BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

12th century chess pieces show demand for leisure products

Archaeologists working on a dig in St John's Street in Northampton, England have found two medieval chess pieces dating to the middle to late 12th century. The pieces, made of antler, show evidence of the demand for "leisure products." (photos)

The lions of London

The lion is the symbol of the King of England, and for the first time since the early 13th century, the city will be without the king of the beasts. The lack of lions will occur due to a new exhibit being built at the London Zoo, causing its three residents to be relocated until 2016. The BBC Magazine Monitor has a feature about the history of the London lions.

Damaged crypts to be restored at Coventry Cathedral

Coventry Cathedral, a 14th-century Gothic church, was almost totally destroyed by German bombs in World War II. Now three of its medieval crypts are scheduled to be restored and opened to the public.

"Battle, Bricks and Bridges" lead experts to the truth about the Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits

"Archaeology is an evolving process so you always learn more and more," said archaeologist Paul Logue from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, about new discoveries on the 16th century Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits in County Fermanagh, Ireland.

Stonehenge in 8th century poem?

The 8th century, Old English poem called The Ruin may be the oldest surviving literature to mention Stonehenge, says medieval liguist Dr Graeme Davis. The poem refers to stones called "the old ones" or the "elders."

Staffordshire Hoard teaches lesson in Anglo-Saxon metallurgy

Gold was believed to have magical powers in Anglo-Saxon society, which may have led to discovery of special processes to make the metal appear "more golden than gold." These findings are part of a new study of the Staffordshire Hoard which "showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects."

Richard III burial timetable and appeal for funds

As the reburial of King Richard III approaches, the city of Leicester, England and Leicester Cathedral prepare for the festivities by calling on the locals to help with fundraising. The diocese has raised only UK£1.9m of the £2.5m cost of the celebration.

"One of the most important Viking hoards ever found in Scotland" unearthed near Dumfriesshire

September 2014 was a great month for British metal detector enthusiast Derek McLennan. The retired businessman discovered "one of the most important Viking hoards ever found in Scotland" in a field in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. (photos)

Lavenham seeks World Heritage status

According to Wikipedia, Lavenham, England "is a village and civil parish in Suffolk, England noted for its 15th-century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk." Now the town's business forum and parish council plan to apply to UNESCO for a World Heritage grant to "help balance tourism, the local economy and traffic." (photos)

Ancient castle found under British primary school

Construction workers on a project to replace two classrooms of English Bicknor Primary School in Ross-on-Wye, England, were surprised to uncover the remains of what is believed to be a keep and bailey castle. (photo)

Northern Ireland looks to the Isle of Man for preservation of Gaelic languages

In the 1980s, Manx Gaelic was nearly extinct, but the language has made a comeback on the Isle of Man, thanks in part to the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh, the world's only Manx-speaking school. Now educators in Northern Ireland are taking note and considering how to use the same methods to save Irish Gaelic.

Javelin head offers proof of Roman army occupation near Dumfries

Construction workers at Wellington Bridge near Kirkton, Scotland have unearthed a number of artifacts which relate to the Roman occupation of southern Scotland. Among items found were "an iron javelin head, the remains of a Roman boot, samian pottery and tile fragments." (photos)

Great hall of Llys Rhosyr to be rebuilt in museum

Llywelyn Fawr of Gwynedd, 13th century Welsh prince,  built Llys Rhosyr as one of his royal courts. Now the site, long ago buried by sand dunes, and rediscovered in 1992, will live again as an exhibit in St Fagans National History Museum near Cardiff. (drawing)

Archaeologists to wrap up dig at Flodden

9 September, 2013 marked the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden between the Scots and the British in the fields of Northumberland, England. In October 2014, excavations of the site will be terminated, ending several years of work. The latest dig will concentrate on the bridge at Ellemford, believed to be the muster site for the Scottish army.

Hastings 2016 to offer "more action than a Hollywood blockbuster"

Mark your calendars. Re-enactors will return to Battle Abbey on 14 October 2016 for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

Viking silver found in Scotland

Retired Ayrshire businessman Derek McLennan has made good use of his metal detector. In 2013, he discovered Scotland's biggest haul of medieval silver coins. Now he has unearthed a new hoard of more than 100 items, including a 9th century Christian cross and possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever discovered. (photos and video)

Early image of Jesus found in Spain

Archaeologists and theologians are excited about the discovery of a 4th century engraved glass plate depicting an unbearded Jesus. The plate, discovered during an excavation near the southern Spanish city of Linares, is believed to be one of the earliest known images of Christ. (photos)

UK£3,000 needed to secure Lindisfarne Hoard

In 2003, builder Richard Mason found an old, pottery jug on the island of Lindisfarne, in northern England. Later, he noticed that the jug contained 17 coins, dating from the reigns of Henry VI - Elizabeth I. The silver and gold hoard has been valued at UK£30,900, but the Great North Museum in Newcastle needs an additional UK£3,000 to purchase the coins for its collection. (photo)

Dig to explore medieval town and plantation in Northern Ireland

Experts in Antrim County, Northern Ireland, are intrigued by evidence of a "lost" medieval town beneath a plantation-era Gaelic Scottish settlement and a 16th century castle. The evidence consists of a metal buckle and a silver groat, both dating to the 1550s.

No sale for Hastings sword

A recent Christies auction failed to sell a medieval sword, purported to have been a trophey taken by Humphrey De Bohun, a kinsman of William the Conqueror, from the Battle of Hastings. The owner had hoped the sword would bring up to £120,000. (photo)

West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village to get new house

The West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village in Suffolk, England, with its sunken-featured buildings, has been an important archaeological site since 1965 and a tourist attraction with reconstructed buildings since 1999. Now a new house will be built to replace one that is "beyond repair." (photos)

Mary, Queen of Scots letter sells for US$28,000

On September 18, 2014, RR Auction, in Boston, Massachusetts, auctioned a private letter from Mary Queen of Scots transferring control of her property, Wassy Castle, located in eastern Champagne, France, to her maitre d'hotel, Jacques de la Montaigne. The letter was sold to a private bidder for US$28,750 (UK£17,472). (photo)

Swansea remembers its medieval past

Officials in Swansea, Wales are trying to bring the city's medieval past to life for citizens and visitors by installing street markers pinpointing major sites in the town. Cemlyn Davies, of the BBC, reports. (video)

Barley malting oven found in Northampton, England

A nearly perfectly-preserved barley malting oven from the 13th century has been discovered by archaeologists working on an excavation in Bridge Street, Northampton, England. The construction was found complete with char marks on the hearth. (photo)

Trust bids to buy Roman fort from the Church

A Roman dig considered "the Pompeii of the North" is being sold in order to keep the site out of the hands of developers. Binchester Roman Town, in Bishop Auckland, England, owned by the Church of England, has drawn a UK£2m bid from the Auckland Castle Trust.

Anglo Saxon buckle declared rare find

Archaeologists in Suffolk, England are pondering the discovery of a silver buckle, dating to the 9th century, by a metal detectorist on a Suffolk farm. "The costumes worn at this time don't appear to need buckles and so they are rarely found," said Dr Helen Geake, from the Portable Antiquities Scheme. (photo)

The face of medieval Edinburgh

In 2009, archaeologists discovered the burial site of 400 14th century citizens of the Leith area of Edinburgh, Scotland. 30 skeletons were chosen for intense study, and now forensic artists have put faces to a few of the remains. (photo)

Leiston Abbey dig reveals gaming piece and curse tablet

Leiston Abbey in the 14th century must have been an interesting place, considering some artifacts found by volunteers during a two-week archaeological excavation in the summer of 2014, including a Nuremburg jetton "poker chip" and a metal tablet expected to contain a curse. (photos)

Own a piece of Magna Carta history

For a mere UK£4 million, buyers can own a piece of English history in the form of a small island in the Thames River where, it is believed, the rebellious barons who created the Magna Carta camped before the signing. (photos)

First English book brings more than £1m

The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye is considered to be the first book ever to be printed in English. A translation of a French book by William Caxton, the 1474 English edition sold recently at auction for more than £1m. (photo)