General Science

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

Hebrides Scots linked to Irish invaders

A new DNA study may prove a 10th century historical source which states that the western islands of Scotland were invaded by the Irish in the early 6th century. The new evidence shows "a significant Irish genetics component in Scots' ancestry." The study may also prove that the invasions occurred earlier than the 6th century.

Da Vinci to be subject of cultural theme park

Was Leonardo da Vinci, "poet, musician, philosopher, engineer, architect, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, inventor, architect and botanist," the true Renaissance man, or was he just a "frustrating dilettante?" Curators of the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, France, da Vinci's last home, are betting on the former and hope for the success of their "world's first "intellectual and cultural theme park."

Handwriting suggests Henry VIII "emotionally dependent on women"

A recent analysis of the handwriting of King Henry VIII shows that he was brought up in a household dominated by his mother and sister, and shows traits of being emotionally dependent on women.

Solving Charlemagne's brainteasers

Charlemagne liked a challenge, and he believed that the youth of his empire should be challenged as well. For that reason he commissioned an English scholar named Alcuin to compile Problems to Sharpen the Young, a collection of puzzles and brainteasers.

13th century midden yields shoe soles

A batch of leather shoe soles dating from the 13th to 18th centuries was found in 2005 in a hollow tree trunk in an ancient trash dump in Lyon, France. The soles are well-preserved.

Drought may have brought down Angkor Wat

Historians have long debated the cause of the collapse of the ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia. Now, through the study of tree rings, they believe that the city was brought low by a massive drought.

"Functionally invisible" medieval documents now cataloged

Thousands of medieval manuscripts have been digitized over the past few years, but according to researchers they are buried in hundreds of search engine hits on the Internet.

DNA study captures Viking "snapshot" of 1000 years ago

The results of the "largest study of ancient DNA from a single population ever undertaken" are in: Iceland was settled by men from Scandinavia and women from the coasts of Scotland and Ireland.

Bad eyesight may have affected Galileo's findings

A joint Italian and British project to test the DNA of the exhumed body of Renaissance scientist Galileo may lead to interesting findings, including the theory that vision problems affected the astronomer's work.

Experts theorize Tycho Brahe may have been murdered

For centuries experts believed that Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe died from a "twisted" bladder, but recent studies have shown a high concentration of mercury in the astronomer's hair, leading to the theory that Brahe was murdered. Now a "group of conservators, chemists and physicians" wants to open the grave and find out the truth: was Tycho Brahe murdered, and "who done it?"

Myth-busting the Middle Ages

Among its numerous topics of discussion, List Universe includes "Top 10 Myths About The Middle Ages," an illustrated, annotated selection of myths modern people often believe about the Middle Ages.

Chemical warfare in Roman times

It was a very bad day for 3rd century Roman soldiers who tried to defend a fortress by way of a cramped tunnel. Dead soldiers were doused with toxic substances and set on fire, causing the Romans to retreat.

Researchers use church records to reconstruct weather patterns

A team of Spanish researchers are using records of agricultural rites kept by the Cathedral of Toledo to reconstruct a pattern of droughts that plagued the country between 1506 and 1900.

Calculating Roman-style

Puzzled by Roman numerals? Always in a dither about how to write the latest SCA year? Maybe Scienceblog's Good Math, Bad Math website can help. The site explains the Roman numeral system and how to do calculations with them.

American reforestation may have led to "Little Ice Age"

A new study by Stanford University researchers suggests that the reforestation of areas in the Americas following the collapse of pre-Columbian population centers may have triggered the Little Ice Age which occurred from 1500 to 1750.

Ancient tsunamis devastated Asian coasts

The recent tsunamis that have caused such devastation in the Indian Ocean may not have been the first. According to a new study which sampled sediments in Thailand and Sumatra, the area may have been hit by a massive tsunami between 600 and 700 years ago.

Climate change may have affected Chinese dynasties

A new report by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Lanzhou University in China in the journal Science has linked climate change, especially lack of rainfall, to the rise and fall of dynasties in China.

Archimedes Palimpsest Project celebrates 10th anniversary

William Noel, Curator of Manuscripts for the Walters Art Museum, reports that the Archimedes Palimpsest Project has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. The project was established to rediscover lost passages from the 13th century Byzantine prayerbook containing at seven treatises by Archimedes.

Public may help look for tomb of Genghis Khan

800 years after his death, scientists at the University of California San Diego's Center for Interdisciplinary Science in Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) are using advanced visualization technologies to try to find the long-lost grave of the emperor Genghis Khan.

Looking for St. Edmunds

A high-tech survey is underway with hopes of learning more about Suffolk, England's ancient shrine to St. Edmund. The geophysical survey will look for traces of the "outline of vanished workshops, storerooms and refectories - the evidence of an extinct way of life" in the abbey ruins in Bury St Edmunds.

Mythbusters build a Hwacha

As part of its October 22, 2008 episode, the Mythbusters took on the challenge of proving the veracity of the medieval Korean hwacha, a weapon able to fire dozens of exploding arrows at a time. The results are chronicled on YouTube.

Da Vinci exhibit at The Tech

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA is hosting an exhibit celebrating "the remarkable achievements of fifteenth century artist-engineers - Filippo Brunelleschi, The Sienese Engineers, and Leonardo da Vinci" through January 4, 2009.

"Manuscript sleuths" try to crack secrets of ancient Jewish books

Detective work comes in all forms, including those willing to intensely study ancient Jewish manuscripts looking for clues to the past. This work is chronicled in the recent novel People of the Book.

Mouse migration - Viking style

An article in a Royal Society journal suggests that modern British mice may have "Viking" genetics - or at least may have traveled with the Scandinavian invaders on their journeys of conquest.

Incredible private library features historical objects

The technology magazine "Wired" takes a rare look at the private library of Jay Walker, an entrepreneur whose eclectic historical interests have led him to create a library devoted to things that have "changed the way people think." The stunningly designed room contains books and artifacts from ancient to modern times, combining museum and library.

Beer brewed with ancient yeast

Raul Cano, a scientist at the California Polytechnic State University, has brewed beer using the 45 million year old yeast from a Lebanese weevil trapped in amber.

"Hogwarts Professor" claims alchemy used to change characters in Potter books

John Granger believes there is so much more to the Harry Potter universe than magic potions. He shares his thoughts through a series of books and lectures which, he hopes, "disclose the underlying symbolism hidden in the so-called 'children’s stories.'"

David may have feet of clay

Experts believe that Michelangelo's famous statue of David is at risk of falling over due to cracks in the ankles caused by poor quality marble. Engineers fear the statue could crumble in event of an earthquake.

Computers create sound of ancient harp

The ASTRA (Ancient instruments Sound/Timbre Reconstruction Application) project has produced the sound of a Epigonion, a wooden string instrument similar to a modern-day harp. This is the first time that this ancient instrument has been heard by modern man.

Medieval stone clock found in Bulgaria

A stone clock or calendar dating to the early Middle Ages has been discovered near Mogila, Bulgaria. The stone features a semi-circle inscribed in Greek with a central axis.(photo)