1401 CE to 1500 CE

What we can learn from Timbuktu

In the Middle Ages, Africa was a leader in the scientific research and knowledge. Now Umar Benna of the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Dammam, in Al-Khoba, Saudi Arabia believes that the lessons of Timbuktu's gradual development approach can teach modern Africa, as well as the western world, how to deal with globalism.

Leonardo at the Smithsonian

Visitors to Washington D.C. this fall may want to explore a Smithsonian exhibition Codex on the Flight of Birds, which examines Leonardo da Vinci's studies and sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight. The exhibit will be at the National Air and Space Museum until October 22, 2013. (video)

Is there a "real" message in the Voynich manuscript?

The 15th century Voynich manuscript may be considered "the world's most mysterious medieval manuscript," and quite possibly a hoax, but a new study by theoretical physicist Marcelo Montemurro, published in the journal Plus One, theorizes that the book has a "genuine message."

Panels "hacked" from Devon church

Sometime in the week of August 2-9, 2013, vandals "hacked out" two 15th century, decorative oak panels, bearing the images of saints from Holy Trinity Church in Torbryan, England. The panels were part of a screen and "one of the best examples of their kind left in Britain." (video)

Richard III Had Worms?

Ignominiously buried, scientists now believe that Richard III suffered from roundworms, an intestinal parasite.

“Gutenberg Parenthesis” discussed in interview

In a recent interview in Odense, Denmark, Dean Starkman of Columbia Journalism Review spoke with Thomas Pettitt and Lars Ole Sauerberg, of the University of Southern Denmark, who authored the Gutenberg Parenthesis, a theory that the digital age is much like the medieval.

Polish church may hold remains of Grunwald knights

Scientists and employees of the Museum of the Battle of Grunwald have completed a survey using ground penetrating radar (GPR) with hopes of establishing the burial site of fallen knights from the battle. The search is centered around a parish church in Stębark near Grunwald, Poland.

Medieval Easter egg discovered in Ukraine

A 500 year old "pysanka" Easter egg was found during an archaeological dig of a cistern in Lviv, Ukraine. The egg is probably a goose egg and is very well preseved.

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)

Life of Elizabeth Woodville dramatized on BBC One

Best-selling historical novelist Philippa Gregory has inspired a new series, currrently running on BBC One, which tells the stories of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. The White Queen is based on Gregory's series The Cousin’s War.

Richard's head goes on tour

Richard III is getting the rockstar treatment these days, and now he is scheduled to go on tour - or at least his head is. The re-constructed head, created using the king's actual skull, will go on display in Leicester, Bosworth, York, Northampton and the British Museum. The head will eventually reside at a museum dedicated to the discovery.

Medieval guide to witch hunting

What do you know about witches? Most modern ideas of witchcraft may come from a manuscript, one of only four known copies, found in the library of the University of Alberta. Treatise against the Sect of Waldensians, written in the 15th century, created the framework for witch hunts. Paul Kennedy of CBCRadio hosts an hour-long podcast on the book.

Richard III generates first research paper

It must have been a race to the finish line, but the first academic paper to be published on the discovery of the remains of Richard III is The king in the car park: new light on the death and burial of Richard III in the Grey Friars church, Leicester, in 1485 by Richard Buckley, Mathew Morris, Jo Appleby, Turi King, Deirdre O'Sullivan, and Lin Foxhall.

No more "getting medieval" on the Middle Ages!

In his film Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino’s anti-heroes "get medieval" on their victims, meaning "to physically torture or injure someone by means of archaic methods," but author Stephen Cooper feels that the modern world should be careful about its use of the word "medieval." His article Positively Medieval appears on the History Today blog.

Eternal love in Romania

Archaeologists are speculating on the meaning of the discovery of a pair of skeletons in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, dating to the Middle Ages, found buried together and holding hands. The pair was found during excavations at a former Dominican monastery.

Greyfriars church next subject for Richard III archaeologists

Richard III has been identified. Now focus has shifted to the church where he was buried. The archaeological team from the University of Leicester, which discovered the remains of the king in 2012, plans to return to the site to further investigate Greyfriars Church.

Is this the oldest European image of Native Americans?

Restoration of a fresco in the Vatican has revealed a small group of naked dancing men with feathers in their hair. Researchers think these figures may be depictions of Native Americans. The fresco was painted by Renaissance master Pinturicchio in 1494, just two years after Columbus sailed to America.

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.

Armoring Richard III

At the March 2, 2013 Conference of the Richard III Society, Dr Toby Capwell discusses how the royal armorer might have coped with Richard's scoliosis. The 30-minute presentation, with slides, is available on YouTube.

"Mysterious" skeleton found in Irish crannog

Archaeologists are pondering the cause of death of a 15th century teenager buried in an "irregular" manner on a crannog, a man made island settlement, in County Fermanagh, Ireland. The remains of the young woman seem to indicate a hasty burial, leading experts to consider foul play.

Plantagenet descendants battle for bones of Richard III

Descendants of King Richard III have launched a legal challenge to the burial of the king's remains in Leicester Cathedral, near the site where his skeleton was discovered. Sian Lloyd of the BBC reports in a short video.

Talking Richard III

In a podcast for the University of Leicester, Dr Sarah Knight and Dr Mary Ann Lund both from School of English, discuss the recent discovery of the remains of King Richard III and how it will change the relationship between history, literature and archaeology.

Medieval textile sources online

Manchester University in England has created a searchable website of sources for medieval textiles and clothing. The lexis of cloth and clothing in Britain c. 700-1450: origins, identification, contexts and change collects documentation from "diverse academic disciplines: archaeology, archaeological textiles, art history, economic history, literature, languages."

Richard III letter auctioned for UK£35,000

A rare document bearing the signature of Richard III before he was king was auctioned recently, bringing nearly UK£35,000. The document signed "R. Gloucestre" was written when the duke was in his twenties and involves a "land dispute between Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, and some of his tenants."

Treasure shoe found in Rotterdam

Dutch archaeologists were surprised by the recent discovery of a shoe, dating to the 15th or 16th century, during excavation of a wall in Rotterdam's town hall. More interesting still was that the shoe was stuffed with 477 silver coins. (photo)

Scoliosis and its medieval cure

The discovery of the remains of King Richard III of England has led to the discussion of the king's scoliosis, "a lateral or side-to-side curvature of the spine," easily seen in the skeleton, and the techniques that would have been available to "cure" it.

Livres de perchage chronicle Guernsey properties

For years, Guernsey resident Hugh Lenfestey spent time collecting detailed local manorial records and creating a map of the island's fiefs. After his death, his family has donated his records, dating from the 15th century, to the Island Archive. (photos)

Medieval burial shows love that outlasts death

Two skeletons in a grave in Romania have been found buried together holding hands. The skeletons were probably buried between 1450 and 1550.

North Yorkshire claims Richard III

"Why should we trust them? They misplaced him for 500 years," says Conservative Councillor Tom Fox of the Scarborough Borough Council about his objection to Richard III's burial in Leicester, England. (video)

Scots mercenary tradition

Since the Middle Ages, Scottish men have been involved in military pursuits, often on foreign soil. Fierce fighters, especially from the western islands, were particularly prized by the armies of Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and France. Steven McKenzie of the BBC looks at their history.