Livestock and animal husbandry in early medieval England

12th century manuscript from England showing two pigs and a man with an axe - British Library MS Lansdowne 383   f. 8

Major themes in the zooarchaeological record regarding livestock and animal husbandry in England from the 5th to 11th Centuries AD are reviewed.

Researching Architectural History Through Archaeology: The Case of Westminster Abbey

Warwick Rodwell

For half a millennium, scholars have researched and written about the history and architecture of Westminster Abbey, using documents and visual inspection. One might therefore assume that the architectural history of this iconic building is well understood, and in some respects it is.

Anne Boleyn’s Songbook

Anne Boleyn's Songbook - photo courtesy Heather Teysko

Now for the first time in 500 years much of the music included in Anne Boleyn’s songbook has been recorded by the Alamire Consort, under the direction of Dr. David Skinner of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.

Exploring Medieval Manuscripts: An Interview with Erik Kwakkel

Erik Kwakkel - Photo by Willem-Jan Schipper

‘I love that something quirky and nerdy like the medieval book is becoming mainstream.’

Glimpse of medieval trade revealed along the River Forth

School pupils from St Ninian's Primary School uncovering the medieval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey © GUARD Archaeology Ltd

Over two weeks in September, the Cambuskenneth Harbours project brought together a wide range of experts and local volunteers to investigate the medieval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey, which lies on the River Forth near Stirling.

Honour, community and hierarchy in the feasts of the archery and crossbow guilds of Bruges, 1445–81

15th century shooting - image by Diebold Schilling the Younger

Archery and crossbow guilds first appeared in the fourteenth century in response to the needs of town defence and princely calls for troops. By the fifteenth century these guilds existed across northern Europe.

Book Burning in Chaucer and Austen

Canterbury Tales - Opening folio of the Hengwrt manuscript

Chaucer has also composed a scene in which he, a maker of books, makes a character who destroys books, combining both making and unmaking in the work of creation.

A Needle’s Breadth Apart: The Unexplored Relationship Between Medieval Embroidery and Manuscript Illumination

Luttrell Psalter - British Library Add MS 42130

I am currently exploring records showing that there is evidence that some individuals were involved in both. In particular, mention of two nuns who were known as embroiderers and illuminators.

The Medieval Magazine – Issue 36

medieval mag 36

This week’s issue focuses on medieval manuscripts – you can check out a list of the most beautiful manuscripts made in the Middle Ages, and read an interview with Erik Kwakkel, the leading historian in the field.

Doors to the dead: The power of doorways and thresholds in Viking Age Scandinavia

Photograph of Þjóðveldisbærinn in Iceland, a reconstruction of the Viking Longhouse Stöng.  Photo by Thomas Ormston / Flickr

It is argued that Viking Age people built ‘doors to the dead’ of various types, such as freestanding portals, causewayed ring-ditches or thresholds to grave mounds; or on occasion even buried their dead in the doorway.

Rival bishops, rival cathedrals: the election of Cormac, archdeacon of Sodor, as bishop in 1331

Ruined remains of Snizort Cathedral. Photo by Richard Dorrell / Wikimedia Commons

In the early fourteenth century, the diocese of Sodor, or Sudreyjar meaning Southern Isles in old Norse, encompassed the Isle of Man and the Hebrides.

The Western Calendar – ‘Intolerabilis, Horribilis, et Derisbilis’ – Four Centuries of Discontent

Month of October in a medieval calendar - British Library Egerton 3277   f. 5v

We, with our cut and dried view of time-keeping, we who gather together to celebrate events four hundred tropical years after they have occurred, are all to easily incline to overlook the real reason for all the fuss in the Middle Ages about calendar reform.

Byzantine-era mosaic map restored in Israel

Photo by Nikki Davidov, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

Although the Byzantine-era church that existed about 1500 years ago in southern Israel no longer exists, its mosaic floor has now been restored and shows a map revealing a scene of streets and buildings from an Egyptian town.

Medieval Manuscripts in Living Colour

Book of Kells, Folio 32v, Christ Enthroned.

How did medieval people get such magnificent colour, and how can it still be so brilliant a thousand years later? Here’s a five-minute look at colouring manuscripts.

Hastings: An Unusual Battle


Part of the reason academic warriors have covered the ground so often is that the battle is by no means easy to understand. It was unusual in a number of ways; so unusual, that the battle demands special care in interpretation.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Medieval Manuscripts

most beautiful medieval manuscripts lindisfarne gospels

Giovanni Scorcioni gives us his list of the most beautiful manuscripts of the Middle Ages

Diagnosis of a ‘Plague’ Image: A Digital Cautionary Tale

This image has been mistakenly used to depict the Black Death, however it actually refers to leprosy - from British Library, MS Royal 6 E VI, vol. 2, fol. 301ra

This short essay offers a lesson in caution. It is a story of error, but also an opportunity to be reminded of the care needed to properly contextualize all our evidence

Beautiful 15th century sculpture now on display at the Getty Museum

Saint Philip by the Master of the Rimini Altarpiece - photo courtesy The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum is now showing its latest acquisition – a rare medieval alabaster sculpture of Saint Philip by the Master of the Rimini Altarpiece.

Global Middle Ages Project launches website

Global Middle Ages Project

The Global Middle Ages Project, founded in 2007 by Geraldine Heng and Susan Noakes, features six digital projects.

Small-town life in a late medieval Burgundy: the case of Cluny

Town of Cluny - photo by Ludovic Péron / Wikimedia Commons

To serve the domestic needs of the mother community, a town grew up at the gates of the abbey in which traders and merchants, men of law and craftsmen of all sorts soon established themselves.

Trickery, Mockery and the Scottish Way of War

The earliest known depiction of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 from a 1440s manuscript of Walter Bower's Scotichronicon

This article seeks to examine two prominent themes, those of trickery and mockery, in how warfare against England was represented in Scottish historical narratives of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Which Empire Do You Belong In?


Ever wonder which historical empire you are best fitted for? Find out here!

Dental Health in Viking Age Icelanders

Photo by Allan Foster / Flickr

The purpose of the study was to evaluate dental health in Iceland 1000 years ago.

Medieval iconography of watermelons in Mediterranean Europe

Image of watermelon from the Tractatus de herbis, British Library ms. Egerton 747, which was produced in southern Italy, around the year 1300

With the objective of obtaining an improved understanding of watermelon history and diversity in this region, medieval drawings purportedly of watermelons were collected, examined and compared for originality, detail and accuracy.

Marking the Face, Curing the Soul? Reading the Disfigurement of Women in the Later Middle Ages


This specific example, and a survey of later medieval texts suggests that the period between 1150 and 1500 was one of increasing attention to the facial features of both men and women within and outside clerical circles, driven partly by increased exposure of western Europeans to peoples of different physical appearance, and partly by the rediscovery of the ancient pseudo-science of physiognomy, which claimed to read character traits from facial features.

medievalverse magazine