A fur corset as daily wear
Object of the Month
One of the strange things about medieval estate inventories is that they sometimes provide glimpses into states of mind or habits of thought that are otherwise almost invisible to us. Among other things, inventories demonstrate how the people of that era had ideas about ownership or possession that are different from our own. It seems to have been taken for granted by everyone, for example, that almost everything in a house belonged to the head of the household. Thus, when a husband died, the...
An Irish Merchant in London
Inventory of the Month
The inventory of Dublin merchant Patrick Hegley is an unusual example of an English probate inventory; lacking as it does any household goods or furnishings. Instead, this inventory records just the personal belongings and merchandise which Patrick had in his possession when he died away from his home. This document offers an intriguing insight into the relative lack of objects which a merchant may have traveled with and the types of merchandise which they might have purchased and...
Enslaved persons in late 14th-century Florence
In theory, estate inventories recorded everything of value in the estate of a decedent. To modern readers, one of the most unsettling features of premodern inventories can be found in the references to enslaved persons. Entries identifying enslaved persons as property are a commonplace in inventories from the colonial United States, where they are often listed at the beginning of the inventory, occasionally alongside the livestock. We also find them in inventories from Mediterranean Europe,...READ MORE
ALME is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary project that seeks to increase our understanding of Europe’s material horizons during the later Middle Ages, an era when changing patterns of production and consumption altered the material world and transformed the relationship between people and things.
DALME has developed a novel methodology that focuses on the extraction of information about material culture from documentary sources, such as household or estate inventories, in a manner that makes it possible to seamlessly integrate textual objects with their tangible counterparts from archaeological excavations and museum collections.
Drawing upon cross-disciplinary practice and advances in digital scholarship, the project aims to make vast amounts of material culture accessible online as open, well-structured and machine-actionable datasets readily amenable to computational analysis, together with the necessary tools, standards, and documentation to enable new research and facilitate dissemination.
Based in the Department of History at Harvard University, DALME brings together a growing network of researchers from institutions across the US and Europe.
We are grateful to the following organizations for supporting the project.