bucket history

Giants Causeway- Ireland

formed by volcanic activity over 50 million years ago, the Giants Causeway is Irelands first World Heritage Site. In Irish folklore, epic hero Finn McCool was said to have built the causeway in order to challenge a neighbouring giant.

Viking Gold Bucket Pendant, 9th-11th Century AD

Pendants in the form of miniature buckets have been found in a number of pagan Anglo-Saxon and Viking contexts and are generally made of bronze or iron, with gold examples being rare; three gold examples were found with the hoard from Hoen, Norway. Bronze bucket amulets have been found at Driffield in Yorkshire, and Vimose bog in Denmark, among other places.

In form these represent wooden buckets bound with bronze or iron bands which have been found in Anglo-Saxon and Viking graves and are believed to have held mead or ale and were used to replenish the cups from which warriors drank. As amulets they probably represent the ecstatic power of alcoholic drink and the role of women as the dispensers of these precious beverages.


Because some things are worth fighting for — The War of the Bucket

During the 11th and 12th centuries the Italian states and the German kingdoms were often at war due to a series of conflicts called the Investiture Controversy.  The Investiture Controversy was a politically motivated war fought over who would be the supreme power of Europe, the theocratic government of the Roman Catholic Church, or the secular government of the Holy Roman Empire. The Controversy officially came to an end in 1176 when the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa were defeated at the Battle of Legnano. 

While the Investiture Controversy ended in 1176, conflict over the issue still remained in Italy between the many kingdoms and city states, which were divided into two factions, the Ghibellines who supported the Holy Roman Emperor, and the Guelfs who supported the Pope. The town of Modena was an ardent Ghibelline city, while Bologna was a staunch Guelf city. Thus for many centuries the two cities were fierce rivals.

One night in 1325 a small group of Modenese commandos snuck into the city and stole the ceremonial civic bucket from the town well.  Before they left, they filled it with is much looted treasure as could fit.  Enraged by the theft of their sacred bucket, the Bolognese mustered an army of 30,000 men to crush Modena. The two armies met at the twon of Zappolino. The Modenese only had an army of 7,000, however the Bolognese were disorganized and poorly armed while the Modenese were well equipped, well trained, and disciplined.  As a result, the Battle of Zappolino lasted on 2 hours before the Modenese broke Bolognese ranks, killing 2,000 in the process.  The Modenese chased the defeated army all the way to Bologna itself, however they did not have the numbers to lay siege to the city.  Rather, they paraded around the city walls, displaying the captured bucket for all to see while shouting insults, wisecracks about Bolognese mothers, and made obscene gestures.  Today, the bucket is still in the possession of Modena. 

Brandenburg Gate - Berlin, Germany 

Built in the 18th century, this neo-classical monument marked the start of the road from Berline to Brandenburg an der Havel. The design was based off of the Propylaea, the gate way to the Acropolis in Athens. The monument is 26m high, and 65m wide. Reliefs and Sculptures on the gate depict the tales of Hercules. 

The gate has five passages between its doric columns. The central passage, which is the widest, was reserved for royals. The adjacent passages were used by aristocrats. Ordinary citizens were only allowed to use the outer two passages. 


Recently arrived back home from a trip to Europe that I had been planning for a year… One of the highlights was this visit to the top of Notre Dame (climbing nearly 400 stairs, a narrow old stone spiral worn by so many people passing thru)

For the longest time I have wanted to see these gargoyles in person…I’ve been enthralled by them since my first exposure as a young girl and now I’ve finally made their acquaintance. 

Everything was very  much caged in and netted to keep people from damaging the statues or themselves…  which if you’re afraid of heights is a nice comfort but the netting everywhere did make photos a challenge.  Still I managed to get a few shots to memorialize the day. Check one thing off of my bucket list.


Explore the Upper Missouri with #mypubliclandsroadtrip this weekend for solitude and stunning scenery!

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana spans 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River, the adjacent Breaks country, and portions of Arrow Creek, Antelope Creek and the Judith Rivers. The monument includes six wilderness study areas, the Cow Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern, segments of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, the Fort Benton National Historic Landmark, a watchable wildlife area and the Missouri Breaks Back Country Byway. In 1976, Congress designated the Missouri River segment and corridor in this area a National Wild and Scenic River.

The area has remained largely unchanged in the nearly 200 years since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled through it on their epic journey. Within the monument, you can float the river, fish, hike, hunt, drive for pleasure – or simply find a little solitude and enjoy a sense of exploration in this beautiful natural setting.

Photos by Alyse Backus and Bob Wick, BLM

The signs as ‘The History Boys’ quotes

Aries: “History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.”

Taurus: “History is just one fucking thing after another.”

Gemini: “Durham was very good for history. It’s where I had my first pizza. Other things too, of course, but it’s the pizza that stands out.”

Cancer: “Can you, for a moment, imagine how depressing it is to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude?”

Leo: “The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met.”

Virgo: “A photograph on every mantelpiece. And all this mourning has veiled the truth. It’s not so much lest we forget, as lest we remember.”

Libra: “Clichés can be quite fun. That’s how they got to be clichés.”

Scorpio: “I’m not “happy” but I’m not unhappy about it.”

Sagittarius: “History nowadays is not a matter of conviction. It’s a performance. It’s entertainment. And if it isn’t, make it so.”

Capricorn: “All the effort went into getting there and then I had nothing left. I thought I’d got somewhere, then I found I had to go on.”

Aquarius: “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.”

Pisces: “It’s subjunctive history. You know, the subjunctive? The mood used when something may or may not have happened. When it is imagined.”


#TravelTuesday with Guest Photographer Bob Wick through Southeastern Utah’s Red-Rock Riches!

Moab, Utah is synonymous with slickrock canyons and public land adventure sports. One could fill a novel with nearby public land recreation opportunities within a stone’s through of town. But for this trip, we’ll use Moab as a jumping off point to head further south into more remote canyons and mesas of Southeast Utah. 

Between Moab and Montecello is the immense Canyon Rims Recreation Area. It offers top-of-the-world vistas of vast the labyrinth of Colorado River Canyons including several BLM wilderness study areas and the east side of Canyonlands National Park.  The BLM maintains two primitive campgrounds on the rim, which are open from May to October and can serve as a base for exploration – although the views from the campgrounds themselves are so spectacular that there is no need to go far for stunning photo opportunities. More adventurous explorers can search the canyon rims for that perfect photo angle in the ever-changing light on the multi-hued red rocks.

Next, continue south to Cedar Mesa to visit one of the most significant cultural history locales in North America. This area was occupied by Ancestral Puebloan Native Americans, often called the “Anasazi”, between 800 and 2,000 years ago. Remains from their civilization are located throughout the canyons that dissect the mesa, and it is very moving and humbling to stand among them. Cliff dwellings, graineries and other structures are extremely well preserved and perched under overhangs in the cliffs. Amazing pictographs and petroglyphs can also be found here.  All of the sites require moderate to arduous hikes into the canyons and even multi-day backpacks are popular in Grand Gulch.  Due to the significance and fragility of the sites, you must obtain a permit for use of the area and numbers are limited during peak seasons. Plan ahead and also stop by the Kane Gulch Visitor Center for the latest information. 

Driving further south along Cedar Mesa, Highway 261 eventually reaches a lip that seems like the end of the earth – the mesa drops 1100 feet straight down to the desert below with the buttes and spires of Monument Valley visible in the distance.  The curiously named “Moki Dugway”, a bit of a white-knuckle route carved into the escarpment, allows you to drive down the cliff face to the valley below. A short drive further takes you to the Valley of the Gods, a hidden gem with scenery similar to that of nearby Monument Valley. Valley of the God’s isolated buttes, towering pinnacles and tall cliffs offer endless photo angles.  A 17 mile drive circles the valley and more adventurous explorers can go into the Road Canyon Wilderness Study Area for backcountry hikes.

Photo Tips: Often the best and most unique photo angles in Utah’s canyon country and other western landscapes require traveling far off the pavement on remote back roads, then hiking away from your vehicle. I often use web-based aerial image programs (like Google Earth) to scout areas before trips for the best potential photo spots. Safety should always be front in these remote places.  Even renowned western author and explorer Edward Abbey spoke of some close calls in the desert in his book Desert Solitare.  I always tell someone where I am going with as many specifics as I can. Most importantly I tell them when I plan to be out and when I will contact them.  I always carry a GPS emergency locator unit, and I can use that to check in with family each night while on extended trips when I am out of cell range. I also carry enough clothing and water to be able to be on my own without help for several days. Finally, I mark my vehicle location with a GPS waypoint so that I can find it when I am hiking back in the dark after an evening photo shoot!

Check out our @esri Southeast Utah multimedia storymap for more stunning photos, videos, helpful links and maps of the area: mypubliclands.tumblr.com/traveltuesdaysoutheasternutah.

Can you, for a moment, imagine how depressing it is to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude? Why do you think there are no women historians on TV? I’ll tell you why; because history if not such a frolic for women as it is for men. Why should it be, they never get around the conference table? In 1919, for instance, they just arranged the flowers, then gracefully retired. History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind. With the bucket.
—  Mrs. Lintott; The History Boys

Nubian Pyramids - Meroe, Sudan 

Over 255 pyramids, used as tombs for Kings and Queens, were built in the Nile Valley, around the year 300BCE. The best preserved of these pyramids are located in the former Kingdom of Meroe. While taking influence from the Egyptian Pyramids north of the Kingdom, the pyramids found in Meroe differ by featuring a steeper incline, and a narrower base. 

Treasure hunting excavations were held here in the 1800′s, with jewels and antiques from the pyramids now on display in museums in Berlin and Munich.

Positano - Italy

This picturesque town on the Amalfi Coast in Italy is well known for its steeply stacked homes and buildings, leading down to the sea. The town boasts colourful, wisteria lined streetscapes and tourists love to eat pizza down on the beach. 

Great Wall of China - Jinshanling, China 

The section of the Great Wall at Jinshanling is 10.5km long, and features 5 passes, 67 towers and 3 beacon towers. Parts of the wall in Jinshanling have been restored to its original condition, while other parts have deteriorated to its natural state. 

This part of the great wall is great for hiking, and is less crowded than other sections. The walk from Jinshanling to nearby Simatai takes approximately 4 hours. There is a cable car which takes visitors up to the walls highest point.