Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just what medieval movies need – Zombies

Amber Entertainment and 2000 AD, a British comic book company, have agreed to develop a feature film based upon the graphic novel Stronghold, which features zombies terrorizing medieval Wales. According to production will begin by next year, and will be directed by Jason Kingsley and adapted to the screen by writer Tom Fickling.

Jason Kingsley, a longtime video game director, hopes that the inclusion of zombies in a medieval setting will give the feature a fresh look and feel. He told Varierty, ”We think that the zombies are great fun. I’ve known Ileen for many years, and we think this project is a great way to get into business with Amber.”

Click here to read the article on

Second scroll depicting 'Wako' pirates found to be held by Beijing museum

The National Museum of China in Beijing holds a picture scroll very similar to one in Japan that was until now thought to be the only pictorial record of the medieval "Wako" pirates, it has been learned.

"Wako" is a name meaning "Japanese invader," used in the past by China and Korea to refer to pirates that plundered and engaged in smuggling along the Chinese and Korean coasts from the 13th to 16th centuries. Through the 15th century, the Wako were mostly Japanese, as the name implies, but in the 16th century most of the Wako are believed to have actually been Chinese.

Japan's scroll and China's scroll were both found to be inscribed with dates using a Japanese period name. The scrolls will be discussed at a joint research meeting between the two countries, planned to be held on Nov. 12 at the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo, where Japan's scroll is held. Expectations are high that the research meeting will shed new light on the little-understood Wako.

Click here to read this article from the Mainichi Daily News

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Finding Traces of the Princes of Gwynedd

Open Days have been organised in the Welsh village of Abergwyngregyn to show findings made during digging into the medieval history of the Princes of Gwynedd. The work is the result of a partnership between the local community’s Aber Heritage Valley Partnership, Snowdonia National Park Authority and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust with financial support from Cadw. Its intention is to open up the history of the area to a wider audience thorough interpretation and archaeological investigations.

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Holy faces from the past: Early frescoes in a Norfolk village remind us of our medieval churches' more lively past

Several years ago, in a remote corner of rural Norfolk, a discovery was that is as romantic and resonant as anything in the JL Carr novel A Month in the Country. During repairs to the crumbling church of St Mary's at Houghton-on-the-Hill, a sequence of astonishing frescoes dating from shortly after the Norman conquest came to light.

The church is the last survivor of a lost medieval village, which like so many other communities in the mid-14th century succumbed to the ravages of plague and then to the fatal slide of declining populations. Yet in St Mary's we can see, as in a palimpsest, the legacy of a faith that was vital and inspiring. Confronted by the solemn saints, and the faces of damned and elect that coolly return our gaze after countless years, we are able to enter imaginatively into a system of belief that was this society's heartbeat.

It is no accident that one of the most significant of the frescoes uncovered in this ancient building depicts a wheel of fortune, a popular motif in the middle ages used to illustrate the inexorable ups and downs of day-to-day existence. Religion both reflected and made sense of the capriciousness of fate, while also offering the prospect of eventual relief from struggle.

Click here to read this article from The Guardian

Italian bank financed Cabot voyage to Canada, new research shows

Italy has just moved from the periphery toward centre stage in the opening act of Canadian history. Historians probing medieval archives and a dead scholar's research notes have unearthed surprising new details about the financing of John Cabot's 1497 expedition across the Atlantic Ocean -- the voyage that led to the European rediscovery of Canada some 500 years after the Vikings landed on Newfoundland's shores.

Cabot's landmark journey to the New World aboard the Matthew, completed just five years after Italian-Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus had reached the Americas in 1492, has been viewed by historians as a wholly English enterprise -- despite Cabot's Italian birth -- because of the ship's departure from Bristol and the royal charter granted to the transplanted sailor by King Henry VII.

But a team of researchers led by University of Bristol historian Evan Jones says it has found documents proving Cabot's voyage was made possible by a loan from a London-based Italian bank -- recasting the famous 15th-century expedition as more of a multinational endeavour and rewriting the first chapter of the story of Canada.

Click here to read this article from the Calgary Herald

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Fresh Look at Torture in the Middle Ages

A German researcher has studied medieval criminal law and found that our image of the sadistic treatment of criminals in the Dark Ages is only partly true. Torture and gruesome executions were designed in part to ensure the salvation of the convicted person's soul.

Peter Nirsch would have been seen as a monster at any time in history. While traveling south through Germany, he had a penchant for cutting open pregnant women and removing their unborn babies. Nirsch butchered more than 500 people before he was captured near Nuremberg in September 1581.

The courts were not squeamish in their treatment of the serial killer. First he was tortured, and then hot oil was poured into his wounds. Then the culprit was tied to the rack, where his arms and legs were broken. In the end, he was quartered. Anyone who, like Nirsch, was convicted of serious crimes in medieval Germany was subjected to similarly resolute forms of punishment.

The enforcers of the law tormented suspects with red-hot iron bars or boiled them alive in water. "The carrying out of inhuman sentences was part of everyday life," concludes Wolfgang Schild, a legal scholar from the western German city of Bielefeld.

Click here to read this article from Der Spiegel

Dozens of Shipwrecks in Norwegian Lakes

An international team from ProMare (US), the Norwegian Maritime Museum (Norway), the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (Norway), and Teledyne Gavia (formerly Hafmynd ehf) have located nearly two dozen, well-preserved shipwrecks in the lakes of the Telemark Waterway in south-central Norway. The shipwrecks located in the waterway are suspected to range in date from the Medieval/Viking Age to the mid-19th century. The waterway has been used for transportation of people and goods for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Click here to read the article from Hydro International

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Columbus Didn't Sail Syphilis Back to Europe‎

Dozens of skeletons unearthed in London may provide the first solid evidence that syphilis did not sail into Europe with Christopher Columbus and his crew, announced researchers working on one of the largest excavations of skeletons ever undertaken in Britain.

Dug out at the medieval cemetery of St. Mary Spital in East London, the skeletal remains have been at the center of an extensive investigation aimed at shedding light on the lives of medieval Londoners.

Indeed, the researchers examined 5,387 skeletons out of an original sample of 10,500. “At the end, a total of 25 skeletons with the characteristic changes of syphilis were identified,” Brian Connell, the osteologist at the Museum of London who studied the bones, told Discovery News.

Click here to read this article from Discovery News

Zombies go medieval

Amber Entertainment is teaming with British comicbook house 2000 AD and its Rebellion Publishing arm to bring medieval zombie tale "Stronghold" to life as a feature film. Amber Entertainment's Ileen Maisel will produce. Rebellion's Jason Kingsley will make his directorial debut, and Rebellion's Chris Kingsley exec produces.

Tom Fickling is adapting the novel for the screen. The original "Stronghold" was penned by Paul Finch for the publisher's Abaddon imprint.

"Stronghold" centers on Welsh rebels utilizing druidic magic to summon an undead army to aid them in their quest to overthrow English tyranny. Hero of the story is a young knight who defies his masters to rescue the daughter of his enemy while battling legions of revenge-driven dead.

Click here to read this article from Variety Magazine

Medieval Ani Will Soon Vanish, Warns Says Global Heritage Fund

he ruined medieval Armenian city of Ani has been included in a list of twelve historic sites around the world that are “on the verge of vanishing” because of mismanagement and neglect, according to a new report issued by the San Francisco-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF).

The ruined city, on the border of Turkey and Armenia, dates back to the 11th century. Once the majestic capital of the Armenian Bagratuni Dynasty, Ani was renowned for its splendor and magnificence and considered “The City of a Thousand Churches.”

Click here to read this article from

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The First Emperor's Terracotta Army recruited outside China

Acrobats from Burma, workers from Central or West Asia, and a mausoleum design inspired by work in the Middle East – the Mausoleum of China’s First Emperor was a cosmopolitan place says Dr. Duan Qingbo, the man in charge of excavating it.

The mausoleum was created about 2,200 year ago and served as a tomb for Qin Shi Huang – the first emperor of China. While the emperor’s tomb is largely unexcavated, archaeologists have found thousands of life-size terracotta figures nearby. It’s believed that this army was created to serve the emperor in the afterlife.

Dr. Duan discussed the cosmopolitan nature of the complex at a lecture at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which is currently hosting a Terracotta Warriors exhibition. He doesn’t speak English so his words were translated by Dr. Chen Shen, museum curator and Chinese archaeology expert.

Click here to read this article from The Independent

Introducing children to medieval art

Inside a dark room in the Cloisters, 10 small children crowded around tapestries of men hunting unicorns. Their instructor, Britt Eilhardt, led them in a discussion of dogs, unicorns and why the Cloisters has a plant that is also in the Harry Potter books.

“The art we have here is really old,” she said, “and it’s really full of dog pictures!”

While looking at medieval art may sound like a decidedly grown-up activity, the Metropolitan Museum of Art disagrees. The Cloisters, the branch of the Met located in Fort Tryon Park, has a family program, in which they try to make medieval art accessible to children and bring more families to the uptown museum.

Click here to read this article from the Manhattan Times

Monday, October 25, 2010

Restoring 'lost city' of medieval Spain

It has been 100 years since excavations started on the Madinat Al Zahra, the magnificent 10th century palace city near Cordoba in southern Spain. Although only 11% of the city - built by the powerful caliph Abd Al Rahman III - has been uncovered, it is unlikely that it will take another century to unearth the remainder of the site given the rapid advances in excavation technology.

In a curious parallel, new techniques such a tele-imaging, that are being used in order to understand the 115-hectare site, reflect the revolutionary building techniques developed here a thousand years ago, and which came to define the distinct "Andalucian style".

A nearby museum completed on the site in 2008 and shortlisted for this year's Aga Khan Award for Architecture, is the base where research and restoration is carried out on objects recovered from the archaeological site.

Click here to read this article from BBC News

Exeter Cathedral awarded £45,800

Plans to transform opportunities for education and research at Exeter Cathedral received a boost last week, thanks to a £45,800 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Through the proposed project new learning spaces will be created in the Bishops palace so that more people can explore the historic library. There will also be a new space for music development and participation.

The award is development funding to support Exeter Cathedral in developing their plans. Exeter Cathedral can progress to the second stage of the HLF application process, where they will be seeking £562,600 of HLF support towards the £900,000 project.

Click here to read this article from

Restoration of a unique Armenian monastery

It was once a beacon of light for an entire country, home to 500 monks, a seat of learning and spiritual fulfilment.

Little remains of the glorious past of the 9th century Tatev Monastery in southern Armenia. But that could soon change thanks to an ambitious restoration project.

During the Middle Ages, Tatev was one of the country’s most important spiritual centres. The university created in the 14th century excelled in scientific, literary, and religious studies.

At its height, Tatev was at the forefront of education. Philosophers, theologians, musicians and artists, the greatest Armenian thinkers of the day would congregate at the university.

Click here to read this article and watch the video from Euronews

Students receive $50 000 to create Virtual Joust game

Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Interactive Media and Game Development program and Higgins Armory Museum have won a highly competitive $50,000 Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create an interactive “virtual joust” experience at the Worcester-based museum of medieval arms and armor.

WPI students (now alumni) Patrick Newell, Hyungjoon Kim, Justin Liu, and Steven Shidlovsky designed the Virtual Joust concept two years ago as part of their required, junior-year Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP). The NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant program, which supports pioneering projects that use technology to advance the humanities, will usher Virtual Joust to an engaging reality for museum-goers interested in medieval history. Designed to spur innovation, test new ideas, and act as a catalyst for further development, the grant will fund Virtual Joust’s continued development and execution, which will be overseen this year by a new team of students from the IMGD program and WPI’s Game Development Club.

Click here to read this article from

Friday, October 22, 2010

Archeology digs at Roman sites

A new project has been launched this week to explore East Oxford’s Roman and medieval archaeological sites. Led by the University’s Department for Continuing Education, the project has been made possible by a £330,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Academics on the project will spend the next three years working with Oxford residents on digs, excavations, and surveys at sites believed to include Roman settlements, a medieval leper hospital and Civil War siege works.

Click here to read this article from the Cherwell

Oxford Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art and Culture officially opens

Oxford University has launch a new centre to study the archaeological and cultural heritage of Asia. The Oxford Centre for Asian Archaeology, Art and Culture, based in the University’s School of Archaeology, was officially opened yesterday and is set to become the only Asia-specialist centre of archaeological research and teaching in Europe.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Repairs needed at medieval chapel in Bradwell Abbey

St Mary’s Chapel at Bradwell Abbey in Buckinghamshire, England is undergoing repairs with a temporary roof put in place make it water and weatherproof. An appeal is now underway to raise £50,000 to complete restoration efforts.

The roof of the 14th century Chapel has been in need of repair for some time. The Chapel houses some unique medieval wall paintings – depicting votive offerings – these were facing threat of water damage. This is the only location in the United Kingdom where paintings of this nature are found.

Click here to read this article from

Anglo-Saxon Leper Hospital discovered in Winchester

The University of Winchester’s archaeological excavations at St Mary Magdalen, on the outskirts of Winchester, have revealed evidence for what may be Britain’s earliest known hospital. Recent radio carbon analysis at the former Leper Hospital has provided a date range of AD 960-1030 for a series of burials, many exhibiting evidence of leprosy, on the site. A number of artefacts, pits, postholes also relate to this phase including what appears to be a large sunken structure underneath the medieval infirmary as well as evidence for an earlier building, now thought to be an Anglo-Saxon chapel.

Click here to read this article from

Couple tomb of Northern Song Dynasty discovered in China

On October 20th, archaeological personnel discovered a husband and wife couple tomb of the Northern Song Dynasty in Changshan village, Jinkou Street, Jiangxia, Hubei Province. More than 20 pieces of unearthed artifacts, such as stone inkstone, pottery, porcelain bowls, Lohan likenesses, silver hairpins, bronze mirrors and bronze coins, according to the Jiangxia Administrative Office of Cultural Relics

According to reports, the archaeologists fund that the roof of the tomb has been damaged. The human skeletons and coffins have rotted inside. After inspection, they found the tomb is a husband and wife couple tomb 3.5 meters in length and 1.2 meters high. The unearthed cultural relics provide important practical information for researching residents’ beliefs and funeral customs in the Northern Song Dynasty.

Click here to read this article from the China People's Daily

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Medieval Observatory discovered in Iran

Iranian archaeologists have discovered a 13th century observatory at the Ismailis stronghold of Alamut. It is believed this was used by the famous scientist and astronomer Khwaja Nasiruddin al-Tusi.

Hamide Chobak, manager of the Alamut site, told the Fars News Agency, ”During our excavations in the Alamut Castle we found some windows which we realized had not been used for scouting to protect anything. These windows open to the southeast, that is the direction that stars first come into sight.”

Click here to read this article from

Medieval Frontiers at War symposium to take place in Spain

The Spanish city of Caceres will be hosting many of the most notable medieval military historians next month for a symposium on ‘Medieval Frontiers at War’ (Fronteras medievales en guerra). The conference will take place from November 9th – 11th and will feature 29 speakers giving papers in both English and Spanish.

Among those attending the symposium will be Hugh N. Kennedy, Helen Nicholson and John Gillingham. The symposium is being organized by Manuel Rojas of the Universidad de Extremadura.

Click here to read this article on

Estate of Margaret Wade Labarge donates art collection to the National Gallery of Canada

Thanks to a generous gift from the collection of the former medieval historian, writer, lecturer and Order of Canada recipient Dr. Margaret Wade Labarge (1916-2009), the National Gallery of Canada has acquired four prints by Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, two by German artist Albrecht Dürer, and others by artists David Young Cameron, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and James McNeill Whistler. All nine are featured in the National Gallery’s exhibition Art of the Print: Recent Acquisitions from Rembrandt to Picasso, on view until January 2, 2011.

Click here to read the article from

Monday, October 18, 2010

Could a rusty coin re-write Chinese-African history?

It is not much to look at - a small pitted brass coin with a square hole in the centre - but this relatively innocuous piece of metal is revolutionising our understanding of early East African history, and recasting China's more contemporary role in the region.

A joint team of Kenyan and Chinese archaeologists found the 15th Century Chinese coin in Mambrui - a tiny, nondescript village just north of Malindi on Kenya's north coast.

In barely distinguishable relief, the team leader Professor Qin Dashu from Peking University's archaeology department, read out the inscription: "Yongle Tongbao" - the name of the reign that minted the coin some time between 1403 and 1424.

Click here to read this article from the BBC

Famous medieval village to lose cobbled streets over health and safety fears

Cobbled road surfaces and paths in the historic settlement of Dunster, Somerset – which dates back to the Bronze and Iron Age Britain – have been deemed ‘too dangerous’ for pedestrians. The village – famed for its castle – is regarded as one of the most-perfectly preserved medieval villages in England.

Dunster attracts thousands of visitors a year because of its quaint features – including several ancient cobbled streets which have remained since medieval times. But health and safety chiefs have ruled them to be too dangerous and a working group is considering replacing them with new, smooth-surfaced roads.

Click here to read this article from Small World News

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book – Richard Rolle and His Readers: Defining the Literary in the Fifteenth Century – receives fellowship

Katherine Zieman, an assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a National Humanities Center Fellowship for work on her next book, “Richard Rolle and His Readers: Defining the Literary in the Fifteenth Century.” She is one of just 36 fellows selected to spend the 2010-11 academic year working at the North Carolina-based center.

“My year at the center allows me to devote my full attention to this project—and offers the opportunity to converse with other scholars in the humanities in different periods and disciplines who share my interests,” Zieman says.

Click here to read this article from

Czech, German Ore Mountains mining heritage seeks UNESCO-listing

The mining heritage sites on both Czech and German sides of the Ore Mountains jointly seek entry into the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage, Adam Srejber, from the culture department at the Czech regional office involved, has told journalists.

The Ustecky region, north Bohemia, cooperates with German partners on working out a project that is to map up the medieval mining activities in the Ore Mountains, promote them and contribute to their UNESCO-listing, Srejber said.

Click here to read this article from the Prague Monitor

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who Ate All the Pigs in Medieval Denmark?

It’s fair to assume that Valdemar the Conqueror, while ruling over Denmark in the early 1200s, ate like a king. But, what was the diet like for the peasants below him? The answer depends on where in Denmark the peasants called home.

Radford University anthropology professor Cassady Yoder researched the diets of peasants of medieval Denmark and found a significant difference in the foods consumed by those living in rural areas as opposed to city-dwelling peasants. Yoder’s research was published in the September issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Click here to read this article from

Miss the Middle Ages? Try Afghanistan

As a person who spends her time immersed in the Middle Ages, I would ordinarily be the first to point out how irrelevant this pastime is to modern society. There is very little reason to tweet or blog about people who have been dead for 600 years. However, the recent revelation that large numbers of President Hamid Karzai's relations have taken over positions of power in Afghanistan has encouraged me to believe that, for once, my preoccupation might be pertinent. For some time now, it has been obvious to me that the political model that best illustrates the philosophy and practice of the Afghan government is a medieval court.

Click here to read this article in the Los Angeles Times

God's Philosophers by James Hannam – review

In canto XVII of Inferno, Dante anticipated the principle of Galilean invariance 300 years before Galileo. Even earlier, Islamic steelmakers in Damascus unwittingly exploited nanotechnology in the manufacture of sabres that became the envy of the world. So the middle ages weren't so medieval.

Almost the only annoying thing about James Hannam's admirable book is his opening insistence on a conspiracy of "popular opinion, journalistic cliche and misinformed historians" to denigrate the middle ages, and he cites the compass, Columbus and the 1455 printed Bible of Gutenberg as advances of the middle ages. In this conspiracy, whenever someone discovered evidence of reason or progress in the 14th or 15th centuries, he writes "it could easily be labelled 'early-Renaissance' so as to preserve the negative connotations of the adjective 'medieval'." The OED gives no dates for the medieval period, but it tells me that the Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century.

Click here to read the review from the Guardian 

Medieval friars found in town dig to be reburied

The remains of more than 20 medieval friars and lay associates of the Carmelite Order who died more than 500 years ago are to be reburied following their excavation during building works.

Eight medieval Carmelite friars were uncovered as part of an archaeological dig carried out ahead of a residential development in Priory Close, Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

The other 13 individuals and charnel deposits were unearthed at the site of a Carmelite friary that once stood near Westgate, Newcastle.

Click here to read this article from the Northern Echo

Thursday, October 14, 2010

29th International Conference of the Charles Homer Haskins Society takes place next month

Boston College will be hosting the annual conference of the Charles Homer Haskins Society next month. The conference will bring together some of the leading medievalists who cover Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, and early Angevin history.

The 29th edition of this conference will be taking place from November 5 through November 7 and will feature 28 papers.

Click here to read this article from

Meeting “reinvented our understanding of medical manuscripts” in the High Middle Ages

An international team of medieval scholars from the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, and Canada have made several important discoveries related to medical texts during a meeting held at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. The gathering, entitled “Excavating Medicine in a Digital Age: Paleography and the Medical Book in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance,” examined the evidence for medical thought and writing in late eleventh– and twelfth–century Europe.

The meeting, which was held from September 30th to October 3rd, was organized by Monica Green, professor of history at Arizona State University, and Eliza Glaze, associate professor of history at Coastal Carolina University. They and their colleagues have successfully dated and localized more precisely dozens of landmark manuscripts preserving eleventh– and twelfth–century medicine.

Click here to read this article from

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bangor University commemorates medieval historian J. E. Lloyd

A historian who changed the face of modern Welsh history is to be commemorated with a biennial Public Lecture in his name at Bangor University. The inaugural J. E. Lloyd Lecture will discuss J.E. Lloyd’s own reinterpretation of Welsh history. The Lecture takes place at 6.15 on Friday 22 October at Bangor University’s Main Arts Lecture Theatre and is open to all.

John Edward Lloyd (1861–1947) played a major part in the early history of the University College of North Wales, Bangor, both as Registrar (1892–1920) and Professor of History (1899–1930).

Click here to read this article from

22nd International Congress on Byzantine Studies to take place in Bulgaria

The International Association of Byzantine Studies will be holding its annual congress in Sofia, Bulgaria next year. The congress, which will take place from August 22-27, 2011, is one of the largest gatherings of Byzantine scholars in the world.

Seven plenary sessions have already been planned, and will feature speakers such as John Haldon (“State, Belief and Individual: a Byzantine Paradox”) and Silvia Ronchey (“Nostalgia and Post-Byzantine “Use” of Byzantium : How and Why we Remember Byzantium ?”). Thirty round tables are also being organized on a wide range of topics including Byzantium and Viking world, Constantinople and its Inhabitants, and The Contribution of Eurasian World in the Development of Byzantium. Congress organizers are also looking to include about 30 more sessions and invite scholars to submit abstracts of their papers.

Click here to read this article from

Saxonhouse offers visitors the chance to see 7th century life

If one is interested in experiencing how people lived in Anglo-Saxon England, a trip to Lincolnshire might offer some unique insights. In the village of East Firsby a reconstruction of the 7th-century home has been built by Steven and Jude Jones. Based on archaeological evidence and built with traditional tools, Saxonhouse is an attempt to show how ordinary people lived and worked during the Early Middle Ages.

Saxonhouse is open to visitors, where Steven and Jude, both teachers, talk about daily medieval life as well as the history of England during the Middle Ages. They appear in costume and have a wide assortment of equipment and goods replicated from the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods.

Click here to read this article from

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Work begins on Mary Rose Museum

Work began yesterday on the most ambitious heritage construction project seen in Europe this decade. On the 28th anniversary of the raising of the Mary Rose, work to secure the future of King Henry VIII’s favourite ship has started as part of a £16.3 million contract to build the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Warings, a member of the international construction and services group Bouygues, is delivering the construction phase of the £35 million project for the Mary Rose Trust, the charity responsible for the conservation of the Tudor flagship which sank in action in 1545.

Click here to read this article from Early Modern England

Earthwork 'could have been part of Unesco heritage site'

A previously unrecorded “impressively large earthwork” – believed to be part of the outer defences of an early medieval royal stronghold at Knowth, in the Boyne Valley of Ireland – has been identified by an archaeological survey. The survey, commissioned by former attorney general John Rogers SC, has been submitted to An Bord Pleanála as additional information as part of its consideration of plans for an N2 bypass running east of Slane, County Meath.

Carried out by archaeologists Joe Fenwick, Gerard Dowling and Roseanne Schot of the Brú na Bóinne Research Project, the survey found the earthwork at Crewbane, near the home of Mr Rogers, who is objecting to the bypass. It was prompted by the discovery in 2007 of a souterrain in Crewbane, at the perimeter of the Brú na Bóinne Unesco world heritage site “buffer zone” 2km east of Slane village and 1km from the prehistoric passage tomb of Knowth.

Click here to read this article from the Irish Times

Monday, October 11, 2010

New visitor centre for the Battle of Bannockburn

Scotland’s Minister of Culture announced today £5 million in funding to create a state-of-the-art visitor centre at the site of the battle of Bannockburn. The centre will be built in time to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the battle where Scottish forces defeated the English king Edward II.

The landmark project will see Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland work in partnership to deliver a world class visitor attraction incorporating an immersive digital experience designed to transport visitors back to the fourteenth century battle.

Click here to read this article from

'I'm glad I chose history'

Toby Bakare had to decide between a law degree – which had financial potential, and history – which was his passion. This is his story:

As a kid, I was always interested in history, but at school it was not seen as a useful subject. For my GCSEs I was told to study more practical subjects, like business studies and ICT. I wasn't very good at these subjects. I didn't enjoy them, but I could see the logic in studying them, so I did.

When it was time to choose subjects at A-level, I learned from my mistakes at GCSE and knew that I wanted to do what I enjoyed and what interested me; history became a must. At college, I became passionate about the past. This was because of two fantastic teachers who didn't just teach facts and what would be in the exam, they talked about ideas and why these ideas mattered.

Click here to read this article from The Guardian

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sealing the Fate of the Newport Ship

The Newport Ship is at the heart of a new collaboration that gets underway this week between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the British Museum and Cardiff University. European funding will allow new research on what kept the ship watertight: the tars and pitches used to seal and repair the hull of the 15th century sailing vessel which was discovered off the southern coast of Wales in 2002.

Tars and pitches are black sticky substances produced by heating wood. They have an ancient history of use as all-purpose waterproofing agents and adhesives. In medieval times their role in ship building and maintenance led them to acquire vital strategic and political importance for the developing European seafaring economies and naval fleets.

Click here to read this article on

Saturday, October 09, 2010

13th century ‘travel lodge’ found by Time Team

A medieval travel lodge has been discovered by archaeologists working for the British television program Time Team. The remains of the building were found in Portsmouth on the southern coast of England. It had been located alongside the Garrison Church in Old Portsmouth and had been used as an armoury by Henry VIII.

Dr Dominic Fontana, of the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Geography, helped uncover the history of the land next to the ruined church while helping the programme makers of Time Team on Channel 4.

Click here to read the article from

Display for medieval brooch found in fire

An early medieval brooch found in the remnants of a turf fire in a north Kerry range earlier this year, went on permanent display at the Kerry County Museum in Tralee last night.

The Martara brooch, was found in the grate of the range of Sheila and Pat Joe Edgeworth of Martara, Ballylongford last February.

It was found in machine-cut turf in Mr Edgworth’s bog nearby at Tullahennell, one of the vast boglands of north Kerry in the summer of 2009.

Click here to read this article from the Irish Times

Medievalist creates new typography to honour 1000th anniversary of the Kingdom of Leon

Ricardo Chao, a Spanish medievalist has created a new typography to honour the one thousandth anniversary of the creation of the Kingdom of León. The typography is based on documents from the royal chancillery of Fernando II and Alfonso IX of León.

The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in 910 AD when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their main seat from Oviedo to the city of León.

Click here to go to Corazon de Leon website, where the typography can be downloaded.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Hidden medieval village discovered by students

Amateur archaeologists in the Vale of Glamorgan believe they have uncovered a lost medieval village. The Time Signs archaeology students made the discovery behind the railway viaduct at Porthkerry near Barry.

They are working with tutor Karl James Langford to prove his theory that the village of Whitelands existed. A house platform which forms part of the manor house has been found as well as big quantities of medieval pottery and evidence of other buildings.

They have identified three sites that run along Whitelands brook including what they think is a medieval mill.

Click here to read this article from the BBC

Thursday, October 07, 2010

6th century Byzantine mosaic uncovered in Israel

A Byzantine mosaic dating to the 6th century AD has been discovered in Israel. The find was made by researchers from the University of Haifa, who were excavating at Tel Shikmona, which lies near the Mediterranean coast near the city of Haifa.

The researchers believe the mosaic is part of an ecclesiastical structure. The excavations are taking place as part of a project funded by the Hecht Foundation, to expand the Hecht Park in Haifa, Israel, annex it to Tel Shikmona, and transform Shikmona into a public archaeological park.

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Reading Europe: European culture through the book

Europeana, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, has launched an online exhibitions that explore highlights of the continent’s literature. Reading Europe: European culture through the book showcases the full texts of 1,000 of Europeana’s most fascinating books, from medieval cookbooks to 18th century English bestsellers.

Many literary masterpieces can be found in their earliest printings, including Don Quixote in the first Spanish edition and Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot in the first Russian edition. Visitors can browse richly decorated manuscripts and discover compelling historical works like Jammers Minde – the fascinating 17th century autobiography of a King’s daughter and her 22-year imprisonment in Copenhagen’s infamous Blue Tower. Reading Europe offers a unique opportunity to view literary gems in 32 languages, from Albanian to Yiddish.

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Medieval Professor co-edits book on The Material Culture of Daily Living in the Anglo-Saxon World

Dr. Maren Clegg-Hyer’s passion for and knowledge of medieval literature is enough to inspire even the most indifferent, clock-watching students. The assistant professor of English has been teaching for about 17 years, the past three of which have been guiding Valdosta State University undergraduates through epic prose.

“I fell in love with medieval English literature as an undergraduate in my first medieval survey course,” said Hyer, who developed her love for the written word as a child. “I found medieval literature to be fascinating, and I still do.”

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Archaeologists Establish What Fruit Russians Ate 1000 Years Ago

Archaeologists working at Desyatinny Pit in the historical centre of Veliki Novgorod have found remnants of gardens that used to grow there several centuries back. The find will make it possible to clear out what fruit trees ancient Russians cultivated. Most likely those were apple-trees and pear-trees.

The pit started by archeologists in 2010 has given them more than thousand various finds. Among them there are about 300 pendant lead seals. Recently they have unearthed knucklebones for national games, filled with lead for weighting.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sheffield Cathedral receives funding to promote its heritage

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given the green light to Sheffield Cathedral, the city’s oldest building, to work up plans to significantly improve visitor experience to the building, it was announced last week.

Development funding of £31,900 has been awarded by HLF to help progress their plans, which will include major improvements to the accessibility at the entrance of the Cathedral, new exhibitions, and innovative community learning programmes for people of all ages.

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Historians Are Interested in Digital Scholarship but Lack Outlets

A new survey of 4,000 historians found that most are willing to try digital scholarship—such as interactive maps or online databases—but that the number of journals interested in publishing such online scholarship is tiny.

Enter the Sustaining Digital History project, which is trying to make it easier for history scholars to publish digitally in well-established forums. The group held a daylong meeting last week at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where about 30 attendees tried to figure out how to translate this burgeoning interest in digital publishing into a new breed of scholarly work. Among the attendees were editors from eight historical journals (including the editor of the discipline’s flagship journal, The American Historical Review)—and by the end of the afternoon, each had committed to experimenting with digital scholarship.

Click here to read this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hereford Mappa Mundi gets £50,000

Hereford Cathedral’s internationally renowned Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition is to get a ‘make-over’ following the award of a £50,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards a new exhibition and the re-telling of their stories.

The Mappa Mundi is a a medieval map created around 1300, which depicts the known world in a T-O design. It is currently on display in Hereford Cathedral in Hereford, England.

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Fired ND Press director plans to sue university

The former director of the University of Notre Dame Press, Barbara Hanrahan, plans to sue the university for her June 2010 dismissal.

Hanrahan became director of the press in 1999. Before coming to Notre Dame, she also worked at the University of Chicago Press and as director of the Ohio State University Press.

Citing the upcoming lawsuit, Hanrahan declined to comment on any aspect of her employment at the university.

As was the case for former Director of Hesburgh Libraries Jennifer Younger, who left the University in May 2010, Hanrahan’s position was overseen by Assistant Provost C. Ohmer. Ohmer declined to comment on the firing or provide an indication of when a new director will be appointed, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters.

Click here to read the article from the Irish Rover

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Spirit of Xanadu, Morphing Across Borders

Art history is not a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be assembled. It’s more like a smashed sheet of reflective glass, continually reshattering, with splinters scattered here and there, many lost forever. With luck and work, scholars retrieve a few splinters, put them in a guessed-at order and turn on some lights. The result is an exhibition.

If the pieces are bright and the scholarship sharp, the show can be a subtle stunner, as is the case with “The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty,” the latest in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s line of benchmark Chinese exhibitions. This one encompasses some 300 objects, from filigreed hairpins to a couple of megaton sculptures, most of them hard-won loans from China.

Click here to read this article from the New York Times

See also the earlier article The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty – Exhibition at the Met from

Tour the City Walls of Dublin on your iPhone

Dublin City Council has unveiled a new iPhone App which gives a virtual tour of the medieval city walls of the Irish capital. The City Walls App functions as a walking tour for city visitors and residents and a historical guide for anyone interested in the sites and stories of medieval Dublin.

It offers a unique guide to the medieval history of Dublin City. Using the historic city wall as its framework, it blends graphics, videos, photos and breathtaking 3D animations to bring the medieval world to life like never before. The content has been reviewed by a steering committee of leading Dublin scholars and archaeologists.

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Early Interval: Making Music in Columbus

Ron and Janice Cook’s basement houses one of Columbus’s fi nest cultural treasures: a thoughtfully acquired and carefully maintained collection of recorders, harps, crumhorns, bowed instruments, a hurdy-gurdy, and much more. When used to realize medieval and Renaissance music, this instrumental smorgasbord, its owners, and their friends form The Early Interval.

This ensemble is familiar to many in the OSU community; The Early Interval has performed at Vagantes, CMRS annual conferences in the 1980s and 1990s, and departmental concerts and academic meetings. And while the artistry of The Early Interval continues to engage, entertain, and educate new audiences, it has been an integral part of Ohio’s early music scene since its founding in 1976. Today, seven artists continue the tradition: Jim Bates, Janice Cook, Ron Cook, Sean Ferguson, Lyz Liddell, Monica Rudy, and Tamara Seckel.

Click here to read this article from Nouvelles Nouvelles (Ohio State University)

The Bellarmine Museum of Art to open this month

With the long-awaited public opening of the Bellarmine Museum of Art scheduled for October 25, Fairfield University in Connecticut introduces a permanent sanctuary for its growing art collection and future exhibitions. Museum hours will be Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the University is in session.

The museum, built at a cost of $3.2 million, will be a dynamic new center of learning for all of its constituencies, including students of all ages and stages, art professionals and members of the general public. The Bellarmine also maintains collegial ties with the larger museum community, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art/the Cloisters Museum and the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The loans and gifts that these, and other, institutions have made to the Museum have enhanced its core permanent collection, facilitating a remarkable breadth of display for a museum of the Bellarmine’s size.

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Medieval Spanish scholar, former University of Kentucky professor dies

John Esten Keller III, a medieval Spanish scholar, who, in 1967, created a stir in the academic world when he brought more than two dozen professors and graduate students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to the University of Kentucky, died Friday at his home. He was 93.

Mr. Keller, a Lexington native who taught at UNC-Chapel Hill for about 18 years, got the Spanish, French, Latin and Italian professors and students in the North Carolina school's romance languages department to transfer to UK, where they helped him form a new graduate program.

Click here to read this article from the Lexington Herald-Leader

Popular professor made medieval literature timely and accessible

As a child, Laurel Amtower fell in love with the pageantry and fantasy of renaissance fairs.

An avid reader who was partial to the “Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Lord of the Rings” books, she grew up to become a dedicated college professor who wrote and taught Chaucer, Shakespeare and medieval literature. She was also known to enjoy the occasional celebrity gossip magazine and Bill Bryson’s humorous books on travel.

Students flocked to her classes because of her energy and ability to make esoteric subjects seem timely and accessible, while her San Diego State University colleagues appreciated her humor and devotion to the college.

Ms. Amtower died of brain cancer Aug. 29 at San Diego Hospice. She was 44.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Sing On San Diego