Places of Worship

Churches, Mosques, Temples, Synagogues, Cathedrals, and similar structures used primarily for worship (this category is about the buildings, not the religions)

Experts gather to study historic Iona, Scotland

The island of Iona was recently the site of a gathering of international experts to study the island's carved stones and grave markers, and its unique history. The workshop was sponsored by Historic Scotland and the Iona community.

Samson mosaic graces "monumental synagogue" discovery in Galilee

A team of archaeologists has discovered a "monumental" synagogue dating to the 4th or 5th centuries C.E. in excavations at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee. The excavations revealed a "stunning" mosaic depicting Samson "placing torches between the tails of foxes." (photo)

1000 years in Sicily: from Roman villa to monastery

For over 1,000 years, a farmland estate in the northeastern Sicilian village of Torrenova was in constant use, according to archaeologists from the University of Vienna. The land is believed to have hosted a Roman villa in late antiquity and a monastery throughout the Middle Ages. (photo)

15th-century mosque attacked at Timbuktu

A group of Islamist militants bearing pickaxes has attacked and damaged the Sidi Yahya mosque in Timbuktu, a World Heritage site, breaking down a door that "locals believed had to stay shut until the end of the world."

Restoration of famed "Gates of Paradise" complete after 33 years

Restoration is complete for Lorenzo Ghiberti's masterpiece, the bronze and gilt doors that he created for the Florence Baptistry in 1452. Michaelangelo called them the Gates of Paradise.

Thieves steal crusader statue from church window

Sometime between May 13-16, 2012, thieves chiseled the small stone statue of a knight from a window frame in St Michael's Church in Castle Frome, near Ledbury, England. The little knight is thought to commemorate a knight in the Crusades.

Remains of St. John the Baptist found (again)

Archaeologists excavating a church in Bulgaria have found a small ossuary with an inscription claiming to be the remains of St. John. Radio carbon and DNA testing have given some collaboration to the claim.

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.

New excavations may shed light on York's Saxon past

Archaeologists have long known about the Roman and Viking heritage of York, England, but little of its Saxon past, but new excavations of York Minster may shed some light on the unknown era.

Holy Robe shines spotlight on Trier

In 1500, the Holy Robe, believed by Catholics to have been worn by Jesus, was installed as a relic in the ancient Catholic cathedral in Trier, Germany, once the Roman capital north of the Alps. Since then, the robe has been exhibited only 17 times, and is currently on display until May 13, 2012.

12th century relics found at site of Eynsham Abbey

Contractors for a housing development at Abbey Farm in Eynsham, England, always expected to discover archaeological artifacts, but they were nonetheless surprised to find extensive remains relating to the 12th century Eynsham Abbey.

Saxon glass industry at Glastonbury Abbey

A researcher examining excavation reports from Glastonbury Abbey has found that the glass fragments and glassmaking remains found there date to the 680's, much earlier than previously thought.

Cathedrals: "our greatest architectural glories”

In a recent article and podcast for BBC News Magazine, David Cannadine "looks at a selection of the world's cathedrals and the important contribution that they have made to the broader lives of their respective cities and countries."

Medieval monastery town to be built in Germany

A team of researchers and historians have begun a decades-long project to build a Carolingian monastery town near Messkirch, Germany using only techniques and materials from the 9th century. (photos)

13th century Jewish marker Germany's oldest

A tombstone, bearing the name of  “Frau Dolze” daughter of “Herr Asher,” has been discovered in Erfurt, Germany near the city’s Old Synagogue. The marker, one of 58, dates to the year 1259. Officials in the city have applied to make the cemetery a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Replica 13th century stave church door on display in California

A hand-carved replica of the Borgund Stave Church door will be on display this weekend at the Scandinavian Festival at California Lutheran University in Thousan Oaks, California (USA).

New Discoveries inside York Minster

Recent excavation for a "lift" inside York Minster has turned up the remains of 50 bodies in a charnel pit that probably dates back to the 12th century.

Child's burial slab missing from Herefordshire church

Police in the village of Foy, near Ross-on-Wye, England, are looking for a medieval burial stone stolen from St Mary's Church on January 5, 2012. (photo)

Grant awarded to preserve 15th century "deadly sins" paintings

The devil is in St Cadoc's church in Llancarfan, Wales, and officials from the Heritage Lottery Fund have decided to award the church UK£500,000 to keep him there. (photos)

Dragon lanterns shine light on centuries past

In honor the the Year of the Dragon, the Chengdu Temple Fair in China is displaying 43 dragon-themed lantern sets, some dating back centuries.

Eumathios Philokales reveals two Byzantine churches in Cyprus

The Eumathios Philokales project, which focuses on Byzantine monuments, has announced that excavations at two churches have revealed earlier religious buildings dating to the 7th and 11th centuries.

1,000 years of British history on church walls

The history and art of Great Britain can be traced by the paintings on its church walls. Now interested parties may not have to travel to review the country's glorious wallpaintings, but can study them online thanks to the efforts of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Medieval church unearthed in Sozopol, Bulgaria

It has been a busy year for archaeologists in Sozopol on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, where recently the remains of a 13th century church and the eastern gate of the ancient city fortress were discovered.

Irish church bell could be world's oldest

A bronze bell from Derry, Ireland, in storage since the 1930s, may be the world's oldest existing church bell. The bell dates to 1411 and was probably made in France. Christian symbols on the bell lead researchers to believe it may have once belonged to a church or abbey.

Plea to save German "leaning tower"

The famous leaning tower of the Church of Our Dear Ladies on the Hill in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany is scheduled for demolition if funds to stabilize the tower cannot be raised. The tower leans 4.5 meters (15 feet) from the perpendicular, more than the leaning tower of Pisa. (photo)

Crypt columns with "cathedral grandeur" reburied in Devon

"There are only two known crypts in Devon and Cornwall and the other one's a Saxon crypt," said archaeologist Stewart Brown about a Norman crypt excavated in summer 2011. Two intricately-carved columns from the crypt have been reburied for preservation purposes.

Pocahontas' wedding site discovered

Scholars and preservationists at the historic site of Jamestown, Virginia, believe they have discovered the remains of one of the country's oldest Protestant churches, the site where Pocahontas was baptized and married.

The musical sounds of 16th century Venice

Musicians and choir directors have long speculated on what music of the past would have sounded like. Now a new study by a student and a professor from New York University and the University of Cambridge may offer a sample from 16th century Venice.

Slideshow tells story of Sudanese church

Archaeologists are working on the excavation of the 11th century church at Banganarti, in the Sudan. Live Science has created a slideshow of some of the finds during the excavation, and provides a 3-D view of the church. (photos)

Istanbul's Hagia Sophia might return to place of worship

The 6th century Byzantine marvel, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, may be returning to its orgins as a place of worship by once again becoming a mosque. The former church is now a museum.