Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Later Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Thursday, 28 April 2016

‘Lost’ songs from Middle Ages brought back to life

An ancient song repertory will be heard for the first time in 1,000 years this week after being ‘reconstructed’ by a Cambridge researcher and a world-class performer of medieval music. 

Detail from the Cambridge Songs manuscript leaf that was stolen from and then recovered by Cambridge University Library [Credit: Cambridge University] 

‘Songs of Consolation’, to be performed at Pembroke College Chapel, Cambridge on April 23, is reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years. 

Saturday’s performance features music set to the poetic portions of Roman philosopher Boethius’ magnum opus The Consolation of Philosophy. One of the most widely-read and important works of the Middle Ages, it was written during Boethius’ sixth century imprisonment, before his execution for treason. Such was its importance, it was translated by many major figures, including King Alfred the Great, Chaucer and Elizabeth I.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

11 reasons William Shakespeare was the original Shoreditch hipster

An archaeological dig is expected to find Shoreditch is the home of Shakespeare, putting Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Globe in the shade.
The Museum of London Archaeology is leading a project to uncover and explore the remains of the Curtain Theatre, the 16th and 17th century venue where Shakespeare is known to have first staged Romeo and Juliet.Heather Knight, the senior archaeologist leading the dig on behalf of MOLA, said: “People often go to Stratford-upon-Avon to take in Shakespeare’s birthplace and his grave.
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Friday, 22 April 2016

Archaeologists discover skeletons of cows and pony, domestic oven and industrial complex in medieval Scottish town

From wells to a pony, a huge dig next to the 19th century Town House in the Scottish town of Irvine has produced some amazing archaeological finds dating back to the 13th century. Claire Williamson, who is leading the project for Rathmell Archaeology, takes a look around the site

"This is a view of the Irvine Town House site before the archaeological work begins, but after the demolition of the structures that used to stand here.

This ground, destined for development, lies in the core of the medieval burgh of Irvine. As such, it offered an unrivalled opportunity for archaeologists to explore the origins of the town and the people who lived, worked and built our community over the centuries."

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Shakespeare's 'original classroom' revealed

The young Shakespeare would have had his school lessons and seen his first plays in this room 

The original classroom where William Shakespeare is believed to have studied and seen his first plays opens to the public for the first time this weekend.

The classroom is owned by the King Edward VI school, the direct successor to the grammar  school in Stratford-upon-Avon attended by Shakespeare from about 1571.

It will be open to visitors after a £1.8m lottery-funded renovation.

Among the discoveries was a hidden pre-Reformation wall painting.

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016


A 10th century church with a necropolis has been discovered by the Ruse archaeologists during their participation in the rescue digs in the nearby Danube city of Silistra, the modern-day heir to Durostorum (in the Antiquity) and Drastar (in the Middle Ages). 
Photo: Ruse Regional Museum of History

church from the 10th century, dozens of medieval graves, and coins testifying to the Tatar (Mongol) invasion of theSecond Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD) in 1242 AD have been discovered during rescue excavations of the medieval city of Drastar, known as Durostorum in the Antiquity, in today’s Danube city of Silistra in Northeast Bulgaria.
These findings have just been presented to the public by archaeologists Nikola Rusev and Varbin Varbanov from theRuse Regional Museum of History; the discoveries were made in the late summer and fall of 2015 when their team participated in the rescue excavations in the city of Silistra after a local water supply rehabilitation project exposed a number of archaeological structures from different time periods.
The rescue digs in Silistra, which was a major regional center in the Antiquity and Middle Ages, continued for several months as part of the rehabilitation of the city’s water supply and sewerage system. They also led to the discovery of the outer fortress wall of the Ancient Roman city of Durostorum (as the city was known in the Antiquity period).
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Monday, 11 April 2016

Rare chess piece found in back yard of museum

THE smallest medieval Arabic chess piece to be discovered in the country has been unearthed in an archaeological dig at Wallingford Museum. 

At first curators at the museum in High Street thought the artefact was a tiny carving of a cat. 

But a closer examination revealed it was a chess piece made from the tip of an antler, and further pieces could be found when a second dig is carried out at the visitor attraction in July. 

Curator Judy Dewey said: "We have joked that we will pick up the other 31 pieces and the board but of course that's very unlikely."

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 The Aedicule at the heart of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is in need of repairs 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jerusalem holy site where Jesus is thought have been crucified, is as often the scene of Christian rivalry as brotherly love. 

Catholic, Armenian and Greek Orthodox priests jostle for space under its great dome, sing during each other's prayers and occasionally engage in sectarian fist fights

But the three communities have set aside their differences for a task all can agree is of critical importance: restoring the crumbling structure of Jesus's tomb. 

At the heart of the church is the Aedicule, a towering shrine built on what is said to be the spot where Jesus was buried before rising from the dead three days later.

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Friday, 1 April 2016

Des statues découvertes lors d’un diagnostic entrent au Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

Les statues ont été découvertes en 2013, lors d’un diagnostic prescrit par le service régional de l’Archéologie (DRAC Nord Pas-de-Calais) et réalisé à l’intérieur de l’enceinte urbaine du XVe siècle. De tous les diagnostics réalisés dans la commune, il s’agit du premier à révéler une occupation médiévale.

Les tranchées ont livré les restes de deux ou trois bâtiments aux sols de terre crue et aux murs sur solins de grès ou sablières basses en bois.

Ils correspondent à la dernière phase d’occupation médiévale datée de la fin du XIVe ou du XVe siècle à l’issue de laquelle le terrain est occupé par un jardin jusqu’au début du XIXe siècle. En dessous, la stratigraphie montre des sols en argile sur environ un mètre d’épaisseur avec des traces de fours et de foyers dont la chronologie semble débuter à la fin du XIIIe siècle et couvrir tout le XIVe siècle. À partir du XVIe siècle, sans doute à cause du déclin économique de la ville, les maisons sont remplacées par un jardin.

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Black Death and self-punishment - remains of medieval whip found at Rufford Abbey

Archaeologists have discovered pieces of what is believed to be a monastic copper scourge in the grounds of Rufford Abbey – one of only four in the country.
Scourges, whips or cat-o-nine-tails – were woven copper-alloy wires braided together used by people in the Middle Ages to chastise themselves. They perhaps saw it being a way of cleansing the soul or self-punishment for society’s sins, and were popular after the devastation of the Black Death.

The Black Death plague ravaged the country from 1348, and put an end to prosperity at Rufford and the Abbey went into decline. It is possible that the Cistercian monks used the scourges in this period in an attempt to keep the Black Death at bay, or for the mortification of the human body.

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Fouilles avant restauration : archéologie au château de Clisson

Un mur d’enceinte primitif et une galerie voûtée : tels sont quelques-uns des vestiges médiévaux et modernes mis au jour par les archéologues de l’Inrap au niveau de la terrasse nord-est du château de Clisson, un site classé monument historique à la confluence de la Sèvre et de la Moine. Ces découvertes apportent de nouvelles connaissances sur l’histoire du château et l’évolution de son front défensif nord. L’opération, prescrite par l’État (Drac des Pays de la Loire), s’inscrit dans le cadre de travaux de restauration menés par le Département de Loire-Atlantique. Propriétaire du site, le Département apporte une attention particulière à l’étude archéologique et à la restauration de son patrimoine dont il est responsable. Ces recherches répondent à des enjeux de conservation, de restauration, d'étude scientifique et de restitution des résultats auprès du public.

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