Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

A Medieval Archaeological Miscellany

I sometimes link together a series of related archaeological discoveries to make one post, and yesterday came across an article on the  History site which had done that for me, although the discoveries had little directly in common one with another.

Some of these discoveries I already knew about and I had posted about one - the Irish big statue - in September as featured below. Others were ones I was going to write about in any case. One was new to me, the presence of people of North African origins in 1340s London - more cosmopolitan, cf evidence for sixteenth century as in the crew of the Mary Rose and the individuals chronicled, in so far as one can, in Miranda Kaufmann’s Black Tudors and in my posts A Black trumpeter at the Court of King Henry VII and King Henry VIII and A Muslim girl at the Court of Queen Elizabeth I

For further information about some of these finds there are the following links:

I wrote about the Irish pagan statue in Pagan carving from an Irish bog and the discovery is reported upon by the Mail Online site at Archaeologists uncover Iron Age wooden pagan idol in Irish bog and by the Smithsonian Magazine at Eight-Foot-Tall, 1,600-Year-Old Statue of Pagan Deity Found in Ireland

The finding of the Crusader sword is reported upon also by the MailOnline at Sword found by scuba diver may have been dropped by a Crusader knight. I did see the point made that by assuming it is a sword lost by a Crusader the object is thereby imbued with a history that it may not actually have had. It makes for an attractive identification that resonates but may only be an assumption. I have two other links to discoveries from the Crusader era in the Holy Land which I will post separately.

The King Eardeulf/St Hardulph cave hermitage identification attracted quite a bit of media interest. The Guardian website has coverage of this story at Derbyshire cave house identified as ninth-century home to exiled kingDespite being cut into the rock it does seem remarkable that it should have survived unnoticed for so long, or indeed survived at all.
For more about the excavations on the site of Gloucester Castle and about its history see these reports from Cotswold Archaeology at Excavating Gloucester Prisonfrom Wessex Archaeology at Fortress to Gaol: The archaeology of the former HMP Gloucester and from the Mail Online website at Medieval castle discovered buried beneath prison's BASKETBALL court

I think I have posted in the past about the rituals suggested at Wharram Percy to keep the dead quiet. As Halloween approaches it helps to make quaint traditional Transylvanian customs ( if we are to believe Bram Stoker and Hammer Films ) seem not so remote… Wharram Percy is of course famous as the most studied and most thoroughly excavated deserted village in the country. The English Heritage history of the community is at History of Wharram Percy Deserted Medieval Village

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