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

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Carpenter’s Rude Carving In Church Is Exposed Hundreds Of Years Later


A carpenter’s rude carving on a church ceiling has been exposed hundreds of years later. 

The x-rated carving has been discovered at Hereford’s All Saints Church, due to the construction of a new cafe taking place.

The carving was spotted when a light was shone at the ceiling of the church, due to the cafe building an extra floor with bright lights for the restaurant area.

The carving depicts a naked man holding his legs in the air, exposing his genitalia for the world to see. A controversial choice for such a religious location.

The carving was never picked up on by visitors, having lain in the darkness, a secret from unassuming passersby below for over 800 years.

The saucy image went viral on Reddit, with the original post describing the carpenter as ‘skillful’ despite the controversial position of the man in the art.

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And here is the uncensored version of the picture:

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

‘Such a funny little thing’: ‘snail-man’ relic may depict ancient joke

The snail-man has been described as a kind of ‘medieval meme’.
Photograph: Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service/PA

Silver-gilt object, announced by British Museum, was discovered in a field near Pontefract last year

Delicately crafted using silver-gilt, it shows a praying knight emerging from a snail on the back of a goat and may be an example of 13th-century Yorkshire satire. Precisely what the joke was may never be known.

“It is very unusual,” said Beverley Nenk, the curator of later medieval collections at the British Museum, which announced its discovery on Monday. “It is such a funny little thing … I haven’t seen anything like it.”

The “snail-man” object, just over 2cm long, was discovered by a metal detectorist in a field near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in September last year.

The best guess is that its owner commissioned it and wore it as a badge, or attached it to a leather belt or strap.

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Monday, 22 March 2021

‘Bradford Tooth Fairy’ Solves Mystery of Medieval Priest Teeth

Dr. Julia Beaumont, the Bradford Tooth Fairy, has unraveled the ‘startling history’ behind 800-year-old Medieval priests’ teeth. ( Telegraph & Argus )

The ‘Bradford Tooth Fairy,’ a dentist turned forensic archaeologist, created a new method to discover details of ancient diets, just by looking at people’s teeth. She’s now applied her innovative technique to discover the secrets held within a collection of 800-year-old bones and teeth, providing a ‘startling history’ on the lives of Medieval priests.
The Only Human Remains Found at St Stephen’s Chapel

The ‘Beaumont Method,’ named after its creator, Dr. Julia Beaumont (the Bradford Tooth Fairy), enabled the former dentist of 30 years to solve a puzzle surrounding mismatched bone fragments from nine individuals - the only human remains to have been recovered from St Stephen’s Chapel, which lies beneath  the Palace of Westminster. 

A University of Bradford  press release  states that Dr. Beaumont re-examined “two shoebox-sized collections” of mismatched bones which have been sitting on a shelf at the Museum of London since 1992. The human remains were discovered under the Palace of Westminster in 1992 by the Museum of London Archaeology Services (MoLAS), now called Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA). According to the university’s press release, Dr. Beaumont has created a ‘startling history’ of the stories behind the bones.

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Thursday, 18 February 2021

Islamic 12th-century bathhouse uncovered in Seville tapas bar

The bathhouse was discovered in a popular tapas bar in the heart of Seville. 
Photograph: Paco Puentes/El Pais 

Dazzling geometric motifs dating from Almohad caliphate discovered during renovation of city’s bar

A magnificently decorated 12th-century Islamic bathhouse, replete with dazzling geometric motifs and skylights in the form of eight-pointed stars, has emerged, a little improbably, from the walls and vaulted ceilings of a popular tapas bar in the heart of the southern Spanish city of Seville.

Last summer, the owners of the Cervercería Giralda – which has been pouring cañas and copas near Seville’s cathedral since 1923 – decided to take advantage of local roadworks and the coronavirus pandemic to set about a long-delayed renovation.

Although local legend and the odd historical document had suggested the site may once have been an ancient hammam, most people had assumed the Giralda’s retro look was down to the neomudéjar, or Islamic revival style, in which the architect Vicente Traver built the bar and hotel above it in the early 1920s.

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Thursday, 4 February 2021

Archaeology dig at Caernarfon Castle offers new history insight

The year-long dig began in January 2019 CADW

The largest archaeological investigation at Caernarfon Castle has uncovered clues that will change understanding of the World Heritage Site's early history, experts say.

Among the excavation's finds included sherds of 1st century Roman pottery along with tiles and animal bone.

Researchers also uncovered clues to the history of the site before the castle.

Ian Miller, from University of Salford, said it has a "huge impact on the way we understand the history of the site".

The castle, which staged the investiture of Prince Charles in 1969, was built by Edward I in 1283 on the site of what was once thought to be a Roman fort.

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Saturday, 30 January 2021

Unusual burial discovered in Leith

More than 350 skeletons were recovered during recent excavation in Leith.
CREDIT: City of Edinburgh Council

A recent excavation along Constitution Street in Leith, in advance of an extension to the Edinburgh tram line to Newhaven, has uncovered hundreds of human remains from a late medieval cemetery and, underneath it, a mysterious standalone burial.

The cemetery was first discovered back in 2008, during the initial construction of this section of the tram line, which was subsequently cancelled later that year. It came as a complete surprise to archaeologists, as previously no burials had been recorded under Constitution Street since its construction in 1790. Although the street was built through church property, the Leith Kirk session regarded the land as out of use and not part of the graveyard associated with the nearby St Mary’s.

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A stained glass graphic novel about medieval belief and the cult of Thomas Becket

Miracle window, Canterbury Cathedral, early 1200s. The first story in these panels concerns a man with leprosy called Ralph de Longeville. © The Chapter, Canterbury Cathedral.

From castration to leprosy, the Thomas Becket window going on show at the British Museum is like a medieval graphic novel

The British Museum’s long-awaited and much-delayed Thomas Becket exhibition promises a deep delve into the medieval world via a dizzying array of medieval objects, ranging from reliquaries and reliefs to illuminated manuscripts and ampullae.

But it is the extraordinary display of an entire medieval stained-glass window from Canterbury Cathedral that will provide the spectacular centerpiece of the exhibition, which marks 850 years since the former Archbishop of Canterbury was killed.

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