what did people eat from what did they drink from?

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robin wood
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what did people eat from what did they drink from?

Postby robin wood » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:21 pm

Perhaps I could share a little of my latest research presented in a paper to the medieval pottery research group. Pots are very important archaeologically because they always survive but this can skew our view of how numerous they were at the time. Medieval account books give a good measure of vessel usage as they record every penny spent. the Howard household books record purchases between 1460 and 1485 of over 3000 wooden vessels (mostly bowls and drinking bowls), 216 pewter, 46 leather, 1 glass and 18 pots. The eminent medieval historian Proffesor Chris Dyer who has studied most of the existing medieval accounts estimates that the average household purchased 3 pots a year compared to 100 wooden vessels. Those 3 pots however over a 500 year period each broken into 20 pieces yield 30,000 sherds all of which survive whereas the wood is burnt or rots. Of those sherds less than 1% are bowls, most are cooking pots and jugs.

Perhaps that is why Turner is the 24th most common surname and potter is 254th. Of course pots are cheap today due to cheap fuel prices, in the medieval accounts both pots and wooden bowls were 1/2d, today my bowls are twice the price of Jim the pot’s or John Hudson’s but then they are similar to the prices of potters who fire their kilns with wood.

Lots of info on styles and pictures of old bowls from excavations in "the wooden bowl" pub stobart davies



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robin wood
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research help

Postby robin wood » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:13 pm

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has copies of any other Household accounts or records of purchase refering to vessels...wooden, pot, metal or whatever. The commonplace items rarely show in inventories being of negligable value but if anyone has other primary source records I would be very interested to hear.
Robin



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Karen Larsdatter
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Re: research help

Postby Karen Larsdatter » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:04 pm

There's a few documents (especially inventories) in the Paston letters that refer to vessels too, and I seem to recall some references in the Medieval & Tudor Kent P.C.C. & C.C.C. Wills. (These obviously don't necessarily refer to purchases, but they're interesting anyway.) Have you seen Gold and Gilt, Pots and Pins: Possessions and People in Medieval Britain?

Part of the reason why I'd set up my "feast gear" linkspage was so that people could determine what was available in their period, and what might have been appropriate for their portrayal. (As for my family, we also consider whether we're dressing up or dressing down for the event, and how durable & rugged we'll need our stuff to be -- it's no good to bring the prunted glass beakers if they're just going to turn into a mess of prunted glass shards by midday, so the silver beakers might be a better choice.)



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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:49 pm

Robin, York Probate Inventories, York Archaelogical trust, translated into English with glossary.

A quick flick shows some things mentioned, ie large wooden bowls, and then not at all.

Also suggest you check out the middle english dictionary, see my sig line, enter key words to see what lands. If there is a ref it gives all teh right info to source it later.


middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf


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