A Quick Guide to the History of Salisbury, England

The moment I sunk into the warm mismatched chairs at The Haunch of Venison, I knew that Salisbury was a special place. Sitting down for a hearty meal of soup, bread, and beer in a city so old makes modern problems seem trivial. My thoughts were not on myself, but rather on who was there before… Continue reading A Quick Guide to the History of Salisbury, England

Hoards: Buried Treasure at the British Museum

Tucked away and hidden from most casual passersby, the British Museum’s latest exhibition Hoards: The Hidden History of Ancient Britain is much like the once-buried treasure it displays. I found it in a small room located on the edge of the ancient Roman gallery on the museum’s second floor, adjacent to the Department of Coins and Medals… Continue reading Hoards: Buried Treasure at the British Museum

Exploring the Depth and Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Literature

When we hear the words “Anglo-Saxon literature,” Beowulf is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Then we might think of the beauty of illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Durrow or the Lindisfarne Gospels. In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener talks with Professor Larry Swain of Bemidji State University about these… Continue reading Exploring the Depth and Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Literature

Pondering Britain’s Stone Circles

Grand, centuries-old cathedrals distinguish Great Britain’s cities and towns, providing spiritual nourishment to those who visit. These places of worship seem ancient almost beyond imagination. But long before Gothic cathedrals…long before recorded history even, Britain’s stone circles were this land’s sacred spots. Stonehenge is the most famous of these — and has a new visitors… Continue reading Pondering Britain’s Stone Circles

Ireland’s Exquisite Insular Art

While much of Europe was consumed by social disarray in the centuries following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE, a remarkable golden age of scholasticism and artistic achievement began in Ireland. Untouched by centuries of Roman rule, Ireland retained an ancient cohesive society characterized by rural monastic settlements rather than urban… Continue reading Ireland’s Exquisite Insular Art

The Puzzling Ancient Picts of Scotland

The ancient Picts of northern and eastern Scotland were as enigmatic to their contemporaneous neighbors as they are to modern-day scholars. Nevertheless, despite the shadowy and wild stereotypes that still abound in popular imagination, recent archaeological excavations across Scotland have revealed astonishing works of art, impressive fortifications, and evidence of strong links with continental Europe. In… Continue reading The Puzzling Ancient Picts of Scotland