A Secret World War II Bunker Was Just Discovered in Scotland

A digital model of the World War II bunker found in Scotland.
A digital model of the World War II bunker found in Scotland.
© FLS by AOC Archaeology 2019

Forty years ago, Kit Rodger and his friends discovered a small underground bunker while traipsing around Scotland’s Craigielands Forest. Apart from featuring in their boyhood adventures, the mysterious bunker remained unknown and was gradually obscured by undergrowth.

A few months ago, Rodger, now a survey technician for Forest and Land Scotland (FLS), returned to the area to check for any heritage sites or environmental attributes that would interfere with an upcoming tree-felling operation. Without an official record of the bunker, Rodger and his colleague, Kenny Bogle, scoured the forest floor for any signs of it.

“With only vague memories of more than 40 years ago, Kenny and I searched through head-high bracken until we stumbled on a shallow trench which led to the bunker door,” Rodger said in an FLS blog post. “Only a small opening remained, but we could just make out the blast wall in the darkness beyond.”

world war ii bunker in scotland
An image of the bunker beneath the forest floor.
© FLS by AOC Archaeology, 2019

After an investigation, the FLS determined the bunker was built during World War II to house an Auxiliary Unit, a British citizen militia tasked with sabotaging an invasion if the enemies made it past the first line of defense, the Home Guard. These highly clandestine units, sometimes called “Churchill’s secret army” or “scallywags,” comprised men with a wealth of knowledge about the land—like gamekeepers, foresters, and poachers. Because they were the last resort, they were expected to fight to the death.

And, because Auxiliary Units operated with utmost secrecy, many of their bunkers have never been found. This particular one is about 10 feet by 23 feet and was constructed from riveted, corrugated iron sheets over a cement floor. FLS archaeologist Matt Ritchie said in a press release that records indicate the bunker was used by about seven men who were armed with revolvers, submachine guns, a sniper’s rifle, and explosives. The only surviving evidence of the unit’s life underground is some broken wood, which might be the remains of bunk beds. As BBC News reports, the bunker likely also contained a table and a cooking stove.

sketch of auxiliary unit in world war ii bunker
A sketch depicting what bunker life for the Auxiliary Unit might've looked like.
© FLS by Alan Braby, 2020

Though we know the bunker is somewhere near Moffat, a town in Scotland’s Dumfries and Galloway council area, the FLS is keeping its exact location under wraps to protect it from a potential influx of visitors.

[h/t BBC News]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer


If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Explore Two of Pompeii’s Excavated Homes in This Virtual Tour

A photo of the Pompeii ruins from November 2019.
A photo of the Pompeii ruins from November 2019.
Ivan Romano/Getty Images

It’s been nearly 2000 years since the eruption of Mount Vesuvius decimated Pompeii in 79 C.E., and archaeologists are still uncovering secrets about life in the ancient Roman city. As Smithsonian reports, they’ve recently excavated two homes in Regio V, a 54-acre area just north of the Pompeii Archaeological Park—and you can see the findings for yourself in a virtual tour published by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.

The 7.5-minute video comprises drone footage of the houses and surrounding ruins, along with commentary by park director Massimo Osanna that explains what exactly you’re looking at and what types of people once lived there. Osanna’s commentary is in Italian, but you can read the English translation here.

The homes, both modest private residences that probably housed middle-class families, border the Vicolo dei Balconi, or “Alley of the Balconies.” The first is fittingly named “House With the Garden” because excavators discovered that one of its larger rooms was, in fact, a garden. Excavators pinpointed the outlines of flowerbeds and even made casts of plant roots, which paleobotanists will use to try to identify what grew there. In addition to the garden and vibrant paintings that feature classic ancient deities like Venus, Adonis, and Hercules, “House With the Garden” also preserved the remains of its occupants: 11 victims, mostly women and children, who likely took shelter within the home while the men searched for a means of escape.

Across the street is “House of Orion,” named for two mosaics that depict the story of Orion, a huntsman in Greek mythology whom the gods transformed into the constellation that bears his name today.

“The owner of the house must have been greatly attracted to this myth, considering it features in two different rooms in which two different scenes of the myth are depicted,” Osanna says. “It is a small house which has proved to be an extraordinary treasure chest of art."

To see what Pompeian houses would’ve looked like before Mount Vesuvius had its fiery fit, check out this 3D reconstruction.

[h/t Smithsonian]