13th-century Mongol ship found off Japan


A 12-metre section of keel thought to belong to a ship that took part in a failed Mongol invasion of Japan in the 13th century has been found in deep sand off Nagasaki prefecture in Japan. The find, which is the largest piece of hull recovered from the Mongol invasion fleets, was painted whitish grey and held together by nails. Other items including bricks and weapons were also found onboard. It is hoped that the find will shed light on shipbuilding skills during the 13th century and offer clues about the reasons for the Mongol defeat.


Roman wall collapses at Pompeii

Part of a Roman wall in Pompeii has collapsed following heavy rain at the site – one year after the collapse of the House of Gladiators. The eight-square-metre section of wall crumbled near Nola Gate, and its collapse is thought to have been caused by water infiltrating the stonework. However, Italian culture minister Giancarlo Galan has confirmed that only the outside layer of the wall has fallen, leaving its structure intact. The incident has reinforced concerns that not enough is being done by the Italian government to protect the site.

3D digital model created of Stonehenge

English Heritage has announced the creation of what it claims is the most dimensionally accurate 3D digital model ever created of Stonehenge. According to the organisation, all of the visible faces of the standing and fallen stones, as well as the tops and faces of the lintels, have been digitally captured during the project. Surveys of all the stone faces have also been performed to a level of accuracy never achieved before. 3D laser scanning specialists Greenhatch Group Ltd have produced the images and it is hoped that they will provide a precise baseline to enable English Heritage to monitor the physical condition of the 5,000-year-old monument.

Ancient food traces suggest fish diet

Traces of fish found on a number of pots dating to around 4,000 BC have suggested that mankind may not have abandoned its fish diet as soon after the advent of farming as previously thought, according to experts. Some 133 pots were analysed by researchers from the University of York and the University of Bradford, with 28 per cent of the vessels from inland areas revealing evidence of what is believed to be freshwater fish. Around a fifth of coastal pots contained other traces of sea life, including fats and oils not found in farm animals and plants.

Sir Francis Drake’s body “close to being found”

The owner of the St Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum in Florida has claimed he is close to finding the remains of Elizabethan explorer Sir Francis Drake, thought to lay off the coast of Panama. Drake died of dysentery in 1596 while at sea, and his body is thought to lay clad in a full suit of armour and buried in a lead coffin. The museum’s owner, Pat Croce, claims he has located two ships, the Elizabeth and the Delight, which were scuttled shortly after Drake’s death, and he is now launching an expedition to unearth Drake’s remains. You can follow Croce’s expedition blog on the museum’s website.

Royal Society puts scientific papers online

The Royal Society has announced that it has made its historical journal, Philosophical Transactions, permanently free to access online. The journal, which comprises some 60,000 papers, includes works by Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, as well as articles on subjects such as students being struck by lightning, how the Moon’s supposed inhabitants would see Earth, and a canine blood confusion that took place in 1666. Also online are details of the fate of a woman who swallowed a bullet in 1668 and the dangers of too much stargazing. You can view the journal for yourself on the Royal Society website.


Titanic message in a bottle donated to Cork heritage centre

A note written by a victim of the sinking of Titanic in April 1912 that was placed in a bottle and thrown overboard as the ship went down has been donated to the Cobh Heritage Centre in Cork. The note, which read “From Titanic, goodbye all, Burke of Glanmire, Cork”, was written by 19-year-old Jeremiah Burke who had been given the bottle by his mother before he left for America. Burke and his cousin Nora both drowned in the tragedy; the bottle washed up a year later in Dunkettle, just a few miles from Burke’s family home.