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Confederate Ironclad May Have Been Found (CSS Virginia aka Merrimac)
Associated Press ^ | April 30, 2003 | AP

Posted on 04/30/2003 4:53:48 PM PDT by SpringheelJack

PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- An underwater survey found what might be remnants of the Confederate ironclad warship Virginia, the former USS Merrimack that fought the Union's ironclad Monitor in the 1862 battle that redefined naval warfare.

"It would be a stroke of incredible luck to discover it after all these years," said Dick Hoffeditz, curator of the Virginia War Museum in Newport News.

The underwater survey, for the proposed construction of a marine terminal on the Elizabeth River, describes two shipwrecks in the area and says there is "a distinct possibility" that they might be parts of the Virginia and of a schooner that hit the submerged wreck and sank next to it.

The Monitor and the Virginia -- which was built on part of the salvaged hull of a Union sailing ship, the USS Merrimack -- fought a pounding battle near Newport News on March 9, 1862.

It was the first clash of wooden ships armored with steel plates to repel cannon balls. Most historians consider the four-hour battle a draw.

On May 11, 1862, the Virginia ran aground near Craney Island. After the crew was evacuated, the ship was set afire, detonating the 16,000 pounds of black powder in the ship's magazine. Documents show that salvage companies later removed two boilers and parts of the wooden hull.

What was left of the ship was again blown up, and some sections were dragged to the Navy Yard in Portsmouth.

Several parts of the Virginia survive in museums, including dented armor and the ship's wheel at the Mariners' Museum, and an anchor and part of a propeller shaft at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has called for a follow-up investigation to decide if the wreck spotted in the survey is the Virginia. If it is, federal and state laws require that the ship's remains be removed before any dredging can take place.

The Monitor sank at the end of 1862, landing upside down in 240 feet of water, 16 miles off Hatteras, N.C. A joint Navy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration team has raised the Monitor's turret and other parts.

The Mariners' Museum in Newport News has custody of Monitor artifacts.

* __

On the Net:

Monitor Center: http://www.monitorcenter.org

Mariners' Museum: http://www.mariner.org/


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: archaeology; civilwar; confederacy; csa; cssvirginia; dixie; dixielist; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; ironclads; museums; navalwarfare; newportnews; portsmouth; virginia; virginiawarmuseum
I checked to see if this was already posted but didn't find anything.
1 posted on 04/30/2003 4:53:48 PM PDT by SpringheelJack
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To: SpringheelJack; Amelia; Travis McGee; Willie Green; eddie willers
This is a fabulous find! How exciting for the history of this country.

I hope the PC nuts don't go wild about the "confederate" thing. :-)
2 posted on 04/30/2003 4:59:50 PM PDT by Howlin (The most hated lair on FR)
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To: SpringheelJack
>>...I checked to see if this was already posted but didn't find anything...<<

Don't worry. If this is your first offense, the Post Police will probably only give you a warning.

3 posted on 04/30/2003 5:09:17 PM PDT by FReepaholic
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To: SpringheelJack
detonating the 16,000 pounds of black powder in the ship's magazine.

Just imagine that explosion.. & they had enough left to put in a museum.

That Yankee Monitor just sank by itself.

4 posted on 04/30/2003 5:16:11 PM PDT by jrushing
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To: SpringheelJack; stainlessbanner
I checked to see if this was already posted but didn't find anything.

Just hope Illbay doesn't notice this story is in breaking news.

I find these stories very interesting. There was a recent thread about the Confederate submarine Hunley being raised with details of some of the artifacts found inside.

5 posted on 04/30/2003 5:26:56 PM PDT by Cagey
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To: jrushing
That Yankee Monitor just sank by itself.

Yeah we didn't need to blow it up to keep it from being captured after running it aground on a marked shoal. Actually the Monitor went down with help from a rather severe storm off of Hatteras, which is not called the graveyard of the Atlantic without reason.

6 posted on 04/30/2003 5:32:08 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: SpringheelJack
For some more good stuff on this and other old ship wrecks check out Clive Cussler's (Dirk Pitt) sight NUMA. He also has 2 books about his hunt for wrecks.

The Sea Hunters and The Sea Hunters 2

On the net http://www.numa.net/
7 posted on 04/30/2003 5:40:33 PM PDT by Tahoe4x4
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To: Non-Sequitur
During the storm, the Monitor lost it's smokestack so it lost power. In an effort to turn the ship into the wind, the anchor was let out but the ship was in too deep of water.

The discoverer of the wreck found the anchor chain before he found the ship.
8 posted on 04/30/2003 5:46:22 PM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat)
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To: Shooter 2.5
That was the major design flaw with the first Monitor. Later classes kept the low freeboard but were more sea worthy with taller fixed stacks and their pilot houses moved to the top of the turret. Following the war Monitor-type ships crossed the Atlantic and rounded Cape Horn.
9 posted on 04/30/2003 5:49:21 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur
Yeah we didn't need to blow it up to keep it from being captured after running it aground on a marked shoal.

Yeah, I know. We lost (thank God). A house divided cannot stand. Now, we stand together.

10 posted on 04/30/2003 5:50:24 PM PDT by jrushing
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To: Non-Sequitur
I especially liked the pictures of the monitors with the double turrets. I have some coffee table books that feature the various designs. I'll have to look up the ones you mentioned.
11 posted on 04/30/2003 5:53:00 PM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat)
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To: Shooter 2.5
If memory serves there was a three turreted ship, which was made by cutting down and armoring an existing frigate but the name escapes me.
12 posted on 04/30/2003 5:56:59 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Cagey
Didn't you hear?
13 posted on 04/30/2003 6:37:50 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: *dixie_list; annyokie; SCDogPapa; thatdewd; canalabamian; Sparta; treesdream; sc-rms; Tax-chick; ...
Dixie Ping
14 posted on 04/30/2003 6:39:06 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
Didn't you hear?

Not until just now. Too bad, because I like the guy.

15 posted on 04/30/2003 6:45:33 PM PDT by Cagey
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To: jrushing
That Yankee Monitor changed the course of Naval history and construction more than any other warship I can even think of.
16 posted on 04/30/2003 7:13:32 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: SpringheelJack
Here's a link to another Civil War shipwreck in Florida...The Maple Leaf: Maple Leaf Shipwreck
17 posted on 04/30/2003 7:13:43 PM PDT by mass55th
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To: SpringheelJack
Long live the Virginia!
18 posted on 04/30/2003 7:24:01 PM PDT by RasterMaster
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To: Non-Sequitur
I didn't know about a three turreted ship. I always liked the idea the two ships were ready at the exact same time in history.
19 posted on 04/30/2003 7:27:35 PM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat)
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To: stainlessbanner
At least Whiskey Papa is still around to defend "honest" Abe.
20 posted on 04/30/2003 7:50:36 PM PDT by PAR35
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Sunken Confederate warship Virginia possibly found
By PAUL CLANCY, The Virginian-Pilot
© April 30, 2003
Last updated: 5:15 PM

Reece Young, left in photo above, and Eric Moore stand atop a boiler off Craney Island in March. The boiler may belong to the ironclad CSS Virginia, below. Photo by Steve Earley / The Virginian-Pilot.

Special report: Raising the Monitor turret
PORTSMOUTH -- After retreating Confederate troops blew up the CSS Virginia off Craney Island in 1862 and salvors carted remaining pieces away, the fearsome Southern ironclad was gone for good.

Or was it?

A recent underwater survey for APM Terminals Virginia, the company that hopes to build a new marine terminal on the Elizabeth River, describes two shipwrecks near the project and says there is ``a distinct possibility'' that they might be parts of the Virginia and a schooner that hit the submerged warship and sank next to it.

APM Terminals is a subsidiary of the giant Danish company that owns Maersk Sealand ship line.

Those associated with the possible discovery are cautious about drawing conclusions, but the idea that even parts of the ship might be found fires their historic cannons.

``It probably wasn't completely salvaged,'' said John Broadwater, manager of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Monitor recovery project. ``I'm pretty well convinced there's more there.''

Jay Taylor, a Norfolk psychologist and environmental activist who has followed the Maersk proposal closely, said that with all the attention the Monitor has received locally, ``it's only right that we preserve the Virginia, too.''

Broadwater couldn't agree more. ``That would be really exciting,'' he said.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has called for a follow-up investigation to decide if the wreck is the Virginia, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

If it is, federal and state laws require that the ship's remains be removed before any dredging can take place, the corps says.

With the Mariners' Museum in Newport News having custody of Monitor artifacts, the possibility that parts of the Union ship's rebel counterpart might be recovered from local waters could be a historic windfall.

``It would be a stroke of incredible luck to discover it after all these years,'' said Dick Hoffeditz, curator of the Virginia War Museum in Newport News.

In a related investigation, Bill Cofer, president of the Virginia Pilot Association, went out recently with chart makers from NOAA's Ocean Service to examine an ancient ship's boiler that could be seen at low tide about one mile north of the Virginia wreck site.

Pilot apprentices took measurements of the rusted, red hunk of metal, still bristling with rivets, and sent them to historians for study.

Cofer has long been intrigued by the notion, spoken of by generations of pilots, that this was one of the Virginia's massive boilers. ``In all likelihood, it is not the boiler,'' Cofer said. ``But it's such a fascinating story, to think there may be something left.''

Before getting the go-ahead to build the terminal, Maersk must win approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Peter Kube, project director for the corps in charge of writing the project's environmental assessment, said if the new survey indicates the wreck is the Virginia, there must be a plan to bring up as much of the wreck as possible before dredging.

If it's in an area that won't be disturbed, Kube said, the wreck could be buried to keep it from being harmed.

The APM report -- which calls for an investigation of the shipwreck sites -- was prepared by the Williamsburg Environmental Group. Efforts to reach the report's author were unsuccessful.

Officials at APM Terminals, based in Charlotte, couldn't be reached late Tuesday for comment.

The Monitor and the Virginia -- once known as the Merrimack -- fought a pounding battle in Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862. This was a day after the Virginia sank two wooden Union ships and was coming back that morning to wreak more havoc.

The four-hour struggle ended in what most historians consider a draw. But they say it forever changed the nature of naval warfare.

The Monitor was to sink in heavy seas off Cape Hatteras at the end of the year. Its opponent had already met its fate.

With Union forces moving toward Norfolk and Portsmouth, Confederate commanders wanted to move the Virginia up the James River toward Richmond, but the ship, with a draft of more than 20 feet, couldn't pass over the flats opposite Jamestown Island, according to Jeff Johnston, a researcher with NOAA's Monitor project.

Early on the morning of May 11, 1862, the Virginia ran aground near Craney Island. The island was then a fraction of the size of the current Corps of Engineers landfill.

After the crew was evacuated, the ship was torched, and, after it burned for an hour, 16,000 pounds of black powder in the ship's magazine exploded. At least one large section of its iron casement was sent flying.

Surviving documents show that salvage companies removed two huge boilers and parts of the wooden hull.

``The ladies of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Norfolk acquired several sections of these live oak timbers,'' Johnston said. ``The wood was turned over to a J.M. Freeman for manufacturing canes.''

What was left of the ship was again blown up, not once but twice, and sections dragged to the Navy Yard in Portsmouth. The June 2, 1876, edition of the Virginian, forerunner of The Virginian-Pilot, reported that ``the Navy Yard was crowded with parties curious to look at the remains of the once famous old vessel.''

Several parts of the Virginia have shown up in museums. Sections of dented armor and the ship's wheel are at the Mariners' Museum; an anchor and part of a propeller shaft are at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond; a purported ship's bell is at the Chrysler Museum; and armor plates are at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Portsmouth.

There's an old joke, Johnston observed, that if all the Virginia's artifacts, real and imagined, were assembled in one place, ``you could probably build two vessels.''

Staff writer Carolyn Shapiro contributed to this report. Reach Paul Clancy at paul.clancy@pilotonline.com or 222-5132.



© 2003 HamptonRoads.com/PilotOnline.com

21 posted on 04/30/2003 7:53:06 PM PDT by Ligeia
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To: SpringheelJack
I thought Clive Cussler's (sp) team had found this a few years back?
22 posted on 04/30/2003 7:54:35 PM PDT by plusone
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To: Non-Sequitur
Yeah we didn't need to blow it up to keep it from being captured after running it aground on a marked shoal. Actually the Monitor went down with help from a rather severe storm off of Hatteras, which is not called the graveyard of the Atlantic without reason.

Yeah, sinking an unseaworthy vessel in a storm with the crew aboard looks brilliant compared to running it aground.

23 posted on 04/30/2003 8:13:03 PM PDT by Hacksaw
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To: Cagey
There was a recent thread about the Confederate submarine Hunley being raised with details of some of the artifacts found inside.

And of course the persistent jokes about artifacts that weren't found (but should have been), such as the bumper sticker saying "Thurmond for Senate".

24 posted on 04/30/2003 8:35:53 PM PDT by thulldud
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To: Cagey
Any link to that story?
25 posted on 04/30/2003 9:04:05 PM PDT by Revenge Of Daffy-Duck ({ Insert Evil Laugh Here })
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To: billbears
confederacy ping
26 posted on 04/30/2003 9:07:17 PM PDT by Fraulein
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To: SpringheelJack
CSS Virginia Coming at ya! (well, not exactly coming at ya, kind of standing still in dry-dock!)
27 posted on 04/30/2003 9:17:07 PM PDT by Lockbar
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To: Cagey
Illbay is gone.
28 posted on 04/30/2003 9:34:44 PM PDT by wardaddy ("If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to Hell"...from Candyman by the Dead)
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To: SpringheelJack
bump, I got ready to post and saw you've taken care of it
29 posted on 05/01/2003 3:26:14 AM PDT by putupon (I smack Chirac ,and Schroeder too, with my stepped in dog squeeze shoe.)
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To: Hacksaw
Yeah, sinking an unseaworthy vessel in a storm with the crew aboard looks brilliant compared to running it aground.

Ships sink in storms, it was a fact of life during the period. It was impossible to forcast them so the Union Navy has nothing to apologize for. And the crew abandoned the Monitor before sinking and were taken onboard the escorting ship.

30 posted on 05/01/2003 3:46:14 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Shooter 2.5
I checked around a bit. The frigate Roanoke was cut down and converted during the war:


31 posted on 05/01/2003 3:50:41 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Revenge Of Daffy-Duck
Any link to that story?

Type "hunley" into the keyword search here on FR and you'll find a handful of threads about the recovery and artifacts.

32 posted on 05/01/2003 6:19:03 AM PDT by Cagey
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To: mass55th
Cool link. I have been facinated by the many stories of scuttled ships in the St. Johns that were never recovered. Someday, I'll go seaching...
33 posted on 05/01/2003 6:26:17 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Non-Sequitur
Non-Sequitur: After the Union took control of the Virginia shoreline of the Potomac in March '62, they were afraid of the Virginia being brought up the river to harass shipping in and out of D.C. So, a navy officer confiscated the seine net from an entrepeneur, Samuel Cropley, who ran a fishery in Prince William County, and stretched it below the surface of the river's channel, figuring that they would entangle the props. The net was 1.5 miles in length.

After the war Mr. Cropley filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission but passed away before a verdict was rendered. His sons pressed the case and they were awarded the value of the net and other items that were confiscated. He had seven sons so the settlement was divided seven ways with each receiving a share, except for the youngest who had joined a Confederate cavalry regiment. Mr. Cropley was English by birth and lived in Georgetown, D.C. (he leased the land in Virginia, and ironically the owner was a staff officer under Gen. Longstreet), and had never denounced his loyalty to the U.S. during the war.

34 posted on 05/01/2003 6:39:19 AM PDT by HenryLeeII
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To: Non-Sequitur
No pictures of the entire U.S.S. Monitor exist.
Only two double turreted Monitors served in the war, one being the U.S.S. Onondaga.
More images of the Monitors were taken during the war than any other vessel.
The monitor, U.S.S. Saugus was used as a temporary prison for the Lincoln conspirators. One of it's duties was working as a Minesweeper on the James River.
35 posted on 05/01/2003 6:43:28 AM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat)
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To: HenryLeeII
After the Union took control of the Virginia shoreline of the Potomac in March '62, they were afraid of the Virginia being brought up the river to harass shipping in and out of D.C. So, a navy officer confiscated the seine net from an entrepeneur, Samuel Cropley, who ran a fishery in Prince William County, and stretched it below the surface of the river's channel, figuring that they would entangle the props. The net was 1.5 miles in length.

All for naught as it turns out. The Virginia was barely seaworthy and drew so much water that she would have had a problem making Chesaspeak Bay to begin with much less navigating in the open waters. Almost all the confederate rams had that problem.

36 posted on 05/01/2003 6:52:03 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Shooter 2.5
Only two double turreted Monitors served in the war, one being the U.S.S. Onondaga.

Are you sure on that? I've seen pictures of 4:

Puritan

Monadnock

Onandoga

and Miantonomah


37 posted on 05/01/2003 7:03:33 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Non-Sequitur
I didn't write from memory. I was writing bits and pieces from the book series, The Images of War 1861-1865, The Embattled Confederacy, Volume III, Page 150

The book series has some great pictures I had never seen before.
38 posted on 05/01/2003 7:13:16 AM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat)
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To: stainlessbanner
Thanks for the ping.
39 posted on 05/01/2003 8:00:21 AM PDT by SCDogPapa (In Dixie Land I'll take my stand to live and die in Dixie)
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To: jrushing
Yeah, I know. We lost (thank God). A house divided cannot stand. Now, we stand together.

And for all you illegal alien felons who don't speak English, that's: Sí, sé. Perdimos (agradezca a dios). Una casa dividida no puede estar parada. Ahora, estamos parados juntos.

40 posted on 05/01/2003 10:22:50 AM PDT by archy (Keep in mind that the milk of human kindness comes from a beast that is both cannibal and a vampire.)
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To: Non-Sequitur
If memory serves there was a three turreted ship, which was made by cutting down and armoring an existing frigate but the name escapes me.


41 posted on 05/01/2003 12:25:13 PM PDT by aomagrat (IYAOYAS)
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To: Cagey
Put "Hunley" in the keyword search? Now why didn't I think of that? Thanks for the help!
42 posted on 05/03/2003 2:41:14 PM PDT by Revenge Of Daffy-Duck ({ Insert Evil Laugh Here })
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To: wardaddy
Illbay is gone.

I wonder if he got banned because of his home page.....I was reading it earlier this afternoon....it was somewhat bizarre.

43 posted on 05/03/2003 2:51:48 PM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (I'm changing my tag line....somebody hand that wrench....no...the other one.)
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To: Focault's Pendulum
I'm not sure he's banned...I just know he's MIA over a week now.
44 posted on 05/03/2003 9:37:20 PM PDT by wardaddy (I know you rider, gonna miss me when I'm gone)
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To: Non-Sequitur
Ships sink in storms, it was a fact of life during the period. It was impossible to forcast them so the Union Navy has nothing to apologize for.

That is a good one. Read up on Farragut's opinions on the monitor class. FYI, it wasn't "ships sink all the time, what the hell".

45 posted on 05/06/2003 7:36:23 PM PDT by Hacksaw
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A Blast from the Past (2003). This one got added to the keyword at some point, but never got a post or ping. Whoops.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

46 posted on 06/25/2007 9:56:18 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated June 23, 2007.)
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· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
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Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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47 posted on 06/27/2008 9:54:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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