1301 CE to 1400 CE

Ancient barley virus carried by Crusaders

A team of British scientists from the University of Warwick has been able to sequence the genome of ancient RNA thanks to the study of ancient barley from Egypt. The fossilized grain contained the Barley Stripe Mosaic Virus, believed to be a modern disease, which may have been transported to Egypt by Crusaders in the Seventh Crusade.

"Astonishing" find in St. Bartholomew's Church

In 2006, St Bartholomew's Church in Much Marcle, England received UK£500,000 for restoration of the church. During the project, workers discovered a lead coffin in the tomb chest of Blanch Mortimer, daughter of 14th century traitor Sir Roger Mortimer, who overthrew King Edward II. English Heritage described the find as "astonishing." (photos, video)

Templar interest increases with approaching 700th anniversary

With material such as The Da Vinci Code to capture the public's attention, the myths of the Knights Templar are more popular than ever. Lawyer, noveliest and historian Dr Dominic Selwood has a feature article for The Telegraph.

Altopascio skeletons show history of disease in Europe

For several years, biological anthropologist Giuseppe Vercellotti of The Ohio State University has led a field school in the Badia Pozzeveri Churchyard in Altopascio, Italy, where he and his students unearth and study the skeletons hoping "to read the history written in the bones." Of particular interest was a mass grave covered with a layer of lime. (photos)

Book of Aneirin goes online

The National Library of Wales has announced that it has made the 13th century Book of Aneirin available online. The manuscript, scribed by monks onto animal skin, is regarded as one of the most important books in the Welsh language.

Pre-14th century mikvahs discovered in Portugal

Plumbers fixing a leak in a building in the central Portugal city of Coimbra found something they were not expecting: several 600-year-old mikvahs, Jewish ritual baths.

The mystery of Longforth Farm continues

In a feature article for Current Archaeology, Matthew Symonds discusses recent discoveries at Longforth Farm with Bob Davis of Wessex Archaeology. Longforth Farm is a huge medieval complex near Wellington, England. (photos, map)

What's with the snails?

In a blog article for Smithsonian, Colin Schultz wonders why in English manuscripts from the 13th and 14th centuries, knights are always fighting snails. (photos)

New sources on the Battle of Crécy

The October 2013 issue of History Today magazine features an article by Richard Barber which looks at recently discovered sources on the Battle of Crécy (1346). An excerpt from Edward III and the Battle of Crécy is available free online. The entire article is reserved for subscribers to the magazine. (photo)

Scottish battle anniversaries focus of tourism industry

September 9, 2013 marked the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden (the English won), while 2014 will be the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn (the Scots took that one), two events destined to bring tourists flocking to Scotland and northern England. Sophie Campbell of The Telegraph has a feature story.

A Walsingham Pilgrimage

The village of Little Walsingham in North Norfolk was the site for a major pilgrimage during the 14th and 15th centuries. What still exists today of that ancient site? Take a virtual trip back to this shrine. (photos)

First of Leicester's double coffins opened

While the impact of the Leicester car park's second most interesting find will not not be as great as the discovery of the remains of Richard III, archaeologists are still excited about the mysterious coffin-within-a-coffin found at the site. The lid of the first, stone coffin was lifted recently to reveal an inner lead coffin, which was removed for further analysis. (photo)

Laws of Hywel Dda online

Last year, the 14th century book, the Laws of Hywel Dda, was purchased at auction by the National Library of Wales and brought home after nearly 300 years in exile in the United States. Now the book is on display at the library in Aberystwyth, and available for all to see online.

Archaeologists consider meaning of Mingary Castle arrowhead

Mingary Castle, overlooking the Sound of Mull in Scotland, may have had a more violent past than once believed, according to experts pondering the discovery of an iron arrowhead. (photo)

Happy birthday, Giovanni Boccaccio

Through 20 December 2013, the University of Manchester and Bristol will celebrate the 700th anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Boccaccio, author of the 1351 Decameron, a collection of 100 tales ranging from the erotic to the tragic, with an exhibition.

The history of the octothorpe and more

Modern social networkers will recognize the octothrope as the opening character of a hashtag, but the lowly punctuation mark has a noble history. In his book, Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks, Keith Houston looks at punctuation marks' roots from Greek, Roman and 14th century texts.

Ottoman armor plate found at Perperikon

In 1361, the Thracian city of Perperikon, now in Bulgaria, was besieged by the Ottoman Turks. Among the artifacts found during recent excavations of the site was a bronze plate, believed to have been part of the armor of an Ottoman commander.

"Formal Combats in the Fourteenth Century" available for Kindle

Steven Muhlberger reports that his book Formal Combats in the Fourteenth Century in now available for the Kindle from Amazon.com in eBook format. Cost to download is US $3.99.

Lottery money to help Chester Farm

2,000 years of English history will be open for study thanks to a UK£4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and investigate various sites at Chester Farm, in Irchester, England.

Drum Castle's "chamber of secrets"

For centuries, a secret medieval chamber, complete with its own guarderobe, lay hidden behind the walls of Drum Castle near Banchory, Scotland, but now all has been revealed. The room appears to have been covered during later renovations. Drum, home of Clan Irvine, is Scotland's oldest castle.

Unique horse harness found at Cork castle dig

Archaeologists working on excavations at Caherduggan, near Doneraile, Co Cork, Ireland, have discovered a gilt-covered leather harness with heraldic symbols dating to the 13th-14th century, the only "intact example ever found in Britain or Ireland."

Fourteenth-Century Poison Ring Found in Bulgaria

Made of bronze, the ring appears to be made for a man's little finger and has a hidden "exit hole" where the poison could be poured out.

Leicester site reveals double coffin

The now famous car park in Leicester, England has revealed another interesting find - a stone coffin containing another lead coffin. This is the same site where Richard III's remains were found in 2012.

Golden Horde site in jeopardy from flooding

Saraichik, a medieval trade center of the Golden Horde in Kazakhstan, has withstood the Mongols, the Turks, and the Cossacks, but now the ancient trade city faces a worse fate: Mother Nature. The few buildings left at the site have been ravished by floods from the Ural River and beaten by storms.

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.

"Dear Edward, Leave the Scots alone!"

A copy of a previously unknown letter from Robert the Bruce to King Edward II has been discovered at the British Library. The letter, written in 1310 during the build-up to the Battle of Bannockburn, requests that Edward recognise Scottish independence and end persecution of its people. (video)

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.

Scientists find that same bacterium caused Justinianic plague and Black Plague

In 2011, DNA evidence confirmed that the infamous Black Plague that ravaged Europe in the 14th century was, as had been suspected for many years, caused by the Yersinia Pestis bacterium. Now a team of scientists have used skeletal microbiology and DNA testing to show that a 6th through 8th century pandemic was caused by the same bacterium.

14th century Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie comes home

A 14th century, hand-written copy of the Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie has returned to its place of origin after surviving the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the 1530s. The parchment manuscript, which was created to help the nuns of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire study and understand the Bible, is now on display at the abbey thanks to the National Trust which purchased the document at auction. (photos)

Little footprints on the pages of history

Somewhere in 14th century Croatia, a scribe must have had a few choice words for his pet cat after kitty left his little paw marks on the pages of the scholar's book. The discovery was made by Ph.D student Emir O. Filipović in the Dubrovnik State Archives. (photo)