July 21st 2020 the Museum of London Archaeology practice posted to their Facebook page about a 2009 excavation of the remnants of a tidal mill at Greenwich Wharf. Dating to the 12th century it is the oldest tide powered mill on record and featured amazing features such as being a massive twelve by four meters in size with a waterwheel estimated to be approximately 5.2 meters in diameter. Considering the tools and technology available in the 12th century these dimensions represent colossal proportions as a building project. Facebook post and article combined reading time approximately four minutes.
An article written by Damien Fegan of Museum History Guy and published to the Abbey Medieval Festival‘s website July 2020 discusses the pervasive misconception about the malodorous funk of the medieval world. It explores principle sources detailing the daily rituals in regards to hygeine and cleanliness and the societal implications of bathing. These clear and explicit depictions in art and literature of personal grooming along with the context of the miasma mentality of heath at the time, this article illustrates how difficult it is with even a cursory look into the topic, to reconcile the spurious allegations the medieval world was permeated in a perpetual, nauseating stench. Approximate read time ten minutes.
In a video aired July 30th 2020 the aptly named Golden Middle Age YouTube channel featured a video about education in the Medieval Arab world, which was truly a golden age of learning and gave the rest of the world some of the fundamental sciences which we use today. Video duration 9:01
Aired August 1st 2020, Ylva the Red’s video shows how the old adage, a mechanic has a poorly maintained car, extends to costumers who make for others and then tend to fall behind in updating their own wardrobe. As she starts to make new clothes for herself, to update her kit, she has the opportunity to show the process of starting on new garments from scratch. Today she demonstrates a tunic dress. Video duration seven minutes, eight seconds.
In a paper published to Nature Research July 28th 2020 the research team identified useful anti-microbial properties of a medieval remedy called “Bald’s Eyesalve” which is a concoction of onion, garlic, wine, and bile salts. It appears the combination of ingredients, and no one specific compound, is responsible for its effectiveness against difficult to treat biofilm-associated infections. Estimated reading time forty five minutes.
Every new extant item found is a treasure trove of information about the past. And when we re-discover the authenticity of something we already have it is also exciting! A helmet find such as this one, which was previously disregarded as a fake, provides us an incredible amount of information about the timeline of the interaction between the people of the British Isles and its surrounding cultures. This helmet, originally found in the 1950s, has been confirmed to be the oldest viking helmet discovered in Britain.
August 9th, 2020 Andrew from Modern Medieval Man started a new fun reenactor challenge during our protracted hiatus from events called “My Favorite Thing.” He describes his favorite physical piece of material culture reproduction item and then challenges someone else (this time Matt from History Live) to share theirs. His inaugural video is five minutes, thirty one seconds long.
In a video aired August 1st, 2020 Reenactment Rik of Historic Echoes shared a video on the making of Armored Turnips, a recipe from 1470s Italy much like au gratin potatoes where the turnips are sliced, cooked, and “amored” with cheese and butter.
In a series of twenty photos posted July 31st the group Pont-Croix 1358 show a living history event at their m edieval town and port in Northern Finistère. The photo album shows the loading, launching, and sailing of a 14th century currach, a framework boat hulled in hide.
August 6th 2020 Dr. Mateusz Fafinski tweeted about the household structure and how it relates to the size of a household today. Based on records in the Florantine castasto he showed how in 15th century Florence the two adults and two children household, which resembles lifestyles of today, was the average: not massive multigenerational families with mobs of children living atop each other in small hovels.
Published August 8th 2020, Eleanor Jackson takes us through the delightful illustrations drawn in the margins of Harley MS 6563, a 14th century book of hours. Originally described as having “ludicrous figures in the margins” in the catalog of 1808, these delightful cartoons include foxes, bands of animals playing instruments, the constant battle between men and giant attack snails, Redwall level cat and mouse battles, and more. Estimated reading time nine minutes.
An article published August 10th, 2020 reveals a new sword found. The article is in Polish, but Google’s website translation is pretty easy to read. When dredging a fairway a 12th century sword was discovered of Spanish or Italian design. Preserved in the mud, it included not just the metal remains but scraps of the scabbard and fittings as well. The website includes some video and photos of the artifact.