BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

Scottish medical history display debuts in Edinburgh

A new exhibit at the library of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh features 400 years or more of medical artifacts and books, some being publicly exhibited for the first time.

5th century church discovered in Syria

Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the largest ancient church ever discovered in Syria. The remains of the 5th century structure were found recently near Palmyra in central Syria.

Ancient tsunamis devastated Asian coasts

The recent tsunamis that have caused such devastation in the Indian Ocean may not have been the first. According to a new study which sampled sediments in Thailand and Sumatra, the area may have been hit by a massive tsunami between 600 and 700 years ago.

Did Norse bring Christianity to Scotland?

A team of archaeologists from the University of Nottingham are trying to determine if Vikings brought Christianity to Caithness, Scotland before Saint Columba brought the religion to Iona. (video)

Stonehenge dating controversy continues

New research on Stonehenge finds that it is actually older than previously believed. A recent excavation headed by Mike Parker-Pearson, professor of archaeology at Sheffield University, finds the monument to date to 3000 BCE and to have connections to cremation of the dead.

Was the telescope invented in Spain?

An article for the magazine History Today claims that the telescope may have been invented in Spain by a Burgundian spectacle maker named Juan Roget, rather than in the Netherlands or Italy, as previously believed.

York skeleton shows signs of tuberculosis

The remains of a 4th century Roman discovered recently at York University may be "one of the earliest British victims of tuberculosis." Experts believe that cases of TB were rare in the north of England, and the discovery may help researchers learn more about the disease's spread across the country.

Castell Aberlleiniog to be rescued in Wales

"For over 20 years I have observed the progressive deterioration of this site as the mound suffered from erosion by livestock, and the masonry became increasingly unstable and overgrown by vegetation," said Mike Yates of Cadw, the Welsh historic monuments' agency, about Castell Aberlleiniog near Llangoed, which is being rescued from further deteoration.

Female remains found in Newcastle Roman sarcophagus

Archaeologists working on a burial site near Newcastle, England, have opened a pair of sarcophagi, one containing the remains of a child, and the other the remains of a woman. The site is believed to have been a former chapel near Hadrian's wall dating to the 4th century C.E. (video)

Royal books to be displayed in London

Over 100 illustrated books, previously owned by British monarchs, will go on display at the British Library in 2011. The manuscript exhibition will include "medieval and Renaissance books and other literary artefacts."

Renaissance humor explained

Dr. Sarah Knight, a lecturer in Renaissance literature, explains Renaissance humor in an interview for the BBC.

Rare Roman lance found at Caerleon

Archaeologists working on a Roman site near Caerleon, Wales have discovered an extremely rare legionary's ceremonial lance. "I don't know of any of that type in Britain," said Dr Peter Guest. (video)

St Margaret's church in Leicester, England ransacked by vandals

Police in Leicester, England report that vandals broke into and desecrated a 13th century church in the city's center, overturning lecterns, breaking windows and defecating through a floor panel into the church's medieval foundation.

Archaeologists search for lost Welsh towns

Two Welsh towns near Carmarthenshire are missing. Records show that they existed in the 14th and 15th centuries, but they have long since disappeared. Now researchers hope to find them within the grounds of Dinefwr Park and Castle near Llandeilo.

Youthful portrait of Elizabeth I discovered

A rare portrait of the young Elizabeth I dating from between 1650 to 1680 has been discovered in a private collection at Boughton House in Northamptonshire.

"Lost" medieval church of Dunwich found with modern technology

Marine archaeologists believe they have discovered a medieval church which tumbled off an eroded cliff into the ocean in Suffolk County, England. The remains were discovered using sonar and underwater cameras.

Spanish drought reveals medieval city

A severe drought affecting the city of Barcelona, Spain has lowered the water table in the massive Sau reservoir, revealing a once-submerged medieval village. The town was flooded when the reservoir, which supplies Barcelona, was built in the 1960s. (photo)

Practice Latin on the Vatican website

An ancient tongue gets a modern boost with the creation of Sancta Sedes, a Latin section of the Vatican's website which features papal texts and religious works.

Portrait of Shakespeare's patron discovered

Experts believe they have discovered a portrait of Henry Wriothesley, Shakespeare's only known patron, under a later portrait of his wife, Elizabeth Vernon. The painted-over image was discovered using X-ray technology. (photo)

Scottish Parliament Archive launched

An online archive of the proceedings of the original Scottish Parliament from its first surviving act of 1235 to its dissolution in 1707 has been launched.

Irish town emerges as Viking trade center

Excavation for a highway by-pass have unearthed evidence of a Viking trading center in Woodstown in County Waterford, Ireland. Over 5,000 artifacts have so far been discovered dating to the year 860.

Did smallpox kill Gloucester Romans?

Experts working on the recently-discovered mass Roman grave in Gloucester, England will be using DNA tests to determine what killed over 90 individuals. A first look at the remains points to a 2nd century smallpox outbreak that swept across Britain.

Crusaders left genetic mark on the Middle East

Scientists from the Genographic Project, which is tracking human migrations through DNA, have found traces of a particular DNA signature in Lebanon which they link to European crusaders.

Royal Mint introduces heraldic coin designs

A new series of British coins will feature the heraldry of the monarch. Each coin in the six-coin set will feature an aspect of the coat of arms with the £1 piece depicting the complete shield.

New dig may explain Stonehenge

Just a few weeks after beginning, the excavators now working at Stonehenge have had what they describe as a "breakthrough." Clues towards the original placement of the bluestones, the site's oldest elements, may reveal why Stonehenge was built.

14th Century Game gets Official Recognition

The Sports Council in England has agreed that Stoolball, a medieval game mostly localized to southeastern England, meets its criteria to be recognized as a sport. Approximately 4,000 people in the vicinity of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire play Stoolball.

Plans to exhume Galileo cause controversy

Plans to exhume the body of Renaissance scientist Galileo Galilei in order to test his DNA and establish the cause of his blindness have caused problems with the Catholic Church. The Rector of the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Florence, where Galileo is buried, is opposed to the exhumation.

UK£5m donation will bring Bodleian treasures to the masses

The donation of UK£5 million from Oxford publisher Julian Blackwell will make possible the display of many of the Bodleian Library's treasures which are now available only to scholars. The gift will be used to create a new exhibition hall at one of the library's sites in Oxford.

Medieval belt buckle discovered in Scotland

A sewer line breakage in Perth, Scotland, has led to discovery of a copper alloy belt buckle that probably dates back to the 12th century.

Donald Trump in dutch with Scottish heralds

American millionaire businessman Donald Trump is being investigated for his plan to use the Trump heraldry to promote his golf resort in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.