who shot an arrow through an apple
while standing on his son's head.

Stinky Booger-Brained Boys 2!

Plague Victim & Witch?

For the last step in forensic archaeologist Borrini's work, he called on 3-D imaging experts to produce a digital model of the skull.

He then put markers where muscle attachments would have existed to reconstruct and rebuild the Venice vampire's face. The result was the face of an "ordinary woman," which perhaps brings the accused some "historical justice" centuries after her death, he said.

"It's very strange to [leave] her now," he lamented, "because after this year it's sort of a friendship that's created between me and her."

Vampire of Venice

A female "vampire" unearthed in a mass grave near Venice, Italy, may have been accused of wearing another evil hat: a witch's.

The 16th-century woman was discovered among medieval plague victims in 2006. Her jaw had been forced open by a brick—an exorcism technique used on suspected vampires in Europe at the time.

The discovery marked the first time archaeological remains had been interpreted as those of an alleged vampire, project leader Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist at the University of Florence in Italy, said when the skull was first revealed in March 2009.

New investigations have now shed light on who this "vampire" was, why people may have suspected her of dabbling in the dark arts, and even what she looked like.

"There is a piece of history to rewrite, to see this individual again after 500 years and also try to understand why the myth of vampire started," Borrini says.

Vampire Myth Born of "Blood"

Borrini found the vampire skull while digging up mass graves on the Venetian island of Lazzaretto Nuovo.

Belief in vampires was rampant in the Middle Ages, mostly because the process of decomposition was not well understood, Borrini says.

For instance, as the human stomach decays, it releases a dark "purge fluid." This bloodlike liquid can flow freely from a corpse's nose and mouth.

Since tombs and mass burials were often reopened during plagues to add new bodies, Italian gravediggers saw these decomposing remains and may have confused purge fluid with traces of vampire victims' blood.

In addition, the fluid sometimes moistened the burial shroud near the corpse's mouth so that the cloth sagged into the jaw. This could create tears in the cloth that made it seem as if the corpse had been chewing on its shroud.

Vampires were thought by some to be the causes of plagues, and the superstition took root that shroud-chewing was the "magical way" that vampires infected people, Borrini said.

Inserting objects—such as bricks and stones—into the mouths of alleged vampires was thought to halt the spread of disease.

Surprisingly Elderly "Vampire"

To flesh out more details about the Venice vampire, Borrini assembled a team of scientists.

Paleonutritionists pulverized some of the woman's remains—discovered along with the skull—to look for certain elements in food that settle in the bones and endure after death.

The team found that the woman had eaten mostly vegetables and grains, suggesting a lower-class diet.

DNA analysis revealed that the woman was European, and a forensic odontologist ascertained the woman's age by examining the skull's long canine teeth with an advanced digital x-ray device.

The results showed that the woman was between 61 and 71 years old when she died. Borrini was "quite shocked" by this finding—most women didn't reach such advanced ages in the 16th century, he says in the documentary.

In medieval Europe, when fear of witches was widespread, many people believed the devil gave witches magical powers, including the ability to cheat death.

That means such a relatively old woman—suspected after death of being a vampire—may have been accused in life of being a witch, the researchers say.

Witches Were Child-Eaters?

But old age alone probably wouldn't spur an accusation of witchcraft, said Jason Coy, an expert in European witchcraft and superstition at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, who was not part of the new study.

Though average life expectancy in 16th-century Europe was low, around 40, that doesn't mean most people died at 40, he said via email. It means infant mortality was high, bringing down the average. If people lived past childhood, they stood a good chance of living into their 60s.

So the Venice vampire was old, but not "freakishly so," Coy said.

Rather, Europe's misogynistic society specifically linked old women with witchcraft, because people "assumed that old women—especially widows—were poor, lonely, weak, and unhappy, and thus could be lured by the devil's promises of wealth, sex, and power into forming a pact with him," Coy said.

At the height of the European witch-hunts, between A.D. 1550 and 1650, more than 100,000 people were tried as witches and 60,000 were executed—the vast majority of them old women.

Germany was the witch-hunt heartland, Coy said. Italy was relatively "mild" in its treatment of witches, although the country was also rife with superstitions and protective charms. (Related: "Halloween Shines Light on Witchcraft Today.")

In many historical references of the time, witches were said to eat children—possibly the origin of the Hansel and Gretel story, he added.

"So you could say that there is a tenuous link between flesh-eating zombies like your 'Venetian vampire' and witches: They were both feared for breaking the ultimate taboo—eating human flesh."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mass grave in Dorset contains remains of executed Viking warriors

From The Times
March 12, 2010

The captives, all well built young men in their late teens and early 20s, were herded to the place of execution. Fifty-four in total, their heads were hacked off and stacked neatly in a pile. The bodies were tossed into a pit where they remained a tangle of limbs and headless torsos until archaeologists following the route of a new road stumbled across the remains last year.

Not the killing fields of Iraq or the Balkans but the Ridgeway, near Weymouth, an ancient track across the now tranquil Dorset countryside, where one thousand years ago a long forgotten massacre took place.

The victims, a mystery when the discovery of the mass grave was first revealed in The Times, have been identified. They were Viking raiders who had come to Britain in search of slaves and plunder.

The discovery, during construction of a relief road for sailing events in the 2012 Olympics, led to a host of theories. At first it was thought they were Iron Age warriors killed by the invading Roman Legions during fighting for Maiden Castle, Britain’s largest hill fort. That theory was ruled out when radio carbon tests dated the bones to between AD910 and AD1030, a thousand years later.

Study of the bones has revealed the brutality of their deaths. Their heads were not cleanly parted from their shoulders with the swing of an executioners’ axe, but hacked off with swords as the naked warriors tried to defend themselves with their bare hands.

Ceri Boston, an expert in ancient bones who examined the remains, said: “It was not a straight one slice and head off. They were all hacked at around the head and jaw. It doesn’t look like they were very willing or the executioners very skilled.

“We think the decapitation was messy because the person was moving around. One man had his hands sliced through. It looks like he was trying to grab hold of the sword as he was being executed.”

Archaeologist believe the men were from a captured raiding party and were taken to the site by Anglo-Saxons defending their land for the specific purpose of putting them to death. Ms Boston added: “The location is a typical place for a Saxon execution site, on a main road and a parish boundary and close to prehistoric burrows.”

Teeth from ten individuals were examined by Dr Jane Evans and Carolyn Chenery at NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory in Nottingham. Dr Evans said: “Isotopes from drinking water and food are fixed in the enamel and dentine of teeth as the teeth are formed in early life. The isotope data we obtained from the burial pit teeth strongly indicate that the men executed on the Ridgeway originated from a variety of places within the Scandinavian countries.

“These results are fantastic, this is the best example we have ever seen of a group of individuals that clearly have their origins outside Britain.”

The scientists hope to uncover more details of the lifestyles, activities, general health and diets of the warriors as the analysis continues.

Vikings raiding parties struck all around Britain and Europe between the eighth and eleventh centuries. They colonised part of northern France now known as Normandy.

David Score, from Oxford Archaeology, which excavated the grave, said: “Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual and presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about what was happening in Dorset at this time.”

The Daily Talk

Alfred Sirleaf's 'Daily Talk' newspaper reaches thousands of Liberians every day but only ever produces one copy. How does he do it? By writing the day's biggest stories on a large blackboard beside a busy road in the capital.


Friday, March 12, 2010


Late-night teens 'face greater depression risk'

Now I do think that people should get a good night's sleep, but the historian in me thinks that even though a lot of money was obviously spent on this survey that the results are questionable! Why do you think that I have my doubts about their conclusions?

Going to bed earlier protects teenagers against depression, New York research suggests.

Of 15,500 12 to 18-year-olds studied, those who went to bed after midnight were 24% more likely to have depression than those who went before 2200.

And those who slept fewer than five hours a night had a 71% higher risk of depression than those who slept eight hours, the journal Sleep reports.

It is estimated 80,000 UK children and young people have depression.

The researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York looked at data from 15,500 teenagers collected in the 1990s. One in 15 of those studied were found to have depression.

Expedition the Game

Expedition The Game is a challenging and addictive game based on the Expedition Africa show on History, which recreates the route that Henry Stanley took on his expedition to find Dr. David Livingstone.

The game is a dice-based quest, that challenges players to see how long they can last on the journey, balancing risks and rewards, no guts, no glory.

Challenge your friends to see if they can beat your high score. Only the strong survive. Hitler would have loved it!


A very good question from Sarah

From: Sarah Evans
To: Mr Sheldrick
Sent: Fri, 12 March, 2010 5:46:22 PM

sir, i was wondering- the "athens at the time of cleisthenes" booklet says the demes were already in existence when cleisthenes came along, he just adopted them as the basic unit for the new system. would it be wrong to say then that he divided the people into small towns and districts called demes? it also mentions that he did divide athens itself into demes as none previously existed there. bit of a minor detail but i don't want to inadvertantly say the wrong thing.
thanks sir


From wiki-

"In Ancient Greece, a deme (δῆμος) was a subdivision of Attica, the region of Greece surrounding Athens. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but did not acquire particular significance until the reforms of Cleisthenes in 508 BC. In those reforms, enrollment in the citizen-lists of a deme became the requirement for citizenship; prior to that time, citizenship had been based on membership in a phratry, or family group. At this same time, demes were established in the city of Athens itself, where they had not previously existed; in all, at the end of Cleisthenes' reforms, Attica was divided into 139 demes. The establishment of demes as the fundamental units of the state weakened the gene, or aristocratic family groups, that had dominated the phratries.[1]"


Mr S

Thank You Lillian for two very interesting sites!

I found an interesting article on the Mafia in Pompeii that might be interesting for the blog.
Did you know the mafia bombed one of the brothels in 2004? No doubt to make a point!

Also, a vid about the invasions in Ukraine during WWII, I think the mod kids might appreciate it. It's absolutely moving.