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Finding Harald Bluetooth's fortress

In September 2014, archaeologists from the Danish Castle Centre and Aarhus University were waiting expectantly for the outcome of carbon-14 dating which could determine whether or not the Viking ring fortress, located west of Køge, Denmark, could have been built by King Harald Bluetooth.

Aska barrow identified as possible Viking feasting hall

What was long identified as a burial mound near Vadstena, Sweden has been determined to be a huge building, probably a feasting hall, measuring almost 50 metres in length.

What's in a name?

A new study by Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis and Neil Cummins of the London School of Economics reveals that those people with Norman surnames are more likely to have a higher social status in the UK that those without.

Sistine Chapel "dazzles" after tech makeover

A new lighting system will allow visitors to the Vatican's Sistine Chapel  to appreciate Michelangelo's famous frescoes more than ever better. The chapel makeover "cost some three million euros (US$3.77 million)—with 1.9 million euros spent on the lighting alone."

Climate changed "big man" society in Viking Iceland

The change of climate to colder temperatures in 11th century Iceland may have put an end to traditional Viking feasting of beef and beer, say authors Davide Zori and Jesse Byock in a new book Viking Archaeology in Iceland: Mosfell Archaelogical Project. (photo of glass beads)

Doctoral thesis changes history of Swedish glass

Archaeologist Anna Ihr's doctoral dissertation, Becoming Vitrified, shows that the glass industry in Sweden is much older than previously believed, as early as the 13th century. The thesis describes how different vitrified, or glassy, materials can be interpreted and analysed.

Not the Santa Maria

Expectations were high recently when archaeologists believed they had found the wreck of the Santa Maria, Columbus' flagship off the coast of Haiti, but it was not to be. New evidence shows that the remains of the ship are from a later period.

Early Christian charm found in Manchester library

A 6th century papyrus, identified as an early Christian charm, has been discovered among the documents in the University of Manchester's John Rylands Library. The charm is considered "the earliest surviving document to use the Christian Eucharist liturgy - which outlines the Last Supper - as a protective charm."

What medieval Venice can teach about controlling Ebola

Experts on disease control, working with the Ebola outbreak in Africa, are looking back to medieval Venice to understand how to contain the disease. Dr. Igor Linkov of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center believes the key is resilience management, "managing physical movement, social interactions, and data collection."

The lifestyle changes of Richard III

Everyone knows Richard III was king of England, however briefly, but did he live a royal lifestyle? Researchers say yes. A new study shows that the king's location and diet changed after his ascendance to the throne.

Abandoned school becomes Richard III grave visitor center

Leicester, England mayor Peter Soulsby was on hand recently to celebrate the opening of a UK£4 million visitor center near the site of the grave of Richard III, discovered in 2012 in a city car park. The center is housed in an abandoned school building.

Burial discovery sheds light on late Roman Britain

The discovery of five skeletons dating to Roman times near a villa in Dorset, England has led archaeologists to postulate that they were from the same family. This is the first incidence of Roman families buried together near where they lived.

"From heads to tails" change in fish trade in 13th century London

New research by archaeologists from UCL, Cambridge and UCLan shows that there was a sudden switch in the fish trade in London from local supplies to imported during the early 13th century. The paper, Fish for the city: meta-analysis of archaeological cod remains and the growth of London's northern trade, appears in the June 2014 issue of Antiquities Journal.

Medieval theory of multiple universes?

According to Tom Mcleish, Giles Gasper and Hannah Smithson for an article in The Conversation, 13th century Bishop of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste, was one of the most dazzling minds of his generation (1170 to 1253) and may have caught onto the modern notion of multiple universes.

Learning from the teeth of the dead

"It's fantastic we can look in such detail at an individual who died 600 years ago," said Don Walker, an osteologist with the Museum of London about his recent work on remains found last year under London's Charterhouse Square. A study of the teeth has revealed that at least 12 of the skeletons died in the 14th century of the Black Death. (photos)

45,000 English surnames now in database

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Family Names of the United Kingdom Project has completed its first phase with 45,000 surnames, from the 11th to 19th centuries, researched and explained.

Japanese IT company to digitize more Vatican documents

The Vatican Library processes many requests to use documents and manuscripts from its enormous collection, but the increased requests have led to fear that the fragile documents will be damaged. Enter NTT DATA, a Japanese IT company who has been contracted to digitize 3,000 manuscripts at a cost of 18 million euros (US $22.6 million).

Rendlesham exhibit marks 75th anniversary of Sutton Hoo discovery

Four miles northest of the Sutton Hoo ship burials lie what archaeologists believe are the remains of the royal settlement of Rendlesham, mentioned in the 8th century by the Venerable Bede. Finds from recent archaeological excavations will be on display during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Sutton Hoo finds in 2014.

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)