1401 CE to 1500 CE

Hand guns used in War of the Roses

Parts of two handheld guns have been found at Towton Battlefield, site of a bloody battle during the War of the Roses.  Previous to this discovery, archaeologists thought that firearms were only used against castles.

Mona Lisa's childhood home discovered

Did the enigmatic smile of da Vinci's Mona Lisa hide sad memories of an impoverished childhood? A video clip from Discovery News looks at the childhood home of the famous model.

JG Originals Camelot Collection

Affordable, limited edition jewelry inspired by medieval and Renaissance designs. JG Originals - Camelot Collection offers handcrafted necklaces, earrings, and brooches made from high quality fire-polished glass, twinkling rhinestones, and hand-antiqued brass.

John Stow's history of London online

The Centre for Metropolitan History has made available the 1603 edition of John Stow's A Survey of London, edited by C. L. Kingsford. The work chronciles the history of the city from the 13th through the 16th centuries.

Met to present Burgundian/Dutch Renaissance exhibit

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will present Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance October 6, 2010 - January 17, 2011, the "first major exhibition in forty-five years devoted to the Burgundian Netherlandish artist Jan Gossart (ca. 1478-1532)."

Three "new" shipwrecks give insight into the evolution of maritime technology

Three shipwrecks have been found in the Mediterranean Sea dating from 1400 to 1600. One is probably a large English merchant ship and the other two are small and probably of local origin.

Medieval German lawbook found in Swedish cellar

Experts were surprised to find a handwritten copy of a medieval law book in the cellar of the Sundsvall Library in northern Sweden. The copy of the Sachsenspiegel is only the second known copy of the 12th century legal code.

Vlad the Misunderstood

An exhibit in Bucharest, Romania, is trying to rehabilitate the image of Vlad Dracula, aka Vlad the Impaler. The exhibit uses period illustrations and manuscripts to show the 15th century Wallachian ruler as the victim of Western European propaganda intended to show Eastern Europe in a barbaric light.

Armorers prepare for upcoming battle reenactment (and it's not Pennsic!)

Armourers like Tomasz Samula are making last minute adjustments to the arms and armour for the Lublin Knights, who will gather Saturday on the field where the Polish-Lithuanian army defeated a force of Teutonic knights near this Polish village in 1410.

El Niño may have caused famine in medieval Europe

A new study by a team of scientists from the University of Miami finds that El Niño and La Niña may have caused cooling in the central Pacific, leading to drought in medieval Europe.

Former tour guide campaigns for statue of Henry VII

Melanie Phillips, a former tour guide at Pembroke Castle in Wales, has begun a campaign to construct a memorial to King Henry VII, who was born in the castle.

Happy belated birthday, Scotch!

Experts have determined that Scotch whiskey was born on June 1, 1495 when King James of Scotland commissioned Friar Jon Cor to makes eight bowls of the potent drink. Wired Magazine celebrates the event in their "This Day in Tech" column.

Medici collection sculpture to be sold

An antiquity once owned by Lorenzo de Medici will go on sale at Sotheby's June 11. 'Il Magnifico' laid claim to Three Satrys Fighting a Serpent shortly after its excavation in 1489.

"Treasure" badge likely belonged to Richard III's retainer

A silver-gilt boar badge representing Richard III and found last year at Bosworth Field has been declared treasure. The badge probably belonged to a member of the king's inner circle and may indicate the spot where he fell.

Can Botticelli make you high?

A plant in Botticelli's Venus and Mars resembles the hallucinogen Datura stramonium. Blogger Jonathan Jones speculates that the artist intended the painting to affect the viewer like taking a love potion.

Computer science project uses new tech in service of ancient art

Computer scientists at the University of Kentucky will turn their attention to a pair of medieval manuscripts this summer.

15th century "golden gown of Queen Margareta" re-created

Based on the silk fabric of the golden gown of Queen Margaret of Sweden, experts at Durán Textiles have produced a hand-printed design and re-created the gown. The story, with photos, appears in the Durán Textiles newsletter.

Maps: "Snapshots" of history

Most of us think of a map as a tool for getting from one place to another. But throughout history, mapmakers have had other priorities than providing a factual picture of the world.

York's Merchant Adventurers on Facebook

The 15th century met the 21st recently when York, England's Company of Merchant Adventurers announced that it will share the secrets of its famous guildhall in Fossgate on a Facebook website.

Sackler Gallery to present "Gods of Angkor"

The Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. will host Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia, "the first international exhibition to focus specifically on the skills and achievements of Khmer bronze casters," May 15, 2010 through January 23, 2011.

Website traces European effigies

The Effigies and Brasses website offers links and images for numerous European effigies, brasses, incised slabs, half-reliefs, and other miscellaneous representations dating from the 12th-15th centuries.

Jewish contributions to medieval Spain

“Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain”  opened recently at the Museum of Biblical Art near New York's Lincoln Center. The exhibition takes a historical approach to Jewish contributions to Christian art in the two centuries before they were expelled from Spain by Queen Isabella in 1492.

Joan of Arc letter online

On November 9, 1429, Joan of Arc dictated a letter addressed to the citizens of Riom, hoping to recruit reinforcements for the Siege of La Charité. A scanned image of her letter, complete with translation, is available on the Letters of Note website.

Bidar fort excavations reveal escape tunnels and soldiers' quarters

Excavations at the 15th century Bidar Fort constructed by Sultan Ahmed Shah of the Bahamani Dynasty in Bidar, India have revealed an extensive series of royal escape tunnels, wells and soldiers' quarters.

Preview issue of BBC History Magazine available online

Jane Stockton reports that BBC History Magazine is offering a free 14-page digital preview drawn from the March 2010 issue of the magazine.

Erwin Tomash Library offers insight into history of computing, geometry, and mathematics

A casual interest in the history of computing led Erwin Tomash, who started his career in computer engineering in the 1940s and became one of the pioneers of the information age, to compile an encyclopedic, illustrated catalog of primary source references dating back to the 12th century CE. The catalog is available online for free access.

Lasers to be used to clean historic paintings

Long used to clean metal and stone, lasers may be the new tool of choice for cleaning famous works of art. The technique is the same used to remove tattoos.

Forum centers on Hundred Years War

The Hundred Years War Underground is a  new forum created "for those interested in exploring the history of the Hundred Years War."

Hidden bee hive found at Rosslyn Chapel

As workers carefully dismantled several roof pinnacles at Rosslyn Chapel during a UK£13M renovation project, they found that one of the pinnacles was deliberately hollowed out during its fabrication to make a beehive.

15th century mourners march to New York City

Thirty-seven statues of mourners from the 15th century tomb of John the Fearless and his wife Margaret of Bavaria are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.