Discovery Channel

The Discovery Channel

New portraits of Shakespeare revealed

"I subjected the images to fundamental tests of identity and authenticity, and these revealed that we are dealing with true-to-life portraits of Shakespeare, one from his youth, the second from his old age," said Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel about two recently-discovered portraits of William Shakespeare. (photos)

Crusader hospital identified in the heart of Jerusalem

For centuries, a huge, 150,000 square feet building in the heart of Jerusalen was used as a fruit and vegetable market. Now the deserted site has been identified as the largest hospital in the Middle East during the Crusader period.

"Spectacular" Viking jewelry puzzles experts

Archaeologists working with volunteers have discovered several spectacular pieces of Viking-made jewelry on a farm in Zealand, the largest island in Denmark. The finds include a "heart-shaped animal head with rounded ears and circular eyes," and a "central wheel cross in relief, with inlaid gold pressed into a waffle form." (photo)

Treasures from a Byzantine garbage dump

Early Byzantines in Tel Aviv, Israel probably thought themselves very clever when they buried a hoard of "400 coins, 200 intact Samaritan lamps and gold jewelry" in a garbage heap somewhere between the 5th-7th centuries. Perhaps they were, because the hoard was only found recently by a team of archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority. (video)

The mystery of the missing manor

Excavations at an archaeological site at Longforth Farm in Wellington, England have discovered a 900-year-old medieval manor that never existed, at least in historical records. What is the building, and why has it disappeared from the records? Inquiring minds want to know.

Gangrene claimed Giovanni de’ Medici

It was not a blow in combat that felled legendary Renaissance warrior Giovanni de’ Medici, but gangrene resulting from being hit by a cannon ball, in a battle in Lombardy on Nov. 25, 1526, according to a new study conducted after the exhumation of de’ Medici's body.

Remains of celebrated de' Medici condottieri exhumed

Gino Fornaciari, professor of forensic anthropology and director of the pathology Museum at the University of Pisa, leads a team of scientists who recently exhumed the body of Giovanni de' Medici, considered one of the greatest warriors of the age. The team plans to study the body to better understand Renaissance surgery.

Viking "slash and hack"

Unlike Hollywood's version of sword fighting, based on fencing, the true Viking fighting style was close in and vigorous. In a short video posted on the Discovery website, a father and son team of professional fight choreographers shows how it was really done.

Archaeologists hope to recover medieval shipwreck in the Danube

The blue Danube's not-very-blue waters are a hindrance to Hungarian archaeologists seeking to investigate a newly-discovered medieval shipwreck in the river 18 miles north of Budapest. The Danube connected much of Europe in the Middle Ages, but was hazardous to navigate.

Crusader coins found in Apollonia castle

A joint team of archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority have discovered "one of the largest gold coin hoards discovered in a medieval site in the land of Israel." The coins were determined to have circulated in the 13th century, the time Crusader occupation.

Roman trading vessel, cargo found in Italy

"There are some broken jars around the wreck, but we believe that most of the amphorae inside the ship are still sealed and food filled," Lt. Col. Francesco Schilardi about a 2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck found recently off the coast of the Italian city of Genoa.

"Immense volcanic eruption" may have led to death of thousands in medieval England

Archaeologists for the Museum of London recently discovered 175 mass graves dating to around 1250, 100 years before the Black Plague. What killed over 10,000 people in England may have been an immense volcanic eruption.

Welsh and Cornish have purest British DNA

This year, attendees of the Royal Society's summer science exhibition in London will hear the results of an extensive DNA survey of Britain which will proclaim "that Welsh and Cornish people were among the most genetically distinct groups in the country."

Early Pict language identified in Scotland

Highly stylized rock engravings depicting soldiers, horses and figures, dating to the 4th through 9th centuries, have been identified as a written language developed by the Pict society of Scotland. (photo)

Evidence of smuggling found in Roman shipwreck

Italian archaeologists have recently excavated a 3rd century Roman shipwreck off the coast of Marausa Lido, a beach resort near Trapani. On board they found eveidence of smuggling in the form of unusual tubular tiles, taken from North Africa to Rome. (photo)

Medici Venus once wore lipstick

Chemical analysis of the Medici Venus, a 1st century Roman sculpture housed since 1677 at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, has determined that the sensuous lady once had painted lips, gilded hair and jeweled earrings.

The secret of Renaissance acoustics

Scientists have long puzzled over the acoustic properties of grand churches and performances of late Renaissance music with its elaborate, up-tempo harmonies. Now a physicist and a music technologist believe they have cracked the secret.

Roman plain yields ancient ship

“It’s a unique find. At that depth, we have never found a ship," said Anna Maria Moretti, archaeological superintendent for Rome and Ostia, about the discovery of a wooden vessel 4 meters beneath the ground near the modern city of Ostia.

Forget Denmark! Hamlet's name was Irish!

Researchers have long traced the roots of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark to Amlethus in the History of the Danes, written around 1200, but a new study traces the name back even further, to 8th or 9th century Ireland.

What's in David's hand?

A new study of Michelangelo's David concludes that the hero holds a "secret weapon in his right hand." A paper on the subject was presented at "Florens 2010: The International Week of Cultural and Environmental Heritage," a three-day tribute to the masterpiece.

Wedding site of Pocahontas and John Rolfe located

Experts believe they have discovered the site of the church where Pocahontas married tobacco farmer John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia in 1614.

Mona Lisa's childhood home discovered

Did the enigmatic smile of da Vinci's Mona Lisa hide sad memories of an impoverished childhood? A video clip from Discovery News looks at the childhood home of the famous model.

Shortage of raw glass forces recycling in Roman Britain

Glass was a common commodity in Roman Britain until the 3rd and 4th centuries C.E. when a shortage of raw glass forced recycling. A new study of Roman clear glass appears in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Mona Lisa's smile explained by technique

Over the centuries, thousands of people have pondered the mystery of Mona Lisa's smile. Now French researchers believe they can explain the enigmatic expression: it was da Vinci's technique.

Medici "murder" solved

For centuries, it was theorized that Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his second wife, Bianca Cappello were murdered, but new evidence shows that their deaths were from natural causes.

Did Alexander come to a Styx-y end?

A new speculation about the death of Alexander the Great suggests that the notoriously toxic waters of the River Styx (the modern river Mavroneri) may have taken his life.

Aztec exhibition opens as archaeologists seek royal tomb

Archaeologists working on an excavation in downtown Mexico City think they are on the brink of discovering the first Aztec royal tomb ever found. Meanwhile, objects from the dig are on display at "Moctezuma II: Times and Destiny of a Ruler" at the Templo Mayor Museum.

Alexander the Great's Linen Armor

Researchers have found that Alexander the Great probably wore armor made of laminated linen fabric, rather than metal, and that the multiple glued layers functioned similarly to modern flak jackets.

Remains of Copernicus finally identified

After two centuries, scientists believe that they have found the final resting place of Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy. They also believe he had blue eyes.

"World's most complete known witch bottle" found in Greenwich, England

A "witch bottle," constructed according to known recipes from 16th and 17th century England, has been found buried upside-down in Greenwich, England. The bottle contains urine, nail clippings, hair and pins, and is believed to be an anti-witchcraft device.