After a break in blog posts so that I could focus on finishing up my first book, Royal Witches: From Joan of Navarre to Elizabeth Woodville, I thought it was finally time to get writing something else once again! And I thought the best way to do this would be to catch up on all the news that has been happening in the history sphere over the last few months. I hope you all enjoy catching up with me, and I hope you find at least one article or piece of information you hadn’t heard of before now!
A lost piece of the Lewis Chessmen sells for £735,000 at auction.
The Lewis Chessmen are a set of chess pieces made in Norway between 1150 and 1200. Found in the Western Isles, at that time part of the kingdom of Norway, they are one of the most iconic objects held at the British Museum. The pieces were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831, but 5 pieces have been missing.
The piece from the Lewis Chessmen sold at auction at Sotheby’s (via BBC)
An antique dealer in Scotland bought a chess piece in 1964 for £5, with no idea of its importance. Recently, however, his descendants took the piece to Sotheby’s auction house where its crucial historic importance was discovered. It has now been auctioned into private hands, with the new owner not being revealed.
You can read more about the story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-48824712
The construction of a metro network in Greece has uncovered a treasure trove of ancient artefacts.
In April, it was reported that the excavations happening in the city of Thessaloniki for a new metro system has continued to uncover archaeological marvels. More than 300,000 items have been recovered so far, alongside more than 5,000 tombs. The chairman of the construction company said “The excavations are the biggest archaeological project of recent years in Greece.”
Read more about the stunning artefacts that have been found here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/21/archeological-treasures-found-metro-construction-greece/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_em&fbclid=IwAR1UL-9VjDVM4xfL0qSf7OMRXU9rowca-jDWcjZ9refaugCiZfODHW-scmA
A golden crown from a c. 4th century BC burial found at Thessaloniki. Via the Telegraph.
Vandals stole the head of an 800-year-old ‘Crusader’ in Ireland.
At the end of February, many were shocked to hear the news that St Michan’s Church in Dublin had been targeted by thieves. The church is famous for its medieval crypt which inadvertently mummified many of its inhabitants. One such mummy, which has been a huge lure for tourists, is an 800-year-old body which has commonly been believed to be that of a thirteenth-century crusader. His head was stolen, and the body of a 400-year-old nun that lay next to him was badly damaged. Thankfully, on 5th March police announced that the Crusader’s head, and a skull of another body taken from the crypt, had been recovered.
The bodies of the Crusader and the nun at St Michan’s Church. Picture author’s own.
A 14-year-old boy discovered a lost medieval gravestone.
At Govan Old Parish Church in Scotland back in April, a community dig was taking place. One participant was Mark McGettigan, an aspiring archeologist, who found an important stone. This also led to the discovery of two more. The three stones date between the 10th and 11th centuries, and have been labelled the most exciting find in Govan in the last 20 years. The site has been a place of religious worship since the 6th century, and the Govan stones collection is considered to be of international importance.
Learn more about Mark’s remarkable discovery here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/14-year-old-boy-finds-lost-medieval-gravestones-scotland-180971873/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=socialmedia&fbclid=IwAR2-ZZfz0BRUa207qYLzt3szV0ltg9NUSIvNKQmPAGG45RIgRX9NQIiF1CI
A picture of the Govan stones, via Smithsonian.
A unique Iron Age shield has provided significant insight to prehistoric weaponry.
A shield made of bark, thought to have been constructed during the Iron Age, was found south of Leicester. It is unique, being the only one of its kind ever found in Europe. Michael Bamforth of the University of York has spent time analysing the construction of the shield, with radiocarbon dating showing that the shield was constructed between 395 and 255 BC. It was painted and decorated, but was deposited in the ground after it had been severely damaged.
Learn more about the analysis of the shield here: https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/research/iron-age-shield-insight-into-prehistoric-tech/?fbclid=IwAR3y1Ch-2CITGlMS0fQ3yDTEd01OkAszmw_8UiwiVVpQOWd-gPvn7Y3rAww
The Iron Age bark shield, via the University of York.
That ends our monthly round up! Hopefully you have learnt about something new, and we look forwards to returning next month to bring you exciting new discoveries.
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