Documents point to identity of Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’

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A Shakespeare expert has discovered documents that suggest that the playwright’s ‘Dark Lady’ was a prostitute. Dr Duncan Salkeld, from the University of Chichester, says that the woman, known as ‘Lucy Negro’ or ‘Black Luce’, is “the foremost candidate for the dubious role of the ‘Dark Lady’.”

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Dr Salkeld says that he has discovered references in the diary of Philip Henslowe, who owned and built the Rose Theatre. The identity of the mysterious woman, mentioned in many of Shakespeare’s sonnets and described as “my female evil” and “my bad angel”, has remained the subject of academic debate for years.

  

Third Neolithic figure unearthed at Orkney dig

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A hand-carved figure thought to date from 5,000 years ago has been unearthed in a dig in Orkney. The figurine is the third to be discovered at the Links of Noltland site in Westray, where archaeologists have found an extensive settlement spanning from the late Neolithic era to the Bronze Age.

Scottish cabinet secretary for cultural and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “There was understandable exictement when the first figurine, believe to be the earliest artistic representation of the human form ever found in the UK, was found in 2009. To be now able to say that two more examples have been discovered is unprecendented.”

All three figurines are set to go on display at the Westray Heritage Centre later in the year.

  

English language “originated in Turkey”, researchers claim

Modern Indo-European languages, including English, originated in Turkey between 8,000 and 9,500 years ago, according to researchers from New Zealand. The team used methods traditionally employed for studying viruses to create blocks of similar languages, identifying similar words present across the groups.

Commenting on the research, Professor Mark Pagel, head of the Evolution Laboratory at the School of Biological University of Reading, said: “This paper conclusively shows that the Indo-European languages are at least 8-9,500 years old, and arose, as has long been speculated, in the Anatolian region of what is modern-day Turkey and spread outwards from there.”

  

Workers unearth Second World War bombs

Explosives left over from the Second World War have been discovered in two separate instances this week. The first, found in Munich on Monday, is thought to have been a 250kg US bomb and was unearthed while workers were demolishing a bar in the city. Experts were unable to defuse the device due to its unusual chemical fuse, and approximately 2,500 residents were moved from their homes while it was detonated. 

A 500kg bomb was also successfully detonated at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport following its discovery by workers on Wednesday. The facility was used as a military airfield by Nazi forces during the Second World War, and is now one of the busiest airports in Europe.

  

Iron Age hoard returns to Cambridgeshire

A Cambridgeshire museum has paid £22,000 for an Iron Age hoard thought to have been the life savings of a wealthy family. The 68 gold coins, currently stored at the British Museum, will be moved to St Neots Museum once additional funds have been raised for a high-security display case.

The set of gold ‘staters’, considered to be the first type of coin to have circulated in Britain, was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast in 2010. Experts believe that they would have originally been buried to hide them from potential thieves.

Medieval well discovered underneath Plymouth home

A retired civil servant from Plymouth has discovered what is thought to be a medieval well beneath his house. Colin Steer began investigating when he noticed an unusual depression in the floor of his living room, eventually excavating a hole 30 inches wide and 33ft deep. Plans suggest that the shaft dates from the 16th century, and Steer is hoping that experts will help investigate possible connections to a watercourse constructed in the area by Sir Francis Drake.

Elvis underwear set for auction

A pair of Elvis Presley’s unwashed underpants are expected to fetch as much as £10,000 when they go up for auction in September. The sale of the singer’s belongings, in Stockport, coincides with the 35th anniversary of his death in 1977.

Among the other memorabilia set to be on offer are Presley’s personal Bible, complete with his own notations, and home videos capturing events including his wedding to Priscilla Wagner in 1967.

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Orkney figurine image © Crown copyright reproduced courtesy of Historic Scotland (www.historicscotlandimages.gov.uk)