Researchers believe that an Egyptian princess who lived 3,500 years ago could be the first known person to have developed heart disease, after scans of her mummified body revealed extensive blockages in arteries leading to her heart, brain, stomach and legs. The remains of 52 mummies, including the princess, were analysed at the National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo and evidence of a hardening of the arteries was found in almost half of the mummies scanned. Dr Gregory Thomas of the University of California believes that the finds suggest scientists are missing a risk factor for heart disease, as the Egyptians would have had a significantly healthier diet than we do today yet still suffered from the condition. Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon, who died in her 40s, was from an illustrious Egyptian family and lived in what is now Luxor from the year 1580 BC.
A cigar box once owned by the captain of the ill-fated Titanic has been discovered on a bedside cabinet belonging to Merseyside pensioner Hilary Mee. An auctioneer visiting Mee’s home to value other antiques spotted the box, which is lined with camphor and designed to hold 40 of the finest Havana cigars. The box features the emblem of the White Star shipping line and bears the initials of Edward John Smith, the ship’s master. The box is anticipated to fetch between £10,000 and £20,000 at auction.
A velvet-covered prayer book belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots has returned to Scotland for what is thought to be the first time in 400 years. The book, which is thought to have been carried by Mary to her execution at Fotheringay Castle in 1587, went on display for just one day at Loretto School in Musselburgh, East Lothian. The prayer book is thought to have been kept in England since Mary’s execution.
A new book written by author and art historian Peter Lord has revealed details of Welsh Liberal politician Winifred Coombe Tennant, a woman well known in political, artistic and spiritualist circles. Based on Tennant’s diaries, the book reveals her to be suffragette, a supporter of Welsh Prime Minister Lloyd George, and a psychic medium who wore traditional Welsh costume every day for ten years. Tennant, who stood for parliament in 1922 in the Forest of Dean, was a patron of Welsh art, but the book also reveals that she went under a pseudonym to study scripts she claimed to have received from spirits. The Diary of Winifred Coombe Tennant 1909-1924 is published by the National Library of Wales.
Never-before-seen documents once belonging to George Pitt-Rivers, the cousin of Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine, have revealed Pitt-Rivers to have been a Nazi sympathizer who established strong links with Adolf Hitler’s government. Pitt-Rivers was a respected anthropologist but became a vocal supporter of National Socialism and eugenics during the 1930s; he was eventually arrested as a Nazi sympathiser on the orders of his cousin-in-law Winston Churchill. The documents, which include previously unseen photos of Hitler and letters to the Nazi leader, were discovered in a loft by Pitt-Rivers’ son.
Archaeologists working at Culross Palace in Fife believe they have discovered 17th-century foundations of previously unrecorded buildings at the site, which suggest the palace may have had an east wing. Sir George Bruce, the Laird of Carnock and a successful merchant, built Culross Palace in 1611.
US space shuttle Endeavour has launched on its 25th, and final, mission before it retires to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The shuttle took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 08:56 local time (12:56 GMT, 13:56 BST) to meet with the International Space Station to deliver a US$2 billion particle physics experiment and a tray of essential spare parts. In its history, the Endeavour has clocked up a cumulative distance in space of 166 million km – an expanse greater than that which divides the Earth and the Sun.
The Georgian mansion Benarth Hall in Conwy has been put up for sale for the first time in half a century. The Grade II listed building, which dates back to 1790, is thought to have been designed by the architect Samuel Wyatt for Samuel Price of Lincoln’s Inn, and was visited by Queen Victoria’s son, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. The building is on sale for £2.3 million.
A collection of 18th-century Chinese works of art once kept at the back of a Dorset family’s cabinet is to be sold at auction. The collection, comprising mainly jade objects, was originally kept at the Summer Palace in what was Peking, China, but is thought to have been seized during the looting of the palace in 1860. The objects, which were probably made for Emperor Qianlong, are expected to fetch £1 million.