Showing posts from July, 2013

Doctors can now figure out if you have the Black Death; and more medieval news

In a development that could have been very useful over six hundred years ago, scientists have discovered a simple and effective way of determining if someone has Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that is responsible for the Black Death. A team based out of the Max Planck Institute in Germany were able to create a sugar-protein that serves as biomarker when tested on the blood of individuals who carry the plague.

 The Black Death, which swept through the medieval world in the mid-14th century, could infect and kill people within hours. “Early identification of an infection is of paramount importance for survival,“ explains Chakkumkal Anish, Leader of the Glycobiology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute. “So our work may have direct and positive consequences on patient survival rates.“

 While the plague is not ravaging society as it once did, there have been sporadic outbreaks, including in India, China, Libya and New Mexico in recent years. The scientists also believe the process t…

'Vampires' in Poland, 'Medieval Mystery' site in England - what archaeologists are finding

Two recent archaeological stories are getting some media attention. First, in southern Poland a graveyard was discovered that contained four skeletons that had their heads buried between their legs. Radio Poland explains that "according to folk beliefs, this prevented a possible vampire from finding his or her way back to the land of the living. There was no trace at the burial ground of any earthly possessions, such as jewellery, belts or buckles."

The graves were discovered during the construction of a roadway near the Polish town of Gliwice. Tests will be carried out to determine when the skeletons were buried, but the archaeologists believe they date back to the early modern period. You can read the full article from Radio Poland.

Other discoveries of 'vampires' buried in graveyards include a woman found in Venice whose skull had been impaled through the mouth with a brick, over 100 skeletons found in Bulgaria that have had an iron rod piercing their chest, and in …

Jay-Z goes medieval?

American rap star JAY-Z has released a new album this month entitled Magna Carta Holy Grail. To promote the album, they have placed artwork of the album's cover next to one of the earliest copies of the Magna Carta in Salisbury Cathedral.

Dean of Salisbury the Very Reverend June Osborne told the Salisbury Journal, “We are delighted that Jay Z has chosen Salisbury Cathedral, home to the finest of the four surviving Magna Carta, as the location for the global premiere of his artwork. We know how important the Magna Carta, and all it represents, is to people across the globe. The ideals it embodies are still relevant today.

“Jay Z, through his album, is creating a huge awareness of this historic document and its modern significance to a huge audience in the run up to its 800th anniversary in 2015. We hope to welcome many of his fans here this summer to see the artwork in the Chapter House alongside our Magna Carta.”

Jay-Z was impressed with the ideals of justice and responsibility as wr…