English

New dig may explain Stonehenge

Just a few weeks after beginning, the excavators now working at Stonehenge have had what they describe as a "breakthrough." Clues towards the original placement of the bluestones, the site's oldest elements, may reveal why Stonehenge was built.

Gynaecological study of Mary, Queen of Scots finds her an “adulteress and liar”

A new study by modern gynaecologists paints a sordid picture of the life of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, who, according to the study, was "a 'moral loose cannon', whose striking beauty and sex appeal gave Elizabeth other reasons to imprison and execute her."

Combs and shears honored Anglo Saxon dead

Archaeologists have long believed that Anglo Saxon burial customs required elaborate displays, but new evidence points to the use of more common devotions such as combs, razors and other household items.

Tudor Cookery at Hampton Court - and Other Treats

Countess Alys Katharine recently returned to Hampton Court to study the cooking of Tudor England. Her report follows.

Pre-1640's Shakespeare folios to be digitized

The Bodleian and Folger Libraries are combining efforts to create digital copies of "all 75 editions of William Shakespeare's plays printed in the quarto format before the year 1641." The folios are the closest copies to Shakepseare's own in existence.

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.

Roman statues receive makeover at Bath

A collection of statues that ring the Roman baths in Bath, England have received a facelift to remove years of grime. The renovation project is just part of a plan to "create an unforgettable experience for all our daytime and evening visitors."

Shakespeare and politics

With the presidential election looming and politics on everyone's mind, the Los Angeles Times ponders the words of the Bard and how he would see our modern world in an opinions piece by Jess Winfield.

Time Team discovers link between Welsh and King Harald

In 2007 Channel Four's Time Team was permitted to excavate a field near the village of Portskewett in Wales and discovered what it believes is a Saxon hunting lodge built by King Harald one year before the Battle of Hastings.

Tower lions from northwest Africa

Recent study of a pair of lion skulls discovered during excavations of the Tower of London reveals that the lions originated near the Barbary Coast of Northwest Africa. The skulls, which dated from the 13th or 14th centuries, were carbon dated and tested for DNA.

14th Century Game gets Official Recognition

The Sports Council in England has agreed that Stoolball, a medieval game mostly localized to southeastern England, meets its criteria to be recognized as a sport. Approximately 4,000 people in the vicinity of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire play Stoolball.

The Vikings return to Nottingham

The Vikings will return to Nottingham, England April 26, 2008 for From Bones to Berserkers -- Vikings Under the Spotlight, the Midlands Viking Symposium 2008 at The University of Nottingham. The program will include presentations by some of the worlds greatest authorities on Norse and Viking culture.

Ancient Colchester South Gate discovered

Archaeologists believe that they have discovered part of the South gate of the Roman wall at Colchester, Britain's oldest Roman town. The wall was destroyed in 1818.

Knights Templar petition to restore the Order

An odd advertisement appeared March 18, 2008 in the London Daily Telegraph. Titled "The Ancient & Noble Order of The Knights Templar," the ad announced that the Order "would petition the Pope to 'restore the Order with the duties, rights and privileges appropriate to the 21st century and beyond.'"

Bayeux Simpsons

Forget the conquest of England! Who has the couch? The Simpsons take on the Bayeux Tapestry for the opening gag.

British Museum to host international conference on the Bayeux Tapestry

On July 15-16, 2008, the British Museum will host an international conference on the Bayeux Tapestry to "highlight recent and new research on the Tapestry." The cost for both days is UK£15.

Anglo-Saxon cemetery yields treasure

The discovery of a series of 5th century Anglo Saxon graves in Kent, England has created the need for an inquest before the Kent County Council due to the wealth of artifacts found with the graves.

Actor Paul Scofield dies at 86

The theatre and film world is mourning the death of British actor Paul Scofield, best known for his role as Sir Thomas More in the classic A Man for All Seasons. Scofield was 86 years old. Audrey Woods of the Associated Press wrote his obituary.

Rare Anglo-Saxon grave markers found in cathedral walls

Archaeologists are excited about the discovery of rare Anglo-Saxon grace markers in the walls of Peterborough Cathedral. The markers, which are believed to date from the 11th century, were discovered during restoration work to the cathedral.

Diplomacy between the sheets

A short article by Helen Castor for The Guardian looks at whether the relationship between Richard the Lionheart and King Philip II of France in the 12th century was diplomatic or physical.

UK£5m donation will bring Bodleian treasures to the masses

The donation of UK£5 million from Oxford publisher Julian Blackwell will make possible the display of many of the Bodleian Library's treasures which are now available only to scholars. The gift will be used to create a new exhibition hall at one of the library's sites in Oxford.

Mary Queen of Scots warrant will remain in England

A copy of the warrant calling for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots will remain in England thanks to donations and a law hoping to keep important documents in the country. The warrant had been scheduled to be sold to a private buyer and taken overseas.

Will Lindisfarne Gospels return north?

The flack over the return of cultural treasures to their native lands has started again, this time over the Lindisfarne Gospels, the priceless 8th century manuscripts currently residing in the British library in London.

Medieval skull and remains found in river

A worker dredging in the River Lark in Suffolk, England, recently found a skull and other human remains from the Middle Ages. The find also included bones from a juvenile and a metal buckle that has been dated to the 14th century.

Remains of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger identified at Hulton Abbey

Archaeologists believe that they have identified mutilated remains found at Hulton Abbey as those of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger, reputed to have been the lover of Edward II. The remains were first discovered in the 1970s.

Lizapalooza! A weekend of learning with Drea Leed

CostumeTalk.com is pleased to welcome Drea Leed, independent scholar and owner of the most extensive Elizabethan and Tudor costuming reference on the Web, The Elizabethan Costume Page (www.elizabethancostume.net), as our speaker April 12-13, 2008, in Eugene, Oregon. Two full days of lectures capped off with two hands-on, limited attendance workshops!

"Beowulf, Lay of the Last Survivor" reading online

The recent release of the animated film Beowulf has rekindled interest in the epic poem. Harper's Magazine provides a stanza from the poem, read in Old English, as well as a great photo of a jeweled brooch.

The Other Boleyn Girl "more slog than romp"

"According to this oddly plotted and frantically paced pastiche — written by Peter Morgan, directed by Justin Chadwick — the girls were more or less the Paris and Nicky Hilton of the Tudor court," writes reviewer Manohla Dargis for the New York Times.

Riding to rescue vital record of English Medieval Knights

A Culture Minister in England has temporarily blocked export of the Dering Roll, the earliest English roll of arms, in order to "provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the roll in the United Kingdom."

700-year-old Magna Carta to be displayed at the National Archives

Starting March 12, 2008, a handwritten copy of the Magna Carta will go on display at the West Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington DC.