BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

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.

Archaeologists closer to discovering Scottish palace

Medieval texts have called the palace of Kenneth MacAlpine, the first king of a united Scotland, a stone building, but modern researchers believe it would have been wooden. Now recent discoveries lead the experts to think they may be close to zeroing in on the location.

Metal detectors dispute discovery of 14th century seal

Two metal detector enthusiasts are laying claim to discovery of a 13th or 14th century seal depicting the murder of Thomas Becket. The seal was found in a North Yorkshire field.

Mary Rose gets high-tech scan

Scientists at England's Diamond synchrotron are using intense light beams to help understand sulphur compounds in the timbers of the British warship Mary Rose.

Multidisciplinary Medieval Studies Center opens

The University of St Andrews in Scotland is opening a new interdisciplinary center for Medieval Studies that is one of the largest such centers.

Medieval documents help locate Roman fort

Archaeologists working on the excavation of a Roman fort near Calstock in Cornwall credit references to silver smelting in medieval documents for helping to locate the site.

The sound of medieval English

The BBC's British History website includes the Ages of English Timeline which allows visitors to hear English the way it would have been spoken throughout the various historical periods.

Medieval melee: "a brutal free-for-all with few rules"

Literature and the media have glamorized medieval battle, but the reality was much different. In truth, the melee was a "brutal free-for-all with few rules designed very much as a preparation for war."

Six medieval bishops identified in Scotland

Radiocarbon dating was used recently to help identify the remains of six bishops found buried in at Whithorn Priory in Galloway, Scotland. The skulls dated from between 1200-1360 CE. (photos)

Want to get fit? Try the Authenticity Diet!

Need to take off a few pounds or kilograms from the holiday feasting? Eat like your persona! A Shropshire physician claims that Europeans in the Middle Ages were in some ways much healthier than modern people.

Michelangelo's last sketch found in the Vatican

A red chalk sketch of the dome of St Peter's Basilica, believed to be the last work of the Renaissance artist Michelangelo, has been discovered in the Vatican archives. The sketch dates to 1564.

Guinness is good for you!

New research states that a pint of Guinness a day "may work as well as an aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks," according to an article in the BBC.

London Olympic construction uncovers Roman artifacts

The London Olympics may leave a lasting mark on the city's history. Recently, workers at the site of the new London stadium unearthed artifacts including a Roman coin dating to the 4th century.

Tabula Peutingeriana, last surviving roadmap of Roman roads

Oriented east to west instead of north to south, the Tabula Peutingeriana, a seven-meter-long parchment scroll, records the network of roads of the late Roman Empire. From Spain to India, the map elongates the continents and reduces the Mediterranean Sea to a squiggle, but is the earliest known map of Roman roads.

Archaeologists investigate medieval disaster

British archaeologists are digging through centuries of rubble to search for clues to a medieval disaster: the burning of Mansfield Woodhouse and its church in 1304.

Roman theatre lives in the Colosseum

The Colosseum in Rome will be the site of a special exhibition of Roman theatre, hosting "statues, mosaics, painted vases and fragments of wall paintings depicting actors and their masks, dancing girls, musicians, acrobats and jugglers" in a display that will continue until February 17, 2008.

The legacy of the Mary Rose

In the 25 years since the Mary Rose was raised, what have historians learned about the life and times of Tudor England? Finlo Rohrer of the BBC News Magazine has the story.