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Anglo-Saxon artifacts discovered near Maidstone

A metal detectorist from Medway History Finders has uncovered a collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts dating to the 6th century near Maidstone, Kent, England. The hoard, valued at more than UK£40,000, includes silver brooches with red garnets and hairpins. (photos)

Anglo-Saxon tool papers online

On its website, Daegrad Tools of Sheffield, England offers an extensive list of papers on Anglo-Saxon tools. The papers are available for free download in PDF format.

Stonehenge bluestones may have been local

Legend says that the bluestones of Stonehenge were transported from a quarry in Wales to the site on the Salisbury Plain, but a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shows that the stones may actually have come from a site only three kilometres from the structure.

Manx returns to the Isle of Man

Manx was once the endangered list. Not the cat - the language. But now a new generation of young people, such as singer Ruth Keggin, is doing its best to breathe new life into the speech of the people of the Isle of Man.

New portraits of Shakespeare revealed

"I subjected the images to fundamental tests of identity and authenticity, and these revealed that we are dealing with true-to-life portraits of Shakespeare, one from his youth, the second from his old age," said Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel about two recently-discovered portraits of William Shakespeare. (photos)

Britain's fifth-century cultural revolution

"Dark Ages" history traditionally considers the transition from Roman to Anglo-Saxon culture in England a time of bloody conquest, but in a new article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science suggest that the evolution may have been more cultural than brutal.

Society Knight uses both Pen and Sword

An SCA member from An Tir, Sir Brand deux Leons has achieved his dream, as his Shakespearean-style play "To Each Their Own" is now in publication. Sir Brand seeks funding and participation from the SCA performing arts community to help drive a full stage production of the work.

Medieval church wall and remains unearthed by electrical workers

The excavation of a ditch to bury an electrical cable has led to the discovery of a medieval church wall at St Ffinan's Church in Anglesey, England. The original church, believed to have been built in 620 CE, was mostly destroyed when the newer church was built in the 19th century.

"Astonishing" find in St. Bartholomew's Church

In 2006, St Bartholomew's Church in Much Marcle, England received UK£500,000 for restoration of the church. During the project, workers discovered a lead coffin in the tomb chest of Blanch Mortimer, daughter of 14th century traitor Sir Roger Mortimer, who overthrew King Edward II. English Heritage described the find as "astonishing." (photos, video)

Funds needed to restore haunted Wymering Manor

Even before it was damaged by death watch beetles, Wymering Manor in Portsmouth, England was pretty creepy. Tradition holds that the 400-year-old building, once featured on the Most Haunted Live television program, is the most haunted house in England. Today the manor's worst problem is its deterioration, which has led the owners to seek to raise the UK£2.5m needed for the project.

St Piran's Oratory to be excavated

In 1910, the remains of St Piran's Oratory near Perranporth, Cornwall were encased in a concrete bunker to preserve them from the coast's harsh weather, but now archaeologists have received permission to excavate the sixth century chapel, believed to be Britain's oldest place of Christian worship. (photos)

Yorkshire Museum covets Bedale Hoard

In 2012, a "nationally significant" Viking hoard, including a gold sword pommel and silver neck ring, was discovered in Bedale, North Yorkshire. Now the Yorkshire Museum hopes to buy the collection which is valued at UK£51,636.

"Cradle of the law" to display Magna Carta

In 1214, English barons met in Suffolk to discuss King John and the Magna Carta, a year before it was signed in Surrey. Now the Bury Society will celebrate the event with a display of an original copy of the document at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

Illuminated almanac: 15th century iPad?

The Wellcome Library has acquired a rare medical almanac, a "combined calendar, astrological chart and medical textbook," that compacts into a small, folded strip, for UK£100,000 from the Edith Sitwell collection. The illuminated alamnac is believed to have been produced in an English workshop in the early 15th century. (photo)

King Alfred found?

Researchers from the University of Winchester believe they may have found the pelvis of England's King Alfred the Great in a box of bones stored in the city's museum. The bone may also be from Alfred's son King Edward the Elder. The 9th and 10th century Saxon kings are best known for protecting their people from Viking raids.

Roman cavalry helmet found at Iron Age shrine

In the year 43 CE, a Roman cavalry helmet, decorated with a silver-gilt wreath of victory, was buried by an Iron Age tribe at a shrine in Hallaton, England. Experts are still considering how such a helmet came to be in tribal hands. (photo)

Forgotten warrior-saint may have inspired Tolkien's Aragorn

British historian Max Adams believes that 7th century King Oswald has been overlooked as a hero. This opinion was apparently shared by author J.R.R. Tolkien, when he based his own warrior king Aragorn on the early English monarch who also "was exiled as a young man before returning to his homeland in order to claim his birthright and become king." (photos)

Cambridge hopes to acquire Codex Zacynthius

In 1821, the Bible Society, in Swindon, England was presented with the Codex Zacynthius, a 6th or 7th century Gospel of Luke. Now the Society is offering the Bible for sale, with Cambridge University as its buyer of choice. In order to acquire the manuscript, Cambridge will need to raise UK£1.1m. (photo)

Contemplating Alfred the Great

In a feature-length story for History Today, historian Barbara Yorke looks at the history and reputation of King Alfred the Great, who she names "The Most Perfect Man in History."

"Not a pretty picture" painted by pit of Roman skulls

In 1988, 39 skulls of adult men were discovered near the Museum of London. The skulls dated to Roman times and now are believed to have been gathered by "head hunters" who retrieved the heads of those who died in the nearby amphitheater. "It is not a pretty picture," said Rebecca Redfern, from the centre for human bioarchaeology at the museum of London.

Metallurgy conference to focus on personal adornment

The Historical Metallurgy Society AGM will hold its annual conference May 31 - June 1, 2014 at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England. The them of this year's conference will be Metals used in Personal Adornment.

Little hook protector of 16th century fashion

What could be worse than dragging your elegant skirts through the muck on the streets? Nothing, apparently, as revealed by the discovery of a 20mm (0.8 inch) long gold hook designed to hold up ladies' skirts when crossing a muddy yard. (photo)

"Staggering find" links British Isles and Norway

Curator Barry Ager of the British Museum discovered a rare Viking artifact lately in an unexpected place: the storeroom of the British Museum. The ornate, gilded brooch, spotted by Ager "in a lump of organic material excavated from a Viking burial site at Lilleberge in Norway," turned out to be a rare piece of jewelry. (photo)

Rare gaming piece found in Anglo-Saxon royal hall

Archaeologists from the University of Reading have found an extremely rare board game piece dating to the fifth century during the excavation of an Anglo-Saxon royal complex in Lyminge, Kent, England. The piece would have been used for games such as backgammon or draughts. (photo)

BM's Sutton Hoo gallery receives facelift

Room 41 of the British Museum has received a facelift in order to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo ship burial. The room, which houses the museum's early medieval collections, was refurbished with new flooring, roof and internal architecture renovation thanks to a gift from Sir Paul and Lady Jill Ruddock.

Investigation of Shakespeare's last home to enter phase 2

Archaeologists have been working on the site of New Place, William Shakespeare's last home in Stratford-upon-Avon, since 2009 and have now discovered "as much as they can" about the site, which was demolished in the 18th century. (photos)

Sweyn Forkbeard, the "murderous" King of England

Sweyn Forkbeard, England's shortest-reigning monarch, is mostly forgotten today, due mainly to his short time as king (less than five years) and his "murderous character." Sweyn declared himself King of England on Christmas Day 1013 and established Gainsborough as his capital.

Symposium scheduled to pinpoint location of Battle of Brunanburh

In 937, a deciding battle was fought which changed the course of British history forever. The Battle of Brunanburh, one of the UK's bloodiest, was fought between the Scots and the Saxons, establishing England's identity. Unfortunately, no one knows where the battle took place.

Keeping current on Stonehenge

It's been a momentous year for experts at Stonehenge, as well as those who visit the Neolithic monument, including the grand opening of its new visitor center. The Culture24 blog offers a wrapup of 2013 for the world Heritage site. (photos, map)

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources completed

For the last one hundred years, scholars have been digging their way through documents in order to create the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, "the most comprehensive study ever" of medieval Latin vocabulary. The 16th and final volume of the dictionary was completed in early December 2013.