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ENGLAND: Where is Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 2.0 miles (3.2 km) west of Amesbury and 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury.

If you are going there by car and using satalite navigation the Post Code for Stonehenge is: SP4 7DE.

By road

From Amesbury 2 miles west on the junction of A303 and A344/360

From London Gatwick Airport Take the M23 motorway and join the M25 motorway, following the signs for Heathrow Airport. From the M25, exit at junction 12 for the M3 motorway towards Basingstoke. Once on the M3 follow it to junction 8 signed A303 Andover.

 Continue on the A303 all the way until you reach a roundabout. Go straight over this and 2 miles on bear right onto the A344 and the car park is on the right hand side about 500 metres on.

From London Heathrow Airport

Follow signs to the M4 West. Continue for about 2 miles and come off at junction 4b onto the M25 South bound. Follow the signs for Gatwick Airport. 

From the M25, exit at junction 12 for the M3 motorway towards Basingstoke. Then follow the directions as above.

By train

The nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury about 9.5 miles away. From London the trains depart from Waterloo Station to Salisbury. Check for times and prices as these may be subject to change and the trains depart approximately every hour. The journey takes about an hour and a half. Local buses or a cab can take you on.

The buses depart from Heathrow Airport and from Victoria Coach Station in the centre of London. The journey takes about 2 hours. Get off at Amesbury. From there you can either walk (about 2 miles) or get a taxi.

You can buy tickets on the coach, at the coach station, or from ticket agents for National Express. It is the cheapest way to travel to Stonehenge.

If you are coming from Gatwick Airport you will need to first get to Heathrow Airport or to Victoria coach station (you can do this by bus) and from there change buses to Salisbury.

What is Stonehenge?

Before the arrival of the Romans in the First Century AD, Britain was home to an abundance of sophisticated and thriving cultures. And if proof were need, 3000 years before the Romans set foot on this soil, local tribes had the technology, language and organisational skills to create one of the worlds most iconic monuments - known today as Stonehenge.

There's a lot that we believe we know about Stonehenge. We're almost certain, for example, that the great prehistoric monument was built in several phases spanning hundreds of years, from around 3000 BC to 1600 BC. We also know, that it was a construction project that tested ancient ingenuity and prehistoric technology to the limit.

Besides the question of how Stonehenge was built, understanding why Stonehenge was built is still one of the great mysteries of archaeology. However, modern technology has allowed us to discredit some early explanations of Stonehenge's purpose. We know that Stonehenge was not a Roman temple, and accurate dating has also shown that it was completed at least a thousand years before the Druids roamed the British Isles.

It required an army of workers to construct and perhaps even a garrison of soldiers to protect. These people were not farming or hunting, but relying on a surplus of food that only a settled and successful farming society could provide.

Two of Britain's leading archaeologists - Professor Timothy Darvill and Professor Geoff - are both world-renowned experts on Stonehenge. They believe that they have finally solved the riddle of these great standing stones.

"The whole purpose of Stonehenge is that it was a prehistoric Lourdes," says Wainwright. "People came here to be made well."
This is revolutionary stuff, and it comes from a reinterpretation of the stones of the henge and the bones buried nearby. Darvill and Wainwright believe the smaller bluestones in the centre of the circle, rather than the huge sarsen stones on the perimeter, hold the key to the purpose of Stonehenge.

The bluestones were dragged 250km from the mountains of southwest Wales using Stone Age technology. That's some journey, and there must have been a very good reason for attempting it. Darvill and Wainwright believe the reason was the magical, healing powers imbued in the stones by their proximity to traditional healing springs.

The bones that have been excavated from around Stonehenge appear to back the theory up. "There's an amazing and unnatural concentration of skeletal trauma in the bones that were dug up around Stonehenge," says Darvill. "This was a place of pilgrimage for people...coming to get healed."

They believe that the ill and injured travelled to Stonehenge because the healing stones offered a final hope of a miracle cure or relief from insufferable pain.

While Darvill and Wainwright think the idea of Stonehenge as a prehistoric Lourdes is the most convincing theory for its construction yet, it's fair to say that the archaeological community is not completely convinced.
When the theory was first proposed at a talk in London in 2006, it was met with considerable support, but also one or two dropped jaws. And that's not surprising.

Prior to this 'bombshell', the most widely agreed theory to explain the great stone circle is that it was used as a gigantic calendar. Put simply, the site's alignment allows for the observation of astronomical events such as the summer and winter solstice. With that information, our ancient ancestors could establish exactly where they were in the cycle of the seasons and when the site would be at its most potent.

But would they really have put so much time and effort into the construction of something that today we take for granted? 

Many archaeologists believed they would as Stonehenge offered a way to establish calendar dates when no other method existed. 

Accurate dating allowed for more efficient and successful agriculture, as well as the marking of important religious and social events.

The most popular theory about the purpose of Stonehenge is one that has survived since serious archaeological work first began on the site. Along with modern day druids, they believe that Stonehenge was a place of worship.

However, an even more remarkable origin has been suggested Stonehenge theorists. To some open-minded enthusiasts in the excitable 1970s, Stonehenge was believed to have been a landing pad for extraterrestrial visitors!

It's fair to say that any archaeological evidence relating to this has yet to be unearthed.

Click onto the radio recording below for more information:


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ENGLAND: What is Stonehenge?
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PARIS: Where is the Louvre?

The Musee du Louvre is on of Paris's  historic monuments and is undoubtedly one of the world's most impressive museums. It contains a staggeringly impressive 35,000 priceless objects from prehistory to the 19th century which are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres. With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is also the world's most visited museum.

Where is the Louvre?

The address for the Louvre is as follows:
4 Place du Louvre  
Post code  75001

It is located on the right back of the river Seine. There are various ways to get to the Louvre, so consider the following:

By Métro: 

Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station.
Bus: the following bus lines stop in front of the Pyramid: 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95, and the Paris Open Tour bus.

By Car: 

An underground parking garage is available for those coming by car. The entrance is located on avenue du Général Lemonnier. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

By Batobus:

Get off at the Louvre stop, quai François Mitterrand.

From Orly Airport:

Take the RER C train, direction Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel, and get off at Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame. Walk to the place Saint-Michel and take bus no. 27, direction Saint-Lazare. Get off at the Louvre, in front of the Pyramid.

From Charles de Gaulle Airport:

Take the RER B train, direction Massy-Palaiseau, and change at Châtelet-les-Halles to line 14, direction Saint-Lazare. Get off at Pyramides station and walk to the Louvre from there (3 minutes). Alternatively, take Métro line 1 at Châtelet-les-Halles, and get off at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre.

A brief history of the Louvre

Originally built as a fortress by King Phillippe-August in 1190, it was King Charles V (1364-80) who first made the Louvre his home.

In fact you can still see remnants of the fortress as they are visible in the basement of the museum

In the 16th century, François I replaced the existing building with a Renaissance-style palace and founded the royal art collection with 12 paintings from Italy.

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces.

The young Napoleon
It opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property.

Shortly after, Napoleon renovated the Louvre as a museum and had it renamed the Musée Napoléon.

By 1874, the Louvre Palace had achieved its present form of an almost rectangular structure.

In 1983, French President François Mitterrand proposed, as one of his Grands Projets to renovate the building  allowing displays throughout the building.

Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoléon.

The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, La Pyramide Inversée (The Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993.

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PARIS: Where is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most - if not 'the' most iconic symbol in Paris, and probably the whole of France. However, it attracted an enormous amount of criticism when it first broke the skyline in 1889 as part of the Universal Exhibition in Paris, but fortunately its graceful symmetry soon made it a star attraction.

During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world.

It held this title for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930.

Furthermore, it is still the tallest structure in Paris as well as the most-visited paid monument in the world.

Despite its delicate appearance, it weighs 10,100 metric tons and engineer Gustave Eiffel's construction was so sound that the tower never sways more than 3.5 inches in strong winds!

So, where is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower can be found at the following address:

Tour Eiffel
Champ de Mars
75007 Paris

The closest Paris Metro station to the Eiffel Tower is Champ de Mars / Tour Eiffel on line RER C.

Other Metro stations close to the Eiffel Tower include Ecole Militaire on Line 8, and Bir-Hakeim on Line 6.

The best view of the Eiffel Tower is actually from the opposite side of the river Seine at the Trocadéro, accessed by station Trocadéro on metro line 9 and line 6.

A change of heart!

You may be surprised to know that Gustave Eiffel only had a permit for his tower to stand for 20 years. In fact it was going to be dismantled in 1909 when its ownership reverted back to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down because part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished.

Luckily, the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, and so it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. In the opening weeks of the First World War, powerful radio transmitters were fitted to the tower in order to jam German communications. This seriously hindered their advance on Paris, and contributed to the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne.

Eiffel Tower facts

1. The puddled iron structure of the Eiffel Tower weighs 7,300 tonnes, while the entire structure, including non-metal components, is approximately 10,000 tonnes.

As a demonstration of the economy of design, if the 7,300 tonnes of the metal structure were melted down it would fill the 125-metre-square base to a depth of only 6 cm, assuming the density of the metal to be 7.8 tonnes per cubic metre.

2. Depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by up to 18 cm  because of thermal expansion of the metal on the side facing the sun.

3. At the time the tower was built many people were shocked by its daring shape. Eiffel was criticised for the design and accused of trying to create something artistic, or inartistic according to the viewer, without regard to engineering.  As experienced bridge builders, Eiffel and his engineers understood the importance of wind forces and knew that if they were going to build the tallest structure in the world they had to be certain it would withstand the wind.

Gustave Eiffel
In an interview reported in the newspaper Le Temps, Eiffel said:
"Now to what phenomenon did I give primary concern in designing the Tower? It was wind resistance. Well then! I hold that the curvature of the monument's four outer edges, which is as mathematical calculation dictated it should be […] will give a great impression of strength and beauty, for it will reveal to the eyes of the observer the boldness of the design as a whole."
As a demonstration of the tower's effectiveness in wind resistance, it sways only 6–7 cm (2–3 in) in the wind.

4. When built, the first level contained two restaurants: an "Anglo-American Bar", and a 250 seat theatre. A 2.6 m promenade ran around the outside. On the second level, the French newspaper Le Figaro had an office and a printing press, where a special souvenir edition, Le Figaro de la Tour, was produced. There was also a pâtisserie.

On the third level were laboratories for various experiments and a small apartment reserved for Gustave Eiffel to entertain guests. This is now open to the public, complete with period decorations and lifelike models of Gustave and some guests.

5.  Gustave Eiffel engraved on the tower seventy-two names of French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in recognition of their contributions. This engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century but restored in 1986–1987 by the Société Nouvelle d'exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to operate business related to the Tower.

6. Maintenance of the tower includes applying 50 to 60 tonnes of paint every seven years to protect it from rust. The height of the Eiffel Tower varies by 15 cm due to temperature.

7. In order to enhance the impression of height, three separate colours of paint are used on the tower, with the darkest on the bottom and the lightest at the top. On occasion the colour of the paint is changed and the tower is currently painted a shade of bronze. On the first floor there are interactive consoles hosting a poll for the colour to use for a future session of painting.

8. The only non-structural elements in the whole design of the tower are the four decorative grill-work arches, added in Stephen Sauvestre's sketches, which served to reassure visitors that the structure was safe, and to frame views of other nearby architecture.

9. One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the tower. In reality, since zoning restrictions limit the height of most buildings in Paris to 7 storeys, only a very few of the taller buildings have a clear view of the tower.

10. Eiffel's drawings were so precise, giving details for more than 18,000 metal parts, that the tower was erected in just a little more than two years. An astounding 2.5 million rivets hold the parts together.

11. The Eiffel Towers has recently been declared the most valuable monument in Europe - worth 435 billion euros (£343 billion) to the French economy. This equates to six times its nearest rival, the Colosseum in Rome, valued at 91 billion euros.

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EGYPT: What is a Mummy?

From Scooby-do to Hollywood block busters, the Egyptian mummy has been well and truly entrenched into the global consciousness as a scary and formidable monster.

So when we think of a mummy we naturally think of an Egyptian mummy wrapped in bandages and buried deep inside a pyramid.

However, you may be surprised to find out that mummies have been found in countries all over the world, from Greenland to China,  and from Denmark to Peru.

Put simply, a mummy is the body of a person that has been preserved after death.

These bodies become mummified by either natural environmental conditions or by the deliberate manipulation of highly skilled artisans.

Natural mummification

Natural Mummies are usually made in extreme climates where dry heat or freezing cold has stopped the process of decay. The most common conditions are as follows:

1. Bodies can be dried out in the severe cold of icy polar regions. For example, English sailors found in the Canadian Arctic who died in 1845 were cold mummified.

2. Bodies can be mummified by the intense heat in hot, dry desert sands. For example, sand mummies found in Egypt, dating back to 3200 B.C.

3. Bodies can be freeze-dried by a combination of cold temperatures and very dry winds in mountain caves and cliff tops. For example, an Inuit boy found on cliffs in Greenland is believed to have died in 1475.

4. Bodies can also sometimes be preserved in marshy bogs, where the body stays completely waterlogged so that no air is available for bacteria to grow and therefore the process of decay cannot even begin. For example, bog mummies found in Denmark have been carbon-dated to be nearly 2000 years old!

Man-made mummification

Mummies were made deliberately by using an embalming process. This process varied depending on the culture performing the mummification. There are various ways to achieve this form of preservation, but all methods involve some way of preventing decay setting in. Some are a combination of two or more methods.

1. Bodies can be dried out using smoke. For example,  Buddhist priests in Japan have been mummified in this way as late as 1868.

2. Body cavities can be stuffed with dry grass and herbs. For example,  inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands, used this technique and then buried the bodies in warm volcanic caves.

3. Bodies can be wrapped in layers of fabric or matting to absorb body fluids. For example  this method was used by the Chanca people from Peru from c.1000 – 1470 AD.

4. Most famously, the Egyptians preserved bodies using chemicals such as natron salts. Egyptian mummies date from 2,700BC to 200 AD.

Egyptian mummification
The most famous Ancient Egyptian text relating to mummification is called The Ritual of Embalming and describes the process of bandaging the mummy along with its corresponding rituals. However, there is more evidence on the subject from Herodotus' 'The History' - the first surgical description of Egyptian mummification where he briefly describes the process of evisceration.

According to Herodotus the brain was removed using an iron hook inserted through the nostrils and the brain cavity washed with drugs. 

A slit was made in the left side of the body to remove the internal organs. 

The cavity was then stuffed with spices and the body then dried for seventy days.

From the Middle Kingdom onwards, embalmers used salts to remove moisture from the body. 

The salt-like substance found on the banks of salt lakes - known as natron - dried out and preserved more flesh than bone. Once dried, mummies were ritualistically anointed with oils and perfumes.

The emptied body was then covered in natron, to speed up the process of dehydration and prevent decomposition. Often finger and toe protectors were placed over the mummy's fingers and toes to prevent breakage.

Next they were wrapped with strips of white linen to protect the body from being damaged. After that, they were wrapped in a sheet of canvas to further protect them.

Many sacred charms and amulets were placed in and around the mummy and the wrappings. This was intended to protect the mummy from harm and to give good luck to the Ka of the mummy.

Once preserved, they were laid to rest in a sarcophagus inside a tomb, where it was believed that the mummy would rest eternally. The mummy's mouth would later be opened in an ritual designed to symbolize breathing, giving rise to legends about resurrected mummies.

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PARIS: The Arc de Triomphe

In sheer scale alone, the Arc de Triomphe is the most monumental of all triumphal arches. Standing at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle - also known as the "Place de l'Étoile" - it’s located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.

It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years and, in 1810, when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed.

German soldiers in paris
Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day Military Parade.

Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1919, the Germans in 1940, and the French and Allies in 1944 and 1945.

The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin (1739–1811), in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture - for example, the triumphal Arch of Titus.

The main sculptures are not integral friezes but are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqués on Empire furniture. 

Arch of Titus
The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810, Resistance and Peace and the most renowned of them all,

Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 commonly called La Marseillaise. The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the honorary rank of Marshal of France. Since the fall of Napoleon (1815), the sculpture representing Peace is interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 1815.

In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major Revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories.

The inside walls of the monument list the names of 660 people, among which are 558 French generals of the First French Empire; the names of those who died in battle are underlined. 

Also inscribed, on the shorter sides of the four supporting columns, are the names of the major victorious battles of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Arc de Triomphe

The battles that took place in the period between the departure of Napoleon from Elba to his final defeat at Waterloo are not included.

There was at the top of the Arc from 1882 to 1886, a monumental sculpture by Alexandre Falguière, "Le triomphe de la Révolution" (the Triumph of the Revolution), a chariot drawn by horses preparing "to crush Anarchy and Despotism". 

Unfortunately, it only lasted four years before falling into ruin.

Inside the monument, a new permanent exhibition conceived by the artist Maurice Benayoun and the architect Christophe Girault opened in February 2007. 

The steel and new media installation interrogates the symbolism of the national monument, questioning the balance of its symbolic message during the last two centuries, oscillating between war and peace.

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EGYPT: Where is the source of the Nile?

Europeans began to learn about the origins of the Nile in the 15th and 16th centuries, when travellers to Ethiopia visited Lake Tana and the source of the Blue Nile in the mountains south of the lake. Although James Bruce claimed to be the first European to have visited the headwaters, modern writers give the credit to the Pedro Páez - a Spanish Jesuit missionary in Ethiopia. during the beginning of the 16th century.

More recently, John Hanning Speke (4 May 1827 – 15 September 1864)  - an officer in the British Indian Army -  made three exploratory expeditions to Africa. 

It is Speke who is most associated with the 'modern' search for the source of the Nile. he is also known for the discovery and naming of Lake Victoria.

The source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size. 

The Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba, is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on which is the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself.

It is either the Ruvyironza, which emerges in Bururi Province, Burundi, or the Nyabarongo, which flows from Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda.

The two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo Falls on the Rwanda-Tanzania border.

A recent exploration party that formed a documentary program produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and aired as 'Joanna Lumley's Nile'.

The team went to a place described as the source of the Rukarara tributary, and by hacking a path up steep jungle-choked mountain slopes in the Nyungwe forest found (in the dry season) an appreciable incoming surface flow for many miles upstream. 

They found a new source, giving the Nile a length of 4199 miles (6758 kilometers).

More recently, an attempt by the presenters of the popular television show 'Top Gear' was also made to find the source of the Nile.

 They succeeded in finding a spring somewhere to the South East of Lake Victoria that feeds it and ultimately into the Nile. But whether this the source or just a source has yet to be determined.

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ITALIAN HISTORY: Who was Christopher Columbus?
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SPAIN: Valencia

The Boston Tea Party
The Eiffel Tower

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Where is the Louvre?
Where is the source of the Nile?
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EGYPT: Where is the river Nile?

The Nile is one of the longest rivers on the planet and steeped in over 4000 years of history and sophisticated culture.

Forever associated with the iconic pyramids on its west bank, and more recently Agatha Christie's best selling novel 'Death on the Nile', the Nile conjures images of adventure and mystery - as well as a hint of danger - to any traveller who considers the journey there.

An herein lies the question - where exactly is the Nile?

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in north-eastern Africa, generally regarded (along with the river Amazon in south America) as the longest river in the world at 6,650 km (4,130 miles) long.

The Nile is known as an "international" river as its water resources are shared by eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.

In particular, the Nile River provides the primary water resource and so it is the life artery for its downstream countries such as Egypt and Sudan.

The Nile has two major tributaries - the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

The White Nile

The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined, but its location is believed to be in either Rwanda or Burundi.

It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan.

The Blue Nile

The Blue Nile is the source of most of the water and fertile soil.

 It begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia at 12°02′09″N 037°15′53″E and flows into Sudan from the south east.

The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, a country whose civilization has depended on the river since ancient times.

Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along riverbanks. 

The Nile ends in a large delta - seen in the main photograph - that empties out into the Mediterranean Sea.

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ROMAN HISTORY: What did the Romans eat?

The Romans have been a source of fascination for centuries now, but after the collapse of the Roman empire and the world subsequent drift into the dark ages, much of the lives of ordinary Romans is shrouded in mystery.

So, what did the ancient Romans eat?

For the ordinary Roman, food was basic. Their staple diet consisted mostly of a wheat-based porridge, seasoned with herbs or meat if available. But is they were lucky, and in season, the occasional baked dormouse would have been presented!

However, archaeologists researching the ancient Roman fort of Vindolanda  have uncovered a facinating insight into what the wealthier Roman classes with their discovery of what is now known as the Vindolanda tablets. It turns out that the diet of these particular inhabitants of was pretty varied. 

Within the Vindolanda tablets, 46 different types of foodstuff are mentioned. Whilst the more exotic of these, such as roe deer, venison, spices, olives, wine and honey, appear in the letters and accounts of the slaves attached to the commander's house; it is clear that the soldiers and ordinary people around the fort did not eat badly. We have already seen the grain accounts of the brothers Octavius and Candidus, demonstrating that a wide variety of people in and around the fort were supplied with wheat.

Added to that are a couple of interesting accounts and letters which show that the ordinary soldiers could get hold of such luxuries as pepper and oysters, and that the local butcher was doing a roaring trade in bacon.

However, as Sally Grainger's recipes show, on special occasions the table would be festooned with even more luxurious fare.

Stuffed Kidneys
Serves 4

8 lambs kidneys.
2 heaped tspn fennel seed (dry roasted in pan).
1 heaped tspn whole pepper corns.
4 oz pine nuts.
1 large handful fresh coriander.
2 tbspn olive oil.
2 tbspn fish sauce.
4 oz pigs caul or large sausage skins.

Skin the kidney, split in half and remove the fat and fibres. In a mortar, pound the fennel seed with the pepper to a coarse powder. Add this to a food processor with the pine nuts. Add the washed and chopped coriander and process to a uniform consistency. Divide the mixture into 8 and place in the centre of each kidney and close them up.

If you have caul use it to wrap the kidneys up to prevent the stuffing coming out. Similarly stuff the kidney inside the sausage skin. Heat the oil and seal the kidneys in a frying pan. Transfer to an oven dish and add the fish sauce. Finish cooking in a medium oven. Serve as a starter or light snack with crusty bread and a little of the juice.

Pear Patina
Serves 4

1½ lb firm pears.
10fl oz red wine.
2 oz raisins.
4 oz honey.
1 tspn ground cumin.
1 tbspn olive oil.
2 tbspn fish sauce.
4 eggs.
plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Peel and core the pears and cook in the wine, honey and raisins until tender. 

Strain and process the fruit and return to the cooking liquor. 

Add the cumin, oil and fish sauce and the eggs well beaten. Pour into a greased shallow dish and bake in a preheated oven (375º F) for 20 mins or until set. 

Let the custard stand for 10 mins before serving warm.

Serves 2

10 oz ricotta cheese.
1 egg.
2½ oz plain flour.
Runny honey.

Beat the cheese with the egg and add the sieved flour very slowly and gently. Flour your hands and pat mixture into a ball and place it on a bay leaf on a baking tray.

Place in moderate oven (400ºF) until set and slightly risen. Place cake on serving plate and score the top with a cross. our plenty of runny honey over the cross and serve immediately.

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Photo care of - Michael Wall and and and and

SPAIN: The Conexion Spain Virtual Trade Show

Spain is home to the some of the best restaurants in the world and some of the most romantic hotels. If you have always wondered what it would be like to travel to Spain, the Conexion Spain Virtual Trade Show will be of great interest to you. Find out which Spanish cities and activities you connect with most so that you can plan the most spectacular trip. 

Discover Spain through the many scenic and gastronomic experiences the country has to offer. 

Tapas tours, especially in Granada or Seville are a wonderful excursion full of gastronomic delight.

Attend a soccer game in Madrid, visit the beautiful Canary Islands and check out the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. 

Spain is a country full of history, so there is no shortage of monuments and cathedrals to visit.

Whatever the occasion or time of year, Spain is bound to impress. Touring the great historical routes of Spain such as the Silver Route, The Paths of Sepharad or The Way of St James is an experience you will never forget. Why not try to pick up a bit of the Spanish language while you are there?

Planning an international trip is overwhelming for anyone, that’s why having the chance to web chat with travel professionals that specialize in Spanish tourism can really help make the task easier. Register and come check it out!

Registration is free and you have the luxury of all this information and over 40 different vendors readily at your fingertips and from the comfort of your own home.  

For your convenience, the show is open for 48 hours straight starting at 12am EST April 10th. There are also many amazing prizes to be won including 2 grand prize round trip vacations to Spain leaving from New York and Toronto, worth over $4000 each.  To register or to check out the prizes, click here.

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GREEK HISTORY: Who was Archimedes?

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, philosopher and inventor who wrote important works on geometry, arithmetic and mechanics. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. He used the method of exhaustion to calculate the area under the arc of a parabola with the summation of an infinite series, and gave a remarkably accurate approximation of pi. He also defined the spiral bearing his name, formulae for the volumes of surfaces of revolution and an ingenious system for expressing very large numbers.

Archimedes was born in Syracuse on the eastern coast of Sicily, (287 BC – c. 212 BC) and educated in Alexandria in Egypt. He then returned to Syracuse, where he spent most of the rest of his life, devoting his time to research and experimentation in many fields.

Archimedes inventions

In mechanics he defined the principle of the lever and is credited with inventing the compound pulley and the hydraulic screw for raising water from a lower to higher level. 

He is most famous for discovering the law of hydrostatics, sometimes known as 'Archimedes' principle', stating that a body immersed in fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the amount of fluid it displaces.

Archimedes is supposed to have made this discovery when stepping into his bath, causing him to exclaim 'Eureka!'

Archimedes weapons of war

During the Roman conquest of Sicily in 214 BC Archimedes worked for the state, and several of his mechanical devices were employed in the defence of Syracuse. 

Among the war machines attributed to him are the catapult and - perhaps legendary - a mirror system for focusing the sun's rays on the invaders' boats and igniting them. This 'heat ray' is believed to have worked by using a large array of highly polished bronze or copper shields acting collectively as a parabolic reflector to focus sunlight onto a ship.

A test of the Archimedes heat ray was carried out in 1973 by the Greek scientist Ioannis Sakkas. The experiment took place at the Skaramagas naval base outside Athens. 

On this occasion 70 mirrors were used, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet (1.5 by 1 m). The mirrors were pointed at a plywood mock-up of a Roman warship at a distance of around 160 feet (50 m).

When the mirrors were focused accurately, the ship burst into flames within a few seconds. The plywood ship had a coating of tar paint, which may have aided combustion. This coating of tar would have been commonplace on ships in the classical era.

After Syracuse was captured, Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier. It is said that he was so absorbed in his calculations he told his killer not to disturb him.

In conclusion

Unlike his inventions, the mathematical writings of Archimedes were little known in antiquity.

Mathematicians from Alexandria read and quoted him, but the first comprehensive compilation was not made until c. 530 AD.

Likewise, relatively few copies of Archimedes' written work survived through the Middle Ages. However, those that did were an influential source of ideas for scientists during the Renaissance.

Furthermore, the discovery in 1906 of previously unknown works by Archimedes in the Archimedes Palimpsest has provided new insights into how he obtained his complex mathematical results.

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GREEK HISTORY: Who was Archimedes?