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Stonehenge bluestones may have been local

Legend says that the bluestones of Stonehenge were transported from a quarry in Wales to the site on the Salisbury Plain, but a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shows that the stones may actually have come from a site only three kilometres from the structure.

Britain's fifth-century cultural revolution

"Dark Ages" history traditionally considers the transition from Roman to Anglo-Saxon culture in England a time of bloody conquest, but in a new article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science suggest that the evolution may have been more cultural than brutal.

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.

King Alfred found?

Researchers from the University of Winchester believe they may have found the pelvis of England's King Alfred the Great in a box of bones stored in the city's museum. The bone may also be from Alfred's son King Edward the Elder. The 9th and 10th century Saxon kings are best known for protecting their people from Viking raids.

Jotunvillur code cracked

The ancient Norse 'jotunvillur' code, dating back to the 12th or 13th century, has been cracked by Norwegian runologist  K Jonas Nordby of the University of Oslo. The key was an unassuming wooden stick, found at the the Bergen Wharf in Norway and covered with runes. (photo)

Researchers create "virtual villa" using video game technology

Researchers at Indiana University, leading an international collaborative team, have used the Unity 3D game engine to create an interactive digital model of Hadrian's Villa, a Roman ruin located near Tivoli, Italy, for research and educational purposes.

The medieval debate over "the rule of the rod"

Debate over corporal punishment in schools continues to this day, but new research by Dr Ben Parsons, of the University of Leicester, shows that the debate is an old one. In his project, Discipline and Violence in the Medieval Classroom, Parsons examines writings from the Middle Ages and concludes that corporal punishment was not necessarily the rule of the day.

"How we have heard of the might of the kings"

The Old English poem Beowulf has been the subject of many translations over the centuries, especially the first word hwæt. Now Dr George Walkden, a University of Manchester lecturer, believes he knows what the poem's first line really says.

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.

Cambridge University lawbreakers catalogued

Jacky Cox, Cambridge University's archivist, has a monumental job ahead of her: creating the first catalogue of thousands of court records from the 16th and 17th centuries, chronicling the misdeeds of students, staff and townspeople attached to the university. About half of the records from Vice-Chancellor's Court (1540-1630) are now summarised online.

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)

Roman chainmail found in Harzhorn

German archaeologists are excited by the discovery of well-preserved Roman chainmail during excavations near Kalefeld in the Northeim district north of Göttingen, the first such armor recovered from a Roman-Germanic battlefield. (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)

Soil samples help analysize death of Danish child

Analysis of soil samples has revealed the suffering of a 13th century Danish child in the days before his death, according to chemist Kaare Lund Rasmussen from University of Southern Denmark. The 10-13 year-old child from Ribe had been treated with mercury, causing great suffering.

First of Leicester's double coffins opened

While the impact of the Leicester car park's second most interesting find will not not be as great as the discovery of the remains of Richard III, archaeologists are still excited about the mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin found at the site. The lid of the first, stone coffin was lifted recently to reveal an inner lead coffin, which was removed for further analysis. (photo)

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.

Roman temple near Hadrian's Wall identified

The remains of a building near Hadrian's Wall, dating to the second century and first unearthed in the 1880s by a local archaeologist, have been identified as a Roman temple. The temple is the most north western classical temple from the Roman world yet discovered.

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.

Earl of Sandwich risked health with frozen chocolate delight

In 1668, the Earl of Sandwich collected recipes for chocolate, a treat just introduced to England believed to be "unwholesome." His iced chocolate recipes are a highlight of a paper by Dr Kate Loveman of the University of Leicester entitled The Introduction of Chocolate into England: Retailers, Researchers, and Consumers, 1640–1730.

Boat burials might help solve mystery of Viking trading center

To most historians, Steinkjer was just a name mentioned in the Norse Sagas, but new evidence discovered in two boat graves in Lø, Norway, may have solved the puzzle of the mysterious trading center.

New book relocates Battle of Bosworth

For centuries, everyone knew that the Battle of Bosworth, which led to the death of Richard III and the ascendence of the Tudors, took place on Ambion Hill, but new research by Glenn Foard and Anne Curry places the site two miles away by a marsh called Fen Hole.

Late Roman well offers insight into technology

A well-preserved, late-Roman well near Heslington, England demonstrates use of the latest technology of the time, including curved stone facings and a dish-shaped base. Archaeologists from the University of York believe the well had "significance in contemporary local agricultural cycles and fertility practices."

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.

Scientists reconstruct leprosy genome medieval strains

Lepers are a common image in medieval histories, but by the end of the 16th century, the disease appeares to have mostly died out in Europe. Now a team of biologists and archeologists have reconstructed the genomes of medieval strains of the pathogen responsible for the disease to find out why.

The impact of Shakespeare's investment

In 1594, William Shakespeare made a move that gave him financial stability and, some say, changed the way he wrote plays: he purchased a one-eighth share in the Lord Chamberlain's Men. One of those people is Dr Bart van Es of Oxford University's Faculty of English Language and Literature, who claims that the purchase gave the playwright a better relationship with and understanding of actors.

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)

The mind of the medieval reader

Who knows what people in the 14th century reador thought? MIT professor Arthur Bahr thinks he does.

Richard III generates first research paper

It must have been a race to the finish line, but the first academic paper to be published on the discovery of the remains of Richard III is The king in the car park: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485 by Richard Buckley, Mathew Morris, Jo Appleby, Turi King, Deirdre O'Sullivan, and Lin Foxhall.

Exhibit showcases West's debt to Islamic doctors

In a new exhibit, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London will showcase the work of early Islamic physicians. The mirror of health: discovering medicine in the golden age of Islam will be on display at the college's museum from 1 May to 25 October 2013.