First printed edition of Shakespeare plays & exhibit coming to all 50 states in the US

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, The Folder Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is sending out a traveling exhibit with copies of the first printing ("First Folio") of Shakespeare's plays from 1623.

London medieval devotional: "a cautionary tale for ambitious politicians"

While excavating by the Thames River, a team of archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) recently discovered a rare, metal devotional, dating to the 14th century, depicting "the capture, trial and execution of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, political rebel turned martyr." (photos)

Goose bone flute found at Lincoln Castle

The construction of a new vault for the Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle led to the discovery of a unique goose bone flute dating to Norman times. While the flute was broken, a re-enactor muscian has created two replicas, one for display with the broken original and another to play. (photos)

Balds Leechbook may contain cure for antibiotic-resistant bugs

Dr Christina Lee of the University of Nottingham may have made an astonishing discovery: an effective treatment for "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs costing modern health services billions." Dr. Lee, however, is not a scientist but an Anglo-Saxon expert from the School of English, who found the cure in a 10th century medical book. (videos)

Alamire: composer, scribe, musician, spy?

Bavarian composer Petrus Alamire was a man of many talents including, possibly, a spy. Last year, his choral work, composed for Henry VIII, came in at number 2 on the classical music charts with an album by the choral group Alamire. (photos)

Hyde Abbey Garden may halt search for bones of Alfred the Great

The Friends of Hyde Abbey Garden are not keen on the idea of archaeologists digging up the garden in search of the remains of King Alfred the Great. The garden was established in 2003 above the site in Winchester, England, believed to be the grave of the king.

Northampton dig reveals chess workshop

Medieval chess pieces have been found in various digs throughout Great Britain, but for the first time, archaeologists have discovered a workshop where such game pieces were made. The discovery was made by a team from the Museum of London Archaeology at the Angel Street excavation in Northampton. (photos)

English legal documents date the f-word to the 1300s

Paul Booth, an English historian at Keele University, has found the so-called f-word expletive used as an uncomplimentary nickname in several legal documents during the years 1310 and 1311. [NSFW]

Garden project yields Anglo-Saxon cross slab

“I cleaned it off and realised it was carved. It looked like some of the things you see round here in museums so I contacted a museum and the archaeologists got very excited," said John Wyatt about a moss-covered stone slab he purchased for a garden project. (photo)

Geophysical survey maps Old Sarum

A geophysical survey carried out by students and archaeologists from the University of Southampton has mapped, for the first time, the layout of historic site of Old Sarum near Salisbury, England, from its origins in the Iron Age to its decline in the 13th century, concentrating heavily on the prosperous medieval town. (photo)

Hospital resources used to examine 6th century artifacts

In 2012, archaeologists discovered the remains of 27 Anglo-Saxon warriors and their grave goods at Barrow Clump in Salisbury, England. Recently experts used an army field hospital x-ray machine to examine a 6th century sword found at the site. (photos)

First two centuries of English printed books now available online

In an article for the University of Michigan Record, Mary Morris of the University library reports that "more than 25,000 manually transcribed texts from 1473-1700" will now be available to read online. According to the article, "The texts represent a significant portion of the estimated total output of English-language work published during the first two centuries of printing in England."

St Piran's Oratory in "pretty good" shape

In 1910, the remains of St Piran's Oratory, a 6th century church in Cornwall, England, were encased in concrete to preserve them from the elements. Now for the first time in over 100 years, the church has been unearthed. (photos)

Shakespearean treasure found in small French library

Saint-Omer is a tiny French town near Lille, known for its "economic and cultural activity in the Middle Ages." Now it will be known for something else: the discovery of the 231st copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio, the first-ever compilation of the Bard's plays published in 1623. It is only the second copy ever found in France. (photo)

21 Anglo-Saxon skeletons with grave goods found in Suffolk

The remains of 21 Anglo Saxons were discovered recently during a development project in Exning, Suffolk, England. The skeletons, dating to the mid 7th century, included those of four or five adolescents and a warrior, and they may have links to royals. (photos)

Gold torc found among coin hoard

In 2012, a hoard of nearly 70,000 coins, dating to the first century BCE, was discovered by metal detectorists on the Island of Jersey. Recently, while separating the coins, experts were surprised to find an intact gold torc. (photos)

"Hatch" determined to be male

In 1981, the skeleton of a dog was discovered among human remains on the Tudor flagship Mary Rose. Since then, the dog, nicknamed "Hatch," was identified as a female, but new research shows that the remains are that of a "young male dog, most closely related to modern Jack Russell terriers, with a brown coat."

The Bristowe Hat

Eleri Lynn, Collections Curator for England's Historic Royal Palaces, is always looking for new items for the collection. She recently was thrilled to add the Bristowe Hat, "a rare example of Tudor or very early Stuart fashion made from silk tufting, with a green feather, silver button, and evenly positioned holes for attaching jewels." (photo)

Cambridge hospital skeletons revealed

From the 13th through the 15th centuries, the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist operated on what is now the grounds of St. John's College, Cambridge University. In 2010, archaeologists working there discovered the hospital's cemetery, considered one of the largest medieval hospital burial grounds in England. Photos of the discovery have now been released. (photos)

Maryport named Research Project of the Year 2015

Each year, Current Archaeology magazine gives an award for the Research Project of the Year. Senhouse Museum Trust and archaeologists from Newcastle University have been working for over four years at the Camp Farm site near Maryport, and they have been named the 2015 recipients of the award.

Richard III: Just misunderstood?

Members of the Richard III Society have long believed that the last medieval king of England got a bad rap from the conquering Tudors and their bard, William Shakespeare. Now, with the discovery of Richard's remains, others are beginning to reconsider the monarch. (audio interview)

Auckland Castle Trust buys Binchester Roman Town

Plans are afoot for the revamping of the Binchester Roman Town in County Durham, England, with the purchase of the archaeological site by the owners of nearby Auckland Castle. Among those announced are the construction of a glass walkway over the dig, and a visitors' center.

The codpieces of Wolf Hall

This spring, viewers of the BBC and PBS will be treated to a video version of the Hilary Mantel book Wolf Hall set in the court of Henry VIII. Since its announcement, there has been discussion of the size of the actor's codpiece, perhaps smaller than is historically accurate. Jane Huggett of The Guardian joins the conversation.

Orange was the new black for London's all-female Henry IV

It's true that Shakespeare's plays bent gender over backwards by requiring female roles to be played by male actors, but a new version of Henry IV, staged at the Donmar Warehouse in London, took the practice even father by presenting an all-female cast set in a women's prison. (photo)

Two different Magna Cartas in Washington

In 2014, the city of Washington DC was privileged to host two copies of the Magna Carta, one permanently housed in the National Archives, and another on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England, displayed at the Library of Congress. Geoff Edgers of the Washington Post looks at the differences between the two documents.

What's in a name?

A new study by Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis and Neil Cummins of the London School of Economics reveals that those people with Norman surnames are more likely to have a higher social status in the UK that those without.

12th century chess pieces show demand for leisure products

Archaeologists working on a dig in St John's Street in Northampton, England have found two medieval chess pieces dating to the middle to late 12th century. The pieces, made of antler, show evidence of the demand for "leisure products." (photos)

Dressing like an Anglo Saxon

Toby Martin, of the University of Oxford, has published a series of abstrats on papers and presentations on his university blog pertaining to Anglo Saxon dress and jewelry. PDFs are available on request.

Historical women's letters auctioned in Paris

The auction of around 1500 letters of famous women, including Catherine of Aragon's plea to Pope Clement VII to block her divorce from Henry VIII, took place in November 2014 in Paris. The auction, whose book was entitled Women: Letters and Signed Manuscripts, brought a total of EU 794,173. (photo)

The lions of London

The lion is the symbol of the King of England, and for the first time since the early 13th century, the city will be without the king of the beasts. The lack of lions will occur due to a new exhibit being built at the London Zoo, causing its three residents to be relocated until 2016. The BBC Magazine Monitor has a feature about the history of the London lions.