Object of the Month
The Florentine dyer Papi di Benichase died on June 8, 1420 at his home in the neighborhood of San Niccolò, on the south bank of the Arno River. Shortly after his death, Ser Christofano di Nicholaio, a notary from the office of the orphans, examined Papi’s property and compiled an inventory of movable goods to be handed over to the newly widowed Lady Sandra. Among the reported household items were a certain number of books written on charte banbagine (cotton paper). The cotton paper might have...
A pawnbroker with a guilty conscience
Inventory of the Month
Inventories, by definition, are lists of objects. For that reason, they typically offer representations of households that are static and lifeless, affording little insight into the people of the household: their thoughts, behaviors, emotions, all of the human elements that would capture the attention of anyone who could visit in person. Also missing are the sounds and smells, the feel of soft fabrics, the glittering colors of imported ceramics, and all the sensory experiences that one would...
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.