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300-Year-Old Ship Surfaces in Old Town Alexandria

While digging up the site of a new hotel, workers in Alexandria, Virginia unearthed a piece of maritime history: the bow of a ship dating back to the mid-to-late 18th century.

According to the Washington Post, the ship was found during the construction of a hotel near the Potomac River waterfront. (This area also recently yielded the foundations of a warehouse built in 1755, as well as several old privies filled with pottery, glass, bones, and shoes.) It’s nearly 50 feet long and still contains part of the ship's original hull’s keel, frame, stern, and flooring.

Archaeologists think the vessel once carried heavy cargo or served as a military ship. Colonists might have buried it to fill in a cove and sand flats at Port Lumley, an area where the Potomac’s waters extend towards the shore. It was scuttled sometime between 1775 and 1798, the paper notes.

The ship was a surprise to archaeologists because there are no known historical records of its existence. It’s also remarkably well preserved, thanks to the fact that it wasn’t touched by oxygen after it was buried.

“It’s very rare. This almost never happens,” Dan Baicy, an archaeologist overseeing the construction site, told the Post. “In 15 years that I’ve done this work, I’ve never run into this kind of preservation in an urban environment where there’s so much disturbance.”

Naval archaeologists have also examined the ship and currently are in the process of removing it from the site. They’ll store it in tanks or a natural body of water until conservationists at a preservation lab can take a good look at it. Someday, it might go on display—although project officials say that would require special funding. To learn more about the find, watch the video above.

All images courtesy of YouTube 

[h/t Washington Post, GeoBeats News]

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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