Posted by: colegrove | Sunday 3 August 2008

Ooparts in exploration history

Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberries

Here I am again, pondering… Of course my regular cup of tea, this time, Honeybush and my bowl of wild blueberries sits with me. Another week has passed and it is time to expound upon the randomness of my brain.

These blueberries are great. In-laws just got back from a trip to Northern Michigan and picked what was something like 15 quarts of wild blueberries, and brought some home to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I do miss Michigan – home. That’s about $100 if they were to buy all that at the store! Wild blueberries are so much tastier than store-bought. True, they are much smaller, but cheaper (All you do is pick them)! They are also healthier. Most plants that have to fend for themselves in the wild tend to be smaller and more distinctive tasting, but they usually have the most nutrients too!

Honeybush Tea

Honeybush Tea

Now on to the topic of my beverage for the evening: Honeybush tea. This fine plant grows wild in South Africa and is similar to the Rooibos bush – which I hope to expound upon next posting. Somewhat sweeter with a hint of honey taste, hence the name. Almost no caffeine and low tannin levels. One of those tasty evening teas that get one ready to bed.

Speaking of great tasting plants. Tomatoes. What would the world be like without them? Could you imagine? No salsa, no pizza (as we know it today), no pasta sauce, no additions to salads and wraps. Life would be much different.

On the topic of Tomatoes, it brings me to my first love. Ahem. Second. Wife is first of course. History! Here’s an oddity: In 1985 archaeologists were excavating a tomb in China dating to the Han Dynasty. This is around the time of Christ, give or take a few centuries, as it began around 206 BC and lasted until AD 220. In the process of excavating, they came across a ceramic container with some seeds in. They wrapped them in a cloth that happened to be damp, and a few days later noticed that the seeds had sprouted into tomato plants. First amazing thing: 2,000 year old seeds still have the capacity for life. Secondly and perhaps more amazing: Tomatoes weren’t discovered until about 500 years ago, when the explorers brought them back to the old world. How did the Chinese, with supposedly no contact with the New World until the 1500’s, have tomatoes?

Roman terracotta head unearthed in Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca, Mexico

Roman terracotta head unearthed in Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca, Mexico

Perhaps there was much more Pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic crossings than we think. Need I mention the fact that Roman coins have been discovered all across North America. Roman ceramics found off the coast of Brazil, underwater. A Roman figurine head was found in Mexico amid ruins. There have even been Celtic, Carthaginian, Phoenician, Libyan, Hebrew, and Egyptian traces left from the ancient world. I doubt that America was really all that lost.

I studied at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan a few years back. There are lots of Copper and Iron Ore mines up in the “Copper Country” of the U.P. As I began to become a “Yooper” I got to go exploring the forests and looking into the history of mining, with learning of the Finnish, Swedish, and Cornish miners who mined there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Local expert Fred Rydholm has written an excellent book entitled Michigan Copper: The Untold Story. In this book he talks of the missing copper. At one time, before the big mining operations of the late 1800’s, there was once much more copper that has since been mined. Where did it go? He finds ground to speculate that it was brought by traders to the Old World via transatlantic crossings.

Knight Templar Ship

Knight Templar Ship

The Irish had St. Brendan the Navigator (483-577) on a voyage to the Americas, which supposedly occurred between AD 512-530.

We have all heard of the Vikings, from the late 10th century thru the early 14th century setting up small camps and perhaps colonies in Newfoundland and New England, and perhaps as far south as Virginia. This is almost completely accepted today.

The Welsh Prince Madoc, son of Owain Gwenydd landed around Mobile, Alabama between AD 1169-1171, and the voyagers mixed with some of the local tribes of Native Americans, leaving many elements of the Welsh language. There is of course another theory that it wasn’t this Madoc, but a Madoc of Wales who lived in Arthurian days. I haven’t read any data on this theory, so I won’t comment.

Newport Tower

Newport Tower

The Zeno brothers of Venice are said to have went with Henry Sinclair (1344-1404) to the north-east coast of America between 1398-1404, leaving the Newport Stone Tower in Newport, Rhode Island and the Westford Knight carving. It is theorized that it was Sinclair with a band of disbanded Knights Templar that constructed the mysterious Money Pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Boy, would I like to get into that story (Oak Island), but that is for another time. Apparently Sinclair’s journeys to America gave some inspiration to the Sinclair family and Rosslyn Chapel, which is decorated with various plants native to America, including American Maize and the Aloe Vera cacti. Of course, it is worth mentioning that most the the Chapel was built before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

There is another theory presented of late that says a Chinese fleet sailed around the Americas around 1421.

Anyway, the point is there is some evidence that shows our history books may need a revision or sorts, presenting all the evidences for and against such things.

Fundamentals of the Plymouth Colony

Fundamentals of the Plymouth Colony

Why am I on this trail of history? Well, yesterday I was doing some more genealogical research into paternal colonial ancestors and decided to rush off to the Library and pick up Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Plantation. This book is not just a text book written recently about the 17th century, but a work by an actual voyager on the Mayflower and prominent colonist! I get so crazy about the 1600’s in America! So far, since I picked it up, I am on page 103 of 437! Thanks to my own reading style, and an attempt at the amazing PhotoReading! Last post I mentioned Derren Brown. Here is another video from YouTube of him showing some amazing feats at PhotoReading! It will blow your mind!

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. WatsonSherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Sidney Paget did wonderful illustrations!

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Sidney Paget did wonderful illustrations!

Again, may I say, Derren is amazing. But that aside, my mind is way to random and sporadic to sit thru most books unless I use my own form of reading. Except I have been able to read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales with normal reading. I also recommend!

My favorite of his is “The Musgrave Ritual“. There is some interesting symbolism in that story that gives away some elements of what Mr. Doyle was involved in in the real world. Besides work, some more tennis, and a game or two or Risk with some friends, I hope to look into the Sons of the Revolution, as an ancestor of mine was in the NY Militia during our War of Independence and at the Battle of Wyoming Valley, PA – Rev. Jedediah Stephens. I’d like to know more about that society and how I can get involved. So…

Until next time! Have a great week!



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