Lead mining and lead pollution in the Roman world, with Paul Stephenson
A conversation with Paul Stephenson about the impact of lead mining and smelting on the miners themselves, the communities around them, and on plants, animals, and human beings across the Roman Empire. This is part of a broader and ongoing project on metallurgy and environmental violence.
Researchers discover what’s inside medieval pendant using neutrons
In 2008, a gold-plated pendant was discovered in Mainz, Germany. Researchers believed that the pendant was around 800 years old, and that something was hidden inside of it. However, trying to physically open it could damage the artifact. Therefore, they decided to scan the pendant with a neutron beam.
Would you rather have a Knight’s sword or a Horse figurine?
Two medieval items coming up for auction will probably be bought for a similar price. Which would you choose to have?
“I hold your faith, hold mine”: 14th-century ring could fetch £40,000 at auction
A medieval ring discovered by a metal detectorist in southwest England is set to go up for auction. It’s estimated that it will be sold for between £30,000-40,000.
Viking beadmakers’ secrets revealed in new study
The Viking Age bead makers were more advanced than previously believed. New research shows that craftsmen in Denmark around the year 700 used sophisticated and sustainable methods when they gave old Roman glass mosaics new life as glass beads.
Early medieval gold sword pommel comes to National Museums Scotland
National Museums Scotland has acquired an exceptionally rare gold sword pommel, created around 700 AD.
The enduring power of ancient statues in Constantinople, with Paroma Chatterjee
A conversation with Paroma Chatterjee on the power that ancient statues still had in Orthodox Constantinople. In many contexts, they were more prominent than icons. We talk about some of their functions, but also why Byzantine art history is so focused on icons, which were secluded objects, in comparison.
The Vikings’ self-image was influenced by the Roman period
In the Late Viking Age, a grave was built that looks very similar to one of the most spectacular graves of the Roman Age in Norway.
The Mongols and Silk
You’ve likely heard the claim that the Mongols wore silk shirts as protection against arrows; the idea being that silk winds up around an arrowhead and thus prevents penetration. There is, however, little historical basis to this claim.
Beating the heat: Handheld fans in medieval China
The handheld fan has been used as a means to keep cool since time immemorial. But in medieval China, this was just one of its many functions.
Unexpected delivery: Viking jewellery given to Norwegian museum
Archaeologists at the Museum of Archaeology at the University of Stavanger could hardly believe their eyes when dress accessories typical of a Viking Age woman was delivered to the museum. Now the archaeologists may have traced the origin of the jewellery.
Biocodicology and Birth Girdles with Sarah Fiddyment
This week on The Medieval Podcast, Danièle speaks with Dr. Sarah Fiddyment about a mind-blowingly simple way of collecting biological information from parchment, what it can tell us, and what it reveals about how a late medieval birth girdle was used.
Paradise Bejewelled: The Gems of Dante’s Divine Comedy
Dante’s writings reveal some hidden talents, such as his in-depth knowledge of gems.
Paper Past and Paper Future
The arrival of paper in medieval Europe also heralded an era of technological innovation and evolution. Drawing on extensive research in Cambridge collections and beyond, Orietta Da Rold will consider the significance of this material as a commodity and particularly as the stuff of which books are made. These lectures are about the stories that medieval paper can tell.
How to Guard Your Tang Dynasty Tomb
Let us delve into the surprisingly colorful and cute world of Tang dynasty ‘tomb guardians’.
Medieval Badges with Ann Marie Rasmussen
This week on The Medieval Podcast, Danièle speaks with Ann Marie Rasmussen about medieval badges, how they were made and used, and who was wearing them.
‘Paper is Deynty’: The Significance of Paper in the Paston Letters
The Paston family’s letters and network of acquaintances show that paper had made the transition from being a technological novelty to becoming a familiar tool, an essential instrument in everyday life.
Locusts: an apocalyptic iconographical representation of the medieval warhorse
I’m really happy to bring you this talk about the Biblical locusts from the Book of Revelations and their apocalyptic and iconographical connections to the medieval warhorse.
Ritual Artifacts and Ceremony with Lucy Dean – Part 2
The second part of Kate Buchanan’s discussion with Lucy Dean on material culture and ritual objects in coronation ceremonies in medieval Scotland.
Cursed blades and dark swords in myth and fantasy
Dark and cursed blades are found throughout popular culture and fantasy; join Dr Lillian Cespedes to explore their roots in history, mythology and why they have become so popular.
Ritual Artifacts and Ceremony with Lucy Dean – Part 1
On this episode of Scotichronicast, Kate Buchanan is joined by Lucy Dean to discuss Lucy’s research on material culture and ritual objects in coronation ceremonies in medieval Scotland.
The intriguing world of medieval Chinese ceramic pillows
Pre-modern Chinese pillows were made of hard materials like ceramics and possessed a surprising range of functions beyond simply acting as a headrest.
Writing of the Ultimate CV: A Death Ritual in Medieval China
Examines the life of a prematurely deceased 20-year through her epitaph, created in China in the year 518 CE, and discover how the craftsmanship and aesthetic are passed on in modern Chinese culture with a veteran tombstone engraver.
The materiality of Byzantine objects, with Elizabeth Dospěl Williams
A conversation with Elizabeth Dospěl Williams on how people in Byzantium experienced the materiality of the objects they used, especially jewelry and textiles. We look at some of those objects together, discuss their qualities, and situate our engagement with material culture in broader discussions of historical theory.
When sheepskin was an anti-fraud device
Lawyers used sheepskin as anti-fraud device for hundreds of years to stop fraudsters pulling the wool over people’s eyes, study shows