Wouldn't it be cool if even a few of the old stories were true? Legends say that giants walked the Earth, Atlantis vanished under the sea, and Greece and Troy fought a devastating war over a beautiful woman. Amazing, but true: all these stories are based on facts.
Archaeologists digging in China discovered the fossils of Gigantopithecus, a giant ape standing 9 or 10 feet tall. These huge but probably gentle apes died off 500,000 years ago. Traditionally, villagers collected their bones and made them into medicines. They called their finds dragon bones. Some have wondered whether pockets of the animals may have survived into later centuries, giving rise to the legend of Big Foot.
"By the King's Patent Granted" was a common embossing on English medicines of the 18th century. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries patent medicines reigned supreme as cures for everything from "hooping" cough to kidney ailments.
On October 17 & 18th, 2009, the public is invited to observe an archaeological dig at the Historic Magistrate's Office--Stafford County's oldest existing municipal building, dating to about the 1820s.
Archaeologists are conducting a small dig along the foundation to try to determine when the building was constructed and if there was anything present prior to this building. Visitors will learn about the history of the site and methods of archaeology.
Parking is available in the lot behind the Historic Magistrate's Office; entrance from Washington Street.
Kokopelli's Flute by Will Hobbs
Tepary Jones hiked to the ruins of the ancient city on the night of a total lunar eclipse. He had always felt the magic of the forgotten spaces, but tonight the place seemed especially alive, its pictures of animal and mystic figures telling pieces of stories long forgotten.
The standing stones of Salisbury plain, once a Neolithic gathering place of star watching and blood sacrifice, is eerie enough by moonlight. But something roams the jagged countryside, hiding from the sunlit world.
The Doom Stone by Paul Zindel
It is a great thing to have a truly cool aunt. Think real-world Indiana Jones, and you have Jackson's Aunt Sarah. On any given summer break, she might be found in any part of the world, excavating fossils of long ago hominids. Last spring break it had been Ethiopia. They'd slept in hammocks in the jungle to keep out of reach of the giant rats that prowled below.
This article first appeared in the Fredericksburg Times magazine. It was later rebound with a collection of other articles on archaelogy by Mr. Butler and others as the book, Fredericksburg Underground. It is reprinted here with Mrs. Elizabeth Butler's permission.
Beneath the silt of the Rappahannock and its shores lie objects and structural remains related to the earliest periods of Leaseland and Fredericksburg activity.