Archive - Jul 2013

Union Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts in German Collections set to be completed in 2022

In 1957, when it was proposed, cataloging the thousands of “oriental” manuscripts scattered throughout Germany seemed an almost impossible feat, but the mammoth project may come to a successful end in 2022 if all goes well.

X-ray technology can read the unreadable

Researchers have long been distressed by the illegibility of fragile ancient parchments, but new techniques developed by scientists at Cardiff University may help read the unreadable.

Amazing Roman concrete

2,000 years after it was installed, some Roman concrete is still holding strong. Why? That is the question that an international team of experts has answered through the study of the Pozzuoli Bay breakwater, at the northern tip of the Bay of Naples. The History Channel (History.com) has the story.

July 30th

Climate change threatens Jamestown

Venice may not be the only historic city threatened by rising ocean waters caused by climate change. Jamestown, the first successful English colony in America, may soon be under water. Christopher Joyce of  NPR's All Things Considered has the audio story. (photos)

The impact of Shakespeare's investment

In 1594, William Shakespeare made a move that gave him financial stability and, some say, changed the way he wrote plays: he purchased a one-eighth share in the Lord Chamberlain's Men. One of those people is Dr Bart van Es of Oxford University's Faculty of English Language and Literature, who claims that the purchase gave the playwright a better relationship with and understanding of actors.

11th century water reservoir found in Bangladesh

Archaeologists working on a site at Gopalpur village in Bangladesh were surprised to find a thousand-year-old brick-built water reservoir. The area was part of the Bharendra region and under the rule of Pala dynasty, according to team leader, Swadhin Sen, associate professor of the Department of Archaeology of Jahagirnagar University.

July 29th

The Godwine Charter returns to Canterbury

Somewhere between 1013 and 1018, Godwine sold his swine pasture in Kent, England to Leofwine the Red for 40 pence and two pounds rent and an allowance of corn. How do we know this? The sale was recorded in the Godwine Charter, an "exceptionally rare" document which recently made its way home to the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Fort search hopes to change perception of Romans in Scotland

"People are always surprised when I tell them about the Roman occupation of the area - they think the Romans never got any further than the Antonine Wall or even Hadrian's Wall which simply isn't true," said Dr Birgitta Hoffmann who leads an effort to discover a "lost" Roman fort in Scotland.

Situation is critical for Saint Hilarion Monastery

Saint Hilarion, at Tel Umm al-Amr in the Gaza Strip, is considered the Holy Land's oldest monastery. The site, named for a 4th century hermit, is in danger of destruction due to lack of funds.

July 28th

Jewelry leads to expansion of knowledge of Vikings in England

Fifty years ago, little was known about Viking settlements in England, where they were and who lived in them, but the discovery of Nordic metalwork and jewelry in the past twenty years, thanks largely to the development of the metal detector, has opened up a whole new world of understanding. Jane Kershaw of OUPblog has the story. (photos)

Haverhill research center to be built over Roman farm

Archaeologists working on what will become the Haverhill Research Park have discovered artifacts ranging from the Iron Age to the 19th century on the site. The science research complex will be constructed on what was once a 2nd century Roman farm.

Irish Ogham stones digitized

Researchers of Ogham stones in Ireland may not have to actually travel to the country thanks to experts at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, who have "used laser scanning equipment to capture and digitise more than 50 Ogham stones across the country." The Ogham 3D Project provides 3D images of Ogham stones from all around Ireland.

July 27th

Viking gold "part of the big jigsaw of the history" in Ireland

Metal detector enthusiast Tom Crawford had a good day recently when he discovered a Viking gold ingot and a medieval silver ring brooch in a farmer's field in County Down, Northern Ireland. The ingot dates to the 9th and 10th centuries, while the brooch is somewhat later. (photo)

Monks chronicled 1200 years of volcanic activity

A new report, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, finds that 1200 years of volcanic activity was chronicled in the texts of irish monks. The report was the work of an international team led by Dr Francis Ludlow from Harvard University.

"Nerdy" Danish teen finds Viking hoard

Friends of Danish teenager Michael Stokbro Larsen call him "nerdy," but the 16-year-old had the last laugh recently when he discovered a hoard of 365 artifacts from the Viking era including 60 coins bearing the imprint of King Harald Bluetooth. (photos)

July 26th

The history of the humble hot dog

Baseball and picnic season lead many to think of the great summer food: the hot dog. On 2013 US Independence Day, The Week reporter Carmel Lobello took a look at the history of the humble dog, which will be consumed by the billions this summer alone.

Sozopol "vampire" gets a face

In 2012, a skeleton, buried with a ploughshare in its chest, was found in Sozopol, Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Now the "medieval vampire" has been given the facial reconstruction treatment by anthropologist Yordan Yordanov.

Looters unearth Byzantine church in Jordan

In most cases, looters are detrimental to archaeological sites, but recently in Jerash, Jordan, the criminals began the process that led to the discovery of a 6th century Byzantine church with an amazing mosaic floor.

July 25th

Medieval house found near Conwy Castle in Wales

Workers from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, digging a trench,  were surprised to find the remains of a medieval house and cesspit beneath Castle Street near Conwy Castle in Wales. The "incredibly important" find could "provide a new insight into medieval Conwy."

Lost Cortés letter found

A letter from Charles V to Hernán Cortés, proclaiming him Governor of Mexico, has been found in the State Archive in Naples. The letter is one of the oldest sent to the New World.

The weight of civic duty

Since 1954, John Mattick has carried the 16th century ceremonial sword  before the mayor at civic events in the Welsh city of  Carmarthen. Before that, his father carried it. Now it will be passed to his son. "It is a weighty thing to carry, and that's mainly why I'm having to give it up at my age," Mr Mattick said. (photo)

July 24th

Rewriting Shakespeare

Many writers have re-interpreted the works of William Shakespeare, and a new project, The Hogarth Shakespeare, is just the latest. Launching in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the series will commission prominent authors to create "cover versions" of the Bard's plays.

Wrecked merchant ship salvaged off coast of Vietnam

After five long months of battling sand and seawater off the coast of the Binh Son district in Vietnam, experts have recovered a wealth of 14th century artifacts from a shipwreck, possibly associated with the silk and pottery road.

[ATL] Midnight at the Oasis 5 – The Steppes West

Please join us for a weekend of fun in the mysterious and volatile lands of the Mongols at the Midnight at the Oasis 5The Steppes West, on September 27 – 29, 2013.

Our great big European family

Great Britain and continental Europe are just one, big family - at least genetically - according to a new study by Graham Coop, a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis in PLoS Biology.

July 23rd

"Natural Jacuzzi" found in Turkey

“We never assumed we could find such a structure. It is a natural Jacuzzi from 1500 years ago," said Governor Abdülkadir Demir about the discovery of a thermal Turkish bath (hamam) in the province of Denizli.

New Leicester parking lot discovery

It's been quite a year for Leicester archaeologists. First there was the discovery of Richard III under a parking lot. Now a 3rd century Roman cemetery has been found under a second lot. The cemetery includes 13 burials -- both Christian and Pagan, an unusual practice at the time.

Seeking Volunteers for Known World Children's Fete - Pennsic 42

We are seeking the help of volunteers with this years Known World Children's Fete at Pennsic. The Fete will be on July 31, 2013 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Great Hall. Can you sing a song, dance a jig, paint a face, smile and laugh a lot, color a picture, have fun or any sort of other activities? Then we could use you.

Known World Children's Fete - Pennsic 42

Are you taking your kids to Pennsic? Do you want to make sure they are having fun? Then join us at the Known World Children’s Fete on Wednesday, July 31st, from 1:00-4:00 pm at the Great Hall.

Richard's new army

An army of 100, some dressed in medieval garb, marched on the city of York recently in support of their king, Richard III. Led by Vanessa Roe, the king's 16th great niece, the march was a "moral crusade" to bring Richard's body back to Yorkshire where, according to Roe, he washed to be buried. (photo and video)