1501 CE to 1600 CE

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.

Mona Lisa now buried in garbage dump

Thirty years ago, the city of Florence, Italy converted the Sant'Orsola convent, the final resting place of Lisa Gherardini, the model of da Vinci's Mona Lisa, into barracks for the city's Guardia di Finanza. The graves and tombs from the site were dumped into 'Case le Passarini', the rubbish tip near Florence.

16th century Scottish archway destroyed in vehicle crash

An historic, 16th century stone archway on the grounds of Scone Palace in Perthshire was destroyed recently when a van driven by a contractor crashed into it.

Mary Rose artifacts on display for the first time

In late 2009, previously unseen artifacts found on the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship, were put on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The artifacts will be included in the exhibits at the new Mary Rose Museum scheduled to open in 2012. (photos)

Artifacts tell story of early colonial life

The website Virtual Jamestown includes a gallery of photos of artifacts found at the Jamestown site. The gallery includes large images and rotating clips of each of the artifacts in the collection.

Pelican and Phoenix portraits hope to solve mystery of royal painter

For the first time in 25 years, art experts will be able to study two portraits of Queen Elizabeth I with hopes of discovering the works' mysterious artist. The paintings will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London from September 13 to 19, 2010.

Masterpieces online: Like looking at a painting "with a giant magnifying glass."

Until January 29, 2011, art lovers and historians have the opportunity to study six masterpieces from the Uffizi gallery in Florence in minute detail on the Haltadefinizione company website. The site allows visitors to zoom in on high-resolution images.

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.

Archaeologists study remains at 16th century Icelandic hospital

For the past nine years, archaeologists have been excavating what they believe is Iceland's oldest hospital, dating to the early 16th century. The building, located near Skriduklaustur in east Iceland, was part of a monastery.

Estonia claims world's oldest operating lighthouse

The Kõpu lighthouse in Estonia was built first used in 1531 and still uses its original lens. The lighthouse once served as a beacon for merchants in the Hanseatic League.

Mona Lisa's smile explained by technique

Over the centuries, thousands of people have pondered the mystery of Mona Lisa's smile. Now French researchers believe they can explain the enigmatic expression: it was da Vinci's technique.

Scottish royal murder scene excavated

For the first time in centuries, the 16th century site in Edinburgh, Scotland where Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was killed, is being excavated. Darnley was the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Henry brings laughs to the web

Henry VIII meets the Age of Connectivity in a series of short sketch comedies from the BBC. Brian Blessed stars as the monarch on holiday with his sixth wife, Catharine Parr.

Tudor history course offered online by University of Exeter

The University of Exeter (England) will offer a non-credit, distance learning course entitled The Tudors: History, Culture and Religion for fall 2010. Deadline to register is September 15, 2010.

Medici "murder" solved

For centuries, it was theorized that Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his second wife, Bianca Cappello were murdered, but new evidence shows that their deaths were from natural causes.

Actress stumbles (literally) across medieval burial chamber

An amateur actress rehearsing for a show at St. Mary's Church in Redgrave, England got more than a sore ankle when her foot went through a flagstone near the altar. She inadvertently discovered a long-lost burial chamber.

New theatre to stand on site of London's first

A new hall will host performances on the same ground where Shakespeare's plays were first acted. The predecessor to the Globe, known simply as "The Theatre," stood on London's South Bank. Its site was bought by an amateur theatrical group and has been under excavation since 2008. 

Galileo's fingers on display in Florence

Two of Galileo's fingers were discovered during rennovations at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy. The remains are currently on display along with Galileo's famous telescope.

16th century violin joins South Dakota collection

The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota boasts instruments ranging from gamelans to medieval mandolins. Now the museum has added a 400-year-old Amati Brothers violin. Gary Ellenbolt of NPR has the audio story.

Florentine Codex gives insight into Mexican culture

During the New World plague of the 16th century, a group of artists and intellectuals barricaded themselves in the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Santiago Tlaltelolco to produced the Florentine Codex, a massive encyclopedia handwritten in three columns and two languages. The work has been restored and digitized.

Archaeologists excavate London's first theatre

Archeologists are excavating "The Theater", London's first known successful playhouse, where it is believed that Shakespeare himself worked and may have even acted. The building was completed in 1576, and historians believe that Romeo and Juliet premiered there.

Who really named America?

We all know the schoolboy version of the naming of the American continents: merchant explorer Amerigo Vespucci supposedly named the New World after himself. But a little-known proofreader and scholar named Matthias Ringmann may actually be responsible.

Shakespeare: clues from the rubbish tip

Archaeologists believe they have identified Shakespeare's cesspit on the property of New Place, his home in Stratford-upon-Avon. They now hope to find clues to the playwright's life among the rubbish from a dig.

Henry VIII's health analyzed on the NGC

Join a team of medical experts as they analyze one of history's greatest monarchs. Inside the Body of Henry VIII will air July 20, 2010 on the National Geographic Channel.

Japanese castle ramparts re-created in Ventura, California

This January, seven master stoneworkers from Japan joined a team of "rockknockers" at the International Stoneworkers' Symposium to construct castle ramparts using traditional dry stone masonry techniques in Serra Cross Park, Ventura, California.

Mystery of the Berlin Mummies

Unlike the famous mummies of Egypt, the preserved corpses lying in the crypt of a Berlin church are almost unknown. Although they are nearer to us in space, time and philosophy, no one is quite sure why hundreds of 18th-century German nobles were mummified.

Confirmed as Tintoretto, painting still baffles scholars

When the National Trust took over the Kingston Lacy mansion, the filthy old painting on the wall could not be identified. Now, after cleaning, the painting is confirmed as the work of Renaissance master Tintoretto, but art historians aren't sure who the allegorical figures in the picture are meant to represent.

New insights into St. Augustine's central plaza

Archaeologists digging at the Plaza de la Constitucion in St. Augustine, Florida, are finding that the plaza is different than the plans authorized by the King of Spain in the late 1500's.

Aztec exhibition opens as archaeologists seek royal tomb

Archaeologists working on an excavation in downtown Mexico City think they are on the brink of discovering the first Aztec royal tomb ever found. Meanwhile, objects from the dig are on display at "Moctezuma II: Times and Destiny of a Ruler" at the Templo Mayor Museum.

Galleon San Salvador to be rebuilt in San Diego

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is planning to build a replica of explorer Juan Cabrillo's ship, the San Salvador. The San Salvador was the first European expedition to the area, exploring San Diego Bay in 1542.