Paganism

24 August 410: "the 9/11 of the ancient world"

On August 24, 410, Imperial Rome was sacked by an invading force of Visigoths from northern Europe, an event that has been compared with September 11, 2001 in the United States.

12th century leather mask found in Novgorod

Victor Singh, of the Veliki Novgorod archaeological project in Russia, has announced the discovery of a pagan mask, cut from the top of a leather boot, in the 13th Troitsky Pit. (photo)

Welsh folklore for the iPhone

iPhone users and British folklore enthusiasts may want to download the iPhone app for the Mabinogion, a cycle of Welsh legends collected in the 14th century Red Book of Hergest.

French Gallo-Roman sanctuary is archaeologists' dream

Archaeologists working near the ancient site of Vindunum  (now Le Mans, France) have found an "exceptional discovery," a vast complex of temples dating to the first through third centuries C.E.

Viking "thunderstones" identified in graves

Archaeologists have long wondered about the inclusion of "thunderstones"—fist-size stone tools resembling the Norse god Thor's hammerhead -- in Viking graves. New research may show that the stones were considered good-luck talismans. (photo)

12th century Seitas studied in Finland

A team of archaeologists from the University of Oulu in Finland is studying seitas, sacred places of the indigenous Sámi people, some dating to the 12th century.

Roman altar stones give insight into religious practices

Archaeologists in Scotland are excited about the discovery of Roman altar stones found in a cricket pavilion in Musselburgh, East Lothian, finding them "the most significant find of their kind in the past 100 years."

The dark origins of Valentine's Day

Nearly everyone celebrates Valentine's Day, but many are not familiar with the origins, some rather dark, of the holiday for lovers. Ngonidzashe Dzimiri of the Sunday Standard offers a history.

Equos Designs

Equos Designs' proprietor makes Iron Age Celtic jewelry designs in fine silver. They have horses and stags and wolves, suns and moons.

Stonehenge site of midwinter feast

A recent study of pig and cattle bones found near Stonehenge has led researchers to believe that it was the site of huge winter solstice feasts. Experts believe animals were herded to the site and then slaughtered to feed celebrants.

Small Gatherings Enhance the Celtic Flame in North America

Dikran Aivazian of the Kingdom of An Tir reports on the creation of a Celtic bardic association in the western United States and Canada.

The origins of Yule

In a Yuletide card, courtesy of Revival Clothing, we learn the origins of "Yule" from its pagan Germanic beginnings through its joining with the Christmas festival during the reign of Haakon the Good. The article includes a bibliography.

Happy Solstice from Jethro Tull, from 1976

It isn't exactly news, but it's appropriate to the day! YouTube has a video posting of a rare promotional video for Jethro Tull's "Ring Out Solstice Bells", from 1976. It's decidedly medieval in theme, and quite amusing.

Big, bad Celtic gods and demons

With the ghosts of Halloween 2009 still lingering in the corners, writer Dara McBride Irish Central looks at The 10 scariest monsters and demons from Celtic myth.

Old Norse mythology "captures the public imagination"

Experts on Old Norse mythology met recently at the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Scandinavian Studies to take a look a fresh look at the religion.

4th century Roman temple found in Tuscany

A rectangular stone and marble temple, built using the opus testaceum technique, has been discovered near Marina di Alberese in central Italy. The existence of the 4th century temple may suggest a larger settlement in the area.

Beowulf-era ceremonial hall discovered in Denmark

Archaeologists in Denmark are puzzled over the discovery of a large building "littered with bits and pieces of exquisite golden jewellery, glass and bronze broaches, high quality artifacts, such as drinking glasses and ceramics, which all seem to have been deliberately smashed in some ritual."

New excavations at Stonehenge may prove site a place of sacred healing

It has been over 40 years since any significant excavation have been done at Stonehenge, but during the spring of 2009, that changed when Timothy Darvill, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, and Geoffrey Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries of London, headed a new dig in the monument's inner circle.

New book looks at perception of the Druids in Great Britain

The popular perception of the Druid as either a sage with a long beard or a blood-thirsty expert in human sacrifice is the topic of a new book by Bristol University professor Ronald Hutton: Blood and Mistletoe: a History of the Druids in Britain.

Dog Skeletons Indicate Medieval Custom of Sacrifice

A discovery of multiple buried dog skeletons in a medieval town outside Budapest suggests that the custom of animal sacrifice was much more widespread in early Christian Hungary than previously thought.

Valentine's Day history still a mystery

Every year historians debate the "real" history of Valentine's Day, and still there seems to be no consensus on its true origins. Now student Sarah Clark gives it a try.

Roman temples discovered in England

British Channel Four's Time Team has discovered the remains of four Roman temples near Redbourn, England. The temples may have been built to worship water gods, according to experts, since there are springs and a river in the area.

Druid grave discovered near Colchester, England

The grave of a 1st century Druid, possibly the first such discovery in England, has been found in Stanway, near Colchester in eastern England. The body in the grave was one of a number of important people buried near the time of the Roman invasion.

Games played role in the Viking afterlife

A team of Swedish and English archaeologists have excavated a 9th century Viking ship burial which has shed new light on the life and beliefs of the pre-Christian Norse.

Mojo cursed in ancient Cyprus

A 7th century curse inscribed on a tablet has been found by archaeologists working near Limassol, Cyprus. The inscription curses the sexual prowess of men and may be linked to the island's pagan past. PG-13.

Anglo Saxon priestess grave found in Yorkshire

Archaeologists are studying the grave of a 7th century Anglo Saxon woman who might have been a Pagan priestess. By the placement of the grave and the objects within, including a sword and elaborate jewelry, they feel that the woman may have headed a 7th century cult. (photo)

Mysterious "feather pits" shed light on forgotten witches of England

Evidence of pagan rituals involving swans and other birds in the Cornish countryside in the 17th century has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Druid Grave Unearthed in U.K.?

Archaeologists excavating a series of 1st century graves in Colchester, England think one of them may belong to a Druid.

Stonehenge tunnel plan scrapped

The fear that increased traffic might damage the historic site has led English Heritage to cancel a plan to build a tunnel under Stonehenge.

"History of Holidays" on the History Channel website

The History Channel has created a website with interactive links covering the history of all the major holidays on the calendar.