1101 CE to 1200 CE

Multi-period grave swords puzzle experts

Archaeologists working at the site of a 12th century crusader grave in Hyvikkälä, Janakkala, Finland were puzzled to find the remins buried with two swords from different historical periods.

3D laser mapping may help preserve Leaning Tower of Pisa

The campanile of the cathedral of the city of Pisa, Italy has been leaning since its construction in the 12th century. Now, a new handheld 3D mapping system developed by CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, may "preserve" the Leaning Tower in bits if the ultimate catastrophe happens. (photos, video)

Mystery of the disappearing manor solved

Once upon a time, a medieval manor house graced the countryside of Leicestershire, then it disappeared. Today the land is a sheep pasture, at least until archaeologists reveal what lies beneath the field.

Crusader hospital identified in the heart of Jerusalem

For centuries, a huge, 150,000 square feet building in the heart of Jerusalen was used as a fruit and vegetable market. Now the deserted site has been identified as the largest hospital in the Middle East during the Crusader period.

"Lost" medieval village found beneath Southwell

Archaeologist Matt Beresford is hoping that his team will find conclusive evidence that a "lost" pre-Norman village may be found beneath the streets of the Nottinghamshire town of Southwell. The project was being funded by a UK£5,800 Heritage Lottery grant. (photos)

Priory and brewhouse excavation tell story of monks' lives

The land under social services and government buildings in Bicester, England once belonged to a community of monks who worked the land and may have partaken of as much as "10 pints of beer a week."

Medieval rogues

Rogues, vagabonds, and wandering poets... characters from D&D or perhaps a videogame? In the medieval underworld of the Islamic Middle East, these shady characters made up the Banu Sasan, "a hidden counterpoint to the surface glories of Islam’s golden age." Mike Dash has the feature article for Smithsonian's Past Imperfect blog.

Medieval graves discovered by a badger

An artist in North Germany watching badgers on his property discovered that they were digging up human bones. An excavation revealed eight 12th century burials, including several warriors.

Crusader poo subject of Cambridge research

A team of researchers from Cambridge University is the latest group to occupy Cyprus. This time the "invaders" are researchers, only interested in one castle, Saranda Kolones, built during the Third Crusade, and its latest treasure: a pit of dried human waste. Their report has been published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.

The comics of Stephen Harding

Comic books are often scorned as inferior forms of literature, originating in 1930s American pulp culture, but Damien Kempf on Tumblr traces the art form back to the 12th century with the manuscript the Bible of Stephen Harding.

Lancaster Castle to become tourist attraction

The site of Roman forts, a prison, a court, an execution site and the Pendle Witches Trial, Lancaster Castle now has a new role to play: tourist attraction. For the first time in 900 years, the castle will be open to the public.

Stone priory seal restoration complete

In 2011, English metal detector enthusiast Tont Burke found a treasure in a Survey field with the discovery of a copper 12th Century seal matrix of Stone Priory, bearing the image of the Virgin and Child. Now, fully restored, the seal is returning to St Michael and St Wulfad's church in Stone. (photo)

Oldest Torah scroll discovered in university library

In 1889, a librarian at the University of Bologna in Italy made a terrible mistake. He dated and labeled a scroll to the 17th century, but recent tests have placed the document in the 12th century, making it "the oldest complete text of the Torah known to exist." (photo)

Oxford chapel may have inspired Arthurian legend

New research finds that Geoffrey of Monmouth's great The History of the Kings of Britain may have been written in St George's chapel, a teaching base for Oxford students, which was destroyed during the construction of Oxford Castle.

Look, Mom! I found a medieval pot!

Residents of Hilton, England turned out for several drizzly days of community archaeology recently when Dove Valley Community Archaeology sponsored a series of digs around the village. During the five-day process, fifteen pits were opened, uncovering coins and pottery from Roman times through the 16th century.

Scholars test medieval recipes

Graduate students at Durham University in England were in for a real medieval treat when they participated in a cookery workshop using recipes from a recently discovered 12th century Durham Priory manuscript, considered to predate the earliest known examples by 150 years. The Latin manuscript was created in the 12th century at Durham Cathedral’s priory.

17 Jewish "souls are now at peace" in Norwich

In a recent burial service considered an "historic event," 17 sets of remains of Jewish descent were laid to rest in Norwich, England. The bones were discovered in 2004 in a well, and are believed to be victoms of 12th century religious persecution.

Brat and brew in Old Town Nuremberg

A walk through old town Nuremberg, Germany takes visitors back in time to the Middle Ages. An 11th century castle, toy museum, the home of Albrecht Dürer and over six acres of brewing tradition make for a memorial travel location. Russ Juskalian of the New York Times Travel section has the story.

Work begins on Cardigan Castle restoration project

For years, officials at Wales' 12th century Cardigan Castle have dreamed of raising funding to restore the castle and turn it into a heritage center and site for open-air concerts. The castle is believed to be the birthplace of the eisteddfod,  a festival of poetry and music, dating to the 12th century.

A tour of the Border Abbeys

Planning a trip to Scotland? You may want to visit the four Border Abbeys, Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso, founded by King David I of Scotland in the 12th Century. A recent BBC article looks at the history of the religious sites in a troubled area. (photos)

Adrian IV last English Pope

The Conclave is over and a new Pope chosen, but the English never stood a chance. There has not, in fact, been an English Pope since Adrian IV in 1155.

Suds or suds?

Archaeologists have long known that Vikings loved their ale, but, according to Merryn and Graham Dineley, the experts have seldom considered just where the ale was brewed. Now, a new study speculates that stone structures in Britain, once believed to be bathhouses, might actually have been brewhouses.

Dublin Toy Boat

A small wooden replica of a Viking longboat was unearthed in Dublin.

The heart of a king

Forensic analysis of the heart of Richard I of England, the Lionheart, have revelaed traces mint, myrtle, and frankincense, indicating the heart was embalmed. The heart was probably wrapped in linen.

Catherine Zeta Jones hopes to help find "lost palace" of Welsh princes

Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones and her husband Michael Douglas have donated a "substantial" sum of money to help purchase Abergwyngregyn in Gwynedd, the purported site of the "lost palace" of medieval Welsh princes.

Knights of Malta celebrate their 100th birthday at the Vatican

February 9, 2013, marked the 900th birthday of the founding of the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic religious order noted for its charitable works. The group celebrated its birthday with a parade around St. Peter's Square and a visit with Pope Benedict XVI, who is himself a member of the Knights.

In search of rockets

While rockets are often thought of as the realm of modern scientists and the military, they have their roots in medieval China. This article traces their roots from a 12th century party trick to their evolution as the terror of Mongolian invaders.

Our Lady of Paris to receive new bells

Notre Dame de Paris, on the River Seine, has seen over 8 centuries of history, from the Crusades to World War II. Now the city will fête the world's best-known church in a year-long celebration that will include recasting of its bells.

Torre Abbey restored ahead of schedule and under budget

A restoration project completed on time is a rare happening. Even rarer is one completed 6 months early and under budget, but that is the case with work on the 12th century Torre Abbey in Torquay, Devon.

Bayeux Tapestry professionally made, claims expert

New research debunks the theory that the Bayeux Tapestry was woven by nuns across England, and shows that the cherished artifact was not a tapestry at all but an embroidery created by a team of professionals under one manager.