WEB Hrastovlje Dance macabre. Photo: Zairon

Medieval Ghosts

Medieval ghosts appeared in different forms under different circumstances. At first they were pale harbingers of dire warnings. Later, they turned into scary and macabre beings….

Byland Abbey © Coolplaces

Byland Abbey Ghosts

This year, no guising and souling. Most children will be kept at home. So how to keep the poor sweet things occupied? Try telling them medieval ghost stories!   

44252424 Media Type : Stock Photo Copyright : Lario Tus

Ghost Stories from Byland 

The Byland Abbey Ghost stories from c. 1400 offer us precious glimpses of local life in Yorkshire in and around one of the great abbeys

Glam as depicted in Game of Thrones © HBO

Grettir and Glam

Grettir’s Saga is perhaps of the lesser known. Nevertheless, the story of this bellicose adventurer is great fun to read aloud to children at Halloween….

Saints and Souls

Between 1024 and 1033 the monks at Cluny began commemorating the Dead Souls on the day after All Saints….

Living with the Dead

In the Middle Ages Polish priests and theologians fought to eradicate old and traditional ways of cohabiting with the dead. Yet it does not seem as if they ever succeeded….


In the late Middle Ages theologians tried to keep All Saints and All Souls strictly apart. But traditions like souling and the distribution of Soul Cakes helped to fuse the feasts….

Soul Cakes

There is no doubt that the tradition of giving alms in the form of bread or cookies on All Saints and All Souls has both ancient and medieval roots

Sweets for Souls

Urban legend in USA has it that we cannot offer the children home baked goodies at Halloween (some weirdos excel in filling them with crushed glass). More is the pity since our European traditions offer a selection of medieval traditional fare


July 2019. International Medieval Congress 2019. Black and whites.

IMC 2021 Goes Virtual


International Medieval Congress in 2021 will be digitally organised. Clearly, Leeds hope to overwinter as the flagship of the Medieval History World Read more

Denghis Khan © Musee du Nantes

China Tries to Corrupt History of Mongol Culture


Du to Chinese attempt at censorship, the Museum of Nantes in Bretagne has been forced to postpone an exhibition of Genghis Khan and the Mongols Read more

Sword found at Marlow @ University of Reading

Two Princely Graves from the Migration Period – in Sachsen-Anhalt and the Thames Valley


Two Migration Period Graves are considered “once-in-a-lifetime” finds in England and Germany Read more

Skull of St. Cnut resting on the silk pillow © Schousboe

Cnut the Holy in Odense Cathedral


For nine centuries, the Cathedral in Odense has held the relics of a Danish King, Cnut the Holy and his brother Benedict. Both were murdered inside St. Albans in AD 1086. Read more

Histogenes - banner

Who were the migrants of the migratory period?


Last year, ten million euros were granted to the project, HistoGenes, to study the aDNA of 6000 individuals from AD 400-900. Read more

Olaug excavating fishbones in the magazine. © OiU/Anne Karin Hufthammer

Medieval Food in Norwegians Towns


A new interdisciplinary research project – The impact of food culture in Medieval towns (FOODIMPACT) will analyse more than 30.000 items in the Cultural Museum in Oslo Read more

Kristofer Hivjy acting as Tormund Giantsbane © HBO

The Gjellestad Excavation of a Viking ship Live Streamed


Last week, the Gjellestad excavation was live streamed by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation Read more

Sturgeon (Beluga) Source: Flickr/ Jin Kemoole

Boiled Sturgeon


The sturgeon was a royal fish. According to ancient law, any sturgeon found on the beaches or caught in the Atlantic or the Baltic, belonged to the king. Read more

New Books

Collection of homilies British Library Cotton Vespasian D. xiv

The Anonymous Old English Homily


Apart from charters, the homilies in Old English constitute the largest preserved corpus of texts preserved in the vernacular. A new introduction offers insights into this often overlooked source material Read more

The Avar treasure. Source the Met PD

Craftsmen and Jewelers in the Middle and Lower Danube Region


In the Middle Ages, craftsmen and jewellers in the Middle and Lower Danube Region were versatile and skilled in numerous techniques. Read more


The Languages of Early Medieval Charters


Studies of literacy and society has long since demolished the assumption that reading and writing were skills reserved for a small and distinct clerical elite. Rather literacy was widespread in a the multilingual world of the Early Middle Ages. New book focus on the writing of charters This is the… Read more

Gokstad Mound. Source: Wikipedia

Returning to Gokstad


The Gokstad ship with the buried warrior and his grave gifts was discovered in 1880. Since 2011, archaeologists have reexamined the original find Read more

New Research

The Schlüsselfeld Ship. Source: Wikipedia

The Schlüsselfeld Ship


In the 14th century, it became fashionable to decorate tables at noble or royal banquets with models of ships, symbolising “Good Luck” and “Fair Wind”. Later, the wealthy merchants in the cities picked up this fashion. The Schlüsselfeld ship is one of the more famous. Read more

Dining with Richard II. From: BL Royal, MS 14 E IV, fol 265 v. Source: wikipedia

Ships as Table Decorations in the Middle Ages


Ships were prized ornaments decorating the tables of kings and lords into the 16th and 17th century. Read more

Chaucer's pilgrims on the road to Canterbury, from 'The Siege of Thebes', by John Lydgate, England, 1457–60, Royal MS 18 D II, f. 148r. British Library/Wikipedia

Marian Ughi visits St. Thomas of Becket in 1444


A newly discovered travel account of a Florentine merchant visiting Canterbury and the shrine of Thomas Becket sheds light on late medieval devotion Read more

Migration period brooches

Disc-on-Bow and Cruciform Brooches


New research points to the role distinct brooches played in the formation of  “ethnic” identities in the North Sea region during the migration period and in the Early Viking Age; and the role women played as custodians of their cultural and mythological heritage. Already in the 6th and 7th centuries,… Read more

New Exhibitions

Exhibition in Toulouse: Visigoths. Kings of Toulouse

Visigoths in Toulouse


The Visigoths in Toulouse forged one of the first barbarian kingdom inside the Roman Empire, ruling from 420 – 507. In 2020 an exhibition in Toulouse celebrates the 1600-anniversary of their foundation. This summer a major exhibition focusing on the Visigothic kingdom in Toulouse 420 – 507 has been organised… Read more

Nuns. Powerful women in the Middle Ages. A view of the exhibition. Copyright: © Swiss National Museum

Nuns and their lives in the 14th century


This summer, visitors to Zürich National Museum can study the remarkable story of the careers of medieval nuns. Extended to mid-august, an exhibition is worth looking into, if you are in the vicinity. Read more

Papal letter confirming donation to Absalon 1186. © Royal Danish Archive

The Early History of Copenhagen at a New Museum


Last week, a new attraction opened, The Museum of Copenhagen, covering the history from the ice-age hunters and gatherers and into the near future. Central is the brand new story of the earliest period in the life of the town ca. 1000 Read more

Closer to Van Eyck - Map of digitized works © closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be

Facing Van Eyck – The Miracle of the Detail


Come September, Brussels houses an exhibition focusing on the visually detailed techniques of Jan van Eyck and his work of art. The exhibition is paired with a prized digital resource. Read more