Have you done any research into your ancestors? What interesting surprises have you discovered?
One rather big surprise when researching my maternal ancestry was that my great, great grandfather was transported to Tasmania from Liverpool, England. At the tender age of fifteen he was convicted of stealing a piece of calico and sentence to seven years in Van Diemans Land.
Previously he had stolen two game cocks but had escaped punishment. Who knows what age he was then. The poor lad was on the transport ship, William for 127 days. Many did not survive the journey.
What is astonishing is that he made his way back to England at the age of 38, which was very unusual, most stayed after their sentence was complete (if they survived). But my great great grandfather, married a local girl in Tasmania and brought her back to England with their young daughter.
It shows an incredibly strong character and physical strength to endure.
Archaeology isdefined asthe scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other remains.
Fascination with the lives of humans that came before us has been around for decades. Preservation of artifacts and intensive research into the daily life and habits of these ancestors has increasingly revealed lives we could never imagine. From simple stone tools to impressive structures, such as aqueducts and pyramids, to technological inventions, homo sapiens have evolved at an incredible rate. As you can see from this graph, although it only spans until Shakespeare’s time. We have taken even larger leaps since then.
Technological advances have exploded as you can clearly see here.
Actually digging on an archaeological site is fun as the anticipation of finding something keeps you picking away at the soil, even in poor weather or baking heat. I have experienced a couple of digs and attended archaeology classes as well as explored numerous historical sites and houses in England. These visits are cataloged in many scrap books. I incorporated my knowledge of archaeology into my novel, The Twesome Loop, where a gruesome find in the villa grounds is investigated.
Excerpt from The Twesome Loop
Her parents’ friend, James Buckley, was in charge of the new dig at the Thornwood villa, he had been only too pleased to welcome Caroline and his old colleagues to visit. Caroline had investigated so much on the Thornwood estate but to actually visit it, was a dream come true. Through her own research she already knew a great deal about Lord Thornwood. He had bought the land near Agagni and commissioned the restoration of the Italian villa on the site. It was built on the highest point, giving extensive views across the valley. As part treasure hunter and part historian, the English Lord spent decades digging his land and finding numerous Roman artifacts, which he unashamedly sold to the highest bidder to finance his other obsession, gambling.
As the years passed, the locals thought him mad as he was always in dirty clothes digging up the land, followed closely by a manservant with a wheelbarrow and water jugs. When Lord Thornwood died, his family sold off the villa and its land in job lots to pay off his large debts. Caroline had also researched the man who would be their host, Edward Beecham. She discovered he had inherited the villa and its extensive gardens. With investment he had commissioned a total refit of the villa, which transformed it into a large family home with separate accommodation for guests. It comprised of eight bedrooms all with en suite and traditional balconies. The web site showed the decor was sympathetic to the age of the building and all the fittings were reproduction to the era when the villa was first built. The photographs Caroline had found online gave stunning views across the valley. She was excited about exploring the home and grounds of her ‘champion’. Lord Thornwood had lived his passion for artifacts, and although he sold the wonderful treasures, they gradually found their way into museums all over the world.