Archaeologists may have solved the mystery of Rome’s famous disappearing Ninth Hispanic Legion after discovering a Roman ‘industrial estate’ during excavations underneath the A1 in North Yorkshire. The Ninth Legion was one of the most feared of the Roman Empire, but disappeared from records at some point after 108 AD. Fourteen human cremations have been unearthed, along with coins, brooches and pottery.
Meanwhile, a German Second World War plan to invade Britain has been revealed in a newly released MI5 file, now made public at the National Archives. The files suggest that German shock troops planned to land at Dover dressed in British uniforms if the Luftwaffe had won the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. Troops would also have landed elsewhere along the south coast, as well as in Scotland and southern Ireland.
In other world war related news, an amateur historian has found the mummified body of a First World War soldier frozen into the ice in the Marmolada mountain range of the Dolomites in northeast Italy. The area was witness to fierce fighting between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops between 1915 and 1917 and it is thought the soldier may have stepped on a mine or been hit by shrapnel from a grenade.
Also making the history headlines this week was the removal of the 10,000-year-old bones of a prehistoric boy from an underwater Mexican cave. The remains were discovered four years ago by a team of divers and could offer clues to the first migrations to the American continent. The partial skeletons of three other people have also been found inside other flooded caves.
A Bronze Age henge has been unearthed on land near Letchworth in Hertfordshire, which is believed to date back to between 2000 and 3000 BC. Grooved ware products have been found along with a chalk bank located underneath the plough soil.
In other history news, Anne Frank’s tree of hope has toppled during heavy wind and rain. Anne hid from the Nazis in the 150-year-old chestnut tree during the Second World War, but its trunk has since become blighted with fungus and moths. No one was hurt in the incident.
And finally, Van Gogh’s Vase with Flowers has been seized at Cairo airport just hours after it was stolen from the city’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum. The £32 million painting has proved popular with thieves in the past and was stolen from the same museum in 1978. An inquiry into the museum’s security is now underway.