Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and “demon traps” have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages?
A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England.
Armed with just a torch and a camera, a team of volunteers have recorded more than 28,000 images from churches in Norfolk alone and are a third of the way through searching Norwich Cathedral, where there are many more examples.
Although the drawings discovered so far undoubtedly offer an insight into the minds of some - possibly bored - churchgoers in the Middle Ages, their precise meaning is not always clear. Read more.
Fragments of rare medieval linen and serpentine marble have been discovered by archaeologists at a dig in Northampton town centre.
The excavation is in St John’s Street, at the location of Northamptonshire County Council’s new £43m headquarters.
Jim Brown, from the Museum of London Archaeology, said the marble is “part of something quite valuable”, possibly a portable altar.
Excavation on the 1,400 sq m site continues until late August.
The extensive dig began along Fetter Street, where a medieval bread oven, an early 13th Century well shaft and trading tokens were discovered. Read more.
Remains of a medieval church believed to have been destroyed during the Reformation have been uncovered in parkland in Nottinghamshire.
Archaeologists found the church, which dates back to 1160, at Rufford Country Park, near Ollerton.
Experts said the find will help them understand how the nearby Abbey’s buildings developed over the years.
Rufford Abbey was badly damaged after Henry VIII was refused a divorce by the Catholic church.
Emily Gillott, Nottinghamshire County Council’s community archaeologist, said: “Uncovering the remains of the original church is momentous. Read more.
The oldest confirmed case of Down’s syndrome has been found: the skeleton of a child who died 1500 years ago in early medieval France. According to the archaeologists, the way the child was buried hints that Down’s syndrome was not necessarily stigmatised in the Middle Ages.
Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that delays a person’s growth and causes intellectual disability. People with Down’s syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21, rather than the usual two. It was described in the 19th century, but has probably existed throughout human history. However there are few cases of Down’s syndrome in the archaeological record. Read more.
Archaeologists in Edinburgh have found a fragment of floor tile from high status medieval Scots and a circular, stone-lined well while searching for the remains of a chapel built almost 500 years ago.
Extensive research suggests the chapel, built by Sir Simon Preston in 1518 and created to rest the “souls” of James III and IV, still lies beneath the “unassuming” buildings of Bridgend Farm.
A medieval church font was found by a former owner of the land, and an archaeological survey last year resulted in a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for a fuller investigation. Read more.
Archaeologists says they have discovered an “incredibly important” medieval convent, cemetery and Tudor mansion in Ceredigion.
The location of Llanllyr nunnery in the Aeron Valley had been a mystery until now.
Dr Jemma Bezant from University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) said it offered an unparalleled opportunity to find out more about monastic life.
The public were able to view the site on Saturday.
Dr Bezant said: “Medieval nunneries like this are incredibly rare with only one other known in Wales.” Read more.
Research by a University of Southampton professor has revealed the story of the medieval plumbers who maintained a complex water supply system, which was centuries ahead of its time.
A unique network of subterranean tunnels, partly dating back to the 14th century, still lies beneath the streets of Exeter, Devon. These once channeled fresh drinking-water from springs outside the town-walls to public fountains at the heart of the city.
Professor Mark Stoyle is a historian at the University of Southampton who this week publishes the first comprehensive history of the tunnels. He says: “People from all social backgrounds relied on the system to provide their drinking water, so it was vital to keep it running smoothly. Read more.
A major archaeological dig at an Aberdeenshire castle has uncovered a medieval sanitation system.
The excavation at Drum Castle in Deeside has revealed the remains of several long-lost structures at the 14th Century building.
They include a “very large” stone cesspit connected to three toilets in the castle and grounds.
Animals bones and pottery have been found in the upper levels of the pit, as well as grains and seeds which could provide clues to the medieval residents’ diet. Read more.