Sixteenth-century playwright Thomas Middleton was the most likely co-author of William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, according to academics from Oxford University. Analysis of the play’s vocabulary, rhyming, style and grammar, as well as differences in style and inconsistencies in the text, have led experts to believe that the play was the work of two authors. What’s more, literary research has revealed that groups of writers would have been working on plays together, much like today’s film studios. Rhyming and rhythms of sections of the play, the phrasing, spelling and even individual words have all suggested the involvement of Thomas Middleton in the writing of the play.
Geologists believe they have found evidence that a tsunami recorded in 479 BC saved the Greek village of Potidaea from Persian invaders. Excavations have revealed signs of massive marine events, including huge waves, while sea shells likely to have been lifted from the seabed during a tsunami were found in the nearby city of Mende. Ancient historian Herodotus recorded: “Then there came upon them [the Persians] a great flood-tide of the sea, higher than ever before, as the natives of the place say, though high tides come often … So those of them who could not swim perished, and those who could were slain by the men of Potidaia who put out to them in boats.”
A 2,000-year-old wall in Pompeii has collapsed, just two weeks after the launch of an £86 million project by the Italian government to preserve the ancient site. The red-frescoed wall, which surrounds an ancient villa, is sited in an area already closed to the public.
A silver-gilt crozier (a kind of staff of office) and a jewelled ring are among finds unearthed in a grave at Furness Abbey in Cumbria. The treasures were discovered with the bones of the abbot they belonged to, a man who has been described as “probably a well-fed, little-exercised man in his 40s who suffered from arthritis and type 2 diabetes”. The crozier is the first to be excavated in England in 50 years and depicts the archangel Michael slaying a dragon with his sword. The ring, which may have held a relic in place on the abbot’s finger, is described as being made “for a man with big or chubby fingers”, and was probably presented to the abbot on his consecration.