Geography

A new England - "all very much Game of Thrones"

In a recent article for BBC Magazine, sociologist, writer and performer Tom Shakespeare ponders what would happen if Scotland were to achieve its independence and the England left behind broke up into its original seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

Vlad rests in Italian soil?

New research may show that the remains of Count Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Dracula, may not be buried in romania, but in Naples, Italy. scholars from the University of Tallinn believe they have found evidence that the nobleman was "taken prisoner, ransomed to his daughter - by then safe in Italy - and buried in a church in Naples."

Abu Raihan al-Biruni and the discovery of America

In a feature article for History Today, S. Frederick Starr of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, looks at the claimants to the discovery of the New World, including Abu Raihan al-Biruni, an Islamic scholar from Central Asia, who "may have discovered the New World centuries before Columbus – without leaving his study."

Time flies in Euro-history video

The history of Europe is... complicated, as anyone who has studied it can confirm. A short animated film from LiveLeak, entitled Map of Europe: 1000 AD to present day, can help understand the ebbs and flows of the nations.

Ostrich Egg Globe Is Oldest with New World

The oldest known depiction of the New World has been found carved onto a 500-year-old ostrich egg.

Detailed map created of underwater town in England

Archaeologists have created a detailed map of the medieval port city of Dunwich, dubbed "Britain's Atlantis" because it sank into the sea centuries ago.  Using both high-tech imaging and historic research, archaeologists have been able to map out the town boundaries, streets, and even identify individual buildings.

Documents from St. Augustine, Florida shed light on life in the New World

The earliest documents relating to the city of St. Augustine, Florida (USA) are being digitized for preservation. The documents cover the time period from 1594 to 1763 CE.

The last Viking battle: "A war just waiting to happen"

In the 13th century, Scotland was divided between the Scots on the mainland and the Vikings of the western islands. The struggle that followed brought an end to Viking rule in the country. A  new BBC Two program looks at The Last Battle of the Vikings.

In search of Hastings

Tradition (and tourism) have long held that Battle Abbey was the site of the famous Battle of Hastings. However, while as many as 10,000 men may have died there, no bodies or major artifacts have been found. Historian John Grehan thinks that the battle may really have taken place in Caldbec Hill, a mile away.

Possible second New World Viking site discovered on Baffin Island

Artifacts from an excavation on Baffin Island, Canada have yielded evidence that the Vikings may have had a settlement there in the 14th century. Evidence includes traces of bronze, European-style stonework and tools, Old World rat pelts, and yarn similar to that made in Greenland at the same time.

Travel the Roman roads, Google-style

The Roman road network, renowned for its scope and efficiency, has now gotten even easier to travel thanks to an online application from Stanford University.  ORBIS is a geospatial network model that covers hundreds of land and sea routes in the Roman Empire circa 200 CE.

Map corrections may help solve mystery of missing colonists

Theories about the fate of the "Lost Colony", a group of English colonists who founded a settlement in coastal North Carolina (USA), have ranged from disease to alien abduction. New evidence found on an English map may finally answer the question.

California Bay to be named after Sir Francis Drake

The U.S. Government is set to name a spot north of San Francisco, California after Sir Francis Drake, giving credance to that spot as the true location where Drake landed and claimed "Nova Albion" for Elizabeth I.

Was there an Anglo-Saxon England?

In an article for the History Today, Patrick Wormald, Lecturer in History at Christ Church, Oxford, looks at the myth of a unified Anglo-Saxon England.

Pin-pointing Hastings

Battle Abbey and its surrounds, the traditional site of the Battle of Hastings between King Harold and William the Conqueror, may not be the actual site of the battle, according to a new book by Nick Austin, Secrets Of The Norman Invasion.

Viking sunstone may no longer be the stuff of legend

According to Hrafns Saga in the 13th century, the mighty king used a sunstone to navigate in cloudy weather. This is one of several texts that list such artifacts as among the legendary Norse seafaring abilities. New research suggests that the sunstone may be a real navigational tool.

What will the sinking of Venice mean to the world?

"Venice has become a museum city, no longer a residential one," said a Unesco director recently about the city threatened by rising sea levels. Jack Watkins of The Independent discusses the fate of the city.

Google Maps error reignites medieval border dispute

In the latest in a series of Google-driven international incidents, Google Maps gave the German port city of Emden to the Netherlands. The exact location of the border has been disputed since the 15th century.

Dark Ages really more "gray," say economists

In a recent story for NPR's All Things Considered, Madeleine Brand discusses new theories about the Dark Ages, the medieval spice trade, and the Black Plague with Chana Joffe-Walt and Adam Davidson.

Cod, not elephants, brought down Greenland settlements

For the past ten years, Norse scholars have debated whether the breakdown in trade of walrus ivory brought down the Norse settlements in Greenland during the 15th century. In a new article, scholar Kirsten Seaver disputes the theory and offers her own: English cod fishing.

16th century coin may prove early western discovery of Australia

A silver coin dated 1597 has been found on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia, possibly predating Captain Cook's discovery of the continent.

Interview with historian Natalie Zemon Davis

Medievalists.net features an interview with Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis, Professor Emeritus of History at Princeton University, who currently teaches at the University of Toronto. Davis is the author of nine books and more than 80 articles, "many of which focus on the social and cultural history of 16th century France.

16th Century Gun Powder Flask-Sundial Compass Watch

The "Swiss-Army-knife" of its time, a gunpowder flask/sundial compass watch is featured in a watch enthusiasts' blog complete with a large, detailed photo. The object was created in Germany around 1590.

Nicholas Howe, Anglo-Saxon scholar, dies in Oakland, California

Nicholas Howe, one of the world's leading scholars of Anglo-Saxon studies, died of complications arising from leukemia September 27, 2006 in Oakland, California. R. M. Liuzza of the University of Tennessee has posted an obituary on the Old English Newsletter website.

Today in the Middle Ages: October 2, 1535

On October 2, during his second voyage to North America, Jacques Cartier came to a town which he renamed "Montreal."

Antarctica Officially Part of Lochac

According to the official SCA geography page, "parts of Antarctica" are now officially part of the Kingdom of Lochac.

Starry-eyed Surprise: Medieval Astronomy

Dame Aoife brings us a veritable galaxy of links this week, concerning astronomy not only as a natural science but also as a medieval navigation and timekeeping aid.

Smithsonian: Aerial Photography as Archaeological Tool

Smithsonian Magazine looks at the popularity of using aerial photography to do archaeological surveys, not only to make new discoveries, but to preserve sites threatened by time and circumstance.

Place-Names of the Maltese Islands, c. 1300-1800

Dr. Godfrey Wettinger, Professor Emeritus at the University of Malta, recently spoke on place-names and surnames in Malta’s medieval history.

Homer's Ithaca Found?

British amateur archaeologist Robert Bittlestone believes he has found the location of Odysseus' fabled Ithaca as part of the Greek island of Cephalonia.