Monday, February 14, 2011

Medieval History Roundup

"Binham Priory discovery of giant medieval graffiti," BBC, January 20, 2011

Thousands of years of history at a remote priory in Norfolk could be unearthed after the discovery of giant medieval graffiti on its walls. The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey (NMGS) group claims to have found 8ft (2.4m) building plans etched into the stonework of Binham Priory, near Wells. . . . "It was difficult to believe what I was seeing," said NMGS's Matthew Champion. "Most graffiti inscriptions tend to be relatively small and modest. This was just so big that it wasn't really possible to see exactly what it was until we had surveyed the whole wall surface.>>>

David Abel, "Below the Western Wall, passage to a cherished history," Boston Globe, February 13, 2011

JERUSALEM — The giant slabs of limestone, which have remained standing for two millennia despite repeated efforts to demolish them, make up the most sacred structure in the world for Jews, the ancient wall that once protected the Temple Mount. . . . The painstaking work of exploring the underworld along the hidden portion of the Western Wall has led to perhaps the most interesting and controversial tour in Jerusalem, one that has to be made by appointment.>>>

Arminta Wallace, "Time travel with an app," Irish Times, February 12, 2011

The iPhone app Dublin City Walls is a virtual tour guide of a kind that could transform our experience of historical sites YOU KNOW the way you sometimes go to visit a historical site and when you find it there’s just a bump in the ground or a pile of stones – and that, pretty much, is that? Those who are trained in matters historical can get their imagination into gear and fill in some of the gaps. But for the rest of us it can be a somewhat underwhelming experience. A new iPhone app promises to revolutionise the way we interact with our heritage sites. Dublin City Walls uses high-resolution graphics, 3D imaging, video and GPS technology to bring the marvels of medieval Dublin right into the palm of your hand.>>>

Helen Castor, "The death-throes of the Wars of the Roses," TLS, January 26, 2011

Historical explanation is a tricky business. The reality of the past is lost to us, and all historical writing is an act of re-creation, in which the historian has a bewildering number of choices to make. One approach – adopted here by Desmond Seward – is to take a single thread and trace its path through the fabric of history. His theme in The Last White Rose is the precariousness of the Tudor title to the throne, and the repeated challenges the fledgling dynasty faced during the reigns of the first two Tudor kings.>>>

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