This Week In History News, Mar. 6 – 12

Published March 11, 2022

Stone with fifth-century engravings uncovered in Scotland, Roman shipwreck found in stunning condition, descendants of enslaved man say George Washington was his father.

1,500-Year-Old Pictish Stone Engraved With Enigmatic Symbols Unearthed From A Farmer’s Field In Scotland

Engraved Pictish Slab

University of AberdeenThis five-foot slab is carved with a number of enigmatic symbols including crescents and discs, but archaeologists have yet to decipher their meaning.

Archaeologists were searching for ground anomalies that could be evidence of an ancient settlement on a farmer’s field near Forfar, Scotland when they happened upon a rare slab they never expected to find. There, lying face up just below the dirt, was a fifth-century slab engraved by the Pictish people who ruled much of present-day Scotland in the late Roman and medieval eras.

Because the Picts left behind no written records, slabs like these are virtually the only window we have into this enigmatic civilization.

Learn the full story behind this astonishing discovery here.

This ‘Perfectly Preserved’ 1,700-Year-Old Roman Shipwreck Has Been Discovered In Spain

Ses Fontanelles

Arqueomallornauta-Consell de Mallorca, Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad de Cádiz, Universitat de les Illes Balears The shipwreck was buried below the sand until 2019, which prevented damage by sealing it off from the elements for hundreds of years.

The weather was stormy as Roman merchants departed Cartagena, Spain, and set sail for the Italian peninsula some 1,700 years ago. Carrying hundreds of amphorae full of wine, olives, oil, and fermented fish sauce, the ship now known as Ses Fontanelles capsized and sank. It was never seen again — until now.

The Ses Fontanelles wreck emerged off the Mallorca coast in summer 2019 after a storm shifted the sand around it. Found 6.5 feet below sea level and 164 feet from one of the area’s most popular beaches, the ship had remained remarkably hidden all along. Most stunning of all, a naturally-formed sand layer had prevented oxygen from destroying it.

Dig deeper in this report.

The Descendants Of An Enslaved Man Named West Ford Say They Have Proof That George Washington Was His Father

West Ford

Wikimedia CommonsWest Ford at Mount Vernon in his later years.

George Washington is often referred to as the “Father of His Country.” But did the famously childless president also father an illegitimate son with an enslaved woman? An investigation by The New Yorker has recently revived an old claim that Washington had a son named West Ford.

West Ford’s descendants claim that he was born around 1784 or 1785 to an enslaved woman named Venus, who worked on the plantation of George Washington’s brother and sister-in-law, Augustine and Hannah.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.