A reconstructed Roman villa in Wroxeter, Shropshire, built using traditional tools and techniques of the day, has been unveiled and handed over to English Heritage. The building, which was designed by Professor Dai Morgan Evans and is based on a building excavated at Wroxeter, was recently the focus of the Channel 4 documentary Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day.
Skeletal remains found in Gough’s Cave in Somerset have led experts to believe that Ancient Britons may have used human skulls as drinking vessels. Scientists at London’s Natural History Museum believe that the level of modification performed on the three 14,700-year-old skulls indicates that they were used to hold liquid, probably as part of some type of ritual.
The remains of the 19th-century sunken whaling ship Two Brothers has been discovered in shallow waters off Hawaii by US marine archaeologists who believe the vessel could have belonged to Captain George Pollard, the sailor who inspired Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick. Artefacts uncovered included harpoons and a hook for stripping whales of their blubber, along with cauldrons used to turn whale blubber into oil. The ship sank in 1823 after it hit a coral reef.
A 3.2 million-year-old foot bone found at Hadar in Ethiopia is thought to confirm that a key ancestor of ours, the human-like species Australopithecus afarensis, walked upright consistently. The shape of the bone indicates that the species had arches in its feet, a critical feature in the ability to walk upright as modern humans do.
Scientists studying paintings by Van Gogh believe that a complex UV-driven reaction can explain why the bright yellows in some of the artist’s paintings have turned brown over time. The researchers discovered that sunlight can trigger a previously unknown reaction turning chrome yellow into brown pigments and thus altering the original composition.
A chilling photograph of Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler taken minutes after he committed suicide by biting into a cyanide pill in May 1945 are to be put up for auction in March. The picture of Himmler, who was due to be interrogated by intelligence chiefs over his war crimes the following day, was taken by a British intelligence officer and is expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000.
A new £2 coin is being issued to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the launch of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, which sank leading an attack on a French invasion fleet in 1545. The Mary Rose was raised from the seabed in 1982 and a new museum is currently under construction in Portsmouth to house the vessel. The coin, which bears the ship’s name in Tudor script, will enter circulation later this year.
A red and white self-portrait measuring 6ft by 6ft by artist Andy Warhol has sold for £10.8 million at auction at Christie’s in London. The piece, which has been in private hands since 1974, was created in 1967 as one of a series of 11 large-scale portraits painted that year. Warhol died in 1987 at the age of 59.
A motorbike with 721,703 miles on the clock is to be auctioned at the International Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire in April. Nicknamed ‘Vinnylonglegs’, the motorbike has only ever had one owner, 83-year-old Stuart Jenkinson, who bought the vehicle in Newcastle in 1955 and has been riding it ever since. The 1955 Vincent Black Prince is expected to fetch at least £35,000.