Object of the Month
The inventory of Guilglelmo (or modern, Guglielmo) di Rinbalduccio is, by and large, unexceptional. Since the decedent presumably had no children to inherit his goods (none were listed in his will), the bulk of his worldly assets—all very typical items found in most other Florentine households—were passed on to his wife Bartola and her unnamed sister. However, one of Guglielmo’s items does stand out in the list of common household goods. Among the objects found in what the notary records as...
Laureta de Rabesio, a religious recluse?
Inventory of the Month
Laureta de Rabesio, to judge by her late husband's surname, was a member of Marseille's well-to-do class of merchants and patricians. So too was her friend and heir, Dulcieta Atulfa. But when you take a moment to wander around the house and the things she left to her friend, you don't even remotely get the impression of elite social status. In the almost entirely unfurnished dining hall, Dulcieta found two old and nearly worthless chests and two wooden chairs. In the bedroom, there was little...
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.