Incisions have been discovered in the front teeth of a Viking found in a suspected mass burial pit in Dorset. Archaeologists believe that the collection of 51 skulls and 54 bodies unearthed in 2009 belonged to Viking warriors, and estimate they lived between AD 970 and 1025. It is thought that the grooves filed into the front teeth of one skull may have been designed to frighten opponents, or signify greater status as a fighter. Dental modification is rare in European remains.


Skull in Attenborough garden from 1879 murder

A skull recovered from Sir David Attenborough’s garden in south-west London during building work last October belonged to a woman murdered in 1879, an inquest has shown. Julia Martha Thomas was killed by her maid over 130 years ago but the case of her missing head has only now been solved. Historical records and radiocarbon testing were used to finally solve the case known as “the Barnes mystery”.

Historic Scottish buildings to receive £1m

Six Scottish historic buildings with “a story to tell” will receive more than £1m from Historic Scotland to help carry out repairs and boost tourism. The money will benefit sites across Scotland, such as Drum Castle, which hopes to expand its wedding business, and Haining Estate, which will potentially become a centre for contemporary arts, music and literature.

Viking silver hoard discovered in Furness

A hoard of 92 silver coins and artefacts, including ingots and a silver bracelet, has been uncovered by a metal dectectorist in the Cumbrian countryside. The collection, which is likely to be pronounced treasure, has been provisionally valued at tens of thousands of pounds. Experts suggest that the find is significant evidence of the material culture of Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries in the Furness area.

Vintage Bugatti bought for £60 and sold for £430,000

A 1924 type 35 Bugatti purchased in 1950 for £60 has sold for £430,000 at auction. The car raced at Indianapolis 500 in 1936 and the American National Championship races in 1938, before falling into disrepair. Engineer Jack Perkins bought the car and restored it to racing condition, entering races himself until the age of 78. After his death in 1992, Perkins’ wife Jean displayed the car at Haynes Motor museum in Somerset. It was sold at Bonhams’ annual auction at Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex. Autocar magazine has described the type 35 as “the most beautiful racing car of all time”.

Grant to commemorate first professional black footballer

A grant of £117,000 has been awarded to Sheffield-based organisation Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) to produce a film about the life of Arthur Wharton, football’s first professional black player. Wharton played as goalkeeper for Sheffield United and Rotherham Town in the 1890s, and was also a professional athlete and cricketer. FURD has urged anyone who may have footage of Wharton in action to come forward so that the film can be distributed to schools, community groups and football clubs.

Cosmeston vessel signifies thriving medieval local craft

A 13th–century pottery vessel has been found in the Vale of Glamorgan by a team of archaeologists from Cardiff University’s school of history, archaeology and religion. Such vessels were used by guests to wash their hands at the dinner table, and this recent find utilises a ram’s nose as a pouring spout. The pottery has been identified as Vale Ware. The locality of the clay, usually imported for such items, suggests that there was enough money in the area to support local trade and local skilled workers.

Work starts to save deteriorating Royston Cave carvings

An attempt to preserve the 14th–century underground carvings in a man-made cavern in Royston has begun. The carvings, discovered in the 18th century, have undergone notable deterioration in the last two centuries. Experts believe this is due to worms feeding on nutrients in the chalk walls. The cave walls, thought to be around 5,000 years old, boast a range of religious symbols, with carvings representing the crucifixion, the holy family and several saints. Local historians have suggested the grade I-listed site may have been used by the Knights Templar, the military order of the Roman Catholic Church.


Farmer repairs historic Oxfordshire milestone

Farmer David Barbour from Heath Farm near Chipping Norton has restored a milestone damaged in a car crash in a move to protect the county’s traditions. Barbour created the replacement stone in collaboration with Oxfordshire’s Milestone Society and re-erected it at the site. Milestones used to be vital for navigation around the county, but many were destroyed during the Second World War for fear that they might be useful to invading German armies. Of the original 1,000 milestones in the area, just under 100 remain.