Object of the Month
Sugar, or zucchero, appears only occasionally in the Florentine inventories, especially when compared with the references to flour, olive oil, beans, dried meats and other foodstuffs found frequently in these notarial documents. However, four entries for large quantities of sugar were included among the household items in the inventory of Miniato di Piero, who was also called Speziale (or, “Spicer”). Two barrels of sugar, one “large” (grande) and one “old” (vecchio) were found in a storeroom...
Bonafos Bonet, a victim of the Black Death
Inventory of the Month
This inventory records the possessions of Bonafos Bonet, a citizen and resident of Marseille who died in the Black Death of 1348. Bonafos was married to Doneta, who apparently predeceased him by a few days. They were immigrants from a town in Languedoc named Lunel, located about 30 kms northeast of Montpellier. The inventory was made on 5 June 1348, in the waning months of the plague, by Bonet Vital, also a citizen and resident of Marseille. Bonet was an immigrant from the town of Uzès in a...
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.