1501 CE to 1600 CE

Paisley loo is archaeologists' dream

“What’s unusual is that it hasn’t been messed with. This is a loo that hasn’t been flushed for 500 years. We have a kind of sealed environment, containing artefacts like the earliest known piece of Scottish music, which we found scratched into pieces of slate," said archaeology professor Steven Driscoll of the recent excavation of a 15th century Scottish sanitation drain.

Law firm recognizes "historic value" of ancient deeds

John Ward, of the wills and estates planning department at Napthens, in Winckley Square, Preston, England, was delighted to be able to be able to handle a recent find at the law firm: the property deeds establishing poor houses, and property deeds dating to the 1550s.

15th century Scottish palace excavated

Experts from Murray Archeological Services are overseeing excavation of the site of a 15th century palace, occupied by Bishop Carnock, near Brechin Cathedral in Scotland. STV has the story. (video)

Native map chronicles history of post-conquest peoples

Scholars are actively studying a mid-16th century map painted on amate paper made from tree bark which "tells sacred stories and speaks of pilgrimages, wars, medicine, plants, marriages, rituals and heroes of the Cuauhtinchan community," the Mexican people of modern Southwest U.S.

BBC's "Tudors" historically inaccurate but addicting says historian

Historians seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Showtime series The Tudors, which has been recently sold to the BBC. Some say it "distorts history for dramatic effect" but has "undoubtedly stimulated interest in British history."

Sawayama Castle excavation captures romance of feudal Japan

Archaeologists working on the excavation of Sawayama Castle in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, hope that their discoveries will give new understanding to its owner, Ishida Mitsunari, whose defeat marked the end of the feudal Sengoku (Warring States) period.

Hawking bell found by teasure hunter in Derbyshire, England

"I have found quite a lot of treasure items over the years and have a few reference books so as soon as I scraped off the mud I knew it was a hawking bell," said metal detectorist Adam Staples last year when he discovered the 500-year-old bell in a Melbourne, England field. "It's a lovely object."

Tram workers discover skeletons on Leith Walk

Construction workers in Edinburgh, Scotland have discovered the site of a medieval graveyard at the junction of London Road and Elm Row. An archaeological team has been sent in to catalog and remove the remains.

Archaeologists search for the tomb of Suleiman I

A team of Hungarian and Turkish experts has begun the search for the tomb of Suleiman I, the Lawgiver, who died in Hungary in 1566.

Remains of Copernicus finally identified

After two centuries, scientists believe that they have found the final resting place of Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy. They also believe he had blue eyes.

Lost Knowledge: Timbrel vaulting

A look at the largely-lost Medieval art of timbrel vaulting structures and the related, more modern (late 19th century) system of interlocking terracotta tiles which create what are known as Guastavino domes, after their inventor, Rafael Guastavino.

Incan success at Machu Picchu may have been related to Medieval Warm Period

An article published in the "Climate of the Past Discussions", a discussion group of the European Geosciences Union, concludes that "a period of sustained aridity that began from AD 880, followed by increased warming from AD 1100 that lasted beyond the arrival of the Spanish in AD 1532" was partially responsible for the success of the Inca civilization during that period.

Spanish ceremonial armor exhibit in Washington D.C.

Pennsic attendees may want to take a side trip to Washington D.C. to view an exhibit of Spanish art and ceremonial armor. The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits From Imperial Spain will be on display at the National Gallery of Art through November 1, 2009. (photos)

Ageless Artifice

This company sells body care products (salves, powders, etc.) made from original historical recipes and packaged in reproduction containers. Each item comes with the original recipe.

Dress for Dance: November 2010

As a followup to 2008's very popular Costume Colloquium, a tribute to celebrated costumer Janet Arnold, a second colloquium has been scheduled for November 2010. Costume Colloquium II: Dress for Dance will also be held in Florence, Italy.

Armor photos from the Tinguely Museum

Richard Blackmoore reports that a collection of high resolution photos of 15th and 16th century armor are available to download from the Tinguely Museum website.

Henry VIII annulment letter revealed

On the 500th anniversary of the coronation of England's King Henry VIII, the Vatican has permitted scholars a look at the letter requesting an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The Vatican denies any connection between the two events.

Swiss Guard may open ranks to women

The 500-year-old Swiss Guard, which protects the Vatican, may revoke its centuries-old ban on service by women, according to Commander Daniel Anrig. "I can imagine them for one role or another," he told Italian television.

16th century acorn button declared treasure

Experts from the British Museum have authenticated a silver button, fashioned in the shape of an acorn, and declared it treasure. They have dated it to the 16th century. (photo)

Sale of 16th century torture devices to benefit Amnesty International

"Shame masks," "tongue tearers," and "witch-hunters" are among the 250 items of torture dating to the 16th century to be auctioned by New York's Guernsey's auction house. The items, from a privately-owned collection, will be sold, with the proceeds going to "Amnesty International and other organizations committed to preventing torture."

400-year restoration of walls of Cadiz continues

For 400 years, city officials in Cadiz, Spain have been charged with the task of repairing and restoring the city's massive walls. The masonry walls, damaged in 1596 by the English, serve to keep out the ocean.

Renaissance Dancers "bring the Elizabethan period to life"

Among the theatres of London's Southwark disrict roam the Renaissance Dancers, a group of amateur dress and costume enthusiasts dedicated to bringing the dances of Elizabethan England to life. An article for Fabrics-Store.com newsletter tells their story. (photo)

Debate continues over Michelangelo crucifix

A EU3.3 million wooden crucifix, bought recently at auction by the Italian government, may or may not have been created by Michelangelo. The newly-purchased piece made its debut in December at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, and was visited by the Pope.

Pope commemorates bravery of Swiss Guard during Regime of Terror

Pope Benedict XVI recently commemorated the bravery of the Swiss Guard, who helped save the city of Rome from an army of mercenaries in 1527, by swearing in the latest batch of recruits.

Inbreeding may have led to the demise of the Hapsburgs

A new study by geneticists from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain shows that inbreeding may have weakened the male line and brought about the end of the Hapsburg dynasty. The last king, Charles II of Spain, died in 1700 without male heirs.

Mysteries of Moctezuma revealed at the British Museum

In the last exhibit of a series on emperors, the British Museum will present Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler which reveals elements of the mysterious life of the last emperor of the Aztecs. The exhibition will run 24 September 2009 to 24 January 2010. (photos)

Exhibit shows "true colors" of Tudor tapestry

Light analysis was used to determine the original colors of a huge tapestry commissioned by Henry VIII. The tapestry is now on display at Hampton Court until January 3, 2010 in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the king's accession to the throne.

Was Henry VIII's Tyranny the Result of a Brain Injury?

A new theory suggests that Henry VIII underwent a personality change as the result of a head injury he suffered while jousting.

Da Vinci to be subject of cultural theme park

Was Leonardo da Vinci, "poet, musician, philosopher, engineer, architect, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, inventor, architect and botanist," the true Renaissance man, or was he just a "frustrating dilettante?" Curators of the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, France, da Vinci's last home, are betting on the former and hope for the success of their "world's first "intellectual and cultural theme park."

Rediscovered "Siege of Boulogne" drawing to be displayed at British Library

A huge drawing of Henry VIII"S 1544 Siege of Boulogne, once mislabeled and believed lost, will go on display at the British library as part of an exhibition entitled Henry VIII: Man and Monarch.