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CNN recommends Known World Handbook as a useful gift for the geek in your life

What to get your medieval geek this Christmas? CNN recommends a copy of the Known World Handbook, or perhaps a rapier from Darkwood Armory.

Black Death bacteria thought to be extinct

 The type of bacteria which caused the European "Black Death" plague in the mid-1300s has been identified as Yersina pestis, according to a news report on CNN.com.  That particular strain of bacteria no longer seems to exist, although a different form still affects people in a number of countries.

Cannabis catapult hurls pot over the Mexican border

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents and Mexican authorities have joined forces to intercept a catapult used by drug smugglers to hurl pot from Mexico into Arizona.

Ancient Londinium revealed in London park

The remains of the "busy metropolis of Londinium" may lie beneath half a meter of the Duke of Northumberland's Syon Park, the proposed site of a lixury hotel. The Roman landscape was discovered by archaeologists before hotel construction began.

Rare Ptolemaic gold coin found in Israel

A large 2,200 year old gold coin has been found in Israel. The coin was issued by Ptolemy Vin 191 BCE and was minted in Egypt.

Europe's forgotten castles

Travel writer and television host Rick Steves offers his thoughts on castles to vists that are off the beaten path. The castles are in ruins and offer a dramatic charm all their own. [photo]

Beheaded Vikings found at London Olympics site

Excavation work in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games in London has uncovered the bodies of 51 Vikings who were beheaded and thrown into a mass grave.

Social networking boon to re-enactors

Devotees of past eras have found a blessing in a number of social networking websites such as Living History World Wide. Henry Hanks of CNN has the story.

California monks reconstruct 800 year old building

Monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California are rebuilding an 800 year old chapter house transported from Ovila, Spain to California in 1931 by William Randoph Hearst.

7th century Afghan oil paintings earliest discovered

Scientists working in the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan have discovered oil paintings on the walls of caves dating to the 7th centuries, 800 years before the earliest European oil paintings were created. (photos)

Spirited Away: Art Thieves Target Europe's Churches

An article from Time and CNN reports on the large number of works of art stolen from houses of worship each year, a tragic loss of irreplaceable items that represents a lucrative business for thieves.

Robert Goulet, Broadway's Sir Lancelot, dies at 73

Robert Goulet, best known as Sir Lancelot in the original Broadway production of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 73.

Tomb of King Herod found

For several decades, Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer has been looking for the tomb of King Herod. Now he believes he has found it at Herodium, a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert.

Author believes Portuguese discovered Australia

Beyond Capricorn, a new book by Australian author Peter Trickett, theorizes that the Portuguese, rather than the Dutch or British, are responsible for the discovery of Australia. The theory is based largely on a 16th century maritime map.

French Castle Being Built in Medieval Fashion

Welcome to the modern Middle Ages! Researchers and craftsmen are working together to construct an authentic medieval castle in the forests of Burgundy, France. Ten years into the project, Guedelon Castle is about 1/3 completed.

Medieval Law Saddles Queen with Rat-Infested House

Residents of Manchester, England have declared Her Majesty owner of of an abandoned and vandalized house thanks to a 607-year-old law that turns over ownership of abandoned buildings to the Crown.

Records Document Challenge Between British Monarch and Pretender

New records released by the British National Archive show that Anthony Hall, who claimed to be a descendent of Henry VIII in the early 20th century, deserved to be declared insane for threatening to lop off the head of King George V.

American Wins International Belly Dancing Competition

Egypt opened its doors to foreign dancers and asked its hometown heroes to stay out of the competition at the Alf Leila We Leila Festival (Belly Dancing World Cup 2006). Since an Egyptian has won nearly every year of the competition, the local contestants decided to see what the rest of the world had to offer.

Avebury Circle Lets Visitors Explore Ancient Mysteries

Not as famous as the nearby Stonehenge, but much more accessible, is the stone circle at Avebury, the largest in Europe. CNN takes a look at the mysterious Avebury circle in this report.

California Man Next Earl of Essex?

A retired grocery clerk from Yuba City, CA may be the next Earl of Essex. Bill Capell, also known as the Right Honorable Lord William Capell, earned the right to put his name forward and possibly be chosen by the Queen with the death of his cousin, the last Earl of Essex.

Pompeii Treasure Trove Revealed

In 2000, archaeologists working on a Roman bath at the site of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii, Italy, were thrilled to discover a wicker basket containing a treasure trove of silver artifacts.

Writer Andre Norton Dies at Age 93

The first exposure many SCA members have had to fantasy and science fiction stories was from author Andre Norton. She died March 17, 2005 at the age of 93.

Legendary Atlantis Found?

American researcher Robert Sarmast claims to have discovered the legendary island of Atlantis off the coast of Cyprus.

Hobbits Discovered in Indonesia?

The skeletal remains of a tiny adult female discovered on an Indonesian island have researchers fantasizing about hobbits.

Da Vinci Code Fans Flock to Historic Sites

Fans of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code are innundating sites in France in search of answers.

Teen Kills Neighbor with Sword

A Texas teenager allegedly used a sword to kill a neighbor during an argument.

Paris Museum Garden Inspired by Tapestry

The medieval garden at the Hotel de Cluny, France's National Museum of the Middle Ages, was inspired by medieval tapestries.

Court Jester Wanted: Must be Merry and Bedecked

For the first time since 1649, England is looking to hire a national court jester. Qualifications? "Merriness and owning an outfit with bells."

Spamalot Heads to Broadway

Spamalot, the musical version of "Monty Python's Holy Grail," is headed for Broadway in February 2005. David Hyde Pierce, Tim Curry and Hank Azaria will star.

Winged Detectives Find Renaissance Fresco

A flock of pigeons has led a group of art historians to a lost Renaissance fresco hidden in the ceiling of a Valencia cathedral.