BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

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."

Landscape tells historical story in English countryside

A spring walk in the English countryside can be a history lesson for careful observers. The Time Team's resident landscape archaeologist, Stewart Ainsworth, offers hints on "How to read landscapes like an archaeologist."

Curved wall of Shakespeare's original theater found in London's Shoreditch

A team of experts from the Museum of London believes it has found the remains of William Shakespeare's first theater which saw the premiere of plays such as Romeo and Juliet. (video)

Take a tour of the "world's only continuously lived-in fort"

What would it be like to live in a 12th century hill fort in India? Ask the 5,000 residents who still inhabit the fort in Jaisalmer in the western part of the country. The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder takes visitors on a narrated tour with a slideshow.

Sketch of da Vinci in middle age found

After months of restoration, a sketch, thought to be an early self portrait of Leonard da Vinci, has been discovered. The drawing was found was covered by handwriting. (video)

"I" and "we" among oldest English words

Linguistics experts at Reading University have used computer model analysis to date English words and to predict which words may soon become extinct.

Mary Rose to get its own museum

Plans are finally underway for the construction of a museum honoring the Tudor warship Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship which sank in 1545 with the loss of 400 lives.

"Marvelous discovery" of 1500-year-old Saxon graves in Sussex

"It was a bit scary at first because we were unsure if it was a murder scene," said metal detectorist Bob white who, with his friend Cliff Smith, recently discovered a 1,500-year-old Saxon burial ground in Sussex, England.

Mystery of Stirling Castle medallions to be studied

As part of a UK£12M renovation of Scotland's Stirling Castle, historians plan to study 33 wooden carved medallions seeking to discover who the carvings depict and why they were carved.

Modern apprentices to learn medieval skills

The castles and stately homes of Scotland have an ongoing need for joiners and plumbers and the like who are trained in modern and historical arts and trades. A new program seeks to train people in the necessary skills with an apprenticeship.

Lost church of Bix Gibwyn found in Oxfordshire

Archaeologists are hoping that they have found the location of the "lost" church of Bix Gibwyn, an 800-year-old structure that was abandoned in the late 16th century. The research team has discovered three medieval graves which could pinpoint the site of the church.