1501 CE to 1600 CE

Dig to explore medieval town and plantation in Northern Ireland

Experts in Antrim County, Northern Ireland, are intrigued by evidence of a "lost" medieval town beneath a plantation-era Gaelic Scottish settlement and a 16th century castle. The evidence consists of a metal buckle and a silver groat, both dating to the 1550s.

Mary, Queen of Scots letter sells for US$28,000

On September 18, 2014, RR Auction, in Boston, Massachusetts, auctioned a private letter from Mary Queen of Scots transferring control of her property, Wassy Castle, located in eastern Champagne, France, to her maitre d'hotel, Jacques de la Montaigne. The letter was sold to a private bidder for US$28,750 (UK£17,472). (photo)

Novelist finds human remains in IKEA bags

Perhaps Swedish erotic novelist Kicki Karlén briefly considered changing her genre to mystery when she discovered the remains of 80 people, dating to the 16th century, stashed in large IKEA bags in a chapel in Kläckeberga in southern Sweden.

SCA Playwright's "To Each Their Own" released in audio production

Sir Brand deus Leons of An Tir wrote a Shakespearean-style comedic play, "To Each Their Own". The play, reviously published in script form, has been commercially produced and released in audio form.

Medieval invention still ticking

Since the early 16th century, watches have been an elegant fashion statement. David Thompson, former Curator of Horology for the British Museum, looks at the history of the watch in a feature  article on the British Museum blog. (photos)

Oral history leads to discovery of lost Polish church

As late as the 1930s, scholars knew that a late medieval church had once stood in the town of Suraż, Poland. Now archaeologists have verified the oral history with the discovery of remnants of the building.

Elizabeth's "pirate" ship raised from floor of the Thames

After 400 years, a ship, believed to be the Cherabin, will be celebrated once again in England. The "state pirate ship," sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I, has been raised from the floor of the Thames estuary to find a new home in the National Dive Centre in Stoney Cove, Leicestershire. (photos)

Mars reveals its secrets

In 1564, the Swedish warship Mars went up in flames, taking "800 to 900 Swedish and German sailors and a fortune in gold and silver coins to the bottom of the Baltic Sea." Jane J. Lee offers a feature on the "cursed" ship for National Geographic online. (photos)

Royal chapel found near Edinburgh

A team of archaeologists and volunteers have found evidence of a 16th century chapel, believed built by Sir Simon Preston in 1518 "to rest the souls of James III and IV. "

The search for Süleyman's heart

In the summer of 1566, the great Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was on a hard-fought attempt to capture Vienna, but his dream was not to be. The great leader died in his campaign tent, and his heart was buried there. Now the ongoing quest to discover the burial site of the heart continues with Norbert Pap, a professor of political geography at the nearby University of Pécs.

Sackler Gallery presents Persian Calligraphy exhibit

The Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. will present Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy beginning September 13, 2014. The exhibit will showcase Persian calligraphy from the 14th-16th centuries.

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."

Remains of Black Shuck found in ruins of Leiston Abbey?

An old legend in Suffolk, England, tells of a massive black dog, known as Black Shuck, which terrorized the village folk, and was the subject of a report in 1577 by the Reverend Abraham Fleming. Now archaeologists believe they have found the remains of a huge dog buried in the area. (photo)

Mystery of Wolsey's missing angels solved

Once upon a time, four bronze angels adorned the gateposts of the Wellingborough Golf Club in Northamptonshire, England. No one paid much attention to them until two were stolen, but now all four, identified as Renaissance treasures, are the subject of a fundraising effort by the Victoria and Albert Museum. (photo)

French museum hosts Shakespearean costume exhibit

The National Centre for Stage Costumes in Moulins, France is playing host to an elaborate display of Shakespearean theatrical costumes entitled Shakespeare, l'étoffe du monde. The silk, satin and gemstone-studded costumes reflect designs from over a century of productions.

Lost village discovered on Scottish borderland

A number of 16th century documents mention the village of Philiphaugh, with its "tower, fortalice, manors, gardens, orchards and mills," on the border between Scotland and England, but the settlement has long ago disappeared. Now new excavations may reveal where the town once stood. (photos)

Enjoy Hampton Court - online

Are you an admirer ot London's Hampton Court Palace? If so, you will want to visit the website of Historic Royal Palaces and view a large gallery of photos of Henry VIII's residence.

The potency of Shakespeare's potions

It's Shakespeare's 450th birthday. In a feature article for the BBC's Future, Claudia Hammond looks at whether the poisons mentioned in William Shakespeare's plays, such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, could actually work.

Thamesreach celebrates Tudor Day

Members of the SCA Shire of Thamesreach recently took part in a celebration of Tudor Day at the Queens Elisabeth Hunting lodge in Epping Forest, England. Photographer PQNeiman was on hand to capture images of the day.

Shakespeare and the Scientific Revolution

Readers of Shakespeare's works could easily dismiss his interest in science at a time when the Scientific Revolution was happening around him, but author Dan Falk believes that the Bard was well aware of the developments.

Wark Castle vanguard of Flodden 500 project

The Battle of Flodden, between the Scottish and English kings, took place in 1513. Now the battle is being commemorated by experts and volunteers for the Flodden 500 Archaeological project. The focus for 2014 will be Wark Castle on the Northumberland side of the River Tweed.

London church with Shakespeare connection sought

St Leonard's church in Shoreditch, England, best known as the backdrop for the hit BBC series Rev, is believed to have been the site of the medieval church where Shakespeare worshiped. Now archaeologists plan to investigate the area in search of the original building.

New books of poetry at Project Gutenberg

A text copy of all 3 volumes of Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry was recently posted to Project Gutenberg. These books contain a great deal of poetry in middle and early modern English.

The Great Audley's mourning ring found in Norfolk

In his will, Hugh Audley, known as The Great Audley, 16th century philosopher, land owner and money lender - and owner of the land where Buckingham Palace now stands - left 11 mourning rings, designed to be worn by his mourners. Such a ring, linked to him, has been discovered in a south Norfolk field. (photo)

Fun with Bills of Mortality

For those interested in London's 16th century Bills of Mortality, but don't really want to do the research, comedian David Baddiel has the answer. The Bills are part of his 1997 comedy routine available on YouTube. PG-13 for Language.

Minding the medieval teen

Parents of unruly teenagers may sigh wistfully at the notion of sending their children elsewhere for training, a common practice of northern Europeans in the Middle Ages. William Kremer looks at the practice of fostering in an article for the BBC News Magaine.

Rocket cats?

Proof that gun powder technology captured the imagination of 16th century military minds can be found in a manual written by artillery master Franz Helm of Cologne, Germany who proposed strapping rockets to the backs of cats in order to "set fire to a castle or city which you can't get at otherwise." (photos)

New portraits of Shakespeare revealed

"I subjected the images to fundamental tests of identity and authenticity, and these revealed that we are dealing with true-to-life portraits of Shakespeare, one from his youth, the second from his old age," said Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel about two recently-discovered portraits of William Shakespeare. (photos)

Society Knight uses both Pen and Sword

An SCA member from An Tir, Sir Brand deux Leons has achieved his dream, as his Shakespearean-style play "To Each Their Own" is now in publication. Sir Brand seeks funding and participation from the SCA performing arts community to help drive a full stage production of the work.

It's six books in one!

Medieval bookbinders may have been the precursors of eReaders when they developed the dos-à-dos (or "back-to-back") book with two or more separate texts and multi-hinged covers. One example is the beautiful devotional dos-à-dos book owned by the National Library of Sweden which includes six works. (photos)