The Sense of Time in Anglo-Saxon England

Sundial at the Church of St John the Baptist, Pampisford, Cambridgeshire. Photo by Nige Brown / Flickr

Much has been written about how the Anglo- Saxons measured time, but relatively little about why, or in what circumstances. When did it seem important to note the year or the month, the day or the hour?

How to Make Ink in the Middle Ages

Donatus writing his grammar, his ink-pot held by a monk labelled 'Heinre' - from British Library Arundel 43   f. 80v

Creating everyday objects in the Middle Ages often took a lot time and effort. If you needed ink, for example, and had to make it yourself, it could be several weeks before you could dip your quill into the inkwell.

Anglo Saxon House: A Reconstruction

anglo saxon house reconstruction

Four videos from on how trees were used in the Middle Ages

How a Medieval Bed Should Look Like

medieval bed

One of the most important pieces of a furniture in the medieval home was the bed – it would not only be the place to sleep and have sex, but also where one would give birth and often where people would have their last moments.

Twelve Thousand Cooks and a Muhtasib: Some Remarks on Food Business in Medieval Cairo

Cairo - photo by Marwa Morgan  / Flickr

The meals offered by street cooks were probably lacking in subtleness and elegancy if compared to the specialties served by the “caliphs’ kitchen” or by the Arabic-Islamic haute cuisine whose recipes were written down in the cookbooks for the elites

The Experience of Growing Up in Medieval Society

Medieval Children - Omne Bonum - Royal 6 E.VII, f.67v (det). Wiki Commons.

This session (#508) was one of several at Leeds devoted to exploring childhood in the Middle Ages. Our presenters talked about the stereotypes of adolescence, and what the coroner’s rolls revealed about the deaths (and lives) of medieval children.

The Men Behind the Metal

medieval blacksmith - photo by Hans Splinter / Flickr

Medieval blacksmiths were loved, hated, thought to have magical healing powers, and able to fend off the devil. Here’s a quick look at the men behind the metal.

Environmental Crusading: The Teutonic Knight’s Impact After the Baltic Crusades

Malbork Zamek Krzyzacki. Wikicommons

Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.

Why Candlelight offers little Light


How much light does candlelight offer?

A peasant is a peasant, is a peasant? : Medieval Maritime Peasant Lives

Medieval fishermen

A peasant is a peasant, is a peasant…or is s/he? Was the life of a peasant who lived in the coastal regions of England the same as that of the peasant who made his livelihood toiling on the land for his local lord?

Vikings’ homes would have been very polluted, researchers find

Viking House in Hedeby - photo by Kai-Erik

Danish researchers have found that the fires used for cooking and heat in Viking-era houses would have caused significant indoor air pollution.

How to have a Medieval Hairstyle – Part 2

medieval tuscan hairstyle

Janet Stephens has recreated a second hairstyle based on 14th century art. This style belonged to a medieval Tuscan midwife as was depicted by Paolo di Giovanni Fei (1344-1411) in his Birth of the Virgin Mary.

Tacuinum Sanitatis: A Way of Life

Image courtesy

How to maintain one’s health in the Middle Ages – the advice from the Tacuinum Sanitatis

Winter, snow and cold in the life of the Westviking

winter iceland

The main purpose of this paper is to examine how the Westviking were influenced by winter, snow and cold in their day-to-day life as they were making progress in the West.

Medieval Books for Christmas

The Middle Ages - Johannes Fried

It’s that time of year again – the mad scramble for the perfect Christmas gift for the historian, nerd, avid reader on your list. Here are a few suggestions for you – new releases for December and January!

Early Medieval Tunic recreated in Norway

One of our aims in reconstructing the tunic is to learn more about how the textile was made, how time-consuming it was to make, and how the wool was used, explains Marianne Vedeler. Photo: Yngve Vogt

A few years ago, the oldest known piece of clothing ever discovered in Norway, a tunic dating from the Iron Age, was found on a glacier in Breheimen. Now about to be reconstructed using Iron Age textile techniques, it is hoped the tunic will inspire Norwegian fashion designers.

How to have a Medieval Hairstyle

medieval hairstyle

Janet Stephens, one of the world’s leading experts on historical hairstyles, has released a medieval hairdressing tutorial, based on a 14th century painting by Simone Martini in Siena.

Medieval Beauty Tips

medieval beauty tips

How did women in the Middle Ages make their hair, faces and skin look beautiful? The Trotula, a medieval text for women written in 12th century Salerno includes recipes and instructions that help ladies clear up their skin, colour their hair and even get rid of the stench from their mouth! Here are 15 excerpts from the Trotula that offer medieval beauty tips!

Quality of Life in Medieval Monasteries and Nunneries

Miniature of the abbess of the White Nuns cutting the hair of a novice.

The purpose of this thesis was to explore the possible differences of quality of life in medieval monastic institutions based on the sex of their inhabitants, their location, and/or their ideology.

Before the Dawn: Monks and the Night in Late Antiquity and Early Medieval Europe

making a bed medieval

Various aspects of daily monastic life prepared monks for this primary nightly labor, the emotional and psychological effects of which were probably further heightened by physiological reactions to chronic sleep deprivation.

Gender and Matrimonial Litigation in the Church Courts in the Later Middle Ages: The Evidence of the Court of York

Van Eyck - Arnolfini Marriage (1434)

If some later medieval males thought the courts were biased, what might the female perspective have been?

The Contours, Frequency and Causation of Subsistence Crises in Carolingian Europe (750-950)

Medieval harvest

The Contours, Frequency and Causation of Subsistence Crises in Carolingian Europe (750-950) Timothy P. Newfield Crisis Alimentarias en la Edad Media: Modelos, Explicaciones y Representaciones (Milenio, Lleida, 2013), pp. 117-172. Abstract The subsistence crises of Carolingian Europe have been widely overlooked in modern histories of the early Middle Ages. Detailed treatment has yet to be […]

Serving the man that ruled: aspects of the domestic arrangements of the household of King John, 1199-1216

When banquets were dangerous for the soul

This thesis interrogates the evidence of the household ordinances from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, by using a corpus of record sources extant from 1199 onwards, which break through the façade of departmentalism to reveal the complexity of the royal household.

Houses and domestic life in the Viking Age and medieval period

Log houses in the farmstead from Østerdal - Kjetil Bjørnsrud

This thesis examines the representations of houses as physical structures in the Íslendingasögur with specific emphasis on the material aspect of housing culture in the Viking Age and medieval period, as well as the interactions between material culture and text.

Public Toilets in the Middle Ages

Public Toilets in the Middle Ages

Where should you go to find a public toilet in the medieval city?

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