He looks like a friendly sort of guy, a geography teacher who helps out with the local football team or perhaps a social worker who visits an elderly neighbour for a chat in his spare time. But, in fact, this is the reconstructed face of a man who died in Cambridge more than 700 years ago. It is believed he was homeless when he died as his body was found in the grounds of the Hospital of St John the Evangelist, which was a charity that provided refuge for those who had nowhere else to stay, were ill or infirm.
Source: What an ordinary 13th century man looked like, scientists reveal | The Independent
CHR Comment: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, an online resource, includes extensive articles on major church fathers whose work crossed over into theology. Well written, organized, and including bibliography.
Source: John Wyclif (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
In their free time, some scientists and doctors like to try to figure out causes of medically-related historical events. For example, the authors of this study investigate what may have caused the crazy dancing “epidemic” of 1518 in Strasbourg: “Some time in mid-July 1518 a lone woman stepped into one of its narrow streets and …
CHR Comment: St. Vitus was patron saint of dancers. People would dance before his image and in this case didn’t stop for days. The article proposes that this was due to stress rather than a particular illness or drug.
Source: Flashback Friday: The mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518. – Seriously, Science?
One of the skeletons buried in the leprosy cemetery in Winchester appears to have been a pilgrim.
CHR Comment: The spread of leprosy preceded the crusades. Europeans may have contracted the disease while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and brought it back to western Europe.
Source: Leprosy: Medieval pilgrim burial sheds light on how disease spread
A large Viking manor has been found near the ancient town of Birka in Lake Mälaren.
CHR Comment: Birka was the location of the earliest church (AD 831), a site from which further mission work spread. The community also traded with Byzantine Christians.
Source: Spectacular Viking manor discovered near Birka – The Local
The remains of at least 123 people have been excavated at a series of four cemeteries near the ruins of a medieval Christian monastery in Sudan.
CHR Comment: Burials dated as early as the fourth century and were for monks as well as for common people. Christian inscriptions were in both Greek and Coptic languages.
Source: Massive Burial Ground Unearthed at Medieval Monastery in Sudan
Archaeologists uncovered an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in England with dozens of rare wooden coffins arranged in rows.
CHR Comment: This find dates to the early years of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons and proves to be Christian as the burials do not contain grave goods and they are oriented East/West as is typical of Christian grave yards. A wooden chapel may have stool on the site.
Source: Surprise Find: More Than 80 Anglo-Saxon Coffins Uncovered in England
More than 500 graves of Cistercian monks and lay brothers have been discovered at one of the largest monastic ruins in the country.
CHR Comment: The persons buried were carefully separated from one another, a practice which the archaeologists attribute to belief in the bodily resurrection of the dead.
Source: 500 graves discovered in Monastic ruins at world heritage site (From HeraldScotland)
When the Vikings landed at the holy island of Lindisfarne in 793AD, it marked the beginning of hundreds of years of terrifying raids, which would earn the Norsemen a fearsome reputation as murderers and pillagers throughout Europe.
CHR Comment: Some historians argue that the Vikings pillaged churches to gain the wealth needed for marriage in their culture. Although Christians experienced the attacks as persecution, the Vikings likely acted with non-religious motives.
Source: Viking raiders were only trying to win their future wives’ hearts
The well was once believed to wash away sins; then it became the site of a curse.
CHR Comment: Saint Anne’s Well and its priory were built in the medieval period. The saint was supposed to have washed their, making the well a place of healing. One descended into the well and dunked in the waters. Saint Anne is the legendary mother of the Virgin Mary.
Source: ‘Cursed’ Medieval Well Found in England – Seeker