General Science

General medieval sciences, including astronomy, alchemy, metrology, geology, natural philosophy, and similar studies.

Rocket cats?

Proof that gun powder technology captured the imagination of 16th century military minds can be found in a manual written by artillery master Franz Helm of Cologne, Germany who proposed strapping rockets to the backs of cats in order to "set fire to a castle or city which you can't get at otherwise." (photos)

Earthquake may explain Shroud of Turin mystery

An article by Alberto Carpinteri and a group of researchers in Springer's journal Meccanica suggests that an earthquake might explain the mystery of the famous Shroud of Turin, whose cloth has been carbon dated to the 13th century.

Technology uncovers medieval defences and settlements in Poland

New studies using LiDAR (aerial laser scanning), electrofusion and magnetic prospection, soil analysis and other technologies have revealed new perspectives on six medieval sites in Poland: Chełm, Rękoraj, Rozprza, Stare Skoszewy, Szydłów and Żarnowo.

Abu Raihan al-Biruni and the discovery of America

In a feature article for History Today, S. Frederick Starr of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, looks at the claimants to the discovery of the New World, including Abu Raihan al-Biruni, an Islamic scholar from Central Asia, who "may have discovered the New World centuries before Columbus – without leaving his study."

Archaeological forensics not like CSI

The public has learned to expect DNA testing to answer all archaeological questions, but this is not always the case according to Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer for LiveScience. One good example is the mummified head, long believed to be that of King Henry IV of France, the investigation of which has led experts on a merry chase.

DNA study proves French relics not royal

Three years ago, French scientists identified a mummified head as that of the beloved French king, Henri IV, but now new DNA research proves that the relic did not belong to a royal. Henri IV ruled from 1589 to 1610.

Mathematics used to measure sociability of the Vikings

Pádraig Mac Carron and Ralph Kenna from Coventry University's Applied Mathematics Research Centre recently published an article in the European Physical Journal on the social relationships of Vikings, showing them to have more complex social networks than previously believed.

3D laser mapping may help preserve Leaning Tower of Pisa

The campanile of the cathedral of the city of Pisa, Italy has been leaning since its construction in the 12th century. Now, a new handheld 3D mapping system developed by CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, may "preserve" the Leaning Tower in bits if the ultimate catastrophe happens. (photos, video)

13th century volcano changed climate

Medieval texts record an abrupt cooling in the weather in the middle of the 13th century, including a terrible summer in 1258. Now a group of scientists believe they have found the source of the cooling: the eruption of the Samalas Volcano on Lombok Island, Indonesia.

Tudor tombs re-created by historians and scientists

Archival experts are teaming up with scientists to re-create two Tudor monuments using a combination of cutting-edge technology and document research. The two tombs, both victims of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, are those of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, illegimate son of Henry VIII. (photo)

Technology traces Roman beads to Egypt

A team of scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany has analyzed glass beads found in former Rhaetian settlements in Bavaria, and concluded that the beads, dating from the 1st through 4th centuries, must have originated "somewhere near a soda lake like those in Wadi El Natrun in Egypt." (photo)

Mona Lisa quest sparks controversy

Everyone knows the face of the Mona Lisa, but Silvano Vinceti hopes that he can show the world her actual face by identifying her remains removed from the Sant'Orsola convent in Florence. The task is expected to be accomplished by matching DNA from eight skeletons removed from the convent with that of remains taken from the lady's family tomb.

Technology of Cheapside Hoard amazes modern researchers

Researchers from Birmingham City University have used modern technology to re-examine the Cheapside Hoard - "the world's largest collection of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewellery discovered in a London cellar in 1912" -- and were "stunned at the advanced technologies" used to craft the items.

Bid made to analyze bones of Alfred the Great

In 2010, the Hyde900 community group was set up to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the founding of Hyde Abbey, the presumed burial place of King Alfred the Great. Now the organization has appled to have the remains of the King analyzed in order to prove their legitimacy.

Galileo ice debate continues

Why does ice float on water? This was the subject of debate between Galileo and his arch-enemy Lodovico delle Colombe during the summer of 1611, which brought into focus some of the odd properties of water.

Modelling Mary

The team who created the 3D face of Richard III, have now been comissioned to produce a virtual face of Mary, Queen of Scots as she would have looked in her 20s. The image is part of the new exhibition at the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh. (photo)

What we can learn from Timbuktu

In the Middle Ages, Africa was a leader in the scientific research and knowledge. Now Umar Benna of the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Dammam, in Al-Khoba, Saudi Arabia believes that the lessons of Timbuktu's gradual development approach can teach modern Africa, as well as the western world, how to deal with globalism.

Leonardo at the Smithsonian

Visitors to Washington D.C. this fall may want to explore a Smithsonian exhibition Codex on the Flight of Birds, which examines Leonardo da Vinci's studies and sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight. The exhibit will be at the National Air and Space Museum until October 22, 2013. (video)

Viking voyages to southern Newfoundland proved

"Provocative" new evidence shows that Vikings may have sailed south from their settlement in northern Newfoundland to Notre Dame Bay, where they may have encountered native inhabitants of the island.

The "Brilliant Ages"

In a video on YouTube, Prager University discusses the "Dark Ages" and dispells some of the myths about the time. The video is presented by Providence College Professor of English, Anthony Esolen.

X-ray technology can read the unreadable

Researchers have long been distressed by the illegibility of fragile ancient parchments, but new techniques developed by scientists at Cardiff University may help read the unreadable.

Climate change threatens Jamestown

Venice may not be the only historic city threatened by rising ocean waters caused by climate change. Jamestown, the first successful English colony in America, may soon be under water. Christopher Joyce of  NPR's All Things Considered has the audio story. (photos)

Monks chronicled 1200 years of volcanic activity

A new report, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, finds that 1200 years of volcanic activity was chronicled in the texts of irish monks. The report was the work of an international team led by Dr Francis Ludlow from Harvard University.

Our great big European family

Great Britain and continental Europe are just one, big family - at least genetically - according to a new study by Graham Coop, a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis in PLoS Biology.

Viking "compass" may have calculated latitude

In a new study in the Proceedings of The Royal Society A, researcher Balázs Bernáth and his team propose that Viking-era sun compasses, whose "lines don't quite match scientists' interpretations," may have had another purpose: calculating latitude. (photo, diagram)

Middle schoolers learn at New Jersey Ren Fair

It was a day of fun and learning at Readington Middle School, along with the Holland Brook School, in Readington Township, New Jersey when Readington held its annual Renaissance Fair. Renée Kiriluk-Hill of the Hunterdon Democrat has the story.

Scientific Instrument Day at Pennsic's Artisans' Row

Master Richard Wymarc reports that On Monday July 29, 2013, Pennsic University's Artisan's Row will feature a Scientific Instrument Day.

Scholars at conference debate cannibalism

Scholars love to debate unusual topics, a fact proven by a recent interdisciplinary cannibal conference held at the Manchester Museum in April, 2013. The museum is connected to the University of Manchester, while the conference is sponsored by Hic Dragones, a creative writing and literature organization based in Manchester.

Mathematics solves mystery of Viking craftsmanship

Historians and craftsmen have long pondered the absolute regularity of Viking jewelry made from twisted rods of gold and silver, but a new theory by Kasper Olsen and Jakob Bohr at the Technical University of Denmark may have solved the puzzle: mathematics.

Kent church: "Reputed to be the tomb of Richard Plantagenet"

A derelict church in Eastwell, Kent, England, may hold the final resting place of Richard Plantagenet, illegitimate son of King Richard III. A grave in St Mary's churchyard is marked with the inscription: "Reputed to be the tomb of Richard Plantagenet". Now scientists want to know the truth.