BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

Social media may help choose patron saint of England

There are two camps in England when it comes to who would be the best patron saint, St Edmund or St George, and both are being promoted in a surprising way: Facebook. While George has been the preferred saint since Richard the Lionheart, Edmund is gaining support.

Lancaster Castle to become tourist attraction

The site of Roman forts, a prison, a court, an execution site and the Pendle Witches Trial, Lancaster Castle now has a new role to play: tourist attraction. For the first time in 900 years, the castle will be open to the public.

Stone priory seal restoration complete

In 2011, English metal detector enthusiast Tont Burke found a treasure in a Survey field with the discovery of a copper 12th Century seal matrix of Stone Priory, bearing the image of the Virgin and Child. Now, fully restored, the seal is returning to St Michael and St Wulfad's church in Stone. (photo)

Oldest Torah scroll discovered in university library

In 1889, a librarian at the University of Bologna in Italy made a terrible mistake. He dated and labeled a scroll to the 17th century, but recent tests have placed the document in the 12th century, making it "the oldest complete text of the Torah known to exist." (photo)

X-ray technology can read the unreadable

Researchers have long been distressed by the illegibility of fragile ancient parchments, but new techniques developed by scientists at Cardiff University may help read the unreadable.

The Godwine Charter returns to Canterbury

Somewhere between 1013 and 1018, Godwine sold his swine pasture in Kent, England to Leofwine the Red for 40 pence and two pounds rent and an allowance of corn. How do we know this? The sale was recorded in the Godwine Charter, an "exceptionally rare" document which recently made its way home to the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Fort search hopes to change perception of Romans in Scotland

"People are always surprised when I tell them about the Roman occupation of the area - they think the Romans never got any further than the Antonine Wall or even Hadrian's Wall which simply isn't true," said Dr Birgitta Hoffmann who leads an effort to discover a "lost" Roman fort in Scotland.

Haverhill research center to be built over Roman farm

Archaeologists working on what will become the Haverhill Research Park have discovered artifacts ranging from the Iron Age to the 19th century on the site. The science research complex will be constructed on what was once a 2nd century Roman farm.

Monks chronicled 1200 years of volcanic activity

A new report, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, finds that 1200 years of volcanic activity was chronicled in the texts of irish monks. The report was the work of an international team led by Dr Francis Ludlow from Harvard University.

Medieval house found near Conwy Castle in Wales

Workers from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, digging a trench,  were surprised to find the remains of a medieval house and cesspit beneath Castle Street near Conwy Castle in Wales. The "incredibly important" find could "provide a new insight into medieval Conwy."

Rewriting Shakespeare

Many writers have re-interpreted the works of William Shakespeare, and a new project, The Hogarth Shakespeare, is just the latest. Launching in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the series will commission prominent authors to create "cover versions" of the Bard's plays.

Richard's new army

An army of 100, some dressed in medieval garb, marched on the city of York recently in support of their king, Richard III. Led by Vanessa Roe, the king's 16th great niece, the march was a "moral crusade" to bring Richard's body back to Yorkshire where, according to Roe, he washed to be buried. (photo and video)

Life of Elizabeth Woodville dramatized on BBC One

Best-selling historical novelist Philippa Gregory has inspired a new series, currrently running on BBC One, which tells the stories of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. The White Queen is based on Gregory's series The Cousin’s War.

Lindisfarne Gospels on display in Durham

Until September 30, 2013, the Lindisfarne Gospels book will be on display in Durham University's Palace Green Library as the centerpiece of  an exhibition of artifacts from Anglo-Saxon England. In conjunction with the exhibit will be performances and family activities.

BBC series on German art begins with Cologne Cathedral

In the first of a series of videos on German art, British art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon looks at German art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Richard's head goes on tour

Richard III is getting the rockstar treatment these days, and now he is scheduled to go on tour - or at least his head is. The re-constructed head, created using the king's actual skull, will go on display in Leicester, Bosworth, York, Northampton and the British Museum. The head will eventually reside at a museum dedicated to the discovery.

The Mary Rose sails again in her new home

More than 30 years after the Mary Rose was pulled from the Solent, the ship continues to delight and educate both scholars and visitors to her new museum. In her new home, the Mary Rose can be viewed through three-story glass walls which display the interior of the ship, complete with dim lighting and "and groaning sounds of the sea outside." Eleanor Williams of BBC News has a feature story.

More on the art of Roman hair fashion

Baltimore hairdresser, and self-proclaimed "hairdo archaeologist," Janet Stephens, discusses her unique work with Roman hairstyles with the BBC while on a recent visit to London. (video)

"Dear Edward, Leave the Scots alone!"

A copy of a previously unknown letter from Robert the Bruce to King Edward II has been discovered at the British Library. The letter, written in 1310 during the build-up to the Battle of Bannockburn, requests that Edward recognise Scottish independence and end persecution of its people. (video)

The dark history of Tom Fool

Each year, a jester is chosen to liven up life at Muncaster Castle, near Ravenglass in Cumbria, England. The custom goes back centuries to Tom Skelton, believed to be the original Tom Fool, a real-life jester believed to have a murderous past. (photo)

Houses scheduled to grace Fulford battlefield

The "most likely candidate" for the site of the Battle of Fulford, according to English Heritage, is Germany Beck, an area scheduled to be developed into a community of 600 new homes, approved by the City of York Council.

CW premieres "Reign" in fall 2013

The BBC has announced Reign, a new drama based on the teenage years of Mary, Queen of Scots, which will hit American TV screens autumn 2013. The series will star Adelaide Kane as Mary and will begin with 15-year-old Mary's arrival in France as the bethrothed of the French prince Francis.

Spooky Rait Castle still mystifies

Rait Castle, on an island in a loch near Naim, Scotland, is haunted, or so say some of its admirers, by the ghost of a handless girl, killed by her father for loving a son of the enemy.

Old Duchy Palace restoration completed

Thanks to the Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust and The Prince's Regeneration Trust's UK£1m grant, Cornwall's Old Duchy Palace in Lostwithiel has been restored and will contain a permanent heritage exhibition about the palace and its restoration in its basement. (photos)

"Mysterious" skeleton found in Irish crannog

Archaeologists are pondering the cause of death of a 15th century teenager buried in an "irregular" manner on a crannog, a man made island settlement, in County Fermanagh, Ireland. The remains of the young woman seem to indicate a hasty burial, leading experts to consider foul play.

Scottish "wall" built fifty years before Hadrian's

BBC History Magazine reports that archaeologists have identified a first century Roman defense system that extended 120 miles across Scotland. The series of forts, watchtowers and defensive ditches predates Hadrian's Wall by 50 years, and the Antonine Wall by 20. (photos and map)

Plantagenet descendants battle for bones of Richard III

Descendants of King Richard III have launched a legal challenge to the burial of the king's remains in Leicester Cathedral, near the site where his skeleton was discovered. Sian Lloyd of the BBC reports in a short video.

Archaeologists hope to find Roman fort in Midlands flood zone

After serious flooding, the Environment Agency in England is studying plans to build flood defences along the River Derwent near Derby in the Midlands, but before that work begins, archaeologists are being given access to an area known to be the site of a Roman fort.

Construction workers find Bath's Roman wall

Archaeologists are excited by the discovery of part of the 4th century Roman wall in England's city of Bath. The discovery was made during sewer repairs to Burton Street.

Could Winchester bones be Alfred the Great?

Archaeologists have exhumed the remains from an unmarked grave at St Bartholomew's Church in Winchester, England, hoping they have found the bones of the Saxon king Alfred the Great who died in 899.