biweekly links 7-26-2017

Notorious look at 16th century: check this out! An amateur (!) builder spent 10 years (!) researching and building a replica of a Portuguese caravel. This is the kind of insanely dedicated experiential archaeology I lurve. To my eternal regret I can’t find a website or blog chronicling the building process, but the ship’s Wikipedia page has some information. To find out where it docks next check out its Twitter and Facebook page.

Photo of ship Susan Constant at sunset
Reproduction of the “Susan Constant” at the Jamestown Settlement, no less impressive though it wasn’t made by a single man in his backyard. Author’s own.

A $70 ‘Worry Stone’ and Other Bizarre Spiritual Products You Can Buy Online: I used to have a worry stone – can’t imagine where it got off to but it’s nice to know I can replace it from the comfort of my keyboard. For serious high rollers you can get an “orgon [sic] accumulator” starting at $2000.

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Dunkirk: One of many articles about the movie, but I think covers history vs. fiction the best. As a former stickler for historical accuracy at all costs, writing The Book has humbled me to the real difficulties of hammering historical events into a compelling narrative. Nolan’s aim was to “put you on that beach” and I think he did so admirably, while sticking astonishingly close to the facts. Not included: why Germany stopped their attack or the fate of those left behind.

Will: 5 ways ‘The Two Gentlemen’ twists history: from painstaking historical accuracy we go to flamboyant liberty with the facts, or at least the image. I’ve not seen “Will” (yet?) but I can’t hammer it’s “punk rock Elizabethan” aesthetic too hard – I love artful anachronisms – but opinions differ.

Biweekly links 12-22-2015

Historical links: necklaces from the Cheapside Hoard
Historical links: necklaces from the Cheapside Hoard being mounted for display. Source:

Merry/Happy [insert holiday here]!

First glimpse of lost library of Elizabethan polymath John Dee – delicious animated images of marginalia and pop-up elements in books from Dee’s famous library. A sneak preview of an upcoming exhibit at the Royal College of Physicians that I’d give my eyeteeth to attend. Here’s hoping they do an exhibit catalog!

How much do you know about Elizabethan money? I only got 50%, maybe you can top me.

Where there’s a quill … help to unpick manuscripts from the days of Shakespeare – a crowdsourcing project in which volunteers transcribe 400 year old documents. I love it when technology intersects with primary sources in an effort to make them available to everyone! Check out to get started.

The Studiolo of Francesco de’ Medici – a secret room created in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, it’s a beautiful example of a study/cabinet of curiosities popular in the sixteenth century.