history
How Did Mary Queen of Scots Send Secret Messages?

Mary Queen of Scots, the controversial 16th century royal figure, met a rather (spoiler alert) grisly end. And it all had to do with a cracked code. But how did Mary actually send her secret messages—the ones that she ultimately lost her head over? Read More >>

history
Easter Island Mayor Says “Keep the Statue” as Locals Won’t Look After it Properly

The mayor of Easter Island has decided it might be best if the request to have an old stature returned is rejected by the British Museum, as the country is in fact littered with such things and the museum might do a better job of preserving it for future generations. Read More >>

movies
We Asked a Researcher to Judge the Historically Inaccurate Junk in Robin Hood

I don’t care that Otto Bathurst’s Robin Hood played so fast and loose with history it basically exists in an alternate universe. On the contrary, it was one of the things I enjoyed the most about it. The movie was great when it was just having a good time, instead of trying too hard to make us take it seriously. But the historical inaccuracy, while not a deal breaker, is still something to discuss. And make fun of. Read More >>

history
Medieval Skeleton Wearing Leather Thigh-High Boots Found in River Thames

Archaeologists in London have uncovered a dramatic 500-year-old male skeleton lying face-down in the mud of the River Thames. Extraordinarily, the skeleton is still wearing his thigh-high leather boots. Read More >>

gadgets
Japan’s Last Remaining Pager Service Is Officially Calling It Quits

The heyday of the pager is long since over, but the devices themselves have continued to be used for specialised purposes like search-and-rescue teams and emergency workers. In Japan, however, the funeral bells are officially ringing. Read More >>

science
Gaze Upon the Reconstructed Face of an Infamous 19th Century Assassin

One of the most intriguing items on display at the Queen Mary Pathology Museum – the skull belonging to British assassin John Bellingham – has been used to create a digital reconstruction of the killer’s face. Read More >>

history
Easter Islanders Arrive in London With Massive Empty Suitcase

A lovely present brought home from Easter Island for Queen Victoria in 1868 is facing calls for it to be returned to where it was, er, liberated from, as pressure is growing on the British Museum to give back one of the more modestly proportioned Easter Island figures that it currently has on display. Read More >>

history
A 1990s Crisp Packet is Going For £££ on eBay

A full, unopened packet of Primes crisps that expired 26 years ago (yes, that's how long ago 1992 was) is proving popular on eBay. Read More >>

history
How the Royal Flying Corps’ ‘Superman’ ‘Image Masked a Crisis of Nervous Disorders During WWI

As the Great War was concerned there are few figures glamorised more than the fighter pilots of the Royal Flying Corps. As ‘knights of the skies’, fighter pilots were immortalised as full of derring-do and 'can do' spirit. Anyone who’s enjoyed the irreverence of Blackadder Goes Forth will remember the flying ace Lord Flashheart and his enormous ego. He may have been a braggart, but he is indefatigable and his actions match his words. Read More >>

history
Ancient Cat Mummies and More Discovered in Egyptian Tombs

Archaeologists working at a pyramid complex south of Cairo have discovered dozens of cat mummies, along with troves of wooden statues and a rare collection of mummified scarab beetles. Read More >>

history
Newly Revealed Letter Shows Einstein Feared Persecution Long Before Nazis Took Power

A decade before Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany, famed physicist Albert Einstein was already sensing imminent peril for his country and his own welfare, as a newly discovered letter reveals. Read More >>

history
The House of the Future in 1945 Included a Rotisserie and Built-In Waffle Maker

“What’s tomorrow going to be like?” the opening of this 1945 newsreel asked. For many Americans who were watching, the answer was “a better life than my parents had.” World War II was winding down, the postwar boom was just around the corner, and planners were promising incredible things ahead – incredible things like affordable and efficient housing, a sci-fi dream for many of us living in the year 2018. Read More >>

gadgets
This ‘Television Monocle’ From 1938 Was Silly and Wonderful

Back in 1938, TV wasn’t really a thing yet. But that didn’t stop people from already dreaming about the wild future of tiny, personalised TV sets. One perfect example is this bizarre contraption from HMV, dubbed the “Television Monocle.” Read More >>

history
How Thomas Edison Used a Fake Electric Chair Execution Film to Fight The Electricity War

You’ve probably heard about Thomas Edison’s infamous 1903 film where he electrocuted an elephant. It’s just as horrifying as you’d imagine. But fewer people know that this wasn’t actually Edison’s first electrocution film. Two years earlier, in 1901, he produced a film re-enacting a famous execution. Perversely, it also served as a national advertisement for one of Edison’s latest inventions, the electric chair. Read More >>

history
How Industrial-Scale Tar Production Powered the Viking Age

Vikings acquired the capacity to produce tar at an industrial scale as early as the 8th century AD, according to new research. The protective black goo was applied to the planks and sails of ships, which the Vikings used for trade and launching raids. Without the ability to produce copious amounts of tar, this new study suggests, the Viking Age may have never happened. Read More >>