1101 CE to 1200 CE

Crypt columns with "cathedral grandeur" reburied in Devon

"There are only two known crypts in Devon and Cornwall and the other one's a Saxon crypt," said archaeologist Stewart Brown about a Norman crypt excavated in summer 2011. Two intricately-carved columns from the crypt have been reburied for preservation purposes.

British crusaders conquered, then settled in Tortosa

In the mid12th century, English and Welsh crusaders took part in the siege and capture of the Spanish city of Tortosa. Some apparently liked the climate and decided to stay. In an article for the Journal of Medieval History, Antoni Virgili tells their story.

Lost Newtown found in Ireland

Fifteen miles from modern Kilkenny, Ireland, a secret has been buried for centuries. That secret is the lost early Norman town of Newtown, now being decribed as "Kilkenny's Pompeii." LIDAR technology has disclosed the "streets, towns and dwellings" of the settlement.

Bodleian Library digitizes Mishneh Torah

One of the most important manuscripts in the Bodleian Library's Hebrew collection is the 12th century Mishneh Torah, a guide to Jewish law handwritten and signed by Hebrew scholar Maimonides. The manuscript has now been digitized and is available online.

Spirits banned at Nevern Castle

Archaeologists excavating at Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales have uncovered several slates dating to the 12th century scratched with images of stars and other symbols designed to ward off evil spirits. The slates were found in the castle's entranceway.

Yavneh-Yam believed to be stronghold of Islamic power

The harbor at Yavneh-Yam in Israel has been an important port since the Roman era, but now researchers think it was also "one of the final strongholds of Early Islamic power in the region."

Norman involvement in 11th century Spain

In his 2007 dissertation for the University of Nottingham, Norman and Anglo-Norman Participation in the Iberian Reconquista c.1018 – c.1248, Lucas Villegas-Aristizabal considers the contribution of the Normans, especially Crusaders, in the Christianizing of the Iberian Peninsula.

"Arrogant Jewish woman" revisited by modern historian

In 1171, Pucellina, a Jewish moneylender with ties to Count Thibaut of Blois, France, was arrested, along with 40 other Jews, for the killing of a Christian child. Her execution by burning is now attributed to a witness' aversion to an "arrogant Jewish woman with the gall to consider Count Thibaut her patron."

Cardigan Castle receives UK£4.5m lottery grant

For the past ten years, the Friends of Cardigan Castle in Wales have been hoping to raise money for restoration of the 12th Century building, the first stone castle built by the Welsh princes and the stronghold of Rhys ap Gruffydd. Now they have received an award of UK£4.5m European money.

Remains of 12th century tolbooth found in St. Andrews

In 12th century Scotland, the "tolbooth or praetorium was the office from which the provost and baillies organised the running of the newly-created burgh." Now archaeologists believe they have found the remains of the tolbooth in St. Andrews.

Inscribed 12th century slate may have been used to ward off evil

Archaeologists have discovered a rare incised slate while digging at Nevern Castle in England. The slate dates to between 1170 and 1190.

Discoveries at Ribãt da Arrifana offer insight into 12th century Islam

For ten years, archaeologists have been excavating the Islamic convent/fortress near Aljezur, Portugal. recent discoveries include "a mosque, 21 burials and a funerary head stone with an Arabic inscription," all of which have added to the impressive site.

The mystery of the medieval tunnels

Hundreds of narrow tunnels called "Erdstalls" can be found throughout the Bavarian region of Germany and Austria. While most experts agree that they are medieval, no one knows why they were built or how they were used. This has led to the Erstalls being called "Central Europe's last great mystery."

Medieval chess piece found in Iceland

A 12th or 13th century chess piece has been found in Iceland. The piece is carved from herringbone and looks  similar to the Lewis Chessmen.

Sackler Gallery receives collection of Tibetan Buddhist Art

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. has announced that it has received a collection of Tibetan Buddhist art from collector Alice S. Kandell. Objects in the collection date from the 12th through 20th centuries CE.

Medieval Scotland determined to have had thriving pottery industry

A new study of 12th century monastic and castle sites in southern Scotland shows that the country's pottery industry was larger than previosuly believed, and it was much less dependent on foreign imports. (photo)

Wanted: Key keeper for 12th century castle

Cadw, the Welsh government's historic environment service, is looking for a caretaker for Newcastle, a 12th century castle near Bridgend.

Armor reconstruction based on 12th century cathedral

The beautiful Cathedral of Monreale in Sicily was the inspiration for a reconstructed set of 12th century armor and military equipment by Patryk Nieczarowski. The armor is that of a Siculo-Norman miles. (photos).

12th century manuscript missing from Spanish cathedral

Pilgrims to the cathedral Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain might have been guided there by the Codex Calixtinus, a 12th century guidebook which has mysteriously disappeared from the church.

Bury Mount wins British renovation award

In the 12th century, Bury Mound, in Northamptonshire, England, held a castle. Now the vacant mound has become the country's best renovation project for 2011.

Bodies found in well tell story of Medieval persecution

Seventeen skeletons found in a well in Norwich, England are the suspected victims of an anti-Jewish massacre. DNA and other analysis has shown that the six adults and eleven children were part of the same family and date to the 12th or 13th century.

Rare unicorn idol found in India

A rare unicorn idol from the 12th or 13th century was found in Udupi, India. While the animal appears horse-like overall, it is actually a chimera of several different types of animals. The idol may be associated with Naga Bermar, a local fertility god.

Douglas Adams does Genghis Khan

Medievalists, Mongols and fans of writer Douglas Adams will be delighted to discover the short story The Private Life of Genghis Khan, which is available on Adams' website. PG-13 (language)

Cooling climate may have forced Vikings out of Greenland

Researchers have added "climate change" to the list of possible reasons that the Vikings suddenly abandoned Greenland around 1400. Analysis of  lake sediment cores has revealed that there was a sharp cooling trend from about 1100 onwards.

360 degrees of Westminster Abbey

Delighted by the royal wedding and dazzled by the venue? If so, you may want to visit the BBC's 360 degree virtual tour of Westminster Abbey.

Buckton Castle built during time of "complete anarchy"

Buckton Castle in Cheshire, England was occupied for only 100 years, according to archaeologists from the  University of Salford, who have been working on the ruin. The castle was built to protect the area from Scottish invaders.

Norway's Borgund stave church one of the "10 most beautiful"

Egan reports that the Budget Travel Magazine is featuring an article on the "10 most beautiful churches." Among them is the 12th century Borgund stave church in Borgund Norway, a well-preserved example of "the integration of Christianity with Norse culture."

"Inscrutable" Lewis Chessman on display in Stornoway, Scotland

"The enigma of the Lewis Chessmen has intrigued and puzzled those who have viewed these inscrutable faces in the last 200 years or so," said Alex MacDonald, convener of Western Isles Council in Scotland about an exhibit of more than 30 of the game pieces.

Cardigan Castle to receive UK£4.7m grant

The Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to provide UK£4.7m for conservation work to the building and grounds at Cardigan Castle. The 12th century castle was once home to Welsh princes.

Norman church beneath Bath Abbey

The beautiful Bath Abbey was not the original church on the site, according to archaeologists who recently discovered the remains of a Norman cathedral. Also found at the site was evidence of the home of a medieval abbot.