Is holy grail for botanists—miracle herb silphium—extinct?

Imagine an herb so sought-after it was stored in a country’s treasury as though it was gold. Silphium was once in high demand. Now no one can find it although its value once made a city in what is now Shahhat, Libya the richest in Africa, according to an article posted at the BBC. What led to its demise? Why couldn’t ancient communities just cultivate it? What might we do if we were able to resurrect it today? Continue reading “Is holy grail for botanists—miracle herb silphium—extinct?”

Backstory in ‘The Dig’: Woman who helped changed history as we knew it

‘The Dig’ a Netflix film, is drawing much attention, and for good reason. The story is based on a novel fictionalizing true events and written by John Preston. The novel arose from an archaeological dig at a site known as Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, the United Kingdom. The story focuses on Basil Brown, a self-taught “excavator” and his key role in unearthing a remarkable discovery. There’s also an interesting backstory, though, related to the female archaeologist who pulled a trinket from the burial site and helped change history as we knew it. Continue reading “Backstory in ‘The Dig’: Woman who helped changed history as we knew it”

Did Disney’s ‘Frozen’ offer answer to mystery of deaths on Dead Mountain?

Almost a year ago, I wrote about a 60 year old mystery involving nine people who died in an area popularly called ‘Dead Mountain’ in Russia. Answers to the mystery of those deaths—eight students and a ski instructor—have eluded sleuths for a long time. It looks as though one possibly credible theory has been put forth and the film “Frozen” may have been helpful . Continue reading “Did Disney’s ‘Frozen’ offer answer to mystery of deaths on Dead Mountain?”

Homebound with a 61-year-old Russian mystery linked to nine deaths near Dead Mountain

Searchers find the tent of the dead hikers at Dead Mountain
Searchers found the hikers’ collapsed tent near Dead Mountain. (Photo by Soviet authorities in 1959)

I learn so much in this world by accident—chance meetings with people, natural phenomena, and sometimes, media. Homebound to avoid the Coronavirus risk, I was cleaning our bedroom. My husband left the TV on, but I’d muted it. I caught a glimpse of old photos of young people, lots of snow, and something that looked like a Yeti or Sasquatch. Curious, I unmuted the TV. Continue reading “Homebound with a 61-year-old Russian mystery linked to nine deaths near Dead Mountain”