The Black Death Digital Archive Project

Our understanding of the Black Death, the plague pandemic that ravaged Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa between 1346 and 1353, has been transformed in the 15 years due to new developments in genetics. An evolutionary history of the causative organism of plague, Yersinia pestis, allows us now to track plague’s movements across vast landscapes and demonstrate the connected stories linking outbreaks from China to Spain to sub-Saharan Africa. Just as the geographical footprint of the Second Plague Pandemic has grown, so, too, has its chronological scope.

The Tang Shipwreck


Belitung Shipwreck
0° 40' 9.57" S, 105° 1' 42.384" E

The Story of Global Ivory in the Pre-Modern Era

How is this “Story” different from other parts of MappaMundi?

A curated collection of ivory objects.

Each object has a story to tell—its “biography”.

Taken together, all the ivory objects represent a mosaic of impressions and scholarship about the culture of the pre-modern world.

You, the audience, will craft the penultimate story of Global Ivory.


17° 5' 17.8476" N, 54° 6' 27.5688" E

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The North American Middle Ages: Big History from the Mississippi Valley to Mexico

The sixth through the sixteenth centuries CE saw dramatic pan-North American social and cultural changes that need to be considered in broad global terms. There are important historical parallels and there were likely intermittent connections between eastern North America, the Trans-Mississippi South, and the Southwest and Mesoamerica.


United States
38° 34' 17.382" N, 90° 11' 24.1404" W

Virtual Plasencia

Historical Background on Medieval Spain and Plasencia

Plasencia is located in the rocky and oak-covered Spanish province of the Extremadura and a territory formerly known as the Roman region of Lusitania.


United States
40° 11' 16.1808" N, 4° 33' 52.0452" W

The Peregrinations of Prester John: The Creation of a Global Story Across 600 Years

In the Middle Ages, there are few individuals, fictional or historical, who have exercised a stronger pull than Prester John. A product of anxious cultural imaginings mixed with hope for historical change, Prester John has commanded consistent interest since 1145.


United States
47° 7' 26.2992" N, 7° 23' 19.212" E

Early Global Connections: East Africa between Asia, and Mediterranean Europe

Ancient East African communities organized themselves along ethnic lines but were linked to each other and to communities outside of their region through numerous networks of interactions at various scales. On this site, we explore these spheres of interaction and try to understand the rise and sustenance of cosmopolitan urban polities on the East African coast.



United States
6° 36' 44.0244" N, 43° 35' 58.5888" E