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The Iron Maiden: This Medieval Torture Device Was Used as Recently as 2003!

The Iron Maiden: This Medieval Torture Device Was Used as Recently as 2003!

The iron maiden is a torture device widely believed to have been used in Europe during the Middle Ages. This notorious contraption is known by other names, such as the Virgin (a reference to the...
Woman in the countryside

Kulning: The Ancient Swedish Herding Call That Has Echoed Through the Ages

Kulning is a vocal art with its origins in the forests and mountains of Scandinavia. It was first used as a method to call back cattle who were left free to graze in the wild landscape, but it is...
Detail from one of the fragments showing the name Merlin.

Fragments of Ancient Manuscript About Merlin Have Been Discovered and Could Change Arthurian Legend

A lucky discovery in a rare book has the potential to transform our knowledge of perhaps the most famous story from the entire Middle Ages. Some damaged manuscript pages found inside the volume are...
Ruins of Gedi Palace

Could The Gedi Ruins Be Haunted By Jins?

Historic cities throughout the world have always intrigued experts and travelers and one of the most fascinating is the abandoned city known as Gedi on the coast of Kenya. The ruins of Gedi are...
 Old iron chastity belt from Middle Ages.

The Long Fascination With the Chastity Belt – But Was it Just A Fantasy?

The chastity belt is an item that titillates and fascinates in equal measure. The idea of the brave medieval knight locking up his beloved, naively believing a mere padlock would be enough to keep...
Example of Anthropodermic bibliopegy – an 18-19th century notebook allegedly covered with human skin.

Books Bound in Human Skin – The Practice Isn’t As Rare As You Might Think!

Anthropodermic bibliopegy refers to the practice of binding books in human skin . According to folk legend, the binding of books (or more appropriately manuscripts, as they were hand-written) in...
Self portrait of Guda, a 12th century nun and female scribe.

Blue Pigment Found on Medieval Teeth Reveals Secret Existence of Female Scribes

The analysis of human teeth has become increasingly important in modern archaeology. A recent discovery of a set of teeth in a German monastery is revolutionizing our understanding of women in...
Jayne and Martin Townley at their Middle Ages themed house hosting a medieval banquet

Jousting Champion and Magician Wife Transform House into Medieval Castle Complete with Banqueting Hall

A medieval-obsessed couple have transformed their four-bedroom, semi-detached home in Somerset, England, into a Middle-Ages-themed castle complete with a banqueting hall. Martin and Jayne Townley...
The Medieval skeleton was found still in its boots

Mystery Man in High Leather Boots: How Did His Medieval Skeleton End Up in London’s River Thames?

Archaeologists working at London’s 'super sewer' in Bermondsey have recovered the skeletal remains of a man, wearing high leather boots, lying face-down in the silt of the River Thames. Much about...
Detail of ‘Brawl between soldiers and peasants’ (1565-1570) by the Circle of Marten van Cleve. A new ‘murder map’ shows that Medieval London streets were the backdrop to many murders.

Beaten to Death for Littering with Eel Skins: ‘Murder Map’ Reveals Medieval London’s Meanest Streets

The first digital map of the murders recorded by the city's Coroner in early 1300s shows Cheapside and Cornhill were homicide ‘hot spots’, and Sundays held the highest risk of violent death for...
Kit Harington appears in a scene from HBO's, 'Game of Thrones,' 2017. Game of Thrones is a seemingly authentic portrayal of a pseudo-medieval world. But it is ahistortical and actually reveals much more about how we imagine the past and view our society today.

Game of Thrones Creates a Romantic and Grotesque Pseudo-Medieval World, Revealing Modern Perceptions of the Past

Take the dragons and the zombies away from the television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire novels and you are left with the seemingly authentic portrayal of a pseudo-...
A 17th century engraving depicting an ordeal by water.

Trial by Ordeal: A Life or Death Method of Judgement

In the modern judicial system, the innocence or guilt of an accused may be established based on the evidence brought against him or her. In ancient and medieval societies, however, a different way of...
A cloaked witch (Leo Lintang / Fotolia)

The Evolution of The Medieval Witch – And Why She’s Usually a Woman

Flying through the skies on a broomstick, the popular image of a witch is as a predominantly female figure – so much so that the costume has become the go-to Halloween outfit for women and girls...
A photo of Shambles, York, UK

The Shambles: Medieval Slaughterhouse Street Turned Tourist Hotspot

The Shambles (known officially as Shambles) is a street in York dating to the Middle Ages. Shambles has been called the best-preserved Medieval street in Europe and has been voted as the most...
Detail of an illustration of a woman emptying her chamber pot out the window. Medieval sanitation wasn’t very sanitary.

Cheerio and Gardi Loo! Words of Warning Prompted By Medieval Human Waste Disposal

In 1775, the Scottish inventor Alexander Cumming was granted the first patent for the design of a flushing toilet. Although the Romans were known for their innovation in sanitation, which included...
This is the skeleton discovered during excavations exploring Medieval life on Torcello Island, Venice, Italy.

Scholars Uncover Signs of Medieval Life and Death on an Italian Island

On the island of Torcello, at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice excavation site, some protagonists of the island's thousand-year history have begun to emerge. A tomb datable to around 700 AD has...

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