mediaevalist: (Gryff)
Still searching for the link to the academc study, but I thought I'd post this if for no other reason than as a reminder to look into it:


A team of lanscaping workers, proceeding to an excavation near the banks of the Hudson river, has discovered the archeological remains of a Norse village dating from the 9th or 10th Century AD.

The workers were digging with a mechanical shovel near the shores of Minisceongo creek, when they stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient building. A team of archaeologists linked to Columbia University, was called to the site to inspect the findings, and they rapidly identified the site as a possible Viking settlement. They proceeded to extend the excavation, and have finally discovered the remains of six buildings.

Certainly seems legit, as Viking settlers were already documented to have settled in the general area around that period.
mediaevalist: (Funney!)
As amusing as these all are, as an unapologetic mediavalist, I can confirm that these are actually spot-on for the most part.The thing to remember here is that, contrary to a lot of the Bravo Sierra you'll read about the Mediaeval Period of Europe, Cracked surprisingly finds some good sources and cites them. (I cannot stress citation enough) So even if you want to take the authors's colourful interpretations with a pinch of salt, do check out their citations.

5 Ridiculous Myths You Probably Believe About the Dark Ages (This one explains where the 'Dark Ages' misnomer comes from)
6 Ridiculous Myths About the Middle Ages Everyone Believes

Remember kids: research is your friend! Even if you think you know something, double-check it anyway!
mediaevalist: (Default)
Early medieval royal stronghold discovered on Trusty's Hill in southwest Scotland

Recently, historians have started to doubt that the Pictish stone carvings were genuine, since the carvings are rather far from the historically Pict-controlled lands in the north-east.

The Galloway Picts Excavation did indeed uncover an early mediaeval Pictish fort on the site, with considerable evidence of ritual activity.

The Galloway Picts Project has more information on the ongoing excavations.
mediaevalist: (Now THIS=a good feminist reimagining)
The Church Changed the Perception of Rape
Destroying another man’s clothes, injuring his cattle and raping his wife. These three acts, which viewed through modern eyes seem highly different, were all considered vandalism against a man’s property in the early Middle Ages.

Thanks to the Catholic Church, however, this weird view changed during the Middle Ages.

Actually, this was standard practise throughout the rest of the world before the Church gained influence. The fact is that classical paganism was certainly not woman-friendly. While there were laws about women owning property, the thing to keep in mind is that it was assumed that this property was either part of her dowry or compensation for being a widow and having a family to support. But it was not, however, because women were considered to have equal standing with men. Rape was certainly not a crime against an individual, even in ancient Ireland.
mediaevalist: (King Arthur as a girl)
Violent knights feared posttraumatic stress

Medieval knights are often depicted as bloodthirsty men who enjoyed killing. But that is a completely wrong picture, new research shows.

The knights did not kill just because they wanted to, but because it was their job – precisely like soldiers today. Nor were the Middle Ages as violent as we think, despite their different perception of violence compared to ours.

“Modern military psychology enables us to read medieval texts in a new way – giving us insight into the perception of violence in the Middle Ages in the general population and the use of lethal violence by knights,” says Thomas Heebøll-Holm of the SAXO Institute at the University of Copenhagen, who researches the perception of violence in the late Middle Ages.

“Previously, medieval texts were read as worshipping heroes and glorifying violence. But in the light of modern military psychology we can see the mental cost to the knights of their participation in the gruesome and extremely violent wars in the Middle Ages.”

There's also a cultural note pointing out that people who lived during the Middle Ages were not more violent than people today, so knights were neither violent by culture nor nature. On the contrary, PTSD seemed to be enough of a concern for at least one well-respected knight to write on what we identify as PTSD today.
mediaevalist: (King Arthur as a girl)
I hate the fact that these damned things always seem to be on PDF, but I suppose it's the easiest way to present a Master's thesis.

Heraldry and Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

The fun thing about Arthurian legend is that it's anachronism stew from the onset. European heraldry as we know it really didn't take off until the High Middle Ages, and the historical King Arthur (Arturius, Artuir, Arturia) lived during the cusp between the Late Roman Period and the Early Middle Ages. But the anachronism stew is what makes it so entertaining!
mediaevalist: (Default)
It's a bt of old news, but regardless.

Ancient swords, modern nanotechnology

Though science and technology in the modern era have accomplished things that our ancestors couldn’t even dream of, it is still worth remembering that the ancients weren’t dummies. Through a combination of ingenuity, observation, determination, and probably a lot of luck, these people managed to develop a number of surprising technologies — many of which have been lost to history and have proven surprisingly hard to reproduce today.


Still, a good understanding of the remarkable mechanical properties of the metal remained elusive. In 2006, however, researchers at the Institut fur Strukturphysik at the Technische Universität Dresden published the results of their own detailed investigations. They obtained a small sample of a Damascus sabre from the Berne Historical Museum in Switzerland, and inspected it using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. An electron microscope, which uses electrons rather than light particles (photons), can resolve images of objects that are smaller than a nanometer (a billionth of a meter).

Remarkably, they found the presence of so-called carbon nanotubes, a material that is on the cutting edge of nanotechnology!
mediaevalist: (Now THIS=a good feminist reimagining)
This journal has a fair bit of dust on it, doesn't it?  Time for some linkage:

Roman gladiator cemetery found in England

Scientists have found 80 skeletons in the "unique" cemetery under the city of York, northern England, since 2003.

They announced their discoveries on Sunday, ahead of a documentary about the site due to air in Britain on June 14. This was one of two big archaeological developments, with Israeli scientists announcing the discovery of a huge cache of ancient religious objects.

They first thought the graveyard might contain the remains of criminals or political purges.

But that doesn't explain the teeth mark.
Did the Crusaders have a Muslim ally in the First Crusade?

A new article is examining the relationship between Islamic states and the Crusader army during the First Crusade (1096-99) and suggests that the Fatimid kingdom of Egypt did attempt to ally with the Crusaders.


Abu-Munshar also questions the assumption that the Fatimids were ignorant of the Crusader's ultimate goals. He writes, "How could the Fatimids misunderstand the crusaders’ aim when we know that the latter started their journey from Europe and took months, even years, to arrive in the east, with the clear aim of regaining Islamic Jerusalem from the Muslims? It is possible that most Muslims, Saljuqs and Fatimids alike, were at least partially aware of the crusaders’ intentions."

Ivy offers protection for historical buildings, study says

English Heritage commissioned a team of Oxford University academics to research the likely effects of ivy on historic buildings. In the three-year project, Oxford researchers analysed the effects of ivy growing on buildings in five different parts of England and discovered that the plant plays a protective role. They found that an ivy canopy was like a thermal shield, combating the extremes of temperature which often cause walls to crack.
mediaevalist: (Default)
In lieu of yet another Feis na Samhna post...

Mysterious carved stone could be Templar relic

Reports indicate that a mysterious carved stone has been uncovered alongside a 12th-century church associated with the Knights Templar in Scotland.

According to a report in the Scotsman, what appears to be the carved top of a sarcophagus, was unearthed when builders were excavating and reinforcing a wall alongside the old ruined church in Temple, Midlothian.


The inscriptions, which include symbols similar to those found in Viking monuments, in medieval graves and in West Highland Celtic carvings, have baffled archaeologists.

mediaevalist: (crossdressing)
Fascinating article in Slate today about the economic causes of witch hunts.  Now, as an archaeologist and mediaevalist, economics really aren't my forte.  But it is precisely what we need to examine to have a clearer picture of history in general and the mediaeval period in particular.

Why it's dangerous to be a witch in a recession )
mediaevalist: (WTS)
Something I picked up from The Herald by way of SCA Today:

Apparently, the Picts were not so barbaric after all.
Still seen by many as merely pint-sized, painted warriors, our forbears were often sophisticated people who were instrumental in the foundation of Scotland as a country - and in the creation of the national flag.

They were also talented craftspeople who used stones such as the Hilton of Cadboll to demonstrate their values and creeds.

Yesterday the National Museums of Scotland, where the ancient stone is displayed, launched a new bid to shed light on what has become known as the Dark Ages to try to give these ancient peoples, such as the Picts, the Gaels and Norse their rightful place in Scottish history.

The "Dark Ages" are seen as primitive enough, and Celts have always been the most barbarous of barbarians. Yet another urban legend rightly flushed.
mediaevalist: (Default)
Well, somewhat. Amateur historian finds oldest recipe for bratwurst.

According to guidelines in 1432 revealed by the recipe, Thuringian sausage could be made "[O]nly the purest, unspoiled meat and were threatened with a fine of 24 pfennigs -- a day's wages -- if they did not," according to a spokesman for the German Bratwurst Museum. What this means is that consumer protection laws were already in place during the mediaeval period, yet another 'shocking' discovery that the Middle Ages were not nearly as backwards and primitive as was previously believed.

Remember, ladies and gents: they weren't called the 'Dark Ages' because they were dark. They were called that because the 'Enlightenment' had an axe to grind.

...And I neglected to post on All Hallow's Eve. But I'll admit that whatever I had to post was not all that important.

June 2015



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