Rediscovering a ‘Lost’ Roman Frontier from the Air

Rewriting history from the air. William S Hanson Scrutinizing archives of aerial photography, we have been able to identify as Roman two more walls that will transform our understanding of the frontier of the Roman Empire in Eastern Europe.    By Dr. William S. Hanson and Dr. Ioana Oltean / 09.16.2013 Hanson: Professor of Roman Archaeology,[…]

While Elgin Marbles Debate Still Rages, a Market for Looted Antiquities Remains

Detail, Phidias(?), Parthenon Frieze, c. 438-32 B.C.E., pentelic marble (420 linear feet of the 525 that complete the frieze are in the British Museum) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA) The international art market that deals in ancient cultural objects casts a destructive shadow. By Dr. Simon Mackenzie / 02.14.2014 Professor of Criminology, Law and Society University[…]

Britannia, Druids and the Surprisingly Modern Origin of Myths

Sky Atlantic We think of the Druids as being embedded in British culture from the mists of ancient times. But what we think we know about Druids is of surprisingly modern provenance. By Dr. Matthew Kelly / 01.16.2018 Professor of Modern History Northumbria University, Newcastle The new TV series Britannia, which has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is clearly not intended to be strictly historical. Instead[…]

Alfred the Great May Not Have Been So Great

The Last Kingdom. BBC/Carnival/Des Wille New research suggests his military achievements might have been exaggerated. By Dr. Stuart Brookes / 03.17.2017 Senior Research Associate in Archaeology University College London The Last Kingdom – BBC’s historical drama set in the time of Alfred the Great’s war with the Vikings – has returned to our screens for a second[…]

6,000-Year-Old Monument Offers Tantalizing Glimpse of Britain’s Neolithic Civilization

Cat’s Brain long barrow is near the more famous Stonehenge (pictured) but predates it by hundreds of years. Shutterstock An archaeological dig at Cat’s Brain has unearthed a remarkable insight into life in Britain before Stonehenge. By Dr. James Leary / 11.20.2017 Director of Archaeology Field School University of Reading This summer, the University of Reading Archaeology Field School excavated[…]

How the Discovery of Julius Caesar’s First Landing Point in Britain Could Change History

Wellcome Trust/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA At Ebbsfleet, in northeast Kent, archaeologists have finally uncovered the site where JuliusCaesar’s fleet landed in 54 BCE By Dr. Andrew Fitzpatrick / 11.29.2017 Research Associate University of Leicester During the nine-year-long Battle for Gaul, Julius Caesar fought his way across northwest Europe. He invaded Britain twice; in 55BC, and again in 54BC. But while archaeologists have found evidence of the[…]

Why We Should Be Celebrating the Treatment of Women in Anglo-Saxon England

By Lynda Telford / 05.20.2018 Events and Projects Officer Richard III Society, Yorkshire Branch What was the way of life for most ordinary women during the early Middle Ages in England? The answer is surprising. In Anglo-Saxon England – before the Norman Conquest in 1066 – men and women enjoyed relatively equal rights and social,[…]

How King Arthur Became One of the Most Pervasive Legends of All Time

Vuk Kostic/www.shutterstock.com Historic heroes like King Arthur have helped audiences through the ages to cope with troubling times. By Dr. Raluca Radulescu / 02.02.2017 Professor of Medieval Literature and English Literature Bangor University King Arthur is one of, if not the, most legendary icons of medieval Britain. His popularity has lasted centuries, mostly thanks to the numerous incarnations of his story that pop[…]

Iconology of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey: Body, Reputation, and Power in Tudor England

Portrait of Thomas Wolsey, artist unknown, late 16th century — National Portrait Gallery via Wikimedia Commons Characterised as manipulative, power-hungry, and even an alter rex, Henry VIII’s right-hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has been typically depicted with a body mass to rival his political weight. Katherine Harvey asks if he was really the glutton of popular legend,[…]

Archaeology is Revealing New Truths about the Origins of British Christianity

Centre for the Study for Christianity and Culture, University of York., Author provided New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for the earliest settlement of the site by 200 years – and reopens debate on Glastonbury’s origin myths. By Dr. Roberta Gilchrist / 03.23.2018 Professor of Archaeology University of Reading New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for[…]

You Had to Speak French to Get Ahead in Medieval Britain

Medieval teaching scene. gallica.bnf.fr / BnF Back in the Middle Ages, as well as speaking English and Latin, many people living inBritain also spoke French. By Dr. Huw Grange / 03.16.2018 Junior Research Fellow in French Jesus College University of Oxford The study of modern languages in British secondary schools is in steep decline. The number of students taking French and German GCSE[…]

The Health of Children and Youth in Early Modern England

Scene from frontispiece to EPB/47966/A: Jane Sharp, The compleat midwife’s companion: or, the art of midwifry improv’d (London: J. Marsall [sic], 1724). Wellcome Images L0028111. / Wellcome Library By Dr. Linda Payne Inaugural Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics University of Missouri-Kansas City Children and youth in early modern England (1500-1800) were[…]

Vikings Struck Deep into the West of England – and May Have Stuck Around

There’s something in the water. Shutterstock The reach of the Vikings in England went further than we thought. By Dr. Derek Gore / 04.18.2016 Teaching Fellow of Archaeology University of Exeter It’s well chronicled that wave after wave of Vikings from Scandinavia terrorised western Europe for 250 years from the end of the eighth century AD and wreaked particular havoc across vast areas of[…]

A History of Covering Up Paintings to Make Room for Others

Behind the mask. National Galleries of Scotland By Dr. Elsje van Kessel / 10.31.2017 Lecturer in Art History University of St. Andrews An exciting discovery for British history buffs: an unfinished portrait believed to be of Mary, Queen of Scots has been revealed under a 16th-century painting using X-ray photography. The hidden portrait is a special find by[…]

Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson: English Renaissance Theatre

The Globe Theatre, Panorama Innenraum, London / Photo by Maschinenjunge, Wikimedia Commons    By Dr. Kevin Seiffert and Dr. Rosemary Sutton Seiffert: Professor, Department of Educational Administration, Foundations, & Psychology, University of Manitoba Sutton: Vice President for Student Learning and Success, Cascadia College, Bothell English Renaissance theatre, also known as early modern English theatre, or (commonly) as Elizabethan theatre, refers[…]

The Mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age Mummies

Tom Booth, Author provided Turns out the Egyptians weren’t the only ones who mummified their dead. By Dr. Tom Booth / 11.24.2015 Wellcome Post-Doctoral Research Associate Natural History Museum Whenever mummies are mentioned, our imaginations stray to the dusty tombs and gilded relics of ancient Egyptian burial sites. With their eerily lifelike repose, the preserved bodies of ancient Pharaohs like Hatshepsut and[…]

Made in Taiwan? How a Frenchman Fooled 18th-Century London

Detail from depiction of a Formosan funeral, featured in George Psalmanazar’s An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa (1704) — Internet Archive The remarkable story of George Psalmanazar, the mysterious Frenchman who successfully posed as a native of Formosa (now modern Taiwan) and gave birth to a meticulously fabricated culture with bizarre customs, exotic fashions, and its own[…]

King Harold the Great: What Might Have Been if the English Had Won at Hastings

The end of an era: the death of Harold, according to the Bayeux Tapestry. Wikimedia Commons 1066 was a close-run thing and Harold almost cemented his reputation as a military mastermind. An English victory may not have benefited the country, though.    By Dr. Charles West and Alyxandra Mattison / 10.11.2016 West: Reader in Medieval History Mattison: Independent Researcher and PhD Candidate in Medieval[…]

Barbarians, Gladiators, and Head Cults: Roman London Uncovered

Keeping your head up was tough in Roman times. Public domain During a 1988 excavation on London Wall 39 human skulls were discovered. But they remained shrouded in mystery. By Dr. Richard Hingley / 01.17.2014 Professor of Archaeology Durham University During a 1988 excavation on London Wall 39 human skulls were discovered. But they remained shrouded in mystery.[…]

The Five Ancient Britons Who Make Up the Myth of King Arthur

Holly Hayes/Flickr, CC BY-NC A forensic dig into early British history means we can finally understand the heroes and stories that created a composite king. By Dr. Miles Russell / 11.10.2017 Senior Lecturer in Archaeology Bournemouth University King Arthur is probably the best known of all British mythological figures. He is a character from deep time celebrated across the world in literature,[…]

How the People of Wales became Welsh

The Norman-built keep at Cardiff Castle. Matthew Dixon/Shutterstock At one point, the Welsh, Cornish, Scottish, Bretons and northern English were all “Kymry” – so what changed? By Rebecca Thomas / 10.06.2017 PhD Candidate in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic History University of Cambridge Britain in the early Middle Ages was very different to the country it is now. Rather than[…]

Pens and Needles: Reviving Book-Embroidery in Victorian England

Embroidered book cover for Henshaw’s Horae Successivae (1632), white satin with a floral design edged in gold cord, featured in Cyril Davenport’s English Embroidered Book-bindings (1899) / Internet Archive By Dr. Jessica Roberson / 03.21.2018 Postdoctoral Fellow William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California, Los Angeles There are few more pleasing accupations [sic] for the skillful fingers of[…]

Anglophilia in the Early Modern World

Image from Rebloggy By Dr. Michael Maurer / 12.03.2010 Professor of Philosophy Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena Abstract In the 18th century, Great Britain became a European – indeed world – power. Following the “Glorious Revolution”, the kingdom seemed to represent an interesting alternative to absolutist rule and the primary Protestant power in Europe. It began to exert a[…]

Hieroglyphicks of the City Fathers: London’s Aldermen in the 17th Century

Aldermen of the City of London Corporation represented as Chinese and as monsters in procession to Westminster to protest against the Treaty of Paris, 1763. Etching, ~1763. Wellcome Library reference no. 31512i. By Dr. William Schupbach / 07.25.2016 Historian The Corporation of London is the local government which controls the square mile known as the City[…]

Industrial Revolution Left a Damaging Psychological ‘Imprint’ on Today’s Populations of England and Wales

Wellcome Library Study finds people in areas historically reliant on coal-based industries have more ‘negative’ personality traits. Psychologists suggest this cognitive die may well have been cast at the dawn of the industrial age. 12.10.2017 People living in the former industrial heartlands of England and Wales are more disposed to negative emotions such as anxiety[…]

The Victorians: Time and Space

Lecture by Dr. Sir Richard J. Evans at the Museum of London / 09.13.2010 Provost, Professor of Rhetoric, Gresham College President, Wolfson College Cartoon depiction of Lytton Strachey, a founding member of the Bloomsbury Group and author of Eminent Victorians / Wikimedia Commons ‘The History of the Victorian Age’, wrote Lytton Strachey in 1918, ‘will[…]

The Art of Conquest in England and Normandy

Horses disembarking from Norman longships, Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070, embroidered wool on linen, 20 inches high (Bayeux Museum) By Dr. Diane Reilly / 05.05.2017 Associate Professor of Art History Indiana University The Invasion On September 28, 1066, the tiny community of Pevensey (on the south-east coast of England), huddled inside the ruins of a late[…]