Just a few things this week to round off the end of the month. Another story about urban archaeology, and one about Labyrinth’s favourite mythological creature (hint: it’s not minotaurs. Well, it is, but there’s not a lot of minotaur related news. Okay fine, our second favourite creature). Also over the next few months, Newsreels will become intermittent with the term starting, we’ll have social events, interviews with professors, and other exciting things to post, so expect a Newsreel every few weeks, instead of weekly. Also, I’ve found that the news starts to slow down after the summer digs are over, and don’t necessarily want to treat you to breaking news about Caligula’s artichoke collection. Okay, not true. if I found an article on that, it’d be in the post in a heartbeat. Anyway, buried kings and vampires! Continue reading

This week we’re back with even more courses being offered in the fall, only this time we have some from the more advanced years. Later courses in the program start to develop your interests in a much more specialized way, toward history, textual analysis, art, or even field archaeology. I’ve taken a few of these courses, and spoken with students who have taken the others, and hope to provide you with a good picture of our advanced offerings for the fall term.  Continue reading


There’s more to classics and medieval studies than field archaeology, though that’s what produces some of the best pictures, without a doubt. Still, there’s worlds of scholars who work with artifacts and ancient texts to better help us understand the stories of the ancient world. They translate manuscripts, write your textbooks, teach your classes, and advance the tradition in their own way. It’s as important to shine the spotlight on their work as it is those of field archaeologists, because it’s just as important, if not more. So today’s Newsreel is devoted to those scholars who help us understand the past as much as those who help us discover it.  Continue reading

The wind is starting to pick up and the nights are getting coolers, which means it’s almost certainly fall. New students, new classes, and new beginnings (all beginnings are new) await us in the term. It’s worth examining some of our course offerings this term from a student’s perspective, to get a picture of why you might take them, which ones are good, and which ones to be cautious of in your first few years as a classics student or enthusiast. This is a two part post, so you can look for more fall course offerings next week, but today I’ll start with the basics. Continue reading

A map of old Edinburgh, centred on Cowgate


Hidden cities fascinate me. The idea that beneath modern towns there’s a substrate of urban life that once was. There are a lot of them, which is no surprise because cities are built where they are for a reason, and the reason doesn’t usually change even if the city dies. In Canada we don’t have very much of that, our cities are too new, but in Europe it’s possible that beneath the streets lie the bones of knights and monks, a civilization of stories waiting to be unearthed. This week’s newsreel brings you three hidden pieces of cities in the UK.  Continue reading

The Adventures of Phillip Part 2

Disheartened after learning I was in the furthest back of the backwater districts of Sparta instead of a glorious city in Egypt, I left the farmer behind and, trudging up the road, slumped down on a tree stump. Most of my coin had gone into paying for this trip, and even if the farmer had paid me more, I had nowhere to spend it, really. As the hot, Mediterranean sun beat a path across the sky, I sulked a bit. I thought back to my father’s small farm wistfully. It’s a sad day in a young man’s life when he looks upon backbreaking work with fondness. I’d have to walk home, all the way through Sparta, spending my time wandering through barely lit roadways rather than chasing women like I’d hoped to. Knees creaking, I started to stand but froze as I heard a sound in the bushes.  Continue reading

Police Commander pulls up a large artifact from a Roman wreck near Varazze.


Sometimes there are amazing discoveries in the field, and it’s worth highlighting several of the cooler or crazier ones. With that in mind, Labyrinth is introducing our Newsreel series, which will collate and comment on a few prominent discoveries or articles in classical or medieval studies in the past week. Today, for our inaugural post, we have the a meeting of modern and ancient soldiers, medieval urban planning, and how archaeologists were led to a find by going fishing.  Continue reading

Despite the fact that we study people who lived and died over a thousand years ago, their influence is still profound on our society even today, and not just in our legal codes and practices, but in popular culture. The Avengers are rife with medieval imagery, and movies Gladiator and shows like Rome demonstrate how transfixed we are by images of the ancient world. Youtube has added a really intriguing element to this by letting people produce their material, giving a more colloquial perspective on ancient history. Today, since I’m just coming back from vacation, you can enjoy a few these, presented in my favourite medium, song.  Continue reading

I’m on vacation this weekend, but thought I’d share with you a song I wrote about the International Congress of Medieval Studies. Because I’m a nerd. Who raps. About nerdy things sometimes. I also want to talk a bit about Kalamazoo, which is where the conference is, and what we usually refer to it as.  Continue reading