16 Stories

Medieval 'Knight' Knocks Out Drone With a Spear

Nice shot, sire

(Newser) - We now know what would happen if a drone traveled back in time to the Middle Ages. A talented knight—more precisely, a talented medieval reenactor—at Russia's Rusborg festival managed to down a drone with a throw of his spear. The drone was recording the event from about... More »

Workers at Westminster Make Medieval Find Under Pipes

Remains of at least 50 people in abbey thought to be from 11th, 12th centuries

(Newser) - Workers demolishing a section of Westminster Abbey to make room for a new tower stumbled upon something most unexpected (at least in that part of the abbey): the remains of at least 50 people, including the skeleton of a 3-year-old, that archaeologists believe date back to the 11th and 12th... More »

Medieval Mystery Sword Inscription Baffles Experts

The 13th century River Witham sword bears a long message

(Newser) - World, can you help us decipher a medieval sword inscription? That sums up the British Library's announcement about a blade discovered in an English river in 1825, LiveScience reports. The so-called River Witham sword—a 13th-century object now on display at the library—bears a message along its 38-inch... More »

'Yoda' Turns Up in Medieval Manuscript

Lookalike spotted in 14th-century French volume

(Newser) - Readers of online medieval manuscripts—whoever you are—may be intrigued to know about a 14th-century image of a guy who looks much like Yoda, wide-spread ears and all, NPR reports. But is it really him? "I'd love to say that it really was Yoda, or was drawn... More »

'Creepy' Doodles Emerge From Medieval Text

UV light reveals erased additions to the Welsh 'Black Book'

(Newser) - Experts have uncovered what LiveScience calls "ghostly" secrets hidden in a medieval manuscript, which happens to be one of the first to reference King Arthur and Merlin. "The Black Book of Carmarthen" was compiled around 1250, but contains poetry, religious verses, and other texts dating as far back... More »

Big Medieval Cemetery Found Under Cambridge

It's one of the nation's largest

(Newser) - Historians have long known that a medieval cemetery existed on the grounds of what is now the University of Cambridge, but until a recent dig they didn't realize just how big it was. Archaeologists uncovered the full or partial remains of about 1,300 people beneath Old Divinity School... More »

Near Irish 'Little Pompeii,' an Even More Ancient Site

Traces of buildings have been found along cliffs near a well-known castle

(Newser) - The settlement of Dunlace on Northern Ireland's craggy North Coast is thought to have been founded in 1608, but was eventually abandoned after a fire destroyed much of it in 1642. The settlement, first unearthed in 2009, reports the Belfast Telegraph , has been called Little Pompeii, and it's... More »

Medieval Palace May Be Buried Underground

Archaeologists uncover what's under the grass at Old Sarum

(Newser) - A prehistoric fortress is home to a much later structure: what may be one of the biggest medieval palaces ever discovered, one whose remnants remain buried beneath the ground, the Independent reports. The site in southern England is surrounded by huge earthworks that date to the Iron Age. Researchers used... More »

Expert: Mystery Sword Was Ivan the Terrible's

Russian archaeologist says it fell during a historic battle

(Newser) - A medieval mystery sword found nearly 40 years ago in Siberia belonged to the notorious Ivan the Terrible, if a rather colorful theory can be believed. Scholars have long wondered how the 12th-century blade—which looks central European by design and was later adorned with Norse runes and a silver... More »

Real History Behind Game of Thrones' Epic Duel

Trial by combat really happened in medieval times

(Newser) - The Game of Thrones duel between Oberyn "The Red Viper" Martell and Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane might seem like an outlandish fantasy construction. But believe it or not, the scene actually echoes some real-life incidents. Longwood University medieval history professor Steven Isaac breaks down the real events that... More »

700-Year-Old Poop Found, Still Reeks

But hey, it's in 'excellent condition'

(Newser) - One of the biggest urban archaeological digs Denmark has ever seen has uncovered a lowly part of history. "We are talking about 700-year-old latrines. And yes, they still smell bad," an archaeologist explains. The team stumbled on what appears to be a 14th-century communal toilet area in the... More »

Search Begins for Battlefield Lost for Centuries

Battle of Brunanburh helped define English, Scottish identities

(Newser) - Scotland is poised to vote on independence this year—and before it does, researchers are hoping they'll be able to track down the site of a battle at the root of the English-Scottish divide. There are more than 40 sites across Britain where experts have suggested the vicious Battle... More »

Kangaroo Drawing Could Rewrite Australia's History

It possibly indicates the Portuguese got there first

(Newser) - A tiny prayer book could upend the conventional wisdom about the European discovery of Australia. New York City's Les Enluminures gallery recently acquired a medieval Portuguese manuscript that appears to contain a drawing of a kangaroo curled into the letter "D." The manuscript, which provides text and... More »

DNA Yields Clue to Eye Color of the Long Dead

Scientists paint picture of unknown Nazi victims

(Newser) - A new DNA test lets researchers in on the eye and hair colors of people who have been dead for decades—or centuries. Scientists have learned, for instance, that a woman buried among monks in a medieval tomb had brown eyes and brownish hair. They've also deduced the eye... More »

Get Ready for the New Middle Ages

Essay: The world's power structure will look much like the 12th century's

(Newser) - To get an idea of how the 21st century will play out, it might help to look back 1,000 years or so, writes Parag Khanna in the Financial Times . "The world we are moving into in 2011 is one not just with many more prominent nations, but one... More »

'Robin Hood Was a Loan Shark'

He quivered over interest rates

(Newser) - He robbed from the rich, but Robin Hood didn't just give it away to the poor—he loaned them money at stiff interest rates like some kind of medieval loan shark, claims a new book. One of the earliest historical references to the outlaw of Sherwood Forest, a ballad from... More »

16 Stories