Paganism

Witches at the British Museum

The British Museum has been invaded by witches - at least until January 2015. A new free exhibit, Witches and Wicked Bodies, will look at the history of witches in Great Britain from the 1400s until the Victorian era, and will include artists' renditions, objects of sorcery and magic, as well as artifacts from antiquity depicting famous witches.

Rebuilding the Temple of Mithras

In 1954, there was much debate over what to do with the recently discovered remains of a Temple of Mithras. Unable to reach a conclusion, the ruins were packed up and have led a nomadic existance ever since. Now the ruins are being returned to their original site, underneath a London office block.

New secrets of Stonehenge revealed

Just when scientists think they have learned everything there is to know about Stonehenge, new technologies reveal tantalizing secrets. Laser scanning of the area around the monument showed at least 17 circular shrines as well as other neolithic structures. (photo and map)

Oldest known siddur displayed in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum recently played host to the Book of Books exhibition which featured the world's oldest siddur, a 1,200-year-old Hebrew manuscript still in its original binding. (photo)

Excavations show connections between Paganism and early Christianity in Ireland

Recent excavations at Caherconnell, County Clare, by the Caherconnell Archaeology Field School are shedding light on the transition from Paganism to Christianity in 5th century Ireland. Burials found in stone cists show that mourners used a combination of both religions to honor their dead.

The unicorn phenomenon

Unicorns have been a part of the known bestiary since Greek and Roman times. In his book, A Natural History of Unicorns, University of Nottingham geographer Chris Lavers looks at the history of the beast and human obsession with it.

Roman temple near Hadrian's Wall identified

The remains of a building near Hadrian's Wall, dating to the second century and first unearthed in the 1880s by a local archaeologist, have been identified as a Roman temple. The temple is the most north western classical temple from the Roman world yet discovered.

Are you a witch?

If you lived in the 16th or 17th centuries, would you have been accused of witchcraft? HistoryExtra.com, the official website of BBC History Magazine, offers a quiz. Check to see if you are in danger by clicking the link below.

Medieval graves discovered by a badger

An artist in North Germany watching badgers on his property discovered that they were digging up human bones. An excavation revealed eight 12th century burials, including several warriors.

Lyminge excavations shed light on the "Dark Ages"

After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes moved in, bringing their culture and architecture to the country. The recent discovery of what is believed to be an Anglo-Saxon royal feasting hall in the Kent, England village of Lyminge is shining a new light on the 7th century in England. Jason Urbanus of Archaeology has a feature story. (aerial photos)

Medieval guide to witch hunting

What do you know about witches? Most modern ideas of witchcraft may come from a manuscript, one of only four known copies, found in the library of the University of Alberta. Treatise against the Sect of Waldensians, written in the 15th century, created the framework for witch hunts. Paul Kennedy of CBCRadio hosts an hour-long podcast on the book.

Alken Bog site of human sacrifice?

Post-Roman Germania was a dangerous place, both for intenders invaders and those who found themselves on the bad side of the warlord. This was the conclusion of a team of Danish archaeologists investigating a bog in present day Denmark where the team discovered the remains of 40 men "hacked to bits and thrown into the shallows of Lake Mosso."

How the Teutonic Crusade changed Eastern Europe

"Within a few centuries, the Teutonic warriors led a major ecological and cultural transformation that swept the pagan Baltic tribes into the fold of European Christendom," according to a statement by Stanford University regarding an article by researcher Krish Seetah. The article was published in the November 30, 2012 issue of Science.

New timeline for Stonehenge proposed

Archaeologist Timothy Darvill, of Bournemouth University in England, believes previous studies of the timeline for Stonehenge have it backwards. His new theory was published in the December issue of the journal Antiquity.

New Year magic in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the period after Christmas was a time for looking ahead to the new year. Practices included superstitions and methods to predict weather for the coming year. The clergy accepted some of the age-old rituals, but were loathe to allow others. A recent article for Phys.org looks at Christmas Day fortune telling.

Norse myth courtesy of Snorri Sturluson

Much of the Norse mythology we recognize today comes courtesy of the writing of 13th century Icelandic chieftain Snorri Sturluson. Nancy Marie Brown takes a look at Snorri on her blog God of Wednesday.

Arkayn Leatherworks

Arkayn Leatherworks offers goods for all of your leather needs: belts, quivers, tankards,  bracers,sword frogs, sheaths, etc. They specialize in custom work, including artistic leather carvings and embossing, and they carry a wide variety of jewelry, leather, wiccan, and mundane.

Spanish Inquisition follows priest to the New World

According to trial records, Catholic priest Pedro Ruiz Calderón not only practiced Black Magic, but he was really good at it. The trial took place as part of the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico City in 1540.

Bronzehammer: Torfin's Viking-era Jewelry and Art

Bronzehammer, a shop on Etsy.com, offers Viking-era jewelry and art for your historical reenactment needs.

Did Stonehenge unify Britain?

Experts from the Stonehenge Riverside Project have concluded that "Stonehenge was built as a monument to unify the peoples of Britain, after a long period of conflict and regional difference between eastern and western Britain."

The power of Botticelli's Venus

In a recent ArtBlog posted by The Guardian, Jonathan Jones ponders Botticelli's enduring masterpiece, The Birth of Venus, painted in 1484, and tries to discover if it is the ancient religion that makes it so compelling.

Roman temple discovered in Bonn, Germany

The remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman temple were recently discovered by archaeology students on the campus of Bonn University in Germany.

Bouncy Stonehenge is fun for Druids and kids alike

A giant inflatable replica of Stonehenge is making waves in Glasgow, Scotland. The attraction is part of the Glasgow International art festival.

Gold cross found in Anglo-Saxon bed grave

A grave of a young Anglo-Saxon woman lying on a bed has been found in Cambridgeshire. She was buried with a gold and garnet cross comparable in quality to the treasures found at Staffordshire and Sutton hoo. The cross was stitched to the woman's gown.

Roman cockerel found in child's grave in Cirencester

Archaeologist Neil Holbrook, chief executive at Cotswold Archaeology, called the discovery of an 1,800-year-old enamelled cockerel figurine in the grave of a child a "most spectacular" find. The figurine is believed to have religious significance. (photo)

1000-year-old Icelandic remains may prove ritual sacrifice

A recent report in Urðarbrunnur, the journal of the science association at Laugar in the rural district Þingeyjarsveit, Iceland, suggests that remains found in a large hole in the turf wall in Þegjandadalur, Iceland show the practice of ritual sacrifice in the time before the country converted to Christianity.

Agricultural processions may have marked seasons at Stonehenge

Archaeologists continue to make new discoveries that shed light on the construction and use of Stonehenge. The latest discoveries are "evidence of two huge pits positioned on celestial alignment" marking the rising and setting of the sun.

December 25 as Christmas

Scholar Andrew McGowan offers a paper on the Dating of Christmas on the Academia.edu website. Originally published as How December 25th Became Christmas, a 2002 edition of Bible Review, the paper is available in PDF format.

Loved ones remembered at WoW

In a recent message posted on the Merry Rose eList of the Kingdom of Atlantia, Thomas Brant of Salem shares a memory from last year's War of the Wings.

Druid pleads for "founding fathers" of Stonehenge

In 2008, the remains of 40 bodies, thought to be at least 5,000 years old, were removed from Stonehenge for scientific study. Recently, in court, a Druid named King Arthur Pendragon pleaded to ''Let those we lay to rest, stay in rest."