Medieval woman’s hidden art career revealed by blue teeth

Nun-blue-teethAbout 1,000 years ago, a woman in Germany died and was buried in an unmarked grave in a church cemetery. No record of her life survived, and no historian had reason to wonder who she was. But when modern scientists examined her dug-up remains, they discovered something peculiar – brilliant blue flecks in the tartar on her teeth.

And that has cast new light on the role of women and art in medieval Europe.

The blue particles, it turns out, were lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone that was highly prized at the time for its vivid color and was ground up and used as a pigment.

From that, scientists concluded the woman was an artist involved in creating illuminated manuscripts – a task usually associated with monks.

The discovery is considered the most direct evidence yet of a particular woman taking part in the making of high-quality illuminated manuscripts, the lavishly illustrated religious and secular texts of the Middle Ages. And it corroborates other findings that suggest female artisans were not as rare as previously thought.

“It’s kind of a bombshell for my field – it’s so rare to find material evidence of women’s artistic and literary work in the Middle Ages,” said Alison Beach, a professor of medieval history at Ohio State University. “Because things are much better documented for men, it’s encouraged people to imagine a male world. This helps us correct that bias. This tooth opens a window on what activities women also were engaged in.”

Though her name remains unknown, the woman buried in the German churchyard was probably a highly skilled artist and scribe.

Photo: Christina Warriner

Medieval Sword from the War of the Two Peters Unearthed In Spanish Castle

Two-Peters-SwordThe War of the Two Peters (1356-1375) was fought between Peter of Castile and Peter IV of Aragon. ~The Archivist

Archaeologists have made a rare discovery during their second season of work at a Medieval castle in Aín, Castellón, Spain. The have unearthed a 700-year-old sword that is in a remarkable state. The style suggests it dates to the time of a significant Spanish historical event – the War of the Two Peters.

According to DiariodeAvisos, even the archaeological team was surprised by the find and they have said a discovery of this type of artifact in such a beautiful state of preservation is “extremely unusual.”

The sword measures 94 cm (37 inches) long, has a guard 13 cm (5.12 inches) wide, and a spherical pommel. There are two bronze rivets on the hilt and a groove down the center of the blade. The local population has also taken an interest in the well-crafted sword and Las Provincias reports they have even given the artifact a nickname – ‘Espadana’ (which may be translated as ‘noble sword.’)

Archaeologists discovered the sword under a mortar floor in a large room with a hearth and a work bench. They made the discovery while they were working on their second phase of a project aimed at strengthening the southwest sector of the castle wall. This is meant to stop the deterioration of the monument and guarantee its stability, with the hopes of making the castle a first-rate historic site.

Photo: Mediterráneo

The Kid Who Would Be King – Trailer

The Kid Who Would Be King Synopsis

Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be.

Written and Directed by: Joe Cornish
Produced by: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner

Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie, with Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart

In Theaters January 25

The Kid Who Would Be King

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TKWWBK Teaser Poster

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Uncovering the mysteries of England’s Bayeux Tapestry and its connections to Charlemagne

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