Monday, November 22, 2010

Unreported news

A Terracotta General, on display at the
Royal Ontario Museum as part of a
special exhibition. Photo by Owen Jarus
In October site excavator Dr. Duan Qingbo
told a Toronto audience of new research
indicating that foreigners had helped build
the army.

The Terracotta Warriors are one of the most fantastic archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.

Thousands have been found near the First Emperor's tomb in Xi'an China. Each of them has a unique face, suggesting that they were modelled on real people who lived 2,200 years ago. 

Last month Duan Qingbo, an archaeologist who has been leading digs at the tomb for nearly 20 years, stopped by the Royal Ontario Museum to give a lecture. In it he dropped a surprise – new evidence which suggests that foreigners helped construct the First Emperor’s tomb. I was at the lecture and wrote a story for both Heritage Key and The Independent (UK).

It’s a fascinating discovery and one that is now in the public domain.

Now, with the launch of this new website, I hope to bring you more of these kinds of stories. Untold tales of heritage research and discovery.

Why do this?

Let me take you back a bit. In July 2009 I started a position as the Toronto Correspondent with Heritage Key Media. It is an online publication, based in London UK, that publishes news and feature stories on ancient history and archaeology. It also has virtual 3D programming.

I’ve always had an interest in the ancient world so this position was more fun than work. I dived into it – writing news articles, features, reviews, short bios and descriptions. As I adjusted to the position, and got the lay of the archaeological land, I began to realize that there were many heritage stories that were not being widely covered.

The discovery of a 2,000 year old East Asian skeleton in southern Italy, an enigmatic Islamic gold medallion found in Petra and new research by UBC Professor Thomas Schneider that tells the real story of Nazi Egyptology (not the fictional version seen in Hollywood films), there were so many untold stories to write about! More than a dozen of my pieces were republished in The Independent (UK), a major British newspaper.  

Unfortunately this position came to an end recently. Heritage Key continues on albeit with more of a focus on the virtual 3D programming (if you haven't tried it yet, I would encourage you to do so - it's quite a treat!).  

Which brings me to this new site:

On it I plan to continue my work – writing heritage stories that have not appeared widely in the news media. The site I’m using is technically quite simple and to support this work I have some advertising via the Amazon Associates Program.

Telling the stories

Over the next few months I’m looking forward to telling you untold stories of heritage discovery. There is so much out there to talk about!

I would encourage you to follow my twitter feed I have also created a RSS link if you prefer to use an online reader.

If you know of a heritage story that has not been widely reported on then please contact me at I check my email constantly so you shouldn’t have to wait long for a reply.

Also, if there is an error, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the same address. Once I verify the error I will correct it immediately. A journalism professor once told me that the best newspapers are those that are full of corrections so – please – correct away!

Thank you and best wishes,


  1. As a fellow Canadian and as a person suffering an abiding fascination with the insights into the past that archeology provides, I wish you success and shall return often.

  2. Great work so far! Thanks for these stories; haven't seen them anywhere else!


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