Thursday 1st November 2012
A prehistoric settlement discovered in Bulgaria is the oldest known town to be found in Europe, according to archaeologists. The project team believes that the town, which would have been surrounded by a tall stone wall, dates from between 4,700 and 4,2000 BC and was home to approximately 350 people.
Excavations in the area also point to the town's role in the production of salt, a hugely valuable commodity, which would have been created by boiling water from a local spring. The resulting 'salt bricks' are thought to have been used both for curing meat and for trading, and may help to explain a large hoard of gold discovered near the site 40 years ago.
Admiralty Arch leased out by British government
Admiralty Arch, built in central London in 1912 as a memorial to Queen Victoria, is set to become a luxury hotel following its sale to a Spanish property developer. The Grade I-listed building was bought by Rafael Serrano for an estimated £60m, on a lease that features an explicit condition that prevents it from being converted into apartments or a single home.
Richard III archaeologists 'identify female remains'
Archaeologists working on a project to locate the skeleton of Richard III beneath a Leicester car park are examining a set of female remains found at the site. Although records of burials at the Church of the Grey Friars, where the monarch was taken following his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, include only one woman – Ellen Luenor, one of the friary's benefactors and founders – experts remain cautious about the identity of the remains due to their apparent subsequent reburial.
New Magna Carta centre to be built in Surrey
A new visitor centre set to be built on the site where the Magna Carta was sealed at Runnymede has received a £5m contribution from Surrey County Council. The centre, due to open in time for the 800th anniversary of the charter's issue in 2015, is expected to cost an estimated £8m. Council officials are also calling for one of four existing copies of the document – two of which are held at The British Library in London, with one stored at Salisbury Cathedral and the other at Lincoln Castle – to be loaned to the facility.
BBC Letter from America archive goes online
Hundreds of recordings broadcast as part of Alistair Cooke's Letter from America are being made available to explore online. The BBC series, which featured observations and reports from around the US on topics ranging from politics to sport and entertainment, spanned the years from 1946 to 2004 and remains the world's longest-running speech radio programme.
Minister orders review of Welsh history teaching
The way in which the culture and history of Wales is taught in the country's schools is set to be examined in a government-ordered review. A panel of 13 experts, announced by education minister Leighton Andrews and led by historian Dr Elin Jones, will assess the social relevance of the subject matter and the role of Welsh history in the curriculum.
Game hunter archive sells for £45,000
A collection of documents, photographs and artefacts belonging to 20th-century explorer Richard Cuninghame has sold for nearly £45,000 at auction in Edinburgh. Cuninghame, whose diary of his first expedition in 1901 fetched almost £14,000, led trips for European royalty and US president Theodore Roosevelt as well as contributing to the work of the Natural History Museum in London.
Memorial for Kinross witch trial victims unveiled
A memorial to eleven people executed in Kinross for supposed witchcraft has been unveiled at the nearby Tullibole Castle. The Witches Maze, a 33-metre-wide circle of 2,000 birch trees with a sandstone pillar bearing the names of the victims at the centre, commemorates local people who were killed as part of the Crook of Devon witch trials in 1662.
To find out if you would have been accused of witchcraft, take our online witch test.
Image credits: Crown Copyright (Admiralty Arch); Magna Carta Trust (Magna Carta); Bonhams (rhino)