BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

New theories abound on Lewis Chessmen

David Caldwell of the National Museum of Scotland does not believe the recognized theory that the famous Chessmen of Lewis belonged to a merchant passing through Scotland. Caldwell thinks the owner was a noble who lived in the area, and that the pieces may not have been "chessmen" at all.

3rd century Roman townhouse found under Canterbury theater

Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a 3rd century Roman townhouse beneath the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, England. "It's quite unexpected," said archaeologist James Holman.

Buy Ewloe Castle for as little as UK£80,000?

Ewloe Castle, a Welsh structure built in the 13th century by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, is scheduled to be auctioned December 8, 2009. Starting bid? UK£80,000. (photo)

Calling AAA: Mons Meg has a flat

Historic Scotland experts were called in recently to assess damage to Mons Meg, the historic cannon on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, which has a broken wheel.

Metal detector finds UK£1m torcs

Metal detector enthusiast David Booth was "stunned" to learn that four Iron Age gold torcs, dating to late Roman times, could bring him over UK£1m. The torcs were discovered in September 2009 in Stirlingshire, Scotland. (photo & video)

BBC looks "Behind the Book of Omens"

On its website, BBC America has posted a series of videos on the Freer and Sackler Galleries exhibit Falnama: Behind the Book of Omens, the exhibit, which runs through January 24, 2010. The exhibit focuses on "a group of rare and unusual manuscripts that were once used to explore the unknown through divination in 16th- and 17th-century Iran and Turkey."

Organic chemist claims to have reproduced the Shroud of Turin

An Italian scientist claims to have reproduced the image on the Shroud of Turin using only materials and techniques known in the Middle Ages. Luigi Garlaschelli, who will present his findings at a conference, said, "The result obtained clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure."

"High status" Saxon brooch found in South Oxfordshire

Metal detectorists at a rally in South Oxfordshire have discovered a 6th century Saxon grave yielding a skull and a garnet brooch belonging to some of "high status."

Roman skeleton really Goth

The 5th century skeleton of a man, discovered in 1972 in Gloucester, England, has been identified as a Goth, originating from east of the Danube River. Experts feel that the man was most likely a Roman soldier.

Huge Anglo-Saxon gold hoard found

The BBC is reporting on a treasure find in England that rivals that of the Sutton Hoo burial, if not in quality then certainly in quantity.

Canterbury's oak rafters date to Norman times

Restoration work at England's Canterbury Cathedral has uncovered oak roof rafters dating to the time of William the Conqueror. While much of the cathedral's roof has been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries, some of the 11th century timbers survive.

18 million parish records to be published online by ancestry.co.uk

In the mid-16th century, Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII's vicar-general, began the collecting of London parish records. Now 18 million of these records will be available on the ancestry.co.uk website.

Land grudge brought about Bosworth treachery

Historians have long held that Richard III was killed at Bosworth field in retribution for his slaying of his nephews, the young, rightful heirs, but new evidence may show a different motive: a decade-old power struggle between Richard and William Stanley.

UK£138,000 English Heritage.grant saves 14th century chapel

Matthew Saunders, honorary director of The Friends of Friendless Churches in Mundon, England, reports that the organization has received a UK£138,000 grant from English Heritage to preserve St Mary's Church, the medieval chapel of a manor house. (photo)

Genetic studies show crusaders influenced religion in Lebanon

A new study shows that some Lebanese men carry genes traceable to Western Europe, a heritage, say researchers, from Crusaders who established settlements and castles in the country in the 11th through 13th centuries.

Ventotene shipwrecks excite world of Roman archaeology

The discovery of the wrecks of five 3rd - 5th century Roman shipwrecks off the coast of the Italian island of Ventotene has excited the world of Roman-era research. "It is like an underwater museum," said one expert.

BBC Radio 4 presents "Tales Before the Stave"

A thirty-minute podcast from BBC Radio 4 features the story of the Winchester Troper, a seminal musical book created around 1030 CE in Winchester, England.

Database catalogs soldiers' records from Hundred Years War

A new web site provides searchable databases of the detailed service records of 250,000 medieval soldiers, including archers who served with Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt.

Battle records of English soldiers 1369 to 1453 now online

The detailed service records of 250,000 soldiers who served during the Hundred Years War is now availa le to view online. The website, sponsored by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), was the brainchild of Anne Curry of the University of Southampton and Dr Adrian Bell of the University of Reading.

Codex Sinaiticus now available online

After years of restoration and digitalization, the Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest surviving Christian Bible, is now available online.

Brampton Roman artifacts to be displayed for the first time

An amazing collection of Roman artifacts discovered 50 years ago near Brampton, England, is scheduled to go on display for the first time in late 2009. (video)

Remains of a Stirling knight

Researchers believe that the skeleton of a young man found at Stirling Castle in Scotland may be those of a knight killed in battle in the early 15th century. The bones were discovered in the castle's chapel in 1997.

How to cook a porpoise

Richard II's recipe for cooking a porpoise is now available online. The recipe is included in a new digitized version of The Forme of Cury, the 15th century text long used by historians to re-create medieval recipes. (video)

Lituus plays again

Before the trumpet curled into its present configuration, was the Lituus, an 8.5 foot long instrument last heard 300 years ago. Now new software has allowed the "lost" instrument to be recreated. (photos)

"Ring-pull on a Coke can" really medieval treasure

18-year-old Conor Sandford of Kilmore, Ireland believed he was picking up a soda can ring from the hole on his father's farm. What he actually found was a 12th century silver ring, "very well-preserved, and it was relatively unworn." (photo)

New Stonehenge visitor center is a "go"

The long controversy is over. English Heritage's plan to build a new visitor center and divert a nearby road at Stonehenge has finally been approved. The program will cost an estimated UK£25m.

Murder of Thomas a Becket subject of medieval Spanish paintings

An important link between the joined histories of England and Spain remains covered by wooden panels in a ruined church in Soria, Spain. The panels depict the murder of St. Thomas a Becket, an act that sat heavily on the shoulders of king Henry II of England. (photo)

"Lost" 12th century church found in Swyddffynnon, Wales

A team of archaeologists using a geophysical survey have discovered what is believed to be Capel y Groes, a grange chapel built in 1165 and connected to nearby Strata Florida Abbey. The church was last recorded on maps in the mid 19th century and considered "lost" since that time.

Britain' Queen participates in ancient Easter custom

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain recreated a custom dating to the 13th century recently by handing out "Maundy Money," a tradition of doling out coins to pensioners. (video)

World Digital Library launches with 1,200 documents

The World Digital Library, Unesco's project to "promote curiosity and understanding across cultures," has launched its website with 1,200 documents ranging from a" 1,000-year-old Japanese novel to the earliest known map to mention America by name."