Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conwy and Gwynedd history trails link to Welsh princes

The stomping grounds of the old Welsh princes are to be celebrated in tourist trails around Gwynedd and Conwy.

Llywelyn the Great and his family built many forts, courts and churches in and around Snowdonia between the 11th and 13th Centuries.

£450,000 will be spent on linking the historic locations in driving and walking trails.

Click here to read this article from the BBC

Wakefield Museum: Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

Yorkshire academics have launched a mouth-watering new exhibition exploring the history of the sweet tooth.

The free-to-all exhibition at Wakefield Museum traces the evolution of sweet foods through history, examining their different nutritional roles and reputations within societies dating back to the medieval era.

Visitors will learn the surprising fact that while today we are taught that sugar is bad for us, it was once considered the medieval equivalent of a 'superfood' - a term nowadays reserved for fruits and vegetables full of anti-oxidants such as blueberries, pomegranate and broccoli. The global journey, from plant to plate, of sugar and cinnamon will also be revealed, starting with the story of medieval trade and finishing up with modern trends in nutritional research. A selection of spectacular sugar sculptures will be on display, along with images from 500 year old manuscripts.

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice runs until October and forms part of the You Are What You Ate project based at the University of Leeds and funded by the Wellcome Trust. It aims to inform a healthy balanced diet by displaying the enjoyable side of eating, focusing on fashions and customs linked to feasting and entertainment.

Click here to read this article from the University of Leeds

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Middle Ages return to Norman with 35th annual Medieval Fair

Knights, jesters, maidens and minstrels will stage their own Norman conquest this weekend during the 35th annual Medieval Fair at Reaves Park.

The free fair, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, is the state's largest weekend event and the third largest event in Oklahoma.

Click here to read this article from NewsOK

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In search of Medieval Petra

Linking the rose city to the crusaders’ fortress, promoting the development of a marginal community, turning around the fortunes of Southern Jordan’s forgotten area: a multi-pronged EU-funded project, "Liaisons for growth", is underway to put the town of Shobak and its castle on the kingdom’s tourism attraction list, to help residents tap into its rich history and to develop sustainable tourism.

Click here to read this article from the ENPI Info Centre

Cardigan Castle receives £4.7m grant

Cardigan Castle, which dates back to the eleventh century, has received a grant of nearly £4.7m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to save the iconic building and create a major heritage visitor destination.

Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust have been campaigning since 2001 to save the Castle’s 840 year history. They went into partnership with the castle owners Ceredigion County Council in 2007 in order to bid for HLF cash. They were awarded the money to carry out conservation work at the Castle – a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building – and to listed buildings and the historic gardens which are all within the walls of the site.

Click here to read this article from

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vocalists of Trio Medieval breathe life into old and new songs

The art of vocal production is both subtle and difficult, and the Trio Medieval displayed their impressive skills Saturday night in a program of English Medieval polyphony and Norwegian folk songs.

Presented at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by the Friends of Chamber Music, Trio Medieval featured three female singers from Norway. Individually and as a group, they displayed a penchant for a light, clean and stunningly beautiful vocal color. Recording artists with the prestigious ECM label, their recordings have been very well received, one even receiving a Grammy nomination. The first half of the program featured medieval sacred music from Worcester, in the west of England. It combined a number of musical settings of parts of the Mass text with other devotional works and even two pieces written in the 21st century.

Click here to read this article from the Kansas City Star

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Medieval laws cited in fishing dispute

A judge is to look at laws and charters predating the Magna Carta in a bid to settle a dispute over Dublin City Council’s legal right to lease out the fishing interests of the river Liffey.

Dublin and District Salmon Anglers’ Association claims entrepreneur David Wright, of West Pier, Howth, Co Dublin, is trespassing and disturbing the peace and calm of the river.

When barrister Edward Farrelly, counsel for Mr Wright, stated he would be challenging the entitlement of the local authority to have leased the river to the anglers’ association, Judge Joseph Mathews was asked to rule on the preliminary issue prior to a full trial of the case.

Click here to read this article from the Irish Times

Friday, March 25, 2011

15 Byzantine Tombs Discovered in Central Syria

An archaeological burial from the Byzantine era was uncovered in al-Ruba village in Zighreen town, 30 km northeastern Hama, including a number of tombs inside which pottery, metal and glass findings and golden pieces were unearthed.

Abdul-Qader Farzat, Head of Hama Archaeology Department, told SANA that the burial comprises a 110 cm long and 60 cm wide entrance leading to a square surrounded by five chambers including three tombs each. The tombs are 175 cm long and 40 cm deep, separated by a 25 cm space.

Click here to read this article from DP News

Centres of royal power: New findings about the realms of medieval itinerant kings

In the 900-1000s the power of the monarch in Norway was consolidated through the establishment of a new system of royal estates. Similar systems can also be found in other Northern European countries.

Kingston, Husebygård, Königshof. These three terms in English, Norwegian and German all describe the same thing: royal farmsteads that together formed a network and belonged to the early “state.”

In Norway we know of some 50 royal estates of this kind. In addition, there is knowledge of some thirty or so farmsteads dating back to before the year 1130 that were the kings’ own inherited property.

Click here to read this article from

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An afternoon with Sheffield’s Medieval Re-enactment Society

Will, one of the leaders of the Medieval Re-enactment Society, has just arrived in Fusion. He is casually dressed, and has brought a large bag with him, which he places down on one of the sofas with a clanking thump. One of the group reaches inside and pulls out a small axe. “Why do we never do axes?” he asks.

“Because I don’t have the correct insurance,” says Will. “The University only cover me for swords and bills.”

Clearly, the modern world has intruded on the battles of the Medieval Re-enactment Society, one of the 300 societies students can join at the University of Sheffield. The society was founded around 1994, and currently between eight to 25 people meet each Sunday to train with different weapons, and create costumes and chainmail.

Click here to read this article from JUS News

Sims: Medieval released

Sims: Medieval, a new video game that allows people to recreate the Middle Ages in SIMS fashion, was launched earlier this week. The official launch took place at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Buena Park, California, with more than 1,000 guests on hand to play the game and receive a digital download.

Sims: Medieval officially hit store shelves on March 22nd, and reviews have so far been mixed. The game allows players to create heroes, venture on quests, build and control a kingdom, and play every Hero Sim character in the land.

Click here to read this article from

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Towton: Mass graves to shed light on Britain's bloodiest battle

It was one of the biggest and probably the bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil. Such was its ferocity almost 1 per cent of the English population was wiped out in a single day. Yet mention the Battle of Towton to most people and you would probably get a blank stare.

Next week marks the 550th anniversary of the engagement that changed the course of the Wars of the Roses. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 80,000 soldiers took part in the battle in 1461 between the Houses of York and Lancaster for control of the English throne. An estimated 28,000 men are said to have lost their lives.

But this bloody conflict is unlikely to remain forgotten for much longer. Archaeologists believe they will unearth what is likely to be Britain's largest mass grave this summer.

Click here to read this article from the Independent

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Medieval Latin Play at King's College London, April 1

The Department of History at King's College London will present the Ludus de Antichristo (Play of the Antichrist), as its sixth annual mediaeval Latin play. The performance takes place on Friday 1 April at 19.30 in the College Chapel. Entrance is free and all are welcome.

This is a rare opportunity to see performed one of the finest surviving medieval Latin dramas. In simple and elegant rhyming couplets, the Ludus de Antichristo narrates the coming to earth of the Antichrist, as predicted in the Old and New Testaments. The Antichrist is welcomed as the Messiah by the Church and Synagogue, and by the Holy Roman Emperor and the kings of Europe and Asia. His ultimate aim is to submit the whole world to Satan’s power, before he is unmasked by the true prophets of God.

Click here for more information from King's College London

Medieval castle tower to be opened up to the public for the first time

The last-standing remains of a medieval castle in Lincolnshire will be opened up to the public for the first time. The South Kyme Tower once formed one of the four corners of a castle, which was built on a Saxon site.

It is believed that the 14th century castle was once visited by Robin Hood and was built by a knight whose signature is on the Magna Carta.

The tower stands on private land and for years has been closed. But now, the landowner has agreed to open it up to the public, starting with the village's May Day Festival on May 1.

Click here to read this article from the Lincolnshire Echo

How accurate were medieval chroniclers in describing warfare?

The Battle of Margate is one of the lesser-known episodes of the Hundred Years’ War, but a historian has recently analyzed this naval campaign to see how accurate the accounts of medieval chroniclers were.

In his article, “Medieval Chroniclers as War Correspondents during the Hundred Years War: The Earl of Arundel’s Naval Campaign of 1387,” Adrian R. Bell compares what can be learned from this episode from English government records and from the reports of four chroniclers, including Jean Froissart.

Click here to read this article on

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frome Hoard to go to the Museum of Somerset

The Frome Hoard, a collection of over fifty thousand Roman coins discovered last year, will be bought by the Museum of Somerset. The Museum raised over £420,000 to buy the coins and properly preserve them.

The money came from donations from the public, as well as the Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The funding was announced on the Art Fund website, along with news that the National Museum of Scotland will buy four Iron Age gold Torcs, dated between the 1st and 3rd century BC.

Click here to read this article from History of the Ancient World

Rare Medieval Jewish Manuscript to be displayed at The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be displaying a rare medieval Jewish manuscript known as the Washington Haggadah. It is on loan from the Library of Congress and will be shown at the New York museum beginning April 5th to June 26th.

A Haggadah is the book used at the Passover seder, the ritual meal that commemorates the exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt. Although the essential components of the text were established in the second century, the Haggadah was first made into an independent, illustrated book in the Middle Ages.

Click here to read this article from

St Patrick's diet similar to today's health foods

Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, probably ate fare similar to today's pricey health foods such as cereal, fish and seaweed, according to a researcher who has studied the country's 5th century diet.

Food historian Regina Sexton said records kept by monks showed that Patrick, who is credited with ridding Ireland of snakes and spreading the Christian message, most likely drew his sustenance from cereals and dairy produce such as sour milk, flavored curd mixtures and a variety of soft and hard cheeses.

Click here to read this article from Reuters/Yahoo

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Warwick library hosts medieval tapestry conservation program on March 20

The Albert Wisner Public Library will present the “Restoration of the Cloisters’ Redemption Tapestry” on Sunday March 20, at 2 p.m. in the Community Room.

Warwick resident Tina Kane will discuss the landmark medieval tapestry conservation project she managed for the Metropolitan Museum.

Click here to read this article from The Warwick Advertiser

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechauns, mermaids, were the descendants of Cain, according to medieval Irish text

A medieval scholar has uncovered an Irish account of the murder of Abel by Cain that explains how the descendants of Cain were turned into mermaids and leprechauns. This short account was found in a fifteenth-century Irish legal text, but the story itself seems to date from between the 10th and 12th centuries.

The text and a translation were published in a paper by Simon Rodway, “Mermaids, leprechauns and Fomorians: a middle Irish account of the descendants of Cain,” which can be found in the 2010 issue of Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies. Dr. Rodway, who teaches at Aberystwyth University in Wales, researches medieval Welsh and Irish texts.

Click here to read this article from

Medieval celebrations in Conwy

The anniversary of the taking of Conwy Castle by a medieval Welsh prince is to be celebrated this year in the historic town.

To mark this historical occasion Conwy’s Chamber of Trade have organised a day of medieval fun on Saturday, April 2, with the fun kicking off at 11am. It will mark the event’s 610th anniversary.

On the day and on April 3, there will be free entrance to the castle for accompanied under 16s courtesy of Cadw.

Click here to read this article from the North Wales Weekly News

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Website tracks Historic Sites at Risk

A new internet platform has been launched today to rescue cultural heritage sites on the verge of being irremediably lost, said Global Heritage Fund, a California-based nonprofit organization that focuses on historical preservation.

Called Global Heritage Network (GHN), the platform is the first early warning and threat monitoring system for saving endangered sites in developing countries, where financial resources and expertise are limited.

Click here to read this article from Discovery News

Byzantine Pottery Coffin Restored in Syria

A specialized team in restoration of ruins at the Archaeological Monuments Lab at Hama National Museum finished the restoration works of a rare circular-designed pottery coffin dating back to the Byzantine era in preparation to showcase it in the Archaeological Cemeteries Hall of the Museum.

Curator of Hama Museum, Rakan Amin, told SANA that the coffin is approximately 2 meters long and a half meter wide. It is one of the rare coffins as it was build in a circular shape with an opening to ensure the entry of the deceased. He added that the coffin carries an inscription to indicate the name of the deceased.

Click here to read this article from the Global Arab Network

Funding breakthrough for Teampull na Trionaid

A medieval church and college in North Uist has won almost £200,000 in Scottish Government funding to conserve and stabilise the ruins.

The funding breakthrough by the Teampull na Trionaid Conservation Association has been welcomed Wednesday by Western Isles SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan.

Dr Allan, who has been involved in the campaign to safeguard this monument, commented: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has today committed £194,000 under its Rural Priorities scheme to allow work to proceed at Teampull na Trionaid, which is one of the most important historic buildings in the Western Isles."

Click here to read this article the Stornoway Gazette

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

‘Visualising the Late Antique City’ project receives funding

A new archaeological research project at the University of Kent will reconstruct urban life in cities such as Constantinople during a period of history that has long remained hidden from view.

Reconstructions of daily life in ancient Roman cities such as Pompeii are plentiful, thanks to centuries of archaeological research. But that is not the case for the later Roman or ‘late antique’ period (AD 300-650) that saw the long transition from the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages.

Click here to read this article from

Archaeologists meet in Orkney

Scientists and researchers from across northern Europe will gather in Orkney on Thursday to learn how the islands protect their rich archaeological resources from rising seas and winter storms.

Orkney is home to some of the most important archaeological sites in Europe and many of these lie beneath the surface of the sea. As a result, the islands have implemented pioneering techniques to ensure that this important heritage is protected from climate change and the harsh northern weather for future generations.

Click here to read this article from

Was the great Dane Irish? That is the question

Not "O Hamlet" but O'Hamlet: Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark, according to literary research, derives his peculiar name from ancient Irish origins.

The identity of the Prince of Denmark has fascinated scholars for centuries, with disputes about the name's Jutish, Icelandic or Latin etymology jostling for academic pre-eminence.

Now Dr Lisa Collinson, a medieval Scandinavian expert at Aberdeen University, has published research which traces the unusual word to a little known Gaelic mystery tale from the dark ages.

Click here to read this article from The Guardian

Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire - lecture at the University of Maine

On Tuesday, April 26, Hudson Museum at the University of Maine will present a lecture by Michael McCormick, the Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard University, whose research and teaching focuses on the archaeology and history of the fall of the Roman Empire and the origins of medieval civilization.

In “Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire,” McCormick will explore what bio-molecular evidence and climate change data suggest about the impact of volcanic events on the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Carolingian Europe. Drawing on ice core evidence and primary documentary research for the period 750 to 950 AD, McCormick will explore the impact of volcanic events on the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Carolingian Europe. Climate cooling caused by eight volcanic events, resulted in nine major winter anomalies that affected food production and human survival.

The lecture will be given at 7 p.m. in Hutchins Hall, Collins Center for the Arts, is free and open to the public.

Source: University of Maine

Archaeologists find medieval settlement in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists found a medieval settlement in 2 km north of Uzuntepe village of Jalilabad.

According to the news service for the National Academy of Science of Azerbaijan, archaeologists called the settlement Goshatepe, since it is divided in two parts by hills.

Click here to read this article News.Az

Medieval discovery: pottery and leather shoes found in dig (Dublin, Ireland)

Remnants of what appears to have been a medieval mill, including “very well-preserved” timber beams, pottery and leather shoes, have been found underneath Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, Dublin.

The discovery by archaeologists came as part of the mandatory archaeological survey, as work got under way on the construction of a retractable rain-cover over the square. The building works have now been halted. Temple Bar Cultural Trust is describing the discovery as “very exciting”.

A delay of up to 12 weeks in building works will mean events planned in the square to mark the 20th anniversary of Temple Bar, scheduled for July, will now have to be staged elsewhere. Dermot McLaughlin, chief executive of the trust, is not disappointed, however. “It’s fine. We’ll find other outdoor spaces and hold a separate event in the square in September. This find is very exciting. We’re really buzzing about it.”

Click here to read this article from the Irish Times

Monday, March 14, 2011

More antiquities revealed by Thessaloniki metro

A 4th-century A.D. chapel that may be the oldest Christian place of worship in Thessaloniki was discovered by archaeologists beneath an early Christian basilica, itself unearthed during construction of the Sintrivani metro station in the northern port city.

Among the highlights of the find is a mosaic floor uncovered when structures of the later basilica were removed. This was showed a white field with a clematis theme, dominated by a phoenix with a halo and 13 rays in the centre. On either side are a number of birds, of which seven still survive, two of the right and five on the left.

Click here to read this article from the Athens News Agency

"Lost" 450-year-old mass soars on British charts

A sumptuous first recording of a long-lost 450-year-old Italian Renaissance mass written for 40 different vocal parts has soared onto British pop charts a week after its release.

The recording by British vocal group I Fagiolini of the little-known Alessandro Striggio's 1566 mass for 40 voices -- most masses are written for four -- made its debut at number 68 on the pop charts, above Bon Jovi, George Harrison and Eminem.

It was number two on the classical charts, just behind Dutch violinist waltz master Andre Rieu.

Click here to read this article from Reuters

Susan Mahoney appointed new administrator for the Richard III Foundation Student Programs

The Richard III Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Mahoney as the new administrator for the Richard III Student Programs. These programs encompass the Richard III Scholarship for Medieval Studies and The John Davey Research Grant for Medieval Studies. A past member of the Board of Directors and former editor of ‘The Medelai Gazette’, the Foundation’s official publication,

Mahoney has been a patron of The Richard III Foundation since its inception in 1993. Mahoney is also the author of ‘Richard III – Shakespeare’s Victim’. Mahoney holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and feels strongly that continued research is one of the most effective ways to provide insight and clarity into the fifteenth century.

Click here to read this article from

E-science steps forward into the Middle Ages

A decade after a British official coined the term e-science, a University of Western Australia researcher is planning a Medieval Manuscript Commons to help bring its successor, e-research, to the humanities.

Dr Toby Burrows, digital services director for the ARC Network for Early European Research (NEER), hopes for a day when humanities scholars can conduct research without leaving the desk.

“While many scientists have access to massive worldwide e-research datasets, the humanities have lagged behind – until now,” Dr Burrows says.

NEER’s digital services include Confluence, a web-based collaborative environment, and PioNEER, a repository for research publications.

Click here to read this article from Science Network: Western Australia

18 medieval skeletons to be reburied after discovery during town centre revamp

Eighteen medieval skeletons unearthed during a £1.8 million revamp of a town centre are to be reburied. The remains were found in Bridge Street and Silver Street in Gainsborough during renovation works last summer by contractors working for West Lindsey District Council.

The bones, belonging to 15 adults, two infants and a juvenile, were found an estimated one metre underground. They will be reburied at Gainsborough Cemetery tomorrow.

Click here to read this article from the Lincolnshire Echo

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marmaray excavations earn İstanbul new museum

The world’s largest sunken ship museum will be established in İstanbul thanks to finds from the Port of Theodosius dating back to the fourth century, which was discovered in Yenikapı during excavations in the Marmaray project, an undersea commuter tunnel linking Asia and Europe.

Scientists studying the 36 sunken ships salvaged at the Yenikapı archeological site have been able to identify the trees used in building the vessels and their methods of construction.

Click here to read this article from the Sunday Zaman

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Medievalverse, No.5

On our fifth vlog we are back at the University of Toronto, where we are attending the Canadian Conference of Medieval Art Historians. We have some thank you's to give out to the Vagantes conference and city of Pittsburgh, and talk about what is going this week on

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A 'Black Death' Saga With More Than One Plague

The plague that decimated Europe's population in the 14th century provided plenty of support for the notion of a higher power — and a lower one. God's wrath and the devil's malice seemed plausible explanations for such widespread loss of life.

In Black Death, director Christopher Smith uses desperation-fueled religious fervor to examine the relationship between fear and faith. Of course he also uses it to inspire some truly gory battles and cringeworthy punishments; here, "going medieval" on your enemies isn't just a figure of speech.

Click here to read this review from NPR

Click here to see our page on the film Black Death

An English Royal Wedding – from the Middle Ages

A recent article has detailed the wedding of an English princess in the fourteenth century, showing how lavish the Middle Ages could be.

In her article, “Isabella da Coucy, Daughter of Edward III: The Exception who proves the rule,” Jessica Lutkin examines the life of the eldest daughter of the famous English monarch. Isabella was born in 1332 and lived through many of the important events that shaped England in the fourteenth century.

Click here to read this article from

Discovering Sunken Tang Dynasty Treasures

Singapore’s new ArtScience Museum might look like a giant robotic baseball glove from the outside, but the structure’s sci-fi-like exterior belies the antiquity of its inaugural exhibits, all of which draw heavily on the theme of ancient interactions between East and West.

Having opened its doors just last month, the museum — part of the Marina Bay Sands casino resort — will be the first port of call on the four-year global tour of “Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds,” a collection of cargo uncovered in an Arab trading dhow, which sank in the waters off the Indonesian island of Betilung in the ninth century. The 18-meter ship, discovered in 1998, is the oldest such find to be salvaged in Southeast Asia. The exhibit runs until July 31 in Singapore.

Click here to read this article from the Wall Street Journal

Norton Priory in Runcorn prepares for fresh lottery bid

Europe's largest archaeological monastic site is preparing to exorcise its ghosts of two years ago and compete for lottery cash in Runcorn. Norton Priory said the grant would pay for bigger and better display facilities.

The move would enable it open its vault of previously unseen treasures including medieval skulls, coffins, metal work, wood carving, pottery, glass and ornate tiles.

Click here to read this article from Rudcorn and Widnes Weekly News

Government steps in for the restoration of Trapezitsa Fortress in Veliko Turnovo

The Bulgarian Government will allocate one million leva for the renovation of the Trapezitsa Fortress in Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria's famous medieval capital, local media reported on March 10 2011.

Veliko Turnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria, referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Perched on the Yantra River, which presented a natural defensive line, the old town and its castles are famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Click here to read this article from the Sofia Echo

Trio Medieval ready to release new disc of sacred music from 13th century England

It's been a while since the excellent Norwegian female a cappella Trio Medieval has recorded a disc. In advance of the release of their latest, A Worcester Ladymass, next Tuesday, NPR is offering a free sneak peak on its website. It's a fantastic mix of great sound, serious scholarship and accessible new music.

Click here to read this article from the Toronto Star

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Matthew Boyd Goldie awarded fellowship to study medieval geography

Dr. Matthew Boyd Goldie has been awarded a McColl Research Fellowship from the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. There, he will explore how the British Isles were considered in contrast to other landmasses in the 13th through 15th centuries, as well as the perceived effects of their insularity on their civilizations and cultures.

After traveling from his native New Zealand to Brooklyn College for a Master of Fine Arts, Dr. Matthew Boyd Goldie was already well acquainted with the geography of the earth – at least by modern standards.

Now that has been awarded a McColl Research Fellowship from the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Goldie intends to deepen his familiarity with the earth’s geography as it was understood by his scholarly ancestors from the Middle Ages. The library, which contains North America’s foremost geography and map collections – some 500,000 maps of all types covering the globe on a range of scales – will provide the ideal setting for the subject of Goldie’s latest research: How were the British Isles thought of in contrast to other landmasses in the 13th through 15th centuries? And what were the perceived effects of their insularity on their civilizations and cultures?

Click here to read this article from Rider University

Medieval kiln found in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists have unearthed a large 12th-13th century kiln for firing bricks in Azerbaijan's second city, Ganja.

"We have found four tiers to the kiln and there may be even more," Arif Mammadov, head of the Ganja archaeological expedition, told

Click here to read this article from

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The face of Owain Glyndŵr revealed

Researchers in Wales have digitally reconstructed the face of Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh ruler who waged a revolt against English rule in the fifteenth-century. First revealed on the Welsh TV documentary The Face of Glyndŵr, it depicts a powerful-looking man with penetrating brown eyes, dark brown hair, a dark beard with hints of grey in it, a sharply-defined nose and battle scars along with a wart under one eye.

Produced by Wild Dream Films and the Welsh channel S4C, the documentary used the latest 3D and CGI computer-generated technology and de-ageing techniques, employed by law enforcement agencies like the FBI.

Click here to read this article from

Medieval Castle in Wales reopens to the public

Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government’s heritage service, has announced that Old Beaupré Castle in southern Wales will re-open following its closure due to essential structural and conservation works on its magnificently carved Renaissance porch. The medieval manor house castle will open its doors again on Friday 18 March ready to welcome visitors.

Click here to read this article from

Medieval coins found in Shropshire

Medieval coins discovered in Baschurch and in the Oswestry area have been declared as treasure trove by an inquest.

At last week's Wem inquest, north and mid Shropshire Coroner, Mr John Ellery, declared the finds as treasure trove and they could now be displayed at Rowley's House Museum, Shrewsbury and at the Powysland Museum, Welshpool, which has expressed an interest in the finds.

Click here to read this article from the Border Counties Advertiser

Helen Castor's 'She-Wolves' taste power in medieval England

Helen Castor's very readable "She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth" is, she writes, "the kind of book I loved to read before history became my profession as well as my pleasure." It's full of beautiful, imperiled ladies; fearless knights; and remarkable, often unbelievable turns of fortune.

Pause a moment if you feel this topic is limited to the romance reader, or primarily to women. Castor's story spans four centuries of English and European history, from the 1100s to the accession of Mary Tudor. The author is a fine scholar and an equally fine storyteller.

Click here to read this review from the

Scholar discovers 6th-century Ethiopian Old Testament

A doctoral student at Durham University in England has discovered the existence of the oldest known copies of books of the Ethiopic Old Testament. The books date back to the early sixth century.

Ted Erho, a postgraduate student in the Department of Theology and Religion, made the find while examining microfilms of classical Ethiopic (Ge’ez) manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University in Minnesota.

Click here to read this article from

Monday, March 07, 2011

Archaeologists explore Battle of Bannockburn site

Excavations have taken place at Bannockburn battlefield to see if there are any medieval finds from the famous 1314 battle.

Archaeologists have investigated areas which are due to be planted with new trees. The planting is part of the advance landscaping works for a £5m joint project between the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland which aims to revamp the visitor centre, creating a state-of-the-art world-class visitor attraction at the site of the battle. The new centre will open in 2014, the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the next year of Homecoming.

Click here to read this article from

Medieval Feast at Durham University

A variety of authentic medieval foods will be served at a sold-out banquet at Durham University on March 9th. Organised by university’s Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, it will feature food and drink from the Middle Ages and show how they were cooked during that period.

Dr Giles Gasper, co-director of the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, noted “It’s one thing to know the practices and customs of the Medieval Period, but to get the opportunity to bring them to life and experience some of the many flavours of the food and drink of the period is an emotive, engaging and therefore much more enjoyable way to understand the past.”

Click here to read this article from

Ancient Arab Shipwreck Yields Secrets of Ninth-Century Trade

For more than a decade, archaeologists and historians have been studying the contents of a ninth-century Arab dhow that was discovered in 1998 off Indonesia’s Belitung Island. The sea-cucumber divers who found the wreck had no idea it eventually would be considered one of the most important maritime discoveries of the late 20th century.

The dhow was carrying a rich cargo — 60,000 ceramic pieces and an array of gold and silver works — and its discovery has confirmed how significant trade was along a maritime silk road between Tang Dynasty China and Abbasid Iraq. It also has revealed how China was mass-producing trade goods even then and customizing them to suit the tastes of clients in West Asia.

Click here to read this article from the New York Times

London's mudlarks retrieve history from the Thames

It's seven in the morning and we kneel in black mud on the freezing banks of London's River Thames in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral, where a church has dominated the ancient city since the 7th century.

As the tide ebbs exposing the shore, Steve Brooker casually tosses a 17th century trader's token he has found in the dirt into his bucket.

"Remember it's all about getting your eye in," says Brooker, who, armed with little more than a trowel, gloves, obligatory boots and an infectious enthusiasm has been combing the foreshore for antiquities for the past 20 years.

Click here to read this article from The West Australian

Winchester Cathedral celebrates new structure

Winchester Cathedral has opened its first addition in 500 years. A purpose-built extension has been attached to the eastern corner of the existing building, which is the longest medieval cathedral in Europe.

It took the cathedral's stonemasons a year to construct the limestone attachment, which will provide storage, a new boiler and its first toilets. The £820,000 needed for the work was raised by the Friends of Winchester Cathedral.

Click here to read this article from the BBC

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Reviews for Ironclad

Paul Giamatti won't be counting his chickens for an Oscar for his turn as an English monarch, wicked King John, in this post Magna Carta romp. - from The Guardian

Most reviews will bandy about terms like “extreme violence” but the truth is, IRONCLAD is an honest, somehow beautiful depiction of Medieval savagery. - from Hollywood News

One has to admire the spirit of this independent production, which aims for the sweeping spectacle of ‘El Cid’, but it falls way short of its epic ambitions. - from Time Out London

Click here to see our page on Ironclad 

Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Medieval Library Inaugurated

Members of the Harvard community gathered yesterday in the Barker Center to celebrate the inauguration of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, a new translation series produced and distributed by Harvard University Press that will make the written achievements of medieval cultures more readily available to scholars and general readers in the English-speaking world.

The Medieval Library formally debuts with the publication of three works: a volume containing two separate manuscripts of secular Latin poetry, the full “Beowulf” manuscript, and The Pentateuch of Saint Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible paired with the 17th century Douay-Rheims translation.

Three more volumes are scheduled to be published later in the spring.

Click here to read this article from The Harvard Crimson

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Exhibition: The Great Lost Library of Alcuin’s York

Eighth-century York owed its reputation as one of the most intellectually influential cities in Europe to the library and school headed by the scholar Alcuin. But while rich and vivid evidence exists about the school, all trace of the library has disappeared.

A new exhibition at the Old Palace, which houses the present-day York Minster Library, organised by Dr Mary Garrison, of the University of York’s Department of History, assembles clues to solve the mystery.

The Great Lost Library of Alcuin’s York features eye-catching new designs by Yorkshire calligraphers Dorothy Wilkinson, Sue Sparrow and Angela Dalleywater based on the distinctive eighth-century Caroline minuscule script that Alcuin encouraged his scribes to use.

Click here to read this article from

Shropshire medieval coin finds declared treasure trove

Three hoards of medieval coins found in Shropshire have been declared as treasure by a coroner. The coins – dating from the 13th to 17th centuries – were discovered in Baschurch and near Oswestry.

Mr John Ellery, coroner for north and mid Shropshire, declared all three finds as treasure trove at inquests in Wem yesterday.

The finds could now go on display at Rowley’s House Museum in Shrewsbury and Powysland Museum.

Click here to read this article from the Shropshire Star

High tech gadgets used to trigger medieval weapon

Workers at a Google data center combined 12 century know how and space age technology to trigger a medieval weapon that was used to hurl rocks, balls of fire and dead animals over castle walls.

They used an Android cellphone, a computer the size of a credit card and a Blue Tooth receiver to trigger the wooden weapon, known as a trebuchet, during the first "Storm the Citadel Trebuchet Competition" in Charleston over the weekend.

Click here to read this article from Reuters

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Why is King John the classic villain?

A new film about King John further underlines history's judgement of the medieval English monarch as a cruel tyrant. But among the dozens of bad kings and despots, why is John always the pantomime villain?

Surrendering lands in France, forced into a humiliating climbdown with the nobility and ex-communicated by the Church. Not to mention being blamed for the murder of his nephew.

The medieval reign of King John has been characterised by disaster and his reputation languishes among the lowest for all the kings and queens of England.

Click here to read this article from the BBC

Work well underway to restore 1392 moat at Fulham Palace

A circa-1392 medieval moat is being restored at Fulham Palace.

The Chronicle went along this week to watch archaeologists to dig up a 95-yard stretch of the mile-long moat, which circles the palace and is the longest in England.

Builders' debris has filled the moat, which is entirely preserved below ground as an unbroken circuit, since the 1920s, following a request of the Bishop of London, who lived in the palace.

Click here to read this article from the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle

Click here to read another report from the BBC

Click here to watch a video report from the BBC

Click here to read an account of the moat's discovery in 2009 from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council