Thursday, November 29, 2012

Archaeological dig in Northern Ireland uncovers huge haul of medieval artefacts

Archaeologists have been impressed by the huge treasure trove of artefacts that have been discovered so far during excavations of a crannog in Northern Ireland. They are providing a “snap-shot” of life in Ireland between the 9th century AD to the 17th Century, and further work may reveal more items that could date back even centuries earlier.

The crannog – an artificial island in a lake – is located in County Fermanagh in the southwest corner of Norther Irland. Digging began in June, and has revealed a small settlement of about four or five houses. It is believed that the island was occupied between the years 600 AD to 1600 AD. The waterlogged site is turning up many kinds of objects related to daily life in the Middle Ages.

Some of the most striking finds are a wooden bowl that has a cross carved into its base, a unique find from an excavation in Ireland, parts of wooden vessels with interlace decoration, and exquisite combs made from antler and bone, status symbols of their day that date to between 1000 and 1100 AD.

Click here to read this article from

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Geese Book – medieval manuscript now available online

One of the most interesting manuscripts of the late Middle Ages is now available online – The Geese Book, a lavishly and whimsically illuminated, two-volume liturgical book, can now be accessed through a project from the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

The Geese Book was produced in Nuremberg, Germany between 1503 and 1510, and gives the complete liturgy compiled for the parish of St. Lorenz, which was used until the Reformation was introduced in the city in 1525.

The volumes are renowned for their high quality decorative illumination including fanciful pictures, provocative and satirical imagery of animals, dragons, and wild people. The work takes its name from an enigmatic illustration showing a choir of geese singing from a large chant manuscript with a wolf as their choirmaster. A fox, who has joined the choir, extends his paw menacingly in the direction of one of the geese.

Click here to read this article from

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moravian College hosts medieval conference for undergrads

Moravian College will host the seventh annual Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies on Saturday, December 1, 2012. Over 80 students from 34 different schools will be presenting their research, and Dr. Alfred Siewers of Bucknell University will be the plenary speaker.

 In addition to the student research presentations, there will also be an exhibit by a calligrapher and demonstrations in medieval spinning and weaving by a medieval textile specialist. The day will end with a concert of medieval and early modern music by My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem.

 The Conference provides an excellent opportunity for students practice giving professional presentations and to share their research, which they have dedicated so much time and effort to, with an audience broader than their classroom. This year 12 Moravian students will be presenting papers on a wide variety of topics, including an analysis of Robin Hood films, images of disability in the Game of Thrones series, and gender roles in medieval video games. Many Moravian students and faculty will also be involved in chairing sessions, running registration, and helping with setup and cleanup.

Click here to read this article from

Monday, November 26, 2012

When stealing corpses was popular

When you bury family members in a cemetery, you expect them to stay there. Not so 200 years ago, however, when body snatchers prowled the nation’s burial grounds looking for subjects. This lucrative cottage industry was driven by an acute shortage of bodies that were available for dissection by the growing number of medical students.

Now, a new book has amassed, for the first time, archaeological evidence for what happened to the corpses, from dissection and autopsy through to reburial and display. Many of the new findings have never been published before.

The book reveals how the macabre activities of the body snatchers helped to further the progress of medicine and science by improving understanding of how the human body worked.

Click here to read this article from Early Modern England

An Interview With Jeri Westerson, Author of Blood Lance and the Crispin Guest Book Series

Author Jeri Westerson has done it again: She's managed to craft another fascinating, entertaining, engaging book in a style that's been dubbed "medieval noir."

Her latest book, Blood Lance, is the fifth in her series of books about Crispin Guest, a detective of sorts during the medieval era, a man who was previously a knight.

One of the many aspects of this book and series I enjoy is how Westerson combines history with fiction, even historical figures with fictional ones, with grace and eloquence.

In our latest interview--I previously interviewed her about her book Troubled Bones--she also talks about her concerns about the state of the publishing industry and how it will affect authors including herself.

Click here to read this interview from the Seattle Post Intelligencer

You can follow Jeri Westerson (and Crispin Guest) on Facebook

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Book on ‘The Book of Kells’ launched

The Book of Kells is widely recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful decorated manuscripts and a masterpiece of European medieval art, with images that are staggering in their richness, intricacy and inventiveness. This handsome new volume, by Dr Bernard Meehan, Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Library, brims with fresh insights and interpretations and features the extraordinary imagery on a generous scale. The publication which was introduced by Professor of History of Art,  Roger Stalley also marks the tercentenary of the foundation of the Old Library building, Trinity College Library, Dublin, one of  the great historic libraries of the world.

The Book of Kells dates from around 800 AD and contains a Latin text of the four Gospels. There is great uncertainty about its origins. It is thought that the Book of Kells was first worked on at the monastery on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland, and was continued, after Viking raids, at the monastery of Kells in Ireland. The Book remained in Kells until the mid-1600s, and in 1661 was presented to Trinity College, Dublin, where it is on permanent display, and is regarded as a national treasure. It is seen every year by half a million visitors from all over the world.

Click here to read this article from

How King's College Chapel Got Its Windows

When you enter King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England, the first thing you do is look up at the magnificent vault of the ceiling. For me, looking up at the beautiful fan-like splays of the ribs always made music resound in my head, perhaps a Bach chorale that I had heard performed there or perhaps something from the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols that is broadcast from the chapel around the world at Christmastime. Then there is the light. On a summer's day, "the windows blaze into life, walls of floating light and colour that sparkle and ripple to the changing rhythm of the clouds and sun, 'flecking the vast interior with glory,' according to one former King's undergraduate, E. M. Forster." Thus Carola Hicks introduces the windows in The King's Glass: A Story of Tudor Power and Secret Art, newly reprinted by Pimlico. It was her last book published before her death in 2010; she had been, among other jobs in a varied career, the curator of the stained glass museum in nearby Ely Cathedral. Now I'd love to go back to the chapel; I had no idea that the lovely windows had such a tumultuous and fractious history, reflecting the complicated times in which they were planned and installed. Even if I never get back, though, I am, thanks to Hicks's book, seeing the windows with new clarity.

Click here to read this book review from The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tycho Brahe was not killed by mercury poisoning, tests reveal

In 2010, Tycho Brahe was exhumed from his grave in Prague, an event which received extensive international media coverage. Since then, a Danish-Czech team of researchers has been working to elucidate the cause of Tycho Brahe’s death. The results of this intensive work now make it possible to rule out mercury poisoning as a cause of death.

 For over four hundred years, Tycho Brahe’s untimely death has been a mystery. He died on 24 October 1601 only eleven days after the onset of a sudden illness. Over the centuries, a variety of myths and theories about his death have arisen.

 One of the most persistent theories has been that he died of mercury poisoning, either because he voluntarily ingested large quantities of mercury for medicinal purposes, or because mercury was used to poison him. Rumours of death by poisoning arose shortly after Tycho Brahe’s death.

Brahe’s famous assistant Johannes Kepler has been identified as a possible murder suspect, and other candidates have been singled out for suspicion throughout the years, according to Dr Jens Vellev, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark who is heading the research project.

Click here to read this article from

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ancient hieroglyphics meet cutting-edge technology at Loughborough University

Engineers from Loughborough University have used the latest cutting-edge technology to bring to life an ancient Egyptian inscribed tablet.

Working with The Manchester Museum, Loughborough’s Professor John Tyrer has created a high-tech interactive display that will enable visitors to immerse themselves in the story behind the Stela of Hesysunebef.

Stelae were set up at religious sites to commemorate individuals or groups of people. They formed a permanent record of someone and allowed them to participate eternally in religious rituals.

The Stela of Hesysunebef is separated into three horizontal sections, called registers. The top register shows Neferhotep, the foreman of a gang of workmen who lived at the village of Deir el-Medina. He stands on the prow of a boat used to carry the statue of the goddess Mut. The middle register shows Hesysunebef, the adoptive son of Neferhotep and his family, who are all kneeling in adoration before the foreman. The lower register shows five more people including the parents-in-law of Hesysunebef. It dates back to around 1600 BC.

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

New research on how the Bayeux Tapestry was made

A University of Manchester researcher has thrown new light on how the world famous Bayeux Tapestry was made over 900 years ago. Alex Makin –a professional embroiderer who was trained at one the country’s most prestigious institutions – says the same group of people were likely to have worked on the 70-metre-long masterpiece under the same manager or managers.

Her conclusion casts doubt on the widely accepted theory that nuns based in different locations across England made the tapestry in nine sections which were then stitched together.

However, questions still remain over how many embroiderers worked on the Bayeux Tapestry, which is on permanent display at a museum in Normandy, France, who they were and where their ‘workshop’ or ‘workshops’ were located.

From observing the way the stitches overlap on the back of the tapestry, Mrs Makin is also able to say in what order its different parts were sewn. The outlines for individual sections were worked first, and then filled in with colours in a set order.

Click here to read this article from

Who was the mysterious Ælfgyva in the Bayeux Tapestry?

A new theory has been put forward on a mysterious scene in the Bayeux Tapestry that appears to show some sort of sexual scandal that involved a woman named Ælfgyva. Joanna Laynesmith, a medieval historian from the University of Reading offers two possibilities in a new article that appears in the October issue of History Today.

In trying to understand ”the million dollar question” as Laynesmith puts it, several different explanations have been attempted.  Laynesmith believes that this Ælfgyva was most likely Emma, who was the wife of two Anglo-Saxon kings - Æthelred the Unready and Cnut, and was the mother of two more – Harthacnut and Edward the Confessor, or that it could be Ælfgyvva, the first wife of Æthelred.

Click here to read this article from

Monday, November 19, 2012

Is it King Richard III? We we will know in January

The DNA and scientific testing to confirm whether or not the remains of an individual discovered in Leicester is that of England’s King Richard III will be known early in the new year, according to officials from the University of Leicester.

DNA testing, environmental sampling and radiocarbon dating are some of the tests being undertaken to determine whether the skeleton found in Leicester was once Richard III – and there are also plans to do a facial reconstruction.

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services, explains “We are looking at many different lines of enquiry, the evidence from which all add up to give us more assurance about the identity of the individual. As well as the DNA testing, we have to take in all of the other pieces of evidence which tell us about the person’s lifestyle – including his health and where he grew up.

Click here to read this article from

Humans were smarter 3000 years ago, scientist says

The human race is slowly losing its intellectual and emotional capabilities because it no longer faces extreme evolutionary pressures, new research contends.

Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, but the intricate web of genes that gives people these capabilities has started to backslide, the scientists said in an article appearing Nov. 12 in the journal Trends in Genetics.

"The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively nonverbal, dispersed groups of peoples before our ancestors emerged from Africa," study author Dr. Gerald Crabtree, of Stanford University, said in a journal news release.

In the early stages of human evolution, intelligence was critical for survival and there was immense selective pressure acting on the genes required for intellectual development. But once humans achieved a certain level of evolutionary progress, they slowly began to lose ground.

The development of agriculture led to urbanization, which may have weakened the power of natural selection to eliminate mutations that caused intellectual disabilities, the researchers explained.

Based on the frequency that harmful mutations appear in the human genome and the assumption that 2,000 to 5,000 genes are required for intellectual ability, Crabtree estimated the effect that the past 3,000 years (about 120 generations) of human history have had on humans. He concluded that all people now carry two or more mutations harmful to their intellectual or emotional stability.

He noted, however, that the loss of intellectual and emotional capabilities is quite slow and it's likely that a solution will be found in the future.

"I think we will know each of the millions of human mutations that can compromise our intellectual function and how each of these mutations interact with each other and other processes, as well as environmental influences," Crabtree said.

"At that time, we may be able to magically correct any mutation that has occurred in all cells of any organism at any developmental stage," he said. "Thus, the brutish process of natural selection will be unnecessary."

Click here to access the first and second parts of the article Our fragile intellect

The Mary Rose archers were among the elite soldiers of the 16th century, research reveals

The archers who fought on Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, would have been elite soldiers for their time, standing over 6 feet tall and able to pull weights over 200 lbs. These findings come from a new research project being carried out by sports scientists at Swansea University and the Mary Rose Trust to discover more about the lives of the 16th century archers on board the ship.

When the ship was raised from the Solent in 1982, many thousands of medieval artefacts along with 92 fairly complete skeletons of the crew of the Mary Rose were recovered.

Nick Owen, Sport and Exercise Biomechanist from the College of Engineering at Swansea University said, “This sample of human remains offers a unique opportunity to study activity related changes in human skeletons. It is documented that there was a company of archers aboard when the ship sank, at a time when many archers came from Wales and the South West of England."

Click here to read this article from Early Modern England

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Albrecht Classen wins Arizona Professor of the Year

Albrecht Classen almost cried when he learned he won the 2012 Professor of the Year award for the state of Arizona, but the German-born German Studies professor is no stranger to recognition for his work.

Awards line the walls of Classen’s office and help serve as a testament to the appreciation for his work and teaching ability. This week, Classen will receive three additional honors to add to the wall.

On Wednesday, Classen will be inducted as honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Later this week, he’ll also receive an award known as “Friend of German” from the American Association of Teachers of German.

The Friend of German award “recognizes outstanding support for and promotion of German and the study of German at the local, regional, or national level,” according to the association’s website.

Probably most significant is the fact that this week Classen will receive an award for U.S. Professor of the Year for 2012 in Arizona from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. When he found out he won, he said he felt moved.

Click here to read this article from the Daily Wildcat

See also Professor Classen speaking on Trobairitz Women Poets from Early Twelfth-Century Southern France

Medieval underwear points to racy history

Underwear dating from medieval times that was found under flooring of an Austrian castle is hardly racy by the standards of today.

But the discovery does suggest that women in 15th-century Europe took pride in their appearance, and perhaps not just the privileged classes.

The University of Innsbruck announced this summer that "the world's oldest brassieres" had been found at Longberg Castle in Tyrol, western Austria.

The cotton garments were decorated, much like today, with lace and embroidery. It might not be a stretch to suggest that such underwear was designed for those "special occasions," scholars say.

At the heart of Tyrol, an area lined with precipitous alpine peaks, is the city of Innsbruck. The items were found during renovations of the castle in summer 2008. The castle lies to the south of the city.

Four brassieres were found amid a heap of cotton material, clothing and leather footwear under the third floor.

Carbon dating by the university's archaeological research team dated the garments to between 1440 and 1485, making them the oldest in existence.

Click here to read this article from The Asahi Shimbun

See also Medieval lingerie? Discovery in Austria reveals what really was worn under those tunics

Early humans may have been much smarter than we thought

Rocks carved into ancient stone arrowheads or into lethal tools for hurling spears suggest humans innovated relatively advanced weapons much earlier than thought, researchers in South Africa say.

The researchers' finds, partially exposed by a coastal storm, suggest ancient peoples were capable of complex forms of thinking, scientists added. "These people were like you and I," researcher Curtis Marean, a paleoanthropologist at Arizona State University in Tempe, told LiveScience.

Modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, but when modern human ways of thinking emerged remains controversial. For instance, some researchers note that the first signs of complex thought such as art appeared relatively late in history, suggesting that genetic mutations linked with modern human behavior occurred as recently as 40,000 years ago.

Other scientists argue that modern human thought originated much earlier but that the evidence was largely lost to the rigors of time.

Click here to read this article from MSNBC

Medieval bestseller explores morality through science

Imagine a stick partially submerged in a pool of water. It appears to be broken at the point where water meets air, but in fact it is in one piece. This optical illusion is called refraction: as light passes from one medium to another, it bends and changes speed based on each medium’s refractive index, causing the stick in water to appear bent.

 Most people are familiar with the scientific definition of refraction. But have you ever considered it as a moral concept? Say there’s a man on the street digging through a dumpster. You might see him as being “broken.” But as refraction teaches us, things are not always as they appear.

 The idea that scientific principles might also have philosophical applications is explored in The Moral Treatise on the Eye, a text written in the late 13th century by Peter of Limoges. The Moral Treatise is a compilation of short narratives, or exempla, meant to help preachers deliver sermons. Each chapter offers a piece of knowledge about the field of optics. Peter of Limoges first explains the concept scientifically, and then gives a moral or religious interpretation, like in the refraction example.

 “Peter quotes Paul, saying that we see things in this world through a dark veil, but in the next life, you’ll see things as they really are,” says Richard Newhauser, an English professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU. “In effect, what he’s saying is, in heaven there’s no reflection or refraction but only lines of direct sight.”

 The Moral Treatise on the Eye combines scientific thought with concepts of moral theology. This blending of disciplines is part of what appealed to Newhauser, who recently published a translation of the text with extensive explanatory footnotes.

Click here to read this article from Arizona State University

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ancient Roman Giant Found—Oldest Complete Skeleton With Gigantism

It's no tall tale—the first complete ancient skeleton of a person with gigantism has been discovered near Rome, a new study says.

At 6 feet, 8 inches (202 centimeters) tall, the man would have been a giant in third-century A.D. Rome, where men averaged about 5 and a half feet (167 centimeters) tall. By contrast, today's tallest man measures 8 feet, 3 inches (251 centimeters).

Finding such skeletons is rare, because gigantism itself is extremely rare, today affecting about three people in a million worldwide. The condition begins in childhood, when a malfunctioning pituitary gland causes abnormal growth.

Two partial skeletons, one from Poland and another from Egypt, have previously been identified as "probable" cases of gigantism, but the Roman specimen is the first clear case from the ancient past, study leader Simona Minozzi, a paleopathologist at Italy's University of Pisa, said by email.

Click here to read this article from National Geographic

Click here to access the article: Pituitary Disease from the Past: A Rare Case of Gigantism in Skeletal Remains from the Roman Imperial Age

How Medieval Arms Race Led to Swords Capable of Killing ‘Tin Can’ Knights

I grew up on an early edition of Dungeons & Dragons and John Boorman’s Excalibur. The image of the tin-can knight — clanking and rattling as he walked, hoisted onto his horse by a crane — was the first part of my childhood that had to go when I started working on The Mongoliad, an epic collaborative tale about the Mongol invasion of Europe in the early 13th century.

Part of our purview on the project, an interactive story that’s being turned into a book trilogy, was to portray Western martial arts correctly. Thus began my crash course in the evolution of arms and armor over several centuries of medieval life.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this education was charting the changes that occurred as a result of this medieval arms race. Let’s start with the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, as recorded by the Bayeaux Tapestry, which is more than 200 linear feet of embroidered pictures of men in armor.

They’re wearing hauberks, long shirts that hang nearly to their knees made from interlinked iron rings. They called it “maille,” plain and simple, and if the troubadours were getting all poetic about these battles, they might refer to this maille as a “net.” Never “chain.” Why? Well, because it was a net.

Click here to read this article from Wired Magazine

Click here to read more articles on Medieval Warfare

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ancient Scythians were a genetic blend of Europeans and Asians, researchers find

A group of researchers led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has discovered the first scientific evidence of genetic blending between Europeans and Asians in the remains of ancient Scythian warriors living over 2,000 years ago in the Altai region of Mongolia. Contrary to what was believed until now, the results published in PLoS ONE indicate that this blending was not due to an eastward migration of Europeans, but to a demographic expansion of local Central Asian populations, thanks to the technological improvements the Scythian culture brought with them.

The Altai is a mountain range in Central Asia occupying territories of Russia and Kazakhstan to the west and of Mongolia and China to the east. Historically, the Central Asian steppes have been a corridor for Asian and European populations, resulting in the region’s large diversity in population today. In ancient times however the Altai Mountains, located in the middle of the steppes, represented an important barrier for the coexistence and mixture of the populations living on each side. And so they lived isolated during millennia: Europeans on the western side and Asians on the eastern side.

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

Community project shows possibilities for Medieval Norwich church

A prototype project at St Laurence’s Church, in St Benedict’s Street, was launched on Saturday in an effort to explore new ways to use the 15th-century church.

The Common Room project temporarily transformed the church into a type of community space in an attempt to entice people to explore the Grade I listed Medieval church.

The project has been developed by Social Spaces and 00:/ (Zero Zero) in collaboration with The Churches Conservation Trust, a national charity which protects historic churches at risk and cares for over 340 buildings around the country.

St Laurence’s is one of three churches which the charity looks after in Norwich, alongside the 500-year-old Church of St John Maddermarket and St Augustine’s Church, which boasts the only 17th-century brick tower in Norwich.

Click here to read this article from EDP 24

The Fake Medieval Images in Canterbury Cathedral

Thousands of visitors come into Canterbury Cathedral each day, where they gaze upon the hundreds of years of history in one of England’s greatest churches. Many of them will see the great stained glass images in the windows of the cathedral, believing that these were created in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately two of the most iconic images in the Cathedral are actually fakes created in the first half of the 20th century.

In ‘Fakes and Forgeries in Canterbury’s Stained Glass’, a lecture given last week at the University of Toronto, Rachel Koopmans explained how these images came into the cathedral and have fooled people for so long. One of the faked images is known as the Pilgrims panel, which shows four figures on the move and has been associated with the characters of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. The other is a portrait of the famous martyr and saint Thomas Becket, which some books have even described as being a contemporary depiction of the twelfth-century Archbishop.

Koopmans explains that both of these images, and many more in the Cathedral, were actually created by Samuel Caldwell Jr., who was the person in charge of restoring Canterbury’s glass for more than fifty years. During this time he created dozens of works and duped various church officials into believing they were genuine medieval images.

Click here to read this article from

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Winchester Cathedral starts potentially groundbreaking research

Winchester Cathedral has started preparatory work for the potentially groundbreaking research into the contents of its mortuary chests. Historians believe the wooden boxes contain the bones of Anglo-Saxon kings, including ancestors of King Alfred and the Danes such as Canute.

 The boxes were recently taken down from the presbytery screens and moved to the Lady Chapel at the eastern end of the cathedral where a wooden hut has been erected with a lockable door. The cathedral is hoping for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Click here to read this article from the Hampshire Chronicle

See also Notes and Queries about the Mortuary Chests

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Maney Publishing and Oxbow Books form journal publishing partnership

Extending a business relationship that has endured for many years, Oxbow will transfer its journal publishing operation to Maney Publishing effective from 2013. Primarily a publisher of books, Oxbow Books is a publisher, distributor and retail bookseller for everything on archaeology, prehistory, the Classical world, the Middle Ages, Egyptology, Near Eastern studies, and related environmental and heritage topics.

Maney benefits from Oxbow’s reach to core markets for the books and series it publishes on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund and the British Archaeological Association.

Recognising Maney’s success in building an international portfolio of journals, Oxbow Books is pleased to license to Maney its three journals Landscapes, the Journal of Wetland Archaeology and Childhood in the Past so that they achieve full exposure to a global, institutional library market and can be sold flexibly within the MORE (Maney Online Research E-journal) Archaeology & Heritage and History collections. Both companies have grown as a result of collaborative and cooperative business models, working with societies, professional organisations and institutes to provide a viable route to market. The move of Oxbow’s journals to Maney seals a partnership which both sides warmly welcome.

Maney‘s Publishing Manager for Humanities, Liz Rosindale, is pleased that these journals will join the fold because “apart from fitting our profile so well, enabling us to present more excellent scholarship to archaeologists and those involved in the heritage sector, we are delighted to extend our working relationship in a new venture with our friends at Oxbow”.

Oxbow’s Publishing Director, Clare Litt, is delighted with the new arrangements as "Maney has great strengths in journal publishing and a wealth of experience that will benefit our journals, enabling their subscriptions and profile to grow and we welcome the opportunity to work closely with Maney to our mutual benefit."

For more information about these titles visit

Tomb of Ancient Egyptian Princess Discovered

The tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess has been discovered south of Cairo hidden in bedrock and surrounded by a court of tombs belonging to four high officials.

Dating to 2500 B.C., the structure was built in the second half of the Fifth Dynasty, though archaeologists are puzzled as to why this princess was buried in Abusir South among tombs of non-royal officials. Most members of the Fifth Dynasty's royal family were buried 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) to the north, in the central part of Abusir or farther south in Saqqara.

The researchers aren't sure whether the remains of the princess are inside tomb, as the investigation is still in progress, Miroslav Bárta, director of the mission, told LiveScience. Even so, they also found several fragments of a false-door bearing the titles and the name of Sheretnebty, the king's daughter.

Click here to read this article from LiveScience

Medieval Priory discovered on Jersey

Jersey archaeologists had the first chance to explore a rare medieval priory after uncovering a stone wall.

Robert Waterhouse, Societe Jersiaise Archaeologist, said the St Clement's priory had been an accidental find. He said the society knew it must have existed as there was documentary evidence, but that it had not been able to find it until now.

Mr Waterhouse said: "In the summer we carried out a student excavation in the cemetery looking for [an] Iron Age and Roman settlement that was known to exist here.At the end of the investigation one of our trenches came up with a substantial stone wall while the one behind came up with a great mass of building rubble and medieval pottery. We put in a larger trench and came up trumps. We got a substantial medieval wall in the south west corner of the building."

Click here to read this article from the BBC

Monday, November 05, 2012

Florida Wants to Make History Majors Pay More for College Than Math Majors

Philosophy lovers, prepare to be outraged.

 Down in Florida, a task force commissioned by Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to start charging undergraduates different tuition rates depending on their major. Students would get discounts for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers. Those would likely include science, technology, engineering, and math (aka, the STEM fields), among others.

 But Art History? Gender Studies? Classics? Sorry, but the fates are cruel. Unless a university could show that local companies were clamoring to hire humanities students, those undergrads would have to pay more for their diploma.
 Charging tuition by major is one of several recommendations the task force will submit to lawmakers as part of a broad reform package for Florida's university system. The hope appears to be that by keeping certain degrees cheaper than others, the state can lure students into fields where it needs more talent. It's an interesting idea in the abstract, but if it ever makes it into law, the results could be messy.

 Before we dive into the pros and cons of the proposal, a few details: The task force's plan calls on the state to help colleges freeze tuition for three years on "high-skill, high-wage, high-demand" majors picked out by the legislature, while letting prices rise for other areas of study. It's not clear yet what degrees would fall under that "high-demand" umbrella. But Florida's state schools already hand out about 37 percent of their diplomas in subjects the government has deemed "strategic areas of emphasis," which include the STEM disciplines, some education specialities, health fields, emergency and security services, and "globalization." Presumably, many of those same majors would qualify for the cheaper tuition rates.

Click here to read this article from The Atlantic

High-tech glazing for Lincoln Cathedral medieval windows

New protective glazing could be fitted to four medieval windows in Lincoln Cathedral to protect the historic stained glass. Special monitoring sensors will even be fitted to the windows to ensure the new glazing is set at exactly the right position to keep the medieval glass protected.

The project is planned for four of the lancet windows beneath the Bishop’s Eye which date from the 13th century. The new scheme, if agreed by the cathedral’s Glazing Advisory Committee, will start early next year when the old glass is going to be removed for conservation.

New, specially made, protective glass will then be fitted to the window’s exterior recess before the conserved windows are rehung behind it on special brackets.

Click here to read this article from The Lincolnite