This Week In History News, Feb. 7 – 13

Published February 12, 2021

Millennia-old conch shell instrument uncovered, Nazi concentration camp secretary charged, 50-year-old lunar golf ball found.

Researchers Just Uncovered A 17,000-Year-Old Musical Instrument — And Then Played It

Researcher Regarding Conch Shell

Georges Gobet/AFPThe shell sat in a museum for decades until a recent inventory revealed that it had actually been a musical instrument all along.

When researchers first found this conch shell inside a French cave covered with prehistoric wall paintings in 1931, they initially believed it was used as a mere cup. But now, almost a century later, they’ve uncovered its true purpose.

A mundane inventory at the museum in southern France where it had been sitting eventually led to researchers uncovering that this “cup” was a delicately constructed musical instrument. Then, researchers played it for the first time in 17,000 years and recorded its prehistoric tones.

Hear it for yourself here.

A Former Nazi Camp Secretary Has Just Been Charged As An Accessory In 10,000 Murders

Barracks At Stutthof

Panstwowe Muzeum StutthofThe Stutthof concentration camp barracks, shown after the camp was liberated in May 1945.

Irmgard F. was about 17 years old when she became a secretary at the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland in 1943. For about two years, she went about her work — as the Nazis murdered tens of thousands of people just outside of her office. Now 95, she’s been charged as an accessory in 10,000 murders and complicity in attempted murders.

According to Smithsonian, the woman claimed that she didn’t know about the mass murder taking place at the camp. Identified only as Irmgard F. due to German privacy laws, she admitted knowing only of “some executions” during her time there between June 1943 and April 1945.

Until she was hit with the charges earlier this month, Irmgard F. has never been forced to reckon with her past in court. Now facing the legal repercussions of “aiding and abetting murder in more than 10,000 cases,” the woman maintained that she hadn’t been aware of the true scale of Stutthof’s operations until after World War II was over.

See more here.

Golf Ball Whacked On The Moon By Apollo 14 Astronaut Alan Shepard Rediscovered 50 Years Later

Apollo 14 Golf Ball

NASAIn the center of this wide shot restored by imaging specialist Andy Saunders is Alan Shepard’s golf ball.

When Apollo 14 landed on the moon on Feb. 6, 1971, humankind had already been there several times, but Commander Alan Shepard nonetheless managed to accomplish the unprecedented — by teeing off just outside the lunar lander.

Though it took Shepard a minute to get the hang of it, he eventually sent his second ball flying for what he believed was “miles and miles and miles.” Now, a NASA digital image restorer thinks he’s relocated one of those balls, and as it turns out, it didn’t go for miles.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out the stories to illuminate the past, present, and future.