What were some of 2015’s most bizarre discoveries? How about the mummified monk found inside an ancient Buddha statue? Or the 17th-century “war camel” discovered in an Austrian cellar? And then there was the medieval remedy being used to kill a modern superbug. And the bizarre hybrid animal remains found in an Iron Age grave in Britain. And we were fascinated by the CT scan that revealed the body of a baby buried at the feet of a mummified Swedish bishop? This year really had it all.
Vikings, Vikings and more Vikings! Among the Norse-inspired news this year was the construction of a new Viking temple in Iceland, the accidental find of a 1,200-year-old Viking sword by a Norwegian hiker, the 9th-century grave that shed light on a unique link between Vikings and the Islamic world and the December discovery of a hoard of 1,100-year-old coins and Viking jewelry that could rewrite English history.
In 2015, we were in awe of the 8-year-old boy with dreams of becoming a real-life Indian Jones who uncovered a 3,000-year-old relic, and the teenaged girl who proved historical scholarship isn’t solely the realm of tweedy academics. And we can thank serendipity for its role in some of the year’s most unlikely finds, including a treasure trove of letters that have remained unopened for more than 300 years, the prehistoric wooly mammoth bones unearthed by a Michigan farmer, the medieval skeleton that rose from a grave thanks to a violent storm, and the construction worker’s discovery of a mass grave for victims of the 1918 flu pandemic. A tip of the HISTORY hat to all!
A decade after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, we caught up with several of the survivors featured in our exclusive video series, “I Was There: Hurricane Katrina,” and asked them to reflect on the changes they’ve seen in the past 10 years, and the importance of rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina’s destruction.
As the sesquicentennial of the end of the American Civil War and the Lincoln Assassination approached, we retraced the war’s final days with a look back at the civilian who had a front row seat to some of the conflict’s most dramatic moments, explored six battles that were fought after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, got the story behind the tragic maritime disaster that claimed the lives of the war’s veterans and found out why the Confederate’s final surrender happened in the most unlikely of places. We checked out 10 surprising facts about the Lincoln assassination, learned what Abraham Lincoln said in his final speech, found out more about the the other targets of Booth’s conspiracy, went inside the hunt for Lincoln’s killer, found out who received the reward offered up for Booth’s capture and even explored the bizarre story of the John Wilkes Booth “mummy” that toured America.