Happy Birthday, Jane Goodall!

Jane Goodall smiles at the camera as she sits on the ground with a chimpanzee.

Happy Birthday, Jane Goodall!

Famed scientist Jane Goodall celebrated her 90th birthday in April.

Jane Goodall smiles at the camera as she sits on the ground with a chimpanzee.

Fernando Turmo/The Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall poses with a chimpanzee named Le Vieille.

Jane Goodall has spent her life connecting with and learning about the natural world. When Goodall turned 90, on April 3, 2024, she had a message of hope for our planet and all living things.

Goodall first became famous for her observations of chimpanzees in the wild. Beginning in 1960, Goodall saw chimpanzees using tools to get their food, lovingly holding their babies, and, at times, fighting each other. She concluded that these animals were far more intelligent and complicated than people had assumed. Since then, scientists have drawn similar conclusions about many other species. Over the years, Goodall began to focus on protecting animals and their habitats, or the places where they live.

Today, Goodall continues this work, along with the Jane Goodall Institute, which she founded in 1977. The institute helps not just animals but people as well. As Goodall says, “Everything’s connected.” People, animals, and the environment affect each other. They also need each other.

Jane Goodall speaks in front of a large audience.

Ramon Van Flyman—ANP/Alamy

Goodall travels around the world, speaking to the public about the need to protect our planet and all its living things.

Goodall used her 90th birthday as an opportunity to remind people about the importance of connecting with nature, especially as we work to slow climate change.

“I always encourage people to become involved in some project they care about, whatever it happens to be,” Goodall said in a video released by Rivian, a company that makes electric cars. “That begins to give you hope. Hope is about taking action to make the world a better place.”

NEWS EXTRA!

Puppy Party!

Jane Goodall is licked by a dog as she sits on a beach to pose for a photo along with many other people and their dogs.

© Greg Smith—The Leakey Foundation (https://leakeyfoundation.org/)

Dogs are Jane Goodall’s favorite animal. So organizers invited 90 dogs and their humans to Goodall’s 90th birthday party in Carmel, California!

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Did You Know?

Launched by Jane Goodall in 1991, the Roots & Shoots program gives kids around the world the opportunity to create and work on projects that help the environment in their local communities and beyond.

Children and teens watch as Jane Goodall digs a hole next to a tree sapling.

Chris Dickinson/The Jane Goodall Institute

Get to Know Chimpanzees!

A chimpanzee places a stick into a hole in a tree trunk.

© Mark Higgins/Dreamstime.com

Scientists all over the world continue to learn about chimpanzees. Here are some facts that may surprise you!

  • They’re our cousins. Along with another ape called the bonobo, the chimpanzee is the closest living relative of humans.
  • They’re pretty handy. Jane Goodall discovered that chimpanzees can use tools, as seen in the photo above. Since then, scientists have found that other animals, such as crows and octopuses, can also use tools.
  • They use medicine. Chimpanzees are among the species that have been seen using plants to heal their wounds. Scientists have also observed chimpanzees applying crushed insects to wounds on themselves and each other.
  • They don’t talk, but they communicate. Chimpanzees seem to have their own language. Scientists have recorded 400 different screams that could be similar to words that are deliberately put together in a certain order.

More About Jane

CSU Archives—Everett Collection/Alamy

Happy birthday, Jane Goodall! You can learn more about the life of this famous scientist at Britannica.

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Word of the Day

interdependent

Part of speech:

adjective

Definition:

: related in such a way that each needs or depends on the other : mutually dependent

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In Case You Missed It

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
April 18, 2024
Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland.
April 15, 2024
The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
April 10, 2024
At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.
April 8, 2024

Generous Kid Sets a World Record

A 10-year-old child poses while holding a certificate from Guinness World Records.

Generous Kid Sets a World Record

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
A 10-year-old child poses while holding a certificate from Guinness World Records.
Guinness World Records
Jace Weber proudly holds the certificate showing that he set a world record.

A 10-year-old from Canada just earned a world record for collecting the most aluminum can tabs for recycling in one year. Jace Weber of Ontario said record setting wasn’t his goal. He just wanted to raise money for charity.

Jace got the idea to start collecting tabs after watching a YouTube video about a man who had done this. Jace learned that the March of Dimes, an organization that helps newborn babies and their mothers as well as people with disabilities, has a can tab program. Metal tabs from cans of soda and other drinks can be recycled for money, which the March of Dimes will gratefully accept as a donation. Jace began putting away used can tabs from around his home.

Pretty soon, others heard about Jace’s collection and began giving their can tabs to him.

“There were always tabs sitting at our doorstep,” Jace’s dad, Curtis, told CTV News. “Every day when we’d come home, there would be more.” 

A child poses with 25 tall containers of can tabs.
Guinness World Records
Jace Weber poses with his impressive collection of aluminum can tabs.

In August 2023, after collecting tabs for one year, Jace and his parents took them to a recycling facility. A representative from the March of Dimes met them there, and everyone watched as the tabs were weighed. The total weight was 3,648 pounds (1,655 kilograms), about as much as a car! Jace received $2,553 in Canadian dollars ($1,891 in U.S. dollars), which he then gave to the March of Dimes. It was the largest donation the can tab program has ever received.

A child gives two thumbs up on the back of a truck with a barrel of can tabs, his parents, and four other adults.
Guinness World Records
Jace poses with his parents (left) and volunteers from the March of Dimes.

Jace had collected so many tabs that his parents thought he might have set a world record. They contacted Guinness World Records, which made Jace’s record official in March 2024. 

“When I first saw the Guinness World Records symbol, I thought it was just a dream,” Jace told WAFB News. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. To this day, I still can’t believe it.” 

Jace is collecting more can tabs, though he’s not really focused on setting another record. He’ll donate the money to help pay for a new school playground.

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Did You Know?

You can recycle plastic only two or three times. You can recycle glass and aluminum again and again.

A man plays tennis as his sneaker says it has been a water bottle and yoga mat and is now a sneaker.
© Suprijono Suharjoto/Dreamstime.com; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Doing Your Part for the Planet

Each April, we celebrate Earth Day. It’s a good reminder to appreciate and take care of our planet. Here are a few ways you can help.

A woman rides a bike with a recycled bag on her shoulder and groceries in the basket.
© Virinaflora/Dreamstime.com, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Reduce

Look for ways to reduce waste. For example, if you take your lunch to school, use a reusable lunch box instead of a plastic or paper bag. Bring reusable bags when you go grocery shopping.

A man hands a box of toys to a woman.
© Virinaflora/Dreamstime.com, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Reuse

Instead of throwing out old toys, see if you can donate them so another kid can enjoy them. Clothes can also be passed down from one kid to another.
A man puts a bag of recyclable items into a bin.
© Virinaflora/Dreamstime.com, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Recycle

You can recycle glass, plastic, paper, aluminum, and even some batteries, electronics, and more. Check your town or city website to find out what can be recycled where you live.
A woman sits cross legged and holds a lightbulb on one palm and drops of water on the other.
© Virinaflora/Dreamstime.com, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Don't Waste

Make sure you turn off lights and faucets when you’re not using them.
Three people hold bags with illustrations of different items that are disposed of in different ways.
© Virinaflora/Dreamstime.com, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Clean Up

You and your friends can clean up a local park or even your school yard. You can talk to an adult about helping you organize something like this.

Earth Day Is Coming

Young children in a wooded area put litter into plastic bags.
© Westend61/Getty Images

Did you know that Earth Day is on April 22? Many people spend Earth Day cleaning up litter or planting trees.You can read about why Earth Day is important at Britannica.

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Word of the Day

ecology

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:

: a science that deals with the relationships between groups of living things and their environments

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In Case You Missed It

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
April 18, 2024
Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland.
April 15, 2024
The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
April 10, 2024
At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.
April 8, 2024

Welcome to Morgan’s Wonderland

A large atrium leading to a building entrance with a sign reading Morgan’s Wonderland

Welcome to Morgan’s Wonderland

Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland. 

A large atrium leading to a building entrance with a sign reading Morgan’s Wonderland

© Universal Images Group—Getty Images

Gordon Hartman’s daughter, Morgan, has a disease that makes it difficult for her to speak. When Hartman noticed that this made it hard for Morgan to play with other kids, he decided to build a theme park where all kids would feel included. He called it Morgan’s Wonderland, in honor of his daughter. Today, Morgan is all grown up, and millions of kids enjoy the accessible theme park that she inspired.

Located in San Antonio, Texas, Morgan’s Wonderland has rides, playgrounds, a make-believe village, and more. Each attraction is designed to be used by children with disabilities (though every kid is welcome). For example, all the rides are built so kids who use wheelchairs can enjoy them. And because many kids with autism are sensitive to loud sounds, nothing in the park is noisy. 

“It’s the small things that make the big difference: Having fun,” Hartman told CBS News. “And for too long, I think, individuals had to watch and say, ‘I wish I could.’ Here at Morgan’s Wonderland…you don’t watch. You participate.”

Recently, Morgan’s Wonderland added even more fun features. There’s a new movie theater that gives kids the feeling of riding a roller coaster. There’s a zip line that lets riders soar over the park’s lake. Another new ride is a cross between bike-riding and hang-gliding. 

“It’s just simply mind-blowing to know that there’s a place like this where we can enjoy the things that most people—typical people—[get a chance to do] across the world and around the country,” Victoria Garcia-Ammann told Texas Public Radio. Garcia-Ammann’s daughter, Emily, has a disability.

Hartman is now building an accessible hotel. He’s also planning to teach other business owners how to make stores, hotels, and restaurants more accessible to everyone.

Check out the slideshow for more photos of Morgan’s Wonderland.

© Universal Images Group—Getty Images; Nan Palmero (CC BY 2.0)

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Did You Know?

Morgan’s Wonderland has welcomed visitors from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries!

A world map indicates San Antonio, Texas, with a star and a photo of a water tower that says Wonderland Parks.

© Pytyczech/Dreamstime.com, Nan Palmero (CC BY 2.0); Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

A Playground for All

In 1984, New York City opened the Playground for All Children, the first playground ever designed for children either with or without disabilities. The playground includes a suspension bridge, slides, swings, a water wheel, and sports fields. Each feature is built so that children who use wheelchairs, crutches, canes, or walkers can enjoy it. 

Today, there are six Playgrounds for All Children in New York City. There are also many other accessible playgrounds around the world.

All images – Tdorante10 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Loop the Loop!

© Sihasakprachum/Dreamstime.com

A roller coaster is a thrilling ride! Did you know that people have been braving roller coasters for hundreds of years? 

You can learn more about roller coasters at Britannica.

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Word of the Day

accessible

Part of speech:

adjective

Definition:

easily used or accessed by people with disabilities adapted for use by people with disabilities

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In Case You Missed It

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
April 18, 2024
Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland.
April 15, 2024
The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
April 10, 2024
At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.
April 8, 2024

Tray Chic!

A group of servers in white shirts carry trays with croissants, water, and coffee as spectators watch from the sidelines.

Tray Chic!

The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
A group of servers in white shirts carry trays with croissants, water, and coffee as spectators watch from the sidelines.
© Dimitar Dilkoff—AFP/Getty Images
Servers begin the Course des Cafés race in Paris, France.

It’s one thing to participate in a race to see who’s fastest. It’s another to do so while balancing a tray of food and drink. That’s what 200 of the best restaurant servers in Paris, France, did on March 24. Called the Course des Cafés, the race required speed and skill.

The Course des Cafés required participants to walk 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) through the streets of Paris while carrying a tray with a croissant, a glass of water, and an empty coffee cup. The rules were simple. Don’t run, don’t spill, and don’t carry the tray in both hands at once.

Judges examined each participant’s tray at the finish line. They took off points for broken dishes, spilled water, and empty glasses. The men’s winner, Samy Lamrou, finished in 13 minutes, 30 seconds. The women’s winner, Pauline Van Wymeersch, reached the finish line in 14 minutes, 12 seconds. Van Wymeersch said being a server is very hard work, but she can’t imagine having any other job.

Paris is famous for its restaurants and cafés, and its servers are well trained. They are known for being able to remember complicated food orders—and for balancing trays full of food. The Course des Cafés first took place in 1914 to honor these skills.

This year’s race celebrates Paris as the host of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, which will open on July 26. Experts thought a food race would be an ideal way to promote both the world’s biggest sporting event and the host city’s famous tradition of restaurants.

The winners of the Course des Cafés will have the opportunity to go to the Olympics. They each won tickets to the opening ceremony that starts the big event!

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Fun Fact

A restaurant in Mexico holds the record for the world’s fastest service, at just over 13 seconds. On a daily basis, its servers bring customers their food in 1 minute or less!
© Alexey Yaremenko, Kostyantine Pankin, Seamartini/Dreamstime.com; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Robot Restaurant

People sit at two restaurant tables as robot servers malfunction and drop food around them.
© Mast3r, Topgeek, Evgenii Naumov/Dreamstime.com; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Imagine you own a restaurant. How can you make your business different from the rest in a way that keeps people coming back? You can make the best food in town. Or you can have robots serve the food!

When Two Panda Deli opened in 1983, it quickly became famous for the two robots that brought people their orders. Robots were not a common sight back then, and these robots were special. They didn’t just carry food to the tables. They also played music and told jokes. People liked the food, but often they returned to the restaurant to see the robots.

Unfortunately, the robots weren’t very good at their jobs. They would sometimes drop food on the floor or spin in circles, according to Shayne Hayashi, who owned Two Panda Deli.

“When someone crosses in front of [a robot], it stops. Some people move a chair or something or move the table, and we’re in trouble,” Guinness World Records quoted Hayashi as saying.

The Eiffel Tower

© Adrián Sánchez Berger 740636/51A VidCR—DigitalVision/Getty Images

Paris, the capital of France, is home to a famous landmark called the Eiffel Tower. People can take an elevator to a platform near the top of the tower, about 900 feet (275 meters) off the ground!

Read more about the Eiffel Tower at Britannica.

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aplomb

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:
: confidence and skill shown especially in a difficult situation
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In Case You Missed It

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
April 18, 2024
Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland.
April 15, 2024
The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
April 10, 2024
At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.
April 8, 2024

What Dogs Can Teach Us

A woman kneels down with her arms around a brindle greyhound that is looking back at her.

What Dogs Can Teach Us

At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.

A woman kneels down with her arms around a brindle greyhound that is looking back at her.

© Jorge Guerrero—AFP/Getty Images

An adult volunteer plays with a greyhound at an animal shelter in Spain.

At an animal shelter in Spain, kids are learning lessons in kindness by spending time with gentle greyhounds.

The shelter, called SOS Galgos, is devoted mostly to one breed of dog. Greyhounds are known as racing dogs in some parts of the world. In Spain, where they’re called galgos, they are often used as hunting dogs. Sadly, they are sometimes abandoned after they reach a certain age. SOS Galgos takes in and finds new homes for these greyhounds.

The shelter also works with schools, inviting students to visit and spend time with the dogs. The cost is six euros (about $6.50) per child, and all the money is used to support the shelter’s work.

During a two-hour session, kids learn how the dogs are cared for in the shelter and how SOS Galgos finds new homes for them. Greyhounds are known for their quiet and gentle personalities. Many greyhounds dislike loud noises and rough play, so it’s important to be calm around them. Spending time with animals that depend on humans is a great way to learn about kindness and sympathy.

“Children who have not had any contact with the animal world…leave here excited and happy that they have touched a dog,” Sara Cadenas, who is in charge of the school program, told Reuters.

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Did You Know?

The greyhound is one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back thousands of years to ancient Egypt!

© G. Dagli Orti—De Agostini Editorial/Getty Images

Dog or Wolf?

Dogs and wolves are very similar, and for good reason. Dogs came into being about 40,000 years ago, when humans domesticated, or tamed, wolves. Since then, humans have developed different dog breeds. Unlike wolves, dogs are great pals for humans. 

Here are some more key differences between dogs and gray wolves.

A table compares and contrasts different qualities of wolves and dogs.

 © Anagram1, Volodymyr Melnyk/Dreamstime.com; Infographic Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Hey, Youuuuuuu!

© Film Studio Aves—Creatas Video/Getty Images

Wolves communicate with one another by howling. A wolf can hear other wolves howling from miles away! 

You can learn much more about wolves at Britannica.

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Word of the Day

domesticate

Part of speech:

verb

Definition:

: to breed or train (an animal) to need and accept the care of human beings : to tame (an animal)

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In Case You Missed It

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
April 18, 2024
Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland.
April 15, 2024
The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
April 10, 2024
At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.
April 8, 2024

Solar Eclipse!

A total solar eclipse is shown at totality.

Solar Eclipse!

On April 8, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. How should you prepare?
A total solar eclipse is shown at totality.
© teekid—E+/Getty Images

On April 8, a total solar eclipse will darken the daytime sky over part of North America. Areas of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada will be affected. 

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, blocking the Sun completely. Along a narrow band on the surface of Earth, the sky goes dark for a short time. This band is called the path of totality. There, only the outer edge of the Sun (called the corona) can be seen.

On April 8, totality, or complete darkness, will begin over the Pacific Ocean. Over time, the Moon’s shadow will move over Mexico and into the U.S. and then Canada. Totality in the United States begins in Texas just before 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. It ends in Maine at just after 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Each location in the path of totality will be completely dark for only a few minutes or even seconds. But things won’t go back to normal right away. Before and after totality, the Moon will partially block the Sun. This is called a partial eclipse.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
People who live in the path of totality will experience a total eclipse. In other areas, only a certain percentage of the Sun will be blocked from view.

North Americans who live outside the path of totality will experience only a partial eclipse. But even a partial eclipse is worth experiencing. After all, solar eclipses are rare. Most of the United States won’t experience another total solar eclipse until 2044. (Part of Alaska will experience a total eclipse in 2033.)

Experts say it’s important to experience the eclipse safely. It’s dangerous to look directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse. If you watch the eclipse on April 8, be sure to use paper eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. You can even make your own pinhole camera for safer viewing. The directions are farther down this page.

© LeoPatrizi—E+/Getty Images, Source: NASA
This table shows when totality, or total darkness, will begin and end in different U.S. towns and cities.
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Did You Know?

During solar eclipses, many animals act strange. Researchers have observed spiders taking their webs apart and bats (which are usually active at night) coming out of their roosts. It’s as if these animals think it’s nighttime.
A bat that is sleeping while hanging upside down on a branch opens its eyes when the Moon blocks the Sun.
© Dorozhkinak/Dreamstime.com, NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Make a Pinhole Camera!

Two hands hold a piece of paper with a rectangle of foil in the center over another piece of paper in sunlight.
NASA/JPL

Never look at the Sun without proper protection. You can use a pinhole camera to experience a partial or total solar eclipse without looking at the sky. Here’s how to make one.

What You’ll Need

  • Two pieces of white card stock or paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape
  • A pin, paper clip, or sharp pencil

Steps to Make the Camera

  1. Cut a 1 to 2-inch (2.5 to 5centimeter) square or rectangular hole in the middle of one of the pieces of card stock.
  2. From your aluminum foil, cut a rectangle that’s larger than the hole in the card stock.
  3. Tape the foil over the hole in the card stock.
  4. Use the pin, paper clip, or pencil to poke a small hole in the foil.
  5. Just before the eclipse, put the second piece of card stock on the ground as you stand with the Sun behind you.
  6. Hold the first piece of card stock (the one with the foil) over the second piece. You’ll see a circle of light on the second piece of card stock. The farther apart the two pieces of card stock are, the larger the circle will be.

As the Moon passes in front of the Sun, the Moon’s shadow will pass over the circle of light.

What Causes an Eclipse?

© Din Iulian Silviu—Creatas Video+/Getty Images Plus
The video shows a total solar eclipse. Did you know there’s more than one type of eclipse? You can learn more about eclipses at Britannica.
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Word of the Day

infrequent

Part of speech:
adjective
Definition:
: not happening often : not frequent
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In Case You Missed It

An effort to raise money for charity put Jace Weber’s name in the record books.
April 18, 2024
Children with disabilities can enjoy all the rides and attractions at Morgan’s Wonderland.
April 15, 2024
The Course des Cafés race tested restaurant servers’ speed and skill.
April 10, 2024
At an animal shelter in Spain, gentle dogs called greyhounds are teaching lessons in kindness.
April 8, 2024

An Incredible Look at the Past

Map of England showing the location of Must Farm with insets showing surrounding cities and the location within Europe.

An Incredible Look at the Past

Researchers are studying objects from an ancient village to find out how people lived thousands of years ago.
Map of England showing the location of Must Farm with insets showing surrounding cities and the location within Europe.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Researchers are studying what’s left of a village now known as Must Farm. This map shows its location in England.

Imagine going back in time to the year 850 BCE. Researchers can’t time travel, but they’re doing the next best thing by studying the remains of an ancient village in England that’s remarkably well preserved.

Archaeologists, scientists who study human history, say that the village was abandoned more than 2,800 years ago when a huge fire broke out. Residents quickly escaped, leaving all their belongings behind. The village, now known as Must Farm, wasn’t discovered until 1999. Although its contents are burned, they’re still in remarkably good condition. That’s because the village sits on wetlands, where the level of oxygen—which breaks down materials like wood and cloth—is low.

Researchers unearthed what is left of four roundhouses that had been built with wood, straw, earth, and clay. At one time there were probably twice that many houses, and all were surrounded by a 6.5-foot (2-meter) fence. Researchers also found ceramic pots, neatly sewn linen items (possibly clothing), tools, and wooden bowls and buckets. There were clues about the villagers’ daily habits, too.

“On the bottom of [one of those buckets] were loads and loads of cut marks, so we know that people living in that…kitchen…were just flipping that bucket upside down and using that as a chopping surface,” archaeologist Chris Wakefield told CNN.

Some of the items held clues about what the people ate. One bowl had the remains of a wheat porridge with animal fat. Others, which were studied in a lab, had traces of deer meat and honey.

Researchers say it’s rare to find an ancient site that’s so well preserved.

“In a typical…site, if you’ve got a house, you’ve probably got maybe a dozen post holes in the ground and they’re just dark shadows of where it once stood,” Wakefield said. “This was the complete opposite of that process. It was just incredible.”

Click through the slideshow, which features some of the items found at Must Farm.

Dr. Colleen Morgan (CC BY 2.0),  Cmglee (fish, shears, swords, pottery, boat) (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Did You Know?

In 1998, researchers in Miami, Florida, found a group of holes in the ground that formed a perfect circle. The holes contained ceramics and other objects. Tests showed that at least some materials from the area were up to 2,000 years old. Researchers think the “Miami Circle” may have been made by the Tequesta American Indians.
People stand around a circular indentation in the ground, and a photo of a circular monument with water, a boat, and buildings in the background.
© Eric Smith—Hulton Archives, Juan Castro Olivera—AFP/Getty Images; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
The image on the left shows what the Miami Circle looked like after researchers found it. The image on the right shows what it looks like now.

The Ruins of Pompeii

Combination of preserved ancient bread, ancient buildings in front of Mount Vesuvius, and a room decorated with frescoes.

Jamie Heath (CC BY-SA 2.0), © dbvirago/stock.adobe.com, © javarman/stock.adobe.com, © Atlantide Phototravel—Corbis Documentary/Getty Images; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Much of Pompeii is still standing. The photo on the top left shows a loaf of bread that was baked in the year 79 CE!

In the year 79 CE, people in the city of Pompeii (in what’s now Italy) were going about their day when a nearby volcano called Mount Vesuvius erupted. The eruption lasted for several days. Thousands of people died, and Pompeii and everything in it was buried in up to 23 feet (7 meters) of ash. The ash eventually hardened, preserving all of Pompeii in a sort of cast, protecting it from the weather and everything else that would have caused much of it to rot away.

The ruins of Pompeii were discovered in the 1500s, and archaeologists began digging out the city more than 100 years later. The ancient city’s buildings, including many homes, are still standing. They contain many items that the people left behind—just as they were in 79 CE. There’s jewelry, artwork, and even food, such as loaves of bread that had probably just come out of the oven!

Digging Up the Past

Five archaeologists wear yellow hard hats as they work among ancient ruins.
Adrian Pingstone

Do you like to solve mysteries by uncovering clues? Then you might be interested in archaeology, the study of human history. Archaeologists learn about people of the past by studying what they left behind. 

You can learn more about archaeology at Britannica!

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Word of the Day

deteriorate

Part of speech:
verb
Definition:

: to become worse as time passes

Definitions provided by
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Hello Out There!

A metal plate with a drawing of a bottle, a portrait of a man, and a poem etched on it and the reverse with sound waves etched on it.

Hello Out There!

In October 2024, NASA will send a message to a place in space where life might exist.
A metal plate with a drawing of a bottle, a portrait of a man, and a poem etched on it and the reverse with sound waves etched on it.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA will send this message into space aboard its Europa Clipper spacecraft, which will head to one of Jupiter’s moons.

Is Earth the only place where life exists, or are there living things in other parts of the universe? Scientists don’t know the answer yet. But in a few months, NASA will launch a message into space.

NASA is calling its project “Message in a Bottle” because it’s sort of like putting a written message into a bottle and throwing it into the ocean, hoping someone will find it. NASA’s message is engraved, or etched, onto a metal plate. The plate will be attached to NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft, which will be launched in October 2024. Clipper will travel 1.6 billion miles (2.6 billion kilometers) to Europa, which is one of Jupiter’s moons. The spacecraft will then take pictures and collect information about Europa. Scientists are interested in Europa because there’s an ocean under its surface. Liquid water is necessary to support life, so any time scientists find water beyond Earth, they study the possibility that life exists there.

If there is life on Europa, it won’t respond to NASA’s message. For one thing, it would be marine (sea) life, and it could be very tiny and not very complex. But if intelligent aliens ever do discover the metal plate, they’ll know that it was made by living beings. Maybe they’ll even figure out that it was made by living beings on Earth.

NASA’s message was inspired by Earth’s water and how it makes life possible here, just as water might make