1501 CE to 1600 CE

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.

Do you know a smile when you see one?

Early European explorers in the Caribbean islands commented on the "abominable" and "frightening" figures in the locals' art, with their bared teeth and "burning" eyes. But a new analysis suggests that the artists may have intended these expressions as inviting smiles rather than demonic grimaces.

Good King Henri IV enjoys renewed popularity in France

Peace-loving, religiously tolerant, a ladies' man and the coiner of the phrase "a chicken in every pot" -- 400 years later, France still thinks Henri IV is le Grand.

De Soto traces exhibited in Atlanta

At Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, visitors can see the results of a new excavation in a remote corner of southeastern Georgia.

Feudal Japanese steam bath discovered

The Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute has been investigating the 16th century residence of warlord Nobunaga Oda. Among other finds, they turned up the lord's private sauna. 

Archaeological dig confirms United States' oldest street

For generations, St. Augustine's Aviles Street has competed with Philadelphia's Elfreth's Alley as the oldest street in the United States, but a recent archaeological dig may hand the honor to the Florida city.

Public ideas subject of CBC program

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has produced a series of programs based on Modern Publics: 1500-1700, a book by a group of scholars at McGill University. The program is podcast online.

Mummy of 16th century woman found in Korea

The mummified remains of a 16th century noble woman were found at a construction site in Osan (Gyeonggi Province), South Korea.

Tycho Brahe to be exhumed

A November exhumation is planned to try to discover the true cause of Tycho Brahe's death. Since a 1901 analysis discovered mercury in a sample of his beard, some have believed the astronomer, "more famous in death than he ever was in life," was murdered.

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.

Precious Cambridge manuscript collection now online

The entire Parker library, a collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts at Corpus Christi College of Cambridge University, has been made accessible online. Librarian Suzanne Paul narrates a video tour of the collection's highlights.

16th century manuscript centerpiece of Saint Wenceslas exhibit

The Life and Suffering of Saint Wenceslas, a 16th century manuscript, is the centerpiece of a small exhibit of celebrating the life of the Czech Republic's patron saint, Prince Wenceslas, at the National Museum until May 2, 2010.

"Anonymous" looks at the subject of Shakespeare authorship

Ronald Emmerich, who directed such major films as 2012 and Independence Day, will take on a less earth-shaking project with his new project Anonymous. The film will investigate whether Edward de Vere was the real author of Shakespeare's plays.

16th century museum reopens in Venice

The concept of a museum to view art and antiquities was unknown until 16th century Venice when wealthy families designed buildings to showcase Roman statuary. Now the Palazzo Grimani, one of the pioneering museums of the city, has restored and reopened to the public.

"Exceptional example of the Medieval jewellers' art" declared treasure in England

A 16th century silver crucifix depicting Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist, discovered in 2009 in Yanworth, England, has been declared treasure. (photo)

Shakespeare scholar takes on authorship issue

Author James Shapiro, whose 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, delighted the literary world, has a new book, this time investigating whether the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon actually wrote his plays. Robert McCrum of The Observer has a review.