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The role of the mechanical clock in medieval science

What is a mechanical clock? The answer to this question depends on whom you ask. Today, most people consider it a time-telling instrument.

The Dead in 3D: The Rothwell Charnel Chapel Project Online!

In the past seven months, the Rothwell Charnel Chapel Project has evolved to become more than just a research and preservation project, but has morphed into a virtual exhibit, and fascinating online learning resource that will be available globally.

Medieval Eyeglasses: Wearable Technology of the Thirteenth Century

It’s a common misconception that medieval minds regarded every little gadget with superstition and fear. Like us, medieval people loved wearable tech, and adapted useful gear – like sundials – to take with them on the go. In the thirteenth-century, Europeans were keen to get on board with the latest high-tech gadget to come out of Italy: eyeglasses.

From Stone Axe to Nukes — Technology and Warfare

As obvious as the impact of technical and technological means is on warfare as astonishing is that there are not very many books describing the long history of technology and warfare.

I, Robot Saint

While it’s easy to think of the Middle Ages as a backward time in which everyone struggled with the most basic things, medieval people were no strangers to some pretty cool technology, including robots.

The World’s Earliest Dated Tide Mill

Thomas McErlean discusses the story of the discovery the earliest mill in Ireland and the earliest presently known example of a tide mill in the world.

How to make swords talk: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding medieval swords and their inscriptions

In the present article we want to explain in detail the methods we used for the documentation and interpretation of medieval swords and their inscriptions.

Rapid Invention, Slow Industrialization, and the Absent Entrepreneur in Medieval China

For some sixteen centuries, about eight times the length of the period since the onset of England’s Industrial Revolution, China was the source of an astonishing outpouring of inventions that included a vast variety of prospectively valuable novelties as diverse as printing, the blast furnace, the spinning wheel, the wheelbarrow, and playing cards, in addition to the more widely recognized gunpowder and compass.

Renaissance Robotics: Leonardo da Vinci’s Lost Knight and Enlivened Materiality

The knight, when activated, would spring upright while simultaneously closing its arms in a lateral, pectoral embrace.

How did medieval seafarers turn trees into boat parts?

In this video, Professor Jon Adams of the University of Southampton explains the techniques by which shipwrights have converted the trees of the forest into the components of the boats in which people eventually sailed around the world.

Medieval Studies and STEM

Here are 15 ways that medieval studies and STEM are working together.

The Astrolabe: Medieval Multi-Tool of Navigation

They were the Swiss Army knife of medieval travelers.

Ore, Fire, Hammer, Sickle: Iron Production in Viking Age and Early Medieval Iceland

Iron production may be used as a window through which to view, in part, the economic structure of Icelandic society during the Viking Age (c. AD 870-1000) and Early Medieval (AD 1000-1264) periods.

Places to See: The King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester

Now that Richard III has been laid to rest, and his tomb is open to the public for viewing, what more is there left to see when you’re in Leicester? Plenty.

The Men Behind the Metal

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.

The Pre-History of Gunpowder

There is a Chinese tradition that a cook carrying a bowl of saltpetre slipped and dropped it onto a charcoal fire. That would certainly create a considerable conflagration but, as the ingredients were not mixed, hardly an explosion.

Mons Meg removed from Edinburgh Castle for conservation work

Mons Meg, one of the most famous weapons of the Middle Ages, was removed from Edinburgh Castle last month for specialist restoration and conservation work.

Saltpetre in medieval gunpowder: Calcium or Potassium Nitrate?

Until recently, it has been accepted that the formulation of gunpowder has always been based on variable mixtures of charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate. This has recently been challenged.

From Tempests and Hydraulic Machines to the Arno Diversion: the Historical Significance of da Vinci’s Study of Water

Reemergence of classical thought and the importance of water in society led da Vinci to pursue multiple projects regarding his study of water – culminating in the project to divert the Arno River.

A Portal to the Universe: The Astrolabe as a Site of Exchange in Medieval and Early Modern Knowledge

This essay analyzes the astrolabe and its ability to transfer ideas and culture across traditional geographic boundaries, from the perspective of Europe in the Medieval and Early Modern eras.

Lost in the Mail

Recently, I picked up a new hobby in this vein: making chain mail.

The Early Medieval Cutting Edge of Technology

Comparison of knives from England, Dublin and Europe revealed that the Vikings had little direct impact on England’s knife manufacturing industry, although there was a change in manufacturing methods in the 10th century towards the mass produced sandwich welded knife.

Building Medieval Plate Armor: An Operator’s Guide

The subject was how understanding the design and function of real medieval plate armor can help someone build their own suit of armor in a more historically accurate and properly functional way.

Cut, Chop and Thrust: The Sword through Millennia

Igor and Phillip talk about the history of the European Sword, including its technology, design, rituals, traditions, symbols, social and religious meanings.

Medieval glass artefacts shed new light on Swedish history

Archaeological finds of glass material from Old Lödöse, a Swedish trade centre in the High Middle Ages, call for a revision of the country’s glass history.

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