ossamenta: (Book store = shiny!)
The spring Oxbow catalogue came yesterday. So many wonderful books…. If only I had more money for buying them, more space to store them and more time to read them. But there are some really cool stuff that I feel the need to if not acquire, then to read them in the uni library.

cut )
ossamenta: Weasel skull (Flygödlefossil)
Blogposts with links are often called linkspam, but personally, I think that's the wrong word. Spam is something I don't want, whereas interesting links will brighten up my day. Therefore, I will call these posts linksoup, since soup is delicious! :-)


I found an interesting blog today: Powered by osteons, written by a human bone specialist in Italy. Lots of Roman posts, but also a great variety of interesting stuff, such as the use of sulphur isotope analysis to research fish consumption and the age of weaning.

Contagions is a more specialised blog, about historic infectious disease. I had only time to poke around a bit, but found posts on trench fever and the black death. As some of you probably already have heard, dna from Yersinia pestis has been extracted from several skeletons from a plague pit in London, thus confirming that Yersinia was (at least one of) the bacteria that wrecked havoc in Europe in the mid-14th century. (More info, and some background to the debate)


Yersinia pestis: Isn't she cute!


On a Mesolithic site in Sweden, archaeologists have found human skulls on stakes, placed in a shallow lake near the settlement. For once, the use of "ritual" doesn't seem far-fetched. I can't wait to read the report on this site. The Mesolithic has a special place in my heart, ever since I studied prehistoric archaeology in Lund. So many rich sites in Scania and Denmark, with not only bone and antler but also wood. On the other hand, Mesolithic sites that only yield flint scatters, as is the case in most of Britain, is rather boring.
(More detailed information on the site and ceremonial deposit in the site blog - only in Swedish, though)

Going even further back in time, dinosaur feathers have been found in amber! Unfortunately I didn't see any when I was on the lookout for nice amber in Gdansk.

For those of you who are based near London, or a planning a winter visit, the new exhibition
Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination will be at the British Library from 11 November-13 March.

And don't forget to put a note in the calendar for 2013: a big Viking exhibition at the National Museum in Denmark (Copenhagen), the Museum für Vor- und Frügeschichte (Berlin) and the British Museum (London). The National Museum in Denmark has a blog on the ongoing work with creating the exhibition (Danish only).

Keeping on the historical side, I must recommend Reel history: a blog series on the accuracy on various historical movies. On a related note, the fabulous Isis* wrote a post on how the present fashion is reflected in historical movies.

*: I adore 18th century fashion (the movie Dangerous Liasons, anyone?) and someday I will get around to make a 18th century outfit.


Various useful sources I found online:
- Abstracts from the 15th meeting of the ICAZ fish remains working group in 2009 (pdf)
- London lives 1690-1800: crime, poverty and social policy in the metropolis. Digitised and searchable primary sources focussing on middle and lower class Londoners. The sources include over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects.
- A ph.d. thesis which is right in my interest sphere: Marianne Erath, Studien zum mitelalterlichen Knochenschnitzerhandwerk : die Entwicklung eines spezialiserten Handwerks in Konstanz (Studies on Medieval craft of bone-turners: development of a specialised handcraft in Konstanz) (pdf)
- My colleague Jessica Grimm's thesis Animal keeping and the use of animal products in medieval Emden (Lower Saxony, Germany).
- Another interesting ph.d. - on medieval textiles and fashion rather than bone: Eva I. Andersson (2006) Kläderna och människan i medeltidens Sverige och Norge (Clothing and the individual in Medieval Sweden and Norway) (pdf)
ossamenta: (Book store = shiny!)
First, thanks for the well-wishes. The interview seemed to go well: some things that they liked about me, and some things I could improve on. We'll see what happens.

The new Oxbow summer catalogue is out and I thought I'd give a shout-out to some that seemed interesting. A lot of the catalogue is on Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, which I'm not enough familiar with to tell which books are of general relevance and which are only for the artefact/regional specialists. If you are interested in those periods I recommend you check out their website. An exception was made for books of interest to re-enactors and people interested in making replicas of historical finds, as there were a few of those in the Roman section.

Cut for lots of books )
ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)
Thanks to fabulous Katrin Kania of Togs from bogs, I have seen pictures of extant medieval underpants! Medieval underwear has been a particular interest of mine for several years now. I gave a lecture on it at the Medieval Week in Visby in 2004, but haven't had time to pursue it much since.

Underwear are interesting because they are so seldom seen. Basically the only people in medieval illustrations that have visible underwear are working farmers, people in bed/childbirth and people being executed (saints, criminals, people who supported the losing side etc). There are also some topsy-turvy illustrations of women wearing the man's underpants, which often have been taken as proof for women wearing panties in the Middle Ages. This is a particular controversy. Since underwear is so seldom seen - and what we see on women are long shifts/chemises - we don't know what or if they wore any. Indeed, the early 19th century satirical illustration (can't recall the name, nor find a link - it's the one of people falling down a staircase, used for the Penguin classics edition of Vanity Fair It's Exhibition stare case) is rather clear on the absence of panties. The common objection, particularly among re-enactors, is that they must have worn something when they were menstruating. A counterpoint is that women in 18th C rural Scania did not wear anything under their shifts, but let the blood soak into their shifts and their hosen, as noted by Carl Linnaeus in his Scanian travels in 1749.

I will stop myself from going on about this, since I'm working from memory and as I said above, it's been a few years since I knew the details and the sources by heart. Perhaps there will be a future blog post.

Anyway, these extant underpants were found together with lots of stuff (playing cards, shoes, coins, glass, bits of clothes, iron and copper objects, you name it) in the fillings of one vaulted ceiling at Schloss Lengberg in Austria. The finds are dated to the 15th century. There is a nice photo in an article on the finds (pdf, in German). It's not possible to tell whether they may have belonged to a man or a woman, but they look just like men's underpants in contemporary illustrations.

And the (other) really exciting thing? At this year's NESAT (North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles), Beatrix Nutz will give a talk on the 15th C bras that were found in the Lengberg assemblage. How awesome is that? Bras are also very rare in illustrations - the only thing I've seen have been suggestions of breastbinding - and merely to know that there are extant ones, now that sends good shivers down my spine in excitement. Can it be May soon?

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