Object of the Month
Chests and coffers are one of the most commonly recorded objects in English probate inventories. One specific form of these objects, counter chests, are typically found within shops and warehouses in the inventories of merchants and traders. The 1490 inventory of merchant Henry Bodiham includes an entry for “a counter cheste” towards the end of a long list of textiles, haberdashery-ware, and related sundries which were recorded within his shop. In addition to storing merchandise these chests...
Inventory of the Month
One advantage of examining inventories from the Office of the Florentine Wards is that most are cached within an estate dossier, a collection of written materials related to the decedent’s worldly goods and assets. A will or testament often appears as the first document in the dossier; reading through the entries allows researchers to detect the role of each named person in the life of the decedent, and their relationship to other members of the household or to the goods listed in the...
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.