Alien ancestors of the Himalayan hobbits

High up in the borderlands between Tibet and China lies the Bayan Kara Ula mountain range, where archaeologist Chi Pu Tei and his team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences are said to have discovered strange burial sites in 1938 in what appeared to be man-made caves. The sites were strange for two reasons: firstly,…

A Byrd’s eye view of the Antarctic continent

If you browsed through a copy of America’s Social Register you’d find it hard to discover a figure more entwined with the establishment than Richard Evelyn Byrd, a naval officer born in Winchester, Virginia, on 25 October 1888. The son of Esther Bolling and Richard Evelyn Byrd Sr, Byrd was a descendant of one of…

The mystery of what Carter’s excavation missed

It’s now 114 years since a history-changing association began between English archaeologist Howard Carter and his paymaster Lord Carnarvon. Initially Lord Carnarvon hired Carter to supervise the excavation of nobles’ tombs in Deir el-Bahri, near Thebes, but attentions soon turned to the Valley of the Kings when Lord Carnarvon was granted a concession to dig…

The Beetle: Bug that sent Detroit into a spin

On this day 17 years ago the unthinkable happened, Volkswagen stopped making the “original” version of the Beetle, the iconic vehicle dreamed up in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche that became Adolf Hitler’s vision of the “people’s car”. If ever a car oozed personality it was the Beetle, which first came off the production line in…