OLD BABYLON.—The French government ? has employed a party of gentlemen to ex-1 plore the site of ancient Babylon. From re-! ports received from them, it appears that I they have ascertained, beyond reasonable 1 doubt, that the ruins beneath the tumulus i called the Kasr, are those of the palace-cita-! del of Nubuchadnezzar. They are in such a ? state of confusion and decay, that it is impos- ? sible to form from them any idea of the ex-i tent or character of the edifice. They appear, o however, to extend beneath the bed of the ? Euphrates, a circumstance accounted for by ? the change in the course of that river. In i them have been found sarcophagi, of clumsy i execution and strange form, and so small that : the bodies of the dead must have been pack-! ed up in them, the chin touching the knees, o and the arms being pressed on the breast by the legs. These sarcophagi have every appearance of having been used for the lowest class of society ; but notwithstanding the place in which they were found, the discove- : rers are inclined to think that they are of ? Parthian, not Chaldean origin. There have ? also been found numerous fragments of enamelled bricks, containing portions of the figures of men and animals, together with cuniform inscriptions, the latter white in ' color on a blue ground. According to M. Fresnel, the chief of the expeditien, these bricks afford a strong proof that the ruins are those of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, inasmuch as the ornaments on them appear to be sporting subjects, such as are described by Ctesias and Diodorus. The foundations having been dug down to in certain parts, it has been ascertained that they are formed of bricks about a foot square united by strong cement, and that they are in blocks as if they had been snapped in all directions. In a tumulus called Amran,to the south of Kasr, interesting discoveries have also been made. They appear to be the ruins of the dependen-dencies of the palace situated on the left bank ot the Euphrates; and they contain numerous sarcophagi, in which were found skeletons clothed in a sort of armor, and wearing crowns of gold on their heads.— When touched, the skeletons, with the exception of some parts of the skulls, fell into dust; but the iron, though rusty, and the gold of the crowns are in a fair state of preservation. M. Fresnal thinks that the dead in the sarcophagi were some of the soldiers of Alexander or Seleucus. The crowns are simple bands, with three leaves, are very neatly executed. Beneath the bands are leaves of gold, which it is supposed covered the eyes. From the quantity of iron found in some of the cot-fins, it appears that the bodies are entirely enveloped in it ; and in one there is no iron but some ear-rings, a proof that it was occupied by a female. The sarcophagi are about two and three-quarter yards in length, by between half and three-quarters of a yard wide, and are entirely formed of bricks and united by mortar. In addition to all this, a tomb, containing statuettes in marble or alabaster, ot Juno, Venus, and of a reclining figure wearing a Phrygian cap, together with some rings and ear-rings, and other articles of jewelry, has been found, as have also numerous statu-! ettes, vases, phials, articles of pottery, black stones, &c, of Greek, Persian, or Chaldean workmanship. NATURAL GAS LIGHT.—While the excavations were going on recently, on Walnut Hills, near Cincinnati, 0., for a new railroad, and when the workmen were about 170 feet from the surface of the earth, the flame ? of a candle or of a burning match accidentally 1 came in contact with a liquid supposed to be ] . pure water that had gathered in a hole drill-s ed in the rock. Much to the surprise of all present, the apparent water instantly took t fire, not after the manner oi inflammable t gas—but sent up a strong, clear, and steady, s flame, as if it were composed of some kind of e oil. On applying fire to the liquid which - was in the other drill holes in the vicinity, it ? also burned in the same manner. Since that time lamps and candles have been entirely 1 dispensed with, in the subterranean apart-, ment, the substances continuing to burn 1 steadily, and emit an excellent light. AMERICAN SHIPS SUPERSEDING THE ENGLISH.—The " London Shipping Gazette " says : "We have before called attention to the cir-' cumstance of eight or nine American ships ' being chartered at New York to load deals ? and timber at Quebec and other ports of Bri-' tish North America, for ports in Great Bri-5 tain. In our shipping list to-day, under the s head of 'Boston,' it would be seen that several other American ships and one Prussian 1 ship have been chartered to load deals at St. ? John, Shediac, &c, for Liverpool, Bristol, and " the Clyde. ' In a short time we may expect ' to see the whole of our North American 3 trade in, the hands ofjoreigners.' "
This article was originally published with the title "Foreign Scientific Memoranda"