General Science

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

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.

The case for the "blood eagle"

While the image of the Vikings has been rehabilitated in the past few years, showing them as peaceful farmers and artisans, some evidence of cruel and bloodthirsty behavior does exist. In Smithsonian's blog Past Imperfect, Mike Dash looks at the more brutal side of the Norsemen, and the fact of torture such as the "blood eagle."

Honoring Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was honored recently when Google recognized the 450th anniversary of the scientists's birth with a Google Doodle. The Christian Science Monitor followed with a article which looks at the career of the Polish astronomer.

Cyber-archaeology in Petra

In its March 2013 issue, Antiquity Magazine reports on a partnership of several universities and organizations to use the latest developments in computer science and engineering to analyze archaeological sites. In this instance, they focus on the UNESCO World Heritage, Petra Archaeological Park.

Did "Solarsteinn" lead Vikings west?

Experts have long speculated that a Norse Solarsteinn, or sunstone, was used to help Viking mariners find their way west through cloudy weather, and the discovery of such an artifact on a sunken, 16th century English warship may prove it.

No horns on their helmets

Everyone knows that the Vikings were dirty louts in helmets with horns -- at least that is what Danish Facebook readers thought in a recent survey by ScienceNordic’s Danish partner site, videnskab.dk. ScienceNordic debunks the myths about Viking appearance on a webpage entitled What Vikings really looked like.

Hadrian’s Wall trail faces erosion challenge

Hadrian's Wall faces a new challenge: waterlogged trails that are causing grass and soil erosion along the trail. Natural England has awarded the Hadrian’s Wall Trust UK£50,000 for drain repair, but visitors can also help.

The heart of a king

Forensic analysis of the heart of Richard I of England, the Lionheart, have revelaed traces mint, myrtle, and frankincense, indicating the heart was embalmed. The heart was probably wrapped in linen.

DNA study shows lasting Roman gift to Britain

Early in the 5th century, the Romans departed from Britain, leaving behind roads, artifacts, walls, and something else. A new DNA study shows that up to 4 million British men carry Italian genetics, and of that, one million probably originate with the Romans.

Ancient bones can reveal hair and eye color

Dr Wojciech Branicki, from the Institute of Forensic Research and Jagielonian University, Kraków and Prof Manfred Kayser, from the Erasmus University Rotterdam have spent the past few years developing a process to determine the hair and eye color of human remains up to 800 years old.

The face of Richard III

Now that Richard III has been offically identified, millions of readers are seeking to learn more about the English king. An extremely-detailed article on the Daily Mail website follows the saga of Richard from the discovery of his bones to the reveal of his appearance through facial reconstruction. (photos)

Cracking the myths of the Middle Ages

In an article on Cracked.com, Steve Kolenberg sets the world straight on 6 Ridiculous Myths About the Middle Ages Everyone Believes including the "Dark" Ages, everything was filthy, and knights were chivalrous.

Remains of King Richard III found

DNA analysis has confirned that the skeleton found buried underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England are those of King Richard III. The king, who died in 1485, was demonized in literature and in history as the man who killed two young princes in the Tower of London.

In search of rockets

While rockets are often thought of as the realm of modern scientists and the military, they have their roots in medieval China. This article traces their roots from a 12th century party trick to their evolution as the terror of Mongolian invaders.

Gypsies originated in NW India

A new genetic study published in Current Biology reveals that European Gypsies originated in northwest India and migrated to the Balkan area of Europe in the 6th century. The study was led by David Comas of Spain's Institute of Evolutionary Biology,

How the Teutonic Crusade changed Eastern Europe

"Within a few centuries, the Teutonic warriors led a major ecological and cultural transformation that swept the pagan Baltic tribes into the fold of European Christendom," according to a statement by Stanford University regarding an article by researcher Krish Seetah. The article was published in the November 30, 2012 issue of Science.

Inability to adapt not the cause of demise of the Vikings

One of the theories about the demise of Viking settlers on Greenland was that the Norse were unable to adapt to the island's harsh climate, but Danish and Canadian researchers believe that was not the cause.

6th century tsunami devasted Lake Geneva

New research shows that a killer tsunami devastated the shoreline of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in the 6th century, swamping villages around the lake. The disaster is believed to have been caused by falling rocks on the Rhone River side of the lake.

First Pennsic Cryptogram Solved

The first of  a set of cryptograms from Pennsic has been solved.  Sir Ephraim ben Shlomo (Middle) successfully deciphered one of the puzzles to reveal the text on the flyer of the original May Day Party.

11th century Tibetan statue carved from a meteorite

In a story fit for an Indiana Jones movie, a statue carved by the Bon people of Tibet in the 11th century and excavated by Nazis in the 1930s has been found to be carved from a meteorite that fell to earth between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

New study shows Scotland "one of the most diverse nations on earth"

Conventional wisdom states that most of the Scottish population stems from Scots, Celtic, Viking and Irish ancestry, but a new DNA study shows something quite interesting. Many Scots carry genetics originating in West African, Arabian, south-east Asian and Siberia.

Bones4Cultures to analyze Viking life, health and culture

Experts from Interreg-Project "Bones4Culture" plan to take samples from 1000 medieval skeletons gathered from the German-Danish border land to learn more about the population, life, health and culture of the people of the region.

Medieval Irish landscape shaped by tsunamis

In the latest edition of the Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, Alan E Hayden presented a theory that the islands off the coast of Kerry, Ireland were shaped by medieval earthquakes and tsunamis.