5 Great Places in the world to uncover history
Pech Merle Prehistory Center in Cabrerets, near Cahors, France
Photos by: La France
The upper network of the cave of Pech Merle has no signs of prehistoric use and has been known since the turn of the century. The prehistoric galleries, in the lower network, were discovered in 1922 by André David and Henri Dutertre, when they were 16 and 15 years old respectively. The examination of the paintings and engravings was immediately begun by Father Amédée Lemozi, the priest of Cabrerets.
The cave has been open to the public since 1926. It is classed as a 'historic monument' and is the property of the commune of Cabrerets which is responsible for its management.
The Pech Merle cave is a very large one. It is more than two kilometres long. The visitors can see about the third part of the galleries, seven large halls open the way to discover the exuberant and fabulous riches of subterranean sceneries.
Historic Jamestowne in Virginia, USA
Photo by : WilliamsburgCC
In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish a satellite English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. By December, 104 settlers sailed from London instructed to settle Virginia, find gold and a water route to the Orient. Some traditional scholars of early Jamestown history believe that those pioneers could not have been more ill-suited for the task. Because Captain John Smith identified about half of the group as "gentlemen", it was logical, indeed, for historians to assume that these gentry knew nothing of or thought it beneath their station to tame a wilderness. Recent historical and archaeological research at the site of Jamestown suggest that at least some of the gentlemen and certainly many of the artisans, craftsmen, and laborers that accompanied them all made every effort to make the colony succeed.
The remaining acreage on the island was acquired by the National Park Service in 1934 as part of the Colonial National Historical Park. Today, Jamestown is jointly operated by the APVA and NPS.
L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada
Photo by : R Todd King
Over the years many different peoples inhabited the L'Anse aux Meadows site and many researchers have contributed to our understanding of this important archaeological site.
Among the ruins of the buildings, excavators unearthed the kind of artifacts found on similar sites in Iceland and Greenland. Inside thecooking pit of one of the large dwellings lay a bronze, ring-headed pin of the kind Norsemen used to fasten their cloaks. Inside another building was a stone oil lamp and a small spindle whorl, once used as the flywheel of a handheld spindle. In the fire pit of a third dwelling was the fragment of a bone needle believed to have been used for a form of knitting. There was also a small-decorated brass fragment that once had been gilded.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta, Canada
Photo by:Giorgio Zanetti
Past historical and ethnographic documents dealing with buffalo hunting provided much needed information of techniques used in killing and processing buffalo. Previous archaeological research at the site indicated the nature and depth of the cultural remains at the buffalo kill site. There remained, however, questions about the Head-Smashed-In site that had to be answered in order to ensure that the site was both protected an interpreted effectively.
It was also discovered during preliminary research that while a great deal of information existed in regard to buffalo hunting, there were few physical descriptions detailing certain processing activities such as bone boiling. Much of the archaeological work, therefore, concentrated on excavation in areas associated with camp activities rather than the killing site itself. The information gleaned from this research was combined with ethnographic and historical information to develop the interpretive themes and displays featured at the site.
La Purisima Mission State Historic Park Lompoc, California, USA
Photoby General Custer
Misión La Purísima Concepción De María Santísima (Mission of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary) was founded by Father Presidente Fermin de Lasuén on December 8, 1787 and was the 11th of 21 Franciscan Missions in California. During the Mission's early years, several thousand Chumash Indians were baptized into the Catholic Church; over 100 large and small adobe buildings were built; a water system was developed; crops and livestock were raised, and La Purisima grew and prospered.
At present, the mission is within La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, an area of 1,928 acres - a small but most important portion of the original 300,000 acre mission property. Ten of the original buildings have been fully restored and furnished authentically; other structures have also been restored including the historic aqueduct and water system.
A five-acre garden shows native and domestic plants typical of a mission garden, while mission-type animals such as burros, horses, longhorn cattle, sheep and goats are displayed in a corral located in the main mission compound. In addition to the historic buildings there is a picnic area and approximately 25 miles of hiking trails.