Archaeologists search for missing medieval king

archaeologists, King Magnus IIIArchaeologists love a good mystery, and some researchers in Sweden have themselves a big one.

Earlier this year a research team opened what they believed to be the tomb of King Magnus Ladulås, who ruled Sweden from 1275-90. Magnus was a popular king with the commoners and earned the nickname “Ladulås”, which means “lock the barn”, for his law giving peasants the right to refuse free food and lodging to traveling aristocracy and clergy.

When the team opened the tomb in Riddarholmen church in Stockholm, they found the remains of nine individuals. The bodies were subjected to carbon 14 dating and the archaeologists discovered they died sometime between 1430 and 1520.

The researchers already knew the tomb was later, built by King Johan III in 1573, and now it appears that Johan chose the wrong spot. Riddarholmen Church is the traditional burial spot for Swedish royalty. One would think they’d be more careful about marking the tombs.

So where is the missing king? The team is applying for permission to dig in another tomb at the same church, which also (supposedly) contains the remains of King Karl Knutsson. Perhaps they’ll find both kings. Or perhaps they’ll find another mystery.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Want to Climb Everest? Approaching 40? Lots of Luck

It’s not whether you are a man or a woman that determines how successful you’ll be climbing Mt. Everest–or even if you are an experienced mountain climber, although experience might help–it’s how old you are.

The statistics are in. According to data collected after 15 years of studying who makes it to the summit and who doesn’t, researchers have found that after a person reaches age 40, his or her chance of making it to the top drops dramatically. Once you hit 60, you may as well forget about it. Well, you might make it to the top at that age, but your chances are slim. After 40 your body systems poop out faster. (That’s my interpretation of what I’ve read.)

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try after the age of 40, but I’d say, know your limits and don’t be stupid. If you can’t make it, you can’t make it. Heck, how many people actually get to Everest’s first base camp? How many people actually make it to Nepal? or Tibet? How many people don’t even know where these two places are exactly? Or what a sherpa is? If you go trekking in Nepal, hire one. (This shot posted on Flickr by was cleverly doctored. Not by me, the person who posted it. Mt. Everest is in the background.)

Here are some climbing Mt. Everest statistics and facts:

  • The first person to reach the summit was Edmund Hillary in 1957.
  • Since then, more than 2,000 people have reached the top
  • more than 200 have died trying.
  • Those who die are usually left where they died.

If you’re contemplating a trip up Everest, the researchers also found that if you want to be successful, be part of a group. (see article from The Cosmos: Science of Everything) This second photo was taken from the International Space Station. Since today is the 50th anniversary since Sputnik the first satellite, was sent to space, this photo seems fitting. Click on it for a larger image and a view of the path up to Everest’s summit.