Mystery tunnel discovered at Lincoln Castle

Archaeologists excavating at Lincoln Castle in England have discovered a mysterious tunnel under the courtyard. The tunnel is linked to a circular structure of unknown use and delves into the ground. The archaeological team hasn’t finished its work or discovered where the tunnel leads.

Europe has many traditions of hidden tunnels connecting buildings or going to secret caves or hideouts.

The excavation is taking place in preparation for building an elevator to allow handicapped access to the walls. The archaeologists believe the structure and tunnel could date to the early 12th century. It’s the only medieval building to have been found inside the castle’s bailey.

Lincoln Castle is a well-preserved Norman castle built in 1068 on the foundations of an earlier Roman fort. William the Conqueror, after defeating the English king at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, built this castle to control the important town of Lincoln and its surrounding area. The structure has been added to over the years but remains an excellent example of Norman architecture.

[Photo courtesy user Rodhullandemu via Wikimedia Commons]


On the road with the Lincoln MKS

When Ford contacted us about taking Lincoln’s new MKS out for a test drive, I thought that they had the wrong website. Autoblog, our sister site, takes care of all things automotive, and they would certainly be better equipped to handle a test drive. And in addition to being an airplane person, well, I’m not a very good driver.

But they made a good point: everyone on Autoblog has seen the MKS a dozen times and travelers go on road trips too. The content is just as valid. Further, since I was driving across the state of Michigan several times for Easter weekend I had ample time to test the vehicle out. So I agreed to take a look. But I made no promises about editorial content.

For those (myself included) among us that are not in the vehicle testing circles, I first have to comment on the kick of getting a test vehicle delivered. A third party company in the greater Detroit area handles the entire transaction, calling you before delivery and dropping off the vehicle wherever you want. They came to my office one sunny morning with a Mercury chase car and a pleasant woman tossed me a set of keys, asked me to sign a form and disappeared within five minutes. I was left with a bright red MKS for the weekend to do with as I pleased. Road tripping across Michigan over several days seemed like a good opportunity to acquaint myself.


As luxury vehicles go, the MKS has all of the amenities that one comes to expect: a smooth, quiet ride, powerful V6 engine, heated and cooled comfortable, leather seats, wood trim, push-button starting and embedded navigation. Where I was surprised was in the features above and beyond.

Microsoft Sync is installed in the vehicle, and navigating though the touch screen AV system I was easily able to link up my iPhone via it’s Bluetooth link. Thus, for the duration of the trip when someone called the phone in my pocket the music automatically turned down and the call when through the speakers. Similarly, if I wanted to make a call I just pressed the talk button on the steering wheel and annunciated “DIAL” etc etc. Audio quality was decent, and I only lost one caller who happened to be inside of the noisy Detroit Metro Airport.

In fact, much of the interior control was handled from the steering wheel, including adjustment and selection of the MP3 audio system that I was constantly grazing about. It’s a nice feature that many manufacturers overlook.

Though hardly necessary, there is also a backup camera and very sensitive parking system that automatically beeps with increasing intensity as you approach a stationary object. This makes parallel parking a breeze, though it’s strange getting used to looking down instead of behind you when backing up.

Part of the MKS features I learned from the simple transition from my Audi TT – that is, the complete opposite in suspension and handling. Pulling onto I-94 on my maiden voyage to Buffalo Wild Wings, I got up to cruising speed and proceeded to start messing with the navigation. Only when my passenger pointed out that I was driving 95MPH did I realize that I was speeding – I had assumed my normal “comfort speed” as tuned to the TT on the expressway. That same vibration and feel was 20 MPH faster in the MKS.

Of the road trip? I enjoyed seamless navigation, an excellent ride and ultimate comfort as I drove from Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo to South Haven to Flint to Detroit in a head turning, modern car. My weekend couldn’t have been spent in a better piece of machinery. Oh and about the bad driver comment? I was lucky enough to get through the entire state without getting any speeding tickets or bumping into anything. My girlfriend? Not so lucky.

Get thee to the White House!

Planning a trip for Obama’s Inauguration? Expedia will help you.

Expedia has set up a whole host of tools to get you to D.C. and into a hotel, car, tours (don’t miss the FBI!), or whatever you need with as little hassle as possible.

The Expedia 56th Presidential Inauguration Site
features travel tips like which airports are nearby, what suburbs to stay in if the city’s booked, and all kinds of activities to try, including a list of great free activities like the Inaugural Parade!

It’s going to be a momentous occasion in Washington D.C. and all over the country. Don’t you want to tell your grandchildren you were there?

The best advice I can give you? Book now. Like, today. Everything’s gonna fill up fast.

Museum of Funeral Customs

If you’re looking for another great Halloween fun house, this isn’t it, but if you want to learn a few things about death and funerals, you’ll probably enjoy a visit to the Museum of Funeral Customs in Springfield, IL, conveniently located near the most popular tomb in America.

As one of few things every human experiences, death and grieving rituals have a wide, multicultural and ancient scope. Exhibits at the museum shed light on many different types of funeral rituals, and offer visitors a behind-the-scenes look into body preservation and presentation. You’ll see lots of different gadgets and tools used in the embalming process as well as a postmortem fashion display, showing popular funeral outfits for the deceased.

Of course, there’s a gift shop. The most popular souvenir, according to the director, are the locally-made chocolate coffins. When you open the lid, there’s a chocolate mummy inside. Now there’s something you can give out to trick-or-treaters!

After your visit to the museum, go less than a mile to Lincoln’s tomb, and while you’re there, be sure to visit the defiant tomb of Mr. Accordion, which is another fascinating and amusing story. Read about it here.

Happy President’s Day! Tour Abe Lincoln’s Home!

Located in Springfield, Illinois, the home of Abe Lincoln is now a National Historic Site. Free to visit, the modest log cabin home has been restored to its 1860 appearance, expressing Lincoln as a husband, father, and politician.

Generally-speaking, the two-story home — the first and last home the Lincolns ever owned — looks a lot like how you’d expect it to look, with those old-timey fancy carpets; ornate, floor-length draperies; and heavy, wooden furniture. Nevertheless, it’s still beautifully decorated, as you can see from the photos on Flickr (which are far superior to those on the NPS’ site).

After you tour his home, you can hit The Lincoln Museum. Don’t forget, though, that it’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

[Photo: bdinphoenix]