Click on each of the links above to navigate to that particular page.
About the Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Sasmars aims to promote scholarly interest and research in Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Southern Africa and further afield. Its biennial conferences provide a forum for academics and senior students to present their work in congenial surroundings. The Society's journal, The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, is a peer-reviewed publication which is accredited for South African research subsidy purposes. The SASMARS Newsletter has grown beyond our wildest expectations and has attracted the attention of scholars from all over the world. As a result, our 20th biennial conference in 2010 attracted the largest group of international delegates ever and served to forge important links between international scholars and their Southern African counterparts.

It has become a tradition to invite the keynote speakers at our conferences to become Corresponding Fellows of the Society and we are proud to acknowledge the following in that capacity:

Professors Jerry Brotton, Gordon Campbell, Sheila Delany, Roberta Frank, Helen Fulton, Alexandra Johnston, Susannah Monta, Edward Muir, Chris Wickham, and Henry Woudhuysen.

The latest addition to this list is Professor Carolyn Dinshaw, who was the keynote speaker at the 23nd biennial conference held at Mont Fleur in August 2016.


Number 3, 2010

SASMARS 2010, Mont Fleur, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2-5 September

Afterlives: Survival and Revival

A word from newly elected SASMARS President and Treasurer David Scott-Macnab:

After the success of this year's conference, which attracted our largest ever contingent of overseas delegate, we have already begun planning the next conference for September 2012. The committee will be meeting early next year to decide on a date, conference theme and various possible venues, although Mont Fleur remains the stand-out favourite. Watch this space for announcements!

We are delighted that Professor Alexandra Johnson, who was keynote speaker at this year's conference, has accepted our invitation to become a Corresponding Fellow of our Society. We look forward to a long and fruitful association.

Thanks to Leonie and other members of the committee for all their hard work and support. I recently received the most complimentary comments about our website and our society from a distinguished overseas medievalist. Our principal aim remains the fostering of medieval and Renaissance studies in all relevant disciplines throughout Southern Africa, so it is very encouraging to know that we look good to international experts in these fields.

Professor Michael Bratchel

Sincere thanks to Michael Bratchel, the outgoing President of SASMARS and Convener of the very successful 20th International Conference at Mont Fleur.

Click here for more news about the recent conference

The ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM of the Medieval and Renaissance Study Group of the University of Johannesburg was held on Saturday 16 October 2010

Theme: Sports, Games and Diversions in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

The Speakers were

Prof. Leonie Viljoen (Research Fellow, Dept of English Studies, UNISA): Fun and Games in the Sagas of Icelanders

Michelle Du Plessis-Hay (Dept. of English, North-West University): The Art of Riding: Renaissance Attitudes to Horsemanship

Prof. Victor Houliston (Dept of English, WITS): Can a Jack trump a King? – John Donne and King Charles

Dr Mitzi Andersen (formerly Dept of English, UNISA): Sport that owes its Pleasures to Another’s Pain: ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ and ‘Le Morte Darthur’

Dr Chris Thurman (Dept of English, WITS): ‘I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks’: Playing with ‘Richard III’

Dr George King (Dept. of Musicology, UNISA): Celestial Harmonies: The Postmodern Revival of Hildegard of Bingen’s Music

More information about the Study Group, contact Professor David Scott-Macnab.

David Scott-Macnab has been elected President and Treasurer of SASMARS, as well as Chair of the University of Johannesburg Medieval and Renaissance Study Group.

In May he attended a conference of the Early English Text Society in Oxford, with the theme ‘Editing Medieval Texts from Britain in the Twenty-First Century’.

In July, he read a paper at the Leeds International Medieval Conference entitled ‘The Mystery of the Medieval English Lancegay’.

He has two articles that should be appearing in print any day now:

• ‘The Hunting of the Hare in the Heege Manuscript’, Anglia: Zeitschrift for Englische Studien (Autumn 2010)

• ‘The Medieval Boar and its Haslets’, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen (Autumn 2010)

From Lino Pertile
Director, Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies,
Via di Vincigliata 26, 50135 Firenze, (39) 055 603251

It is my sad task to share the news that Bill Kent died August 30, 2010 after a long battle with cancer. Bill was one of the most respected and beloved members of the I Tatti community. He first joined as a Fellow in 1977/78, then returned as Visiting Professor no less than four times in 1980s and 1990s; he also served on the Advisory Committee between 2000 and 2003, and was a founding-editor of I Tatti Studies: Essays in the Renaissance. Over the years Bill lived several times on the I Tatti property, usually in the Villino, and became a friend of many of the staff, from the library, administration, villa, garden, and farm. Those who worked, visited, or studied at I Tatti were all able to enjoy his broad smile, wry sense of humor, and exuberant personality. For decades, Fellows at I Tatti benefited from his generosity with ideas, information, documents, and that most precious resource, his time.

This is not the time or place to attempt a summary of Bill’s scholarly achievements, but I would like to quote a couple of paragraphs read by his friend Alison Brown, at the dedication of the Bill Kent Library in Monash in Prato last May.

His work has been consistently innovative. Bill first wrote a novel social history of Florence about the continuing importance of families and clans, at a time when politics and emphasis on Renaissance individualism were all the rage. He then moved on to explore the (then) equally novel theme of patronage as a social and political system and the role of Big Men in the Renaissance. This theme led straight on to that alpha male, Lorenzo il Magnifico, whose biography Bill is currently engaged in writing.

Bill also happens to be one of the best-read friends I have. I have always marveled at how he has managed to fit into his life scrupulous reading in his own field and in related academic fields - as a writer, teacher and editor - together with an eclectic and broad-based reading of novels and literature. I am sure that he - like all good Renaissance humanists - believes in the immortality bestowed through letters and books.

That immortality among humanists will be assured, in part, through Bill’s many collaborations with I Tatti. As well as being a founding editor of I Tatti Studies, he co-authored (with Dale Kent) Neighbours and Neighbourhood in Renaissance Florence: The District of the Red Lion in the Fifteenth Century, the sixth volume in the I Tatti publication series. In 2002, he became General Editor of the edition of Lorenzo de' Medici's letters published under the auspices of Villa I Tatti and other institutions. Most recently, the editorial board of I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History recommended the publication of the very volume mentioned by Alison, The Young Lorenzo de' Medici, 1449-1472.
Beyond these and other equally impressive publications, Bill will live on in many studies for which he provided inspiration, encouragement, and assistance, and in the hearts of so many members of our community.

Only a month before his untimely death on 30 August 2010, Bill Kent had been appointed Emeritus Professor of Monash University, to mark his retirement after a career spanning four decades. The appointment acknowleged his distinguished record of service and long association with Monash. Bill had been delighted: ‘Monash University has been much more than just my professional life for well over 40 years' he said.

[Bill was enthusiastic about coming to the 2010 SASMARS conference, but was (rightly) worried that his health might not permit it. In fact he died just before the conference.]

SASMARS Corresponding Fellow Sheila Delany has been working recently on an 18th-c French atheist journalist/scholar, but of medieval interest is  her “Afterlife of a medieval genre: The Nouvelle légende dorée (1790) of Sylvain Maréchal” in Exemplaria 22 (Spring, 2010). She has translated the work and is negotiating a contract for its publication.

SASMARS Corresponding Fellow Roberta Frank has just returned from presenting the 2010 Conway Lectures at the Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame, to be published by their University Press. The three talks looked at three different types of narrative indirection in Old English and Old Norse verse, how early alliterative poetry "told it slant." The lecture titles were as follows:

General title: "Slip Slidin' Away: The Nimble Leaps of Early Northern Verse"
Lecture 1: "Artful Forgetting" (November 1)
Lecture 2:"Removing Weight" (November 3)
Lecture 3:"Jumping the Shark" (November 4)

Roberta has also completed her skaldic edition of the Old Norse Proverb Poem for the collective edition known as Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages.

Celia Kourie attended an excellent conference on Meister Eckhart at St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK,1-3 October 2010:

The Conference took place at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St Albans, Hertfordshire

23rd Annual Conference of the Eckhart Society - Eckhart: A Mystic for Now.

The Comper Chapel


1. Eckhart and the Varieties of Nothing.

Dr Duane Williams, University of Kent.

2. Relating to Ourselves without a Self: Eckhart and Neuroscience.

Dr Ben Morgan: Worcester College, University of Oxford.

3. Eckhart and the Lord's Prayer.

Prof Markus Vinzent, King's College, London.

4. Eckhart and Chu Xi (The Eckhart of the Confucian Tradition).
Ms Shu Hong, University of Birmingham.
In addition to the papers, there was a musical performance, Lectio Divina and a seminar on one of Eckhart's sermons, as well as periods of meditation.

Estelle Maré will be attending the ANZMEMS Conference, University of Otago, Dunedin from 2-5 February. She will present a paper titled "The mystical visions of El Greco's backturned figures".
Verder berig Estelle die SA Journal of Art History loop oor van bydraes. Dit verskyn 3 keer per jaar. Die afgelope 5 jaar is op Sabinet beskikbaar.

Brian S. Lee has published, “Apollo’s Chariot and the Christian Sub-text of The Franklin’s Tale,” in The Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures, Vol. 36, No. 1 (2010), 47-67.


Victor Houliston was involved recently in two events marking the quarto-centenary of the death of the early English Jesuit, Robert Persons (1546–1610). These events did not quite eclipse the papal visit to Britain, but they did something to raise the ‘hispaniolated chameleon’ from obscurity. They were hosted by two of the colleges Persons founded in the late sixteenth century: Stonyhurst College (which began life at St Omer in 1593) and the Royal English College of St Alban’s, Valladolid.

Balliol College, Oxford
In 1574 Persons was expelled from Balliol College, where he had been Bursar and Dean, for alleged irregularities. The Stonyhurst Association decided to restore him to honour by holding a public lecture at Balliol on Friday 22 October. Victor delivered the lecture, ‘A martyr not of a moment but a lifetime’, and the large and lively audience was then treated to dinner at the Catholic chaplaincy next to the Old Palace made famous by Ronald Knox.

The Royal English College, Valladolid
Every year the college, for English seminarians, mounts a major exhibition at the splendid municipal gallery and holds a week of celebration centred on the memorial mass for the martyrs of the college. This year it was dubbed ‘Persons Week’, 23 to 29 October. Victor gave the opening lecture in the college auditorium on Sunday night; Alison Shell spoke on Monday night on figures of Catholic female devotion and suffering, and Paul Quarry, former librarian at Eton, spoke on Wednesday night about Catholic printing in the early modern period. Tuesday was martyrs’ day, with the memorial mass followed by four hours of feasting in their honour.

Thursday was the occasion for a requiem mass for Robert Persons, followed that evening by another festive dinner, this time at a Bodega just out of town.

On the Friday night, when at last it rained in Spain, the chapel was packed to hear music from the time of Robert Persons, performed by Camerata Iberia, directed by Juan Carlos de Mulder. All these events were arranged by the archivist, Fr Peter Harris, who has done wonders to restore the library and the archives.

Our Lady Vulnerata

The chapel is dominated by the figure of Our Lady Vulnerata, a statue of the Virgin Mary that was mutilated and dragged through the streets of Cadiz by English soldiers in the raid led by Essex in 1596. The figure has been left in its mutilated state to represent the desire of the English seminarians to restore the lost and damaged Catholic faith of England.

Sederi – The Spanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies
Victor was glad to meet the editors of the annual journal of SEDERI, Berta Cano Echevarria and Ana Sáez Hidalgo, who hosted him at the University of Valladolid. The Society meets annually and would be very interested in closer contact with SASMARS. Read more about Sederi.

On November 4, in Perugia, Italy, Dario  delivered a lecture to the members of the local Società Dante Alighieri (Dante Alighieri Society) in a classroom of the Università per Stranieri (University for Foreigners), on "La divina tragedia di Torquato Tasso" (Torquato Tasso's Divine Tragedy).The lecture dealt with Tasso's key role in the shift from the Medieval and Renaissance holy poems: Dante, Ariosto, written in Italy, to the modern ones: Milton, Blake, written in England. He provided examples of the ways in which: Tasso quotes Dante, Tasso quotes Ariosto, Tasso anticipates Milton. He also tackled some major issues in Tasso's long poems "Gerusalemme liberata" (Jerusalem Delivered) and "Il mondo creato" (The Seven Days of Creation),  showing several reasons why the poet would deserve more attention in the current culture and society.

We're not only about the Middle Ages and the Renaissance...

The dream of publishing a book about sport and art in South Africa has been several years in the realising for SASMARS member and Wits University lecturer Chris Thurman – and was born of his love of both.
At the launch recently, at the Wits Origins Centre, of Sport vs. Art: A South African Contest featured a truly distinguished line-up of panellists organised by the Wits Arts and Literature Experience (WALE). It included Victor Dlamini (an unapologetic Orlando Pirates fan and writer), Anthea Buys (M&G art critic), Adrienne Sichel (avid South African dance commentator and arts journalist) and Stuart Theobald (former drama student and now sports-enjoying investment journalist at Summit TV). Editor of the book, Thurman chaired a lively and thought-provoking debate on the issues at hand. The two hour debate felt like only the very beginnings of a very necessary discussion in 21st century SA.

Photograph: Victor Dlamini

The crowd was as impressive as the panel, in fact, with Gwen Ansell, Rehanna Rossouw, Georgina Thomson, Jyoti Mistry, Fiona Budd and BASA’s Michelle Constant all present. Events were kick-started by Julia Wright from Wits University Press. Thurman then took the ball in hand, as it were, and started by definitively stating that Sport vs Art is not a World Cup book. His dream simply came together at this point in time (and probably serendipitously so).
Thurman said that Sport vs Art is about “the relationship between sport and arts in South Africa and its sometimes fortuitous, tempestuous, passionate and deeply conflicted nature – a nature that has many times almost led to divorce”. He quoted a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet to illustrate his point: “Ancient grudge break to new mutiny”. In this case, the mutiny comes from the arts side, as we have witnessed “a year of aggravation” with many artists currently feeling unsupported by both government and corporates. He cited Springbok coach Peter de Villiers’ comments during the 2009 British Lions rugby tour, in which he compared rugby and ballet as contact sports – “Why don’t we go to the nearest ballet shop, get some tutus and get a dancing shop going?” de Villiers said – as a moment that sparked renewed appreciation for the prominence that sport enjoys over art in South Africa.
Thurman went on to say that there is potential for the fusion of the two: after all, both are “leisure pursuits”. Unfortunately, though, a dichotomy seems to exist, with sport being seen as a “more accessible and virile pursuit” versus art as “effete and elitist”.
Moving back to the testy topic of lopsided funding, Thurman sought to honour and praise ABSA bank for the funding of the actual text at hand, Sport vs Art, “without meddling in its intellectual substance”.

Sport vs Art is a collaborative effort that includes contributions from many respected voices in addition to those present at the launch. Thurman hopes that it will open a public conversation that helps shape new rules for the competition, such as it is, in 2010 and beyond.
Sport and the arts may compete for sponsors and for public interest, but do they necessarily stand in opposition to one another? Why is it so often assumed that sport is popular because it is an unintelligent endeavour? And why is it apparently inevitable that there is an element of elitism in the arts? Have we drawn a false dichotomy between the two pursuits? What do we make of arts practitioners and 'intellectuals' who are passionate about sport? Or sports buffs who take a keen interest in literature, music, theatre, dance and the visual arts? Sport versus Art is a collection of essays, commentaries, personal memoirs and humorous pieces attempting to answer these and other questions about a fraught relationship at the heart of South Africa’s public life. There has never been a publication of this kind – it brings together a range of contributions from sport and arts journalists, arts practitioners, academics and other writers. The title's appearance in 2010 is timely; the links between sport, the arts and public life in South Africa will continue to be a significant part of national discussions and debates at every level, from the shebeen and the braai all the way to parliament.

Imprint: Wits University Press
Country of origin:South Africa
Release date: April 2010
First published: August 2010
Editor: Christopher Thurman
Format: Paperback


A complete English Pocket Bible
The University of South Carolina has
been actively acquiring medieval
manuscripts as part of its teaching collection. The university library recently acquired a complete English Pocket Bible, the only complete English Pocket Bible in the South. Some links:

The Turin Shroud's enduring mystery
Sunday, 11 April 2010 02:40

The shroud went on display again in Turin on Saturday

As the Turin Shroud is brought out for public viewing again, the BBC's Duncan Kennedy looks at its enduring power to fascinate.

If it was an episode of CSI - Miami, New York or Las Vegas - it would all be solved within a television hour, which, if you strip out the adverts, is about 53 minutes.

The face, the body, the appearance of blood stains, all the clues are there.

And yet, not with the passage of hundreds of years and dozens of inquiries has the mystery of the Turin Shroud been solved to everyone's satisfaction.

So, is it, or is it not the burial cloth of Jesus?

Now, for only the sixth time in a century, the public are getting their chance to don their own sleuthing hats and get a close-up personal view of the main exhibit.

It is the shroud's first display in a decade and more than a million tickets have already been booked to see it by the sceptical, the faithful and the plain curious.

Giotto's Ognissanti Crucifix brought back to life
5 November 2010
By Duncan Kennedy BBC News, Florence

The Ognissanti Crucifix has undergone a seven-year restoration

A British woman has helped uncover an Italian masterpiece, and by doing so ended a mystery over exactly who painted it.
The piece in question is the Ognissanti, or All Saints, Crucifix - which depicts Christ on a wooden cross nearly 5m (15ft) high.

On one side is the Virgin Mary, on the other, St John the Evangelist. It is thought to have been painted between 1310 and 1315.
Restorer Anna-Marie Hilling says removing years of grime has revealed incredible colours, convincing restorers that it is by Giotto.


Jesus' mother Mary's anguish is now plain to see

Rare Romanesque reliquary displayed at Prague Castle
Prague, Nov 23 (CTK) - The rare Romanesque reliquary of St. Maur made of gilded silver and gilded copper and decorated with almost 200 precious stones was transported to Prague Castle, the presidential seat, to be displayed to public there as of Wednesday, under strict security measures yesterday.

The reliquary was sent to Prague from the chateau in Becov, west Bohemia, in a special vehicle protected by policemen from the rapid reaction unit (URNA).
The unique artifact will be installed in the late Gothic Vladislav Hall in the Old Royal Place at Prague Castle.
The exhibition will be officially opened tonight with President Vaclav Klaus and his wife attending, and it will run through February 27, 2011.

New images may yield Viking ships

September 24, 2010
Archaeologists think they have found two more Viking ships buried in Vestfold County south of Oslo. The biggest may be 25 metres long, larger than any found so far.

This image, and another like it, may lead archaeologists to the discovery of more Viking ships buried south of Oslo. PHOTO: LBI ArchPro/NIKU

Road construction near the old Viking trading center at Kaupang has led to the discovery of two large ship silhouettes on ground radar pictures. The pictures have been made possible through a venture involving the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning, NIKU) and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archeological Prospection and Virtual Archeology.
Odin from Lejre - a unique find at Roskilde Museum

Odin from Lejre, small but significant

On Friday 13 November Roskilde Museum was able to reveal a completely unique find, which was made during the extensive excavations in Gammel Lejre (Old Lejre).

Roskilde Museum
The find, a small figure only 2 cm high, is of Odin sitting on his throne. That it is the Nordic gods’, the Æsir’s, supreme god who is depicted, is clearly shown by the two birds sitting on the armrests of the chair. They are Odin’s two ravens, Hugin and Munin, which flew out every day and returned home in the evening to tell Odin all that had happened. The elaborately made chair is Odin’s throne or high seat known as Hlidskjalf. The seat gave Odin magic powers and from it he could see over the whole world. These attributes are connected to Odin in his capacity as the all-seeing and all-knowing god. Up until very recently, the representations of Odin as the ruler, to a greater extent than the warrior, have only been known from later traditions, such as the national romantic interpretations of history during Denmark’s Golden Age or the more modern Valhalla comics. Now for the first time, with the coming to light of Odin from Lejre, we can gain an insight into how the Vikings themselves viewed their supreme god. The figurine is cast in silver, and decorated with gilding and inlay of niello, a black-coloured metal alloy. It is richly detailed and a very beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

Teaching Thomas Nashe: Invitation to Participate in a Survey
Critical interest in Thomas Nashe (the Elizabethan writer best known for his pamphleteering and The Unfortunate Traveller) has been on the rise, as seen in the published monographs, biographies, articles, book chapters, notes, and dissertations that focus on his writings. In the last decade alone, publications on Nashe appearing in the MLA Bibliography account for about a fifth of the entire list. Scholars have taken Nashe's works in important new directions, from authorship, the print market, literary influences and relations, to the study of prose, narrative, satire, romance, pornography, and religious and other controversies, to the writing of the city, the nation, the ocean, and of poverty, disease, and violence, to applications of media, textual, and actor-network theories, and so on. These recent developments prompt us to ask whether there has been a similar surge of interest in teaching the works of Thomas Nashe. In setting up this survey, we are interested not only in individual perspectives but also in gaining a broader view of how teachers situate Nashe's works both within the field of early modern English literature and within their institutions' undergraduate and graduate curricula. In other words, we are interested in how teachers position Nashe's literary performance in the cultivation of students' intellectual curiosity and capacity for knowledge-making. To this end, we invite you to participate in a brief online survey on "Teaching Thomas Nashe" that should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. We hope to publish our findings in an essay to be included in an anthology in progress of Nashe criticism. To access the survey simply click on the link below.

Should you encounter any problems accessing the survey, please contact Joan Linton at .

The 1889 English Language Exam in the Oxford English Faculty...

As part of Project Woruldhord we've been looking through some of the older, more obscure items in the Oxford English Faculty. One collection we came across (and photographed) were the early exam papers (see  for the 1889 English Language Exam). It's interesting to note that separate papers were set for men and women, not to mention the focus (and dare one say difficulty?) of the questions of 120 years ago.

We've captured all the exams up until 1940 and these will be presented as part of the archive when it goes live. If you want to see other 'highlights' take a look at the editors' picks on the home page -

Stuart Lee
University of Oxford

Chaucer Audioglossed

Michael Murphy has made available on the Web an audioglossed version of Chaucer’s General Prologue and several tales. It is free to all, and may be downloaded at will.

Click here to go to the website Downloading takes a minute or two.

The audiogloss is a new method of glossing a text which modern technology makes possible, and will be particularly useful to beginning students. It works like this: the user is reading an old-spelling text and at the same time is hearing on the computer a recording of the same words read in modern pronunciation. This alone provides a kind of gloss that will solve many of the difficulties presented by unfamiliar spelling. Readers see the original old-spelling word on the page, and hear its modern sound in the audio instead of having to look away from the text for a visual gloss: hir(e) is her or their; seigh, say, saugh are heard as the familiar saw ; reed is pronounced red; woltow = wilt thou; etc.

This says nothing about the sounds of Chaucer’s own English. It is simply a modern gloss.

In the case of totally obsolete words, a modern word of the same meaning and syllable count is substituted on the audio for the obsolete or archaic word on the page. The user sees pardee and hears by God; I know in place of I wot; cleped = called, etc.

Use of the audiogloss should make understanding an old spelling Chaucer text much more speedy and enjoyable for the student.

Bear in mind that this is not an attempt at an edition; it is a gloss for a standard edition.

Teachers who find this method useful are encouraged to make their own audioglossed recordings.

Feedback is welcome from teachers and students who have used the audiogloss.

Michael Murphy, email: 

A Viking Mystery

Beneath Oxford University, archaeologists have uncovered a medieval city that altered the course of English history.
By David Keys

Smithsonian magazine, October 2010

British archaeologists looking for evidence of prehistoric activity in the English county of Dorset discovered instead a mass grave holding 54 male skeletons. Oxford Archaeology
Before construction could begin on new student housing at one of Oxford University’s 38 colleges, St. John’s, archaeologists were summoned to investigate the site in January 2008. After just a few hours of digging, one archaeologist discovered the remains of a 4,000-year-old religious complex—an earthwork enclosure, or henge, built by late Neolithic tribesmen, probably for a sun-worshiping cult. About 400 feet in diameter, the temple was one of the largest of Britain’s prehistoric henges, of which more than 100 have been found.

Later, the archaeologists found pits full of broken pottery and food debris suggesting that people had used the henge as a medieval garbage dump millennia after it had been dug. Excited, they began searching for items that might reveal details of daily life in the Middle Ages. Instead they found bones. Human bones.

“At first we thought it was just the remains of one individual,” says Sean Wallis of Thames Valley Archaeological Services, the company that did the excavating. “Then, to our surprise, we realized that corpses had been dumped one on top of another. Wherever we dug, there were more of them. Not only did we have a 4,000-year-old prehistoric temple, but now a mass grave as well.”

News about the online version of the Bosworth-Toller dictionary

• Entries are now interlinked with an online version of Wright's grammar so that you can check the accidence, word-formation or developmental information with a single click

• Pronunciation is now included as an experimental feature. It is generated by a neat OE pronunciation algorithm developed by one of our students as a part of his BA thesis (see The algorithm takes little heed of morphological features and it does not work with etymological or suprasegmental features. The results are therefore accurate only to a limited extent.

Useful Resources for Shakespeare Studies

Hardy Cook, Editor of the SHAKSPER discussion forum, has given the English Department at his three times alma mater the University of Maryland, College Park, a large collection of the materials gathered and developed in his years of teaching. When the updated SHAKSPER web site is completed, he plans to put many more of his materials than on the Internet for reading or downloading. Until then he will continue to distribute my powerpoints, as long as they are used strictly for educational or research purposes and NOT for any commercial enterprise. This stipulation is, of course, so that he will remain covered by the fair use exemption of the copyright laws.

Download these powerpoints at the following locations; however, please keep in mind that many of them are large files that will take a long time to download even with a high speed Internet connection. Also, be sure to type the file names exactly as they appear; case matters.
Icelanders May Be Descendants of Native Americans

Genealogy and anthropology studies support a theory that Native Americans accompanied Norsemen to Iceland 500 years before Christopher Columbus discovered America. According to the study, many Icelanders carry genes characteristic of Native Americans.

The theory is put forward in the Master thesis of Sigrídur Sunna Ebeneserdóttir, who is studying anthropology at the University of Iceland (HÍ), which was conducted on behalf of deCODE Genetics, Fréttabladid reports.

The conclusions have raised considerable attention and been covered in The Guardian and The Telegraph after an extensive article on the study appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The National Geographic has also expressed interest in the study.