An English Cap, or, Space and Place in Inventories
Object of the Month
Although inventories are first and foremost lists of items, they can also be an entryway into understanding the spatial and geographical aspects of a householder’s daily life. A single folio from the dossier of Bernardo di Giorgio de Bardi, for example, allows readers to look beyond the objects he owned and to learn about the spaces and places familiar to the deceased over the course of his lifetime. As we read through the first folio of Bernardo's household inventory, narrowing down from...
A notary, his library, and a city in crisis
Inventory of the Month
Francesco di Giusfredo Sembrini, a notary of Lucca, died in 1348, likely a victim of the Black Death. We know the year of Francesco’s death from a brief notice—one of dozens for the year of the plague—that appears in a register of the local bishop’s court.✱ The same notice reveals that Francesco had prepared a testament, but this not been found.✱ Nonetheless, Francesco’s household inventory has fortuitously survived, occupying two loose bifolia wedged in the spine of another notary’s...
Poems of Household Goods: Gendered Inventories of Economic and Social Capital
From the late Middle Ages, peculiar inventories have survived within so-called "poems of household goods." At least twelve of these poems have been handed down in German since the 14th century.✱ Similar poems in French already existed in the 13th century.✱ From today's perspective, they may seem quite strange. Resembling actual inventories, their detailed descriptions of household goods on the one hand give us vivid insights into the material furnishings of late medieval and early modern...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.