mediaevalist: (Hatshepsut)
Unfortunately, there's no link to the actual study, but at least I can post the article.

Dogs have been man's best friend 'for 40,000 years'

Dogs have been man's best friend for up to 40,000 years, suggests new research.

The study shows dogs' special relationship with humans might date back 27,000 to 40,000 years.

The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, come from genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone.
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: (Gryff)
A single article, but two doses of history in one.

Early edition of Magna Carta has been found in a Victorian scrapbook.
The discovery has come months ahead of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in Runnymede in 1215.

Kent archivist Dr Mark Bateson had been asked to search for another charter from the town of Sandwich.

Dr Bateson found the town's Charter of the Forest in a Victorian scrapbook in Kent County Council archives - with the long-forgotten Magna Carta edition.

The document was ripped with about a third missing but could still be worth up to £10m, according to Professor Nicholas Vincent, a specialist in medieval history from the University of East Anglia.

Its high value comes from the fact that it was found with the Charter of the Forest. The only other such pair - dating from 1300 - in the world is owned by Oriel College, Oxford.
mediaevalist: (Funney!)
This 3,500-Year-Old Dagger Made a Really Great Doorstop

The History Blog reports that a farmer in Norfolk, England, unearthed a bent piece of bronze while plowing a field. He put it to work as a doorstop, and it served that purpose for more than a decade. Eventually, the farmer started thinking about getting rid of the four-pound thing. But a friend convinced him to ask an archaeologist about its origins before consigning it to the local dump.

That’s where things get interesting—because the farmer's doorstop wasn’t trash at all. Experts have identified the piece as “the Rudham Dirk," a bronze ceremonial dagger dating from 1,500 B.C.
mediaevalist: (Default)
Large mosaic in ancient tomb uncovered in Greece which possibly contains the remains of a contemporary of Alexander the Great.

The mosaic, 3 meters (10 feet) long and 4.5 meters (15 feet) wide, depicts a horseman with a laurel wreath driving a chariot drawn by two horses and preceded by the god Hermes. According to a Culture Ministry announcement on Sunday, Hermes is depicted here as the conductor of souls to the afterlife.
mediaevalist: (Default)
Archaeologists believe they have found dungeons that held 'Dracula'.

Archaeologists in Turkey have uncovered a secret tunnel, storage rooms, a military shelter, and two dungeons during restoration work on Tokat Castle, where Vlad III the Impaler, who served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s character Dracula, is believed to have been held captive in the early 15th century.
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!

Sad news

22 May 2014 04:45 pm
mediaevalist: (WTS)
I prefer to post news of new discoveries being found and artefacts preserved, but tragically, that doesn't always happen.

Radical Islamists take hammer to Syrian artifacts

Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a radical militia that controls a large swath of eastern Syria, confiscated and destroyed illegally excavated antiquities from an ancient Mesopotamian site.

In an act of cultural genocide strikingly similar to the Taliban’s demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, the ISIL fighters appear – in pictures recently uploaded by a group working to protect Syria’s rich historical heritage — to smash a 3,000-year-old Neo-Assyrian statue illegally removed from a nearby archaeological site. Another image shows a man placing his foot — an act of disrespect in Arab culture — on the face of the Assyrian statue before its destruction.

However, there is hope that the statues might have been copies.

It was not immediately clear from the photographs whether the statue that was smashed was genuine. A Tel Aviv Assyriologist who preferred anonymity said that, based on the photos, the statue appeared to be authentic, “although it could be a copy placed outside the museum [in Hasakeh],” he added with due caution.
mediaevalist: (Default)
I'm a little wiped out already, so I'll just drop this here. Archaeology and horticulture...what's not to like?

Ancient Biblical Gardens 'Bloom' Again

An ancient royal garden has come back into bloom in a way, as scientists have reconstructed what it would've looked like some 2,500 years ago in the kingdom of the biblical Judah.

Their reconstruction, which relied on analyses of excavated pollen, reveals a paradise of exotic plants.
mediaevalist: (Hatshepsut)
Good Cracked list on Iranian culture: 5 Ways Life in Iran Is Nothing Like You Think.

The bullet on the elaborate levels of politeness was especially hilarious to read. One of my instructors (whom we called "Professor Cyrus" because he was educated at Oxford, has a Received Pronunciation accent, and took a cerebral yet humourous approach to teaching us) related this by commenting that (to paraphrase), "If five Iranian men reach a door at the same time, it takes an hour for them to pass because they will spend all that time arguing over who goes first: 'After you, agha, I insist.' 'No, no, agha, after you, I insist.'"

The "party hard" culture certainly deserved its Number One slot, as it is historically well-documented. Iran has been invaded constantly over millenia, and each time the invaders typically ended up adopting Persian customs rather than forcing theirs on Iranians primarily because of this. Alexander the Great was perhaps the most well-known of these instances, even with the buring of the Throne of Jamsheed (Wikipedia is reliable here), which most suspect was 'wild partying got explosive'. (It's something they could definitely relate to, not to mention that culturally Persian tempers typically flare brightly and burn out quickly.) In fact, the only culture which imposed itself on them were the invading hordes of newly-Islamic Arabs, which is why Arabs remain the only ethnic/national group Iranians in general can be said to genuinely hate.

In fact, the only quibble I have is that the head covering is not called a hajib, but a chadoor, which literally means "tent". Iranian humour can be a little dry and punny.

The parkour surge is definitely new, possibly brought through their French connection. (Iranians also learned cinema from France back before the revolution, which lends to some well-made artsy Cannes-bait films and cheesy-yet-fun action flicks) Even I learned something on Iran today!

mediaevalist: (crossdressing)
10,000-year-old house uncovered outside Jerusalem

A remarkable archaeological find in the Judean lowlands southwest of Jerusalem includes a six-millennia-old cultic temple and a 10,000-year-old house.
mediaevalist: (Hatshepsut)
I've touched upon this before with an article on the nanotubes present in Damascus steel, but that wasn't just a happy accident. The Romans indeed knew what they were doing:

This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers

The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s. The mystery wasn’t solved until 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.

The technique wasn't completely forgotten: red stained glass was very expensive to craft due to the requirement of crushed gold mixed into it.
mediaevalist: (King Arthur as a girl)
And now we have the world's oldest lunar calendar.

'World's oldest calendar' discovered in Scottish field

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the world's oldest lunar "calendar" in an Aberdeenshire field.

Excavations of a field at Crathes Castle found a series of 12 pits which appear to mimic the phases of the moon and track lunar months.

A team led by the University of Birmingham suggests the ancient monument was created by hunter-gatherers about 10,000 years ago.

Holy cow, it's even older than the Mesopotamian ones. Definitely a find.


26 Jun 2013 11:07 am
mediaevalist: (Whatte the swyve?)
A bit of a headscratcher: Ancient Egyptian statue caught on camera rotating on its own

AN Egyptian relic has mysteriously started MOVING in a museum — prompting fears an ancient angry spirit could be fighting to get out.

The 4,000-year-old statue slowly spins round in a perfect circle, despite being safely locked in a glass case.
mediaevalist: (crossdressing)
Technically, these are back from different days of last month, but it's been a good day to learn about them.

Smuggled Out: Most Timbuktu Manuscripts Saved from Attacks

Far more of Timbuktu's priceless ancient manuscripts were saved from Islamist attacks than previosly thought, according to information from the German Foreign Ministry.

More than 200,000 of the documents, or about 80 percent of them, were smuggled to safety, says the ministry, which aided in the operation.
The ministry said many of the manuscripts, some of which date back to the 13th century, were driven out of Timbuktu in private vehicles and taken to the Malian capital, Bamako. Some of them were hidden under lettuce and fruit in an operation led by the head of the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library, Abdel Kader Haidara.

And back over in Scotland...

Selkirk water works unearth medieval village remains

The remains of a medieval village in the Borders have been uncovered during the laying of a new water main.

Scottish Water was carrying out the works at Philiphaugh on the outskirts of Selkirk.

It was laying new pipes between Howden and Yarrowford water treatment works when the discovery was made.

Initial studies suggested it was an Anglo-Saxon settlement, but closer inspection indicated it may have been the site of a medieval village.

Archaeologists found evidence of a number of stone buildings with stone floors across the entire area, with cobbled sections in between.

And finally...

Richard III tomb design proposed by society

A design for Richard III's tomb has been unveiled by an enthusiasts' group.

The Richard III Society said the 7ft (2.1m) long limestone monument would blend modern and medieval style decorations to reflect the king's life.

The group was closely involved in the project to find the lost king's remains, which was confirmed last week.

Leicester Cathedral, where Richard is expected to be reinterred in 2014, said it would consider ideas but no decision had yet been made.
mediaevalist: (King Arthur as a girl)
I have been extraordinarily lazy about this blog, but nothing in news has really grabbed me enough to feel it warrants a post. But this? You betcha.

A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.

Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch's family.

Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: "Beyond reasonable doubt it's Richard."

Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

The painstaking process itself is utterly fascinating, as well. A major piece of English history recovered through some very interesting science.
mediaevalist: (Gryff)
Couple find medieval shaft beneath sofa

For almost three decades, Colin Steer had wondered what had caused the living room floor beneath his sofa to dip but it was only after he retired that he discovered his family had been sitting on a piece of history.

Intrigued by the sunken floor, the retired civil servant has uncovered a 33ft medieval well in the house where he and wife Vanessa have lived for almost 25 years.

After three days of work Mr Steer, from Plymouth, Devon, stopped digging at 17ft and is now trying to date the unexpected find. Plans show the well dates back to the 16th century.

History right in your living room!
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: (King Arthur as a girl)
Previously, archaeologists had been searching for the mediaeval city of Dunwich, the capital of East Anglia 1,500 years ago. But now it looks as if just beyond that was an entire country that was slowly submerged between between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC, well before the mediaeval period.

'Britain's Atlantis' found at bottom of North sea - a huge undersea world swallowed by the sea in 6500BC

The article isn't clear about whether there's any connection between the earlier project and this one, if in searching for Dunwich, evidence of a much older civilisation was discovered. From my own view, these are probably unrelated except for the fact that undersea archaeology seems to be the big thing now for much of archaeology in Britain.

June 2015



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