• Archaeology

    Stonehenge: Monmouth May Have Got it Right

    An ancient myth about Stonehenge, first recorded 900 years ago, tells of the wizard Merlin leading men to Ireland to capture a magical stone circle called the Giants’ Dance and rebuilding it in England as a memorial to the dead. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account had been dismissed, partly because he was wrong on other historical facts, although the bluestones of the monument came from a region of Wales that was considered Irish territory in his day. Now a vast stone circle created by our Neolithic ancestors has been discovered in Wales with features suggesting that the 12th-century legend may not be complete fantasy. Its diameter of 110 metres is identical…

  • Medieval manuscripts

    February from Walters MS. W.425

    This image from the Walters Art museum fragmentary prayer book MS. 425 f. 2r shows the February calendar with a short list of the saint’s days in February, and in the border on the right, a roundel that the Walter’s description says is Pisces, which is exactly what one would expect, but the image is very worn, suggesting that the ms. was actually used. The February calendar image in Walters MS. W.425 shows a typical labor for February; an outdoor scene of two men cutting wood, a common labor for the month in colder climates. One of the men on the right is using a wedge in a log that…