I'm a little ashamed to have never heard of the War Dog School of Instruction before, a unit created by the British in World War One to better train the large numbers of dogs involved in the conflict. (Although, in my defense, I'm not a dog person.) I discovered it in this Express article which summarizes information from family history website findmypast.co.uk, which in turn explained how 20,000 dogs, sourced as donations from family pets or shelters, performed tasks such as carrying aid and messages, or detecting an approaching enemy.
This CNN article is a nice introduction to Poland's UNESCO heritage sites, but the key part is the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It's like something out of a fantasy novel: 186 miles of tunnel, three thousand rooms of varying size, including a dedicated and beautiful chapel. It's somewhere I would love to visit, and sadly there's just one picture of the mines, but it is highly evocative. There's an official website.
Thanks to LiveScience I've learned about the Digital Hadrian's Villa Project, which took the ruins of one of Europe's great heritage sites and rebuilt it in computer software, allowing tours through the grandeur. If you're into the use of technology to convey heritage the whole article is worth a read as it explains the background, or you can follow the project website as they add the 3D content to already excellent content of the remains.
Cornelius Gurlitt was the man who inherited a house filled with $1 billion worth of looted Nazi art and lived alone with it in secret, before being discovered. Spiegel Online have an interview with him (in English), and to say it's fascinating is an understatement. If you have any interest in the unusual, or human nature, it's a must read.
The question of how to engage children in the history of World War One is about to become very important, given the anniversaries of the next few years. The British government is investing in showing children graveyards, but I thought the animal rescue charity Blue Cross had a good idea: use the fame of War Horse, and the charity's involvement in the care of horses during the Great War, as an entry point. The piece in saw in the Burton Mail introducing the initiative might have too much emphasis on teaching children modern day animal care for some, who'd prefer a bigger emphasis on history, but I thought it as likely to succeed as the graveyard trips.
This article from Stephen Chance and the Guardian is, ultimately and quite obviously, trying to sell you his novel, and there's plenty of shoe horning that in. But I thought his chat about the effects of the Alum industry on the north east and the industrial revolution was interesting, and if nothing else there's a wonderfully evocative artwork from 1843.
There are seventy two countries considered, by France, to be belligerent nations in World War One. The excellent news is that French President Hollande has invited representatives from every single one to join in a mass commemoration on Bastille Day in July 2014, while the President of Germany, Joachum Gauck, will take part in a ceremony with Hollande on August 3rd.
Archaeologists working in London on what will become a building site have found a stunning statue: made of Cotswold Limestone, it shows an eagle holding a serpent in its beak. The Telegraph has a perfect picture (and more detail), but the fine is so rare and intact that archaeologists at first thought it must be fake. However, they're convinced it's genuinely Romano-British, dates from the first or second century CE, and was created for a tomb.
The University of Nottingham has a large collection of Soviet posters dating from World War 2, and they've created an excellent website to display and inform about them. Go here, whether you want to learn about them and the war, or just want to appreciate the artistic style.
Genes Reunited is a genealogy website which I've used myself, and their research into life in World War One has flagged up the scare over 'hasty weddings'. The Telegraph have a nice article, but basically with all the chaos and danger of World War 1, single British women were encouraged to write to soldiers, even sort of adopting them, to provide emotional support while at the front. The problem - to some - was that these men and women could find themselves in a romance, even engaged without even meeting and married within hours of doing so. Typically, this had good and bad consequences which the society of the time railed against.