1501 CE to 1600 CE

16th century Korean boy helps scientists decipher hepatitis B genetic code

Israeli and Korean scientists have teamed up to study the remains of a Korean child, dating to the 16th century Joseon Dynasty, which show evidence of the hepatitis B virus. The results led to the map of the entire ancient hepatitis B viral genome.

The myth of the "Tudor Era"

"The word 'Tudor' is used obsessively by historians," says Dr Cliff Davies of Oxford University "But it was almost unknown at the time." Davies research shows that the term "Tudor" was rarely used during the period.

The writers of Shakespeare

On his blog, The Drum, journalist Bob Ellis returns to the controversy of the authorship of Shakespeare's plays with examples of how the bard - or any modern playwright - can claim complete ownership of his work.

Good and evil in Machiavelli's "The Prince"

400 years after its publication, Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince still inspires analysis and comment. One of the latest is a two-part story by Nick Spencer in the Guardian. The premise of the article: How do we utilise power to do good while utilising evil to keep power?

Queen's jewelery found in medieval toilet

Archaeologists excavating a latrine at the site of a palace outside of Paris, France have found a hair pin belinging to 16th century French queen Catherine de Medici.

The Tudor court from Cromwell's point of view

Henry VIII and his succession of wives continue to capture the imaginations of historians and readers of history. Now, a new novel, Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel, follows the life, trial and death of Anne Boleyn and the involvement of Thomas Cromwell. Peter Green of The Book blog has a review.

"Tantalising clue" to Raleigh's lost colony

In a discovery worthy of Dan Brown, experts believe they may have found Sir Walter Raleigh's "lost colony" of Roanoke inscribed on a 16th century map in invisible ink. (photos)

Irish shipwreck the site of mystery and coconuts

A shipwreck found off the coast of Ireland carried an exotic cargo of Iberian pottery and coconuts. The coconuts, which likely sank in the late 16th or early 17th century, would mark the earliest known arrival of this fruit in Ireland.

16th century "vampire" burial stirs controversy

The burial of a Venician woman with a brick in her mouth was originally publicized as a suspected vampire. Other researchers dispute this.

Elizabethan shipwreck is sunk again

Adding insult to injury, a ship that sank in the Thames in 1574 is now being resunk in a lake in Leicestershire, England. The wreck will be used as an aquatic classroom to train underwater archaeologists.

Altar of Ghent recreated in Easter Eggs

Artist Oksana Mas has recreated a fragment of the 15th century Flemish masterpiece made entirely of pysankas (painted easter eggs). The current piece is 8 stories high and is on display in Kiev, Ukraine.

Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad

The World Shakespeare Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon, England has a unique offering this year, a new take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet called Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad where the couple are not divided by family squabbles but by religious sects.

Elizabethan medal illustrates explorers' influence

In a YouTube video, Neil MacGregor discusses a small silver medal commorating the 1577-80 around-the-world voyage of Sir Francis Drake. The video is part of the BBC program entitled Shakespeare's Restless World.(video)

Ecuadoran archaeologists hope to find Atahualpa's grave

Archaeologists from Ecuador's Cultural Patrimony Institute hope to discover the tomb of Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor, during a dig to be conducted at Sigchos, about 70km south of Quito. The site was found in 2010 by Ecuadoran historian Tamara Estupinan.

Danish ship information to go online

Records from more than 1.8 million ships that sailed through the Danish sound will go online in May 2012. The records date from the mid 15th century to 1857.

Tudor costumes and weapons stolen from Northampton re-enactor

The education of school children in Northampton, England will be poorer after the theft of a van containing costumes and equipment belonging to re-enactor Steve Parish. Parish, who runs Past Alive, teaches children about English history.

"King size" bed returns to Ware, England

Since 1931, the Great Bed of Ware has been a beloved feature of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The three metres wide bed was built in 1590 by Hertfordshire carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke. (photo)

Map corrections may help solve mystery of missing colonists

Theories about the fate of the "Lost Colony", a group of English colonists who founded a settlement in coastal North Carolina (USA), have ranged from disease to alien abduction. New evidence found on an English map may finally answer the question.

Pyramus and Thisbe, Beatle-style

In celebration of Shakespeare's 400th birthday, the Beatles perform the Pyramus and Thisbe play from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The 1964 performance is from a DVD called The Beatles Explosion.

16th century Spanish pattern book available online

The World Digital Library has posted a digital version of the Book on Geometry, Practice, and Patterns by Juan de Alcega. Published in 1580, the book offers techniques for ordering lengths of fabric based on the measurement of the "ell."

Cataloging Elizabethan drunks

Drunkenness in Elizabethan England was not a rare occurance, to the extent, in fact, that satirist Thomas Nashe cataloged eight specific types. The website Lists of Note published Nashe's piece Eight Kindes of Drunkennes.

Medieval Estonian documents go online

The oldest written documents in Estonia are now online thanks to a joint project between the Estonian State Archives and the Estonian History Museum. The oldest documents data from the mid 13th century.

Controversial restoration of da Vinci's last painting completed

Over the past 18 months, the art world has held its collective breath to see the results of the Louvre's restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's last work The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, but the wait is now over. (photo)

Brazilian shipwreck may be Spanish colonial supply ship

In 2005, a team of divers with the Barra Sul Project discovered the remains of a ship off the coast of Santa Catarina in Brazil. Now they believe that vessel may have been a lost supply ship sent by Spain to build two forts on the Strait of Magellan.

Ladies of leisure in the Renaissance

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has posted an article on pasttimes of noble ladies during the Renaissance. The article, Renaissance women at leisure, includes short descriptions, with photos, of interests such as hunting, needlework and gaming.

Secret message leads to Da Vinci investigation

Cerca trova - "seek and you shall find" is the message hidden in a Florence mural by Giorgio Vasari, long thought to have replaced Leonardo da Vinci's greatest work, leading scientists to use high tech methods to investigate behind the painting. (photos and video)

English Brick Coloration: 1500-1650

A study of patterned bricks shows that not all English buildings were of one color. Exteriors and interiors used limewashes as well as different colors of bricks (or even glazed bricks!) to enliven the surface.

Behind-the-scenes look at the treasures of the Mary Rose

Take in inside look at the artifacts recovered from the Tudor ship the Mary Rose with BBC South Today's Sally Taylor and historic weapon expert and actor Robert Hardy in a BBC video clip.

Summer Was Deadly for Tudors

Recent research indicates that summertime produced the most fatal accidents during the 16th century.

Renaissance stove subject of V & A ceramics restoration class

In an article for the Victoria and Albert Museum, Senior Ceramics and Glass Conservator Fi Jordan shares photos and commentary on a student project to clean a 16th century, free-standing ceramic stove. (photos)