Telegraph

Do you know a smile when you see one?

Early European explorers in the Caribbean islands commented on the "abominable" and "frightening" figures in the locals' art, with their bared teeth and "burning" eyes. But a new analysis suggests that the artists may have intended these expressions as inviting smiles rather than demonic grimaces.

17th century scientist predicted modern inventions

In the 1660s, Robert Boyle, chemist and Royal Society founding fellow, wrote a list of 24 future predictions about science and technology. All but a few have come true, many in the past fifty years.

Face of a 14th century knight revealed

State-of-the-art technology has been used to reconstruct the face of a medieval knight whose skeleton was discovered beneath Stirling Castle in Scotland. (photo)

Medieval Martial Arts enthusiasts fight in Toronto

David Cvet, Dale Gienow, and Matt Brundle were among the contenders at a recent tournament held by The Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts in Toronto. The Telegraph offers a photo gallery of the tourney.

Crucifixion nail found in Templar stronghold

Archaeologists working at a fort on Ilheu de Pontinha, just off the coast of Madeira, have discovered a carefully-preserved nail dating to the first or second century CE, leading to speculation that it might be a relic related to Christ.

Mona Lisa identity may cause da Vinci exhumation

A team of experts from Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage are requesting permission to exhume the remains of Leonardo da Vinci in hopes of revealing the real identity of the Mona Lisa.

12th century poem calls French "arrogant cowards"

A century after the Norman Conquest, the relationship between the French and the English was anything but cordial, if you can believe a 396-line poem written by an Anglo-Norman cleric.

Diane de Poitiers, victim of own vanity?

Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henry II of France, was known for her youthful looks, which kept the interest of the king, twenty years her junior, but did her vanity and desperation lead to her death? Experts believe they did.

"1415: Henry V's Year of Glory" shows new Henry V

For centuries, Englishmen have revered King Henry V as "the greatest man that ever ruled England,” but 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory, a new book by Ian Mortimer gives a new view of the king. Dominic Sandbrook of The Telegraph has a review.

Legacy of Puritan vandals still challenges Canterbury Cathedral

In the 1640s, followers of Oliver Cromwell vandalized Canterbury Cathedral, especially stained glass windows overlooking the tomb of Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the Black Prince. The decay continues to this day, causing concern to those charged with maintaining the cathedral.

War of Troy Tapestry returns to the V&A

Once a jewel of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the War of Troy Tapestry was removed from exhibit twenty years ago "when it became too damaged to display." Now, after 4,000 hours of restoration, the tapestry will once again take a place of honor in the museum. (photos)

Duct tape holding up Canterbury Cathedral

How can you tell when the economic crisis has reached epic proportions in great Britain? When the marble pillars of Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the Anglican Church and site of the murder of St. Thomas a Becket, are being held together with duct tape.

Tudor bells return to Ipswich

Five 500-year-old church bells, believed to be the oldest in England, have been returned to St Lawrence Church, in Ipswich, Suffolk after a UK£100,000 restoration project. The bells had previously not been rung for 20 years due to their poor condition.

BBC's "Tudors" historically inaccurate but addicting says historian

Historians seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Showtime series The Tudors, which has been recently sold to the BBC. Some say it "distorts history for dramatic effect" but has "undoubtedly stimulated interest in British history."

Fountain project reveals medieval treasures in Peterborough

A project to install fountains in Peterborough, England's Cathedral Square has given archaeologists a glimpse of life in the medieval town. "We have found a whole manner of objects, from coins to really chunky old door keys," said city museum archaeologist Ben Robinson.

Chaps on bikes jousting with umbrellas? Only in London!

A group of British chaps hold a yearly -- and quite unusual -- Olympiad for the athletically-challenged and alcohol-enhanced. (video)

BBC's Channel 4 takes on Hastings

In mid-May, 2009, Channel 4 of the BBC premiered a two-part mini-series dramatizing the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The film, 1066: the Battle for Middle Earth, was directed by Justin Hardy who was interviewed for the Telegraph.

How Galileo changed the way we view the universe

Galileo Galilei was not the first to make a telescope, nor the first to use it to observe the heavens, but his observations of the moon and stars are widely regarded as a seminal event in the history of astronomy and religion.

Medieval design could be eco-house of the future

Engineers and architects at Cambridge University have constructed a prototype "eco-house" based on a 600-year-old design. The plan uses a domed technique developed in Spain called "timbrel vaulting" which retains the sun's heat and cools naturally in the summer. (photo)

"A Yorkshire Tragedy" added to Shakespeare's works?

British academic John Casson believes that he has discovered previously unrecognized works by Williams Shakespeare. Included in these are a poem, a comedy, and his first two tragedies. Casson also claims to have proof of Shakespeare's authorship of the "lost play" Cardenio.

Modern British priory attempts to recreate chartreuse

Mount Grace priory in North Yorkshire has planted an herb garden in the hopes of recreating Britain's ancient version of chartreuse.

In 1492 Scotto sailed the ocean blue, laddie

According to Spanish historian Alfonso Ensenat de Villalonga, Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy to Scottish shopkeepers, and was christened Peter Scotto.

Galileo's digit part of anniversary exhibit

An exhibit honoring the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical observations will include 250 objects from the scientist's life. Included will be Galileo's right, middle finger, displayed in a crystal jar.

Photograph reveals "Essence of Stonehenge"

A recent photo contest by Amateur Photographer magazine called for camera buffs to capture the "Essence of Stonehenge." (photo)

"New" Vikings enjoyed fashion and poetry

Scholars at Cambridge University feel that Vikings have gotten a bad rep, and they have set out to right it by way of a campaign "to recast them as 'new men' with an interest in grooming, fashion and poetry."

"Forme of Cury," King Richard II's recipe book, online

A manuscript containing over 400 recipes dating to the time of King Richard II is being digitized in preparation for online release. The manuscript is one of 40 in a project by the University of Manchester's John Rylands University Library. (photo)

"Unrivaled" Roman villa revealed on Isle of Wight

Archaeologists are marveling over the scope of a 2nd century Roman villa revealed recently on the Isle of Wight in England. The Brading Roman Villa is as "big as an Olympic swimming pool," and includes ornate decorations. (photo)

Early medieval inscribed finger ring found in England

Antiquities specialist Brett Hammond was impressed with a medieval finger ring discovered by a metal detector from Hinckley, England. "It was clearly an important item of treasure. It is a gold ring possibly containing a rare black diamond," he said. (photo)

Metal detector finds 7th century gold cross

A treasure hunter has found an Anglo Saxon gold cross dating to the 7th century on a farm in Nottinghamshire, England. The cross, set with red gemstones, might have originally held a relic, and is valued at UK£25,000. (photo)

Language barrior key to the sinking of the Mary Rose?

New research on the sinking of the Tudor ship The Mary Rose speculates that the ship may have been lost due to the lack of English language skills by the mostly Spanish crew. The theory might help explain the cryptic shout of "George Carew, to another English ship, that his men were 'knaves I cannot rule.'"