Browsing History and Archaeology by Journal
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The household inventory as urban 'theatre' in late medieval BurgundyIn 1413 at the death of his wife Guillemot, Jean Aubert, a group of witnesses and a clerk of the local mayoralty met to value the possessions of their residence, resulting in an inventory full of notes and values on rooms and their objects. Within the existing historiography of the Burgundian Netherlands and its Northern European neighbours, inventories and their objects tend to be analysed from two perspectives: the Burgundian court and the ‘consumer revolution’. Applying insights from Erving Goffman and Bruno Latour, this article suggests a third perspective should have priority: the urban ‘theatre’ within which objects were documented and placed. Therefore it sets up an alternate methodology which begins with the inventory to build a picture of the theatre (the urban context and residence), the actors (the Aubert family) and the audience (the witnesses of the inventory) to establish new insights on the operation of Burgundian power and the dynamics of the ‘consumer revolution’.
The Social History of a Medieval Fish Weir, c. 600-2020This paper presents the longue durée social history of a medieval fish weir. It reveals the significant role of fishing and fish weirs in the construction and reconstruction of social structures and cultural identities. It focuses on an enigmatic annual ceremony – the construction of the Horngarth or Penny Hedge at Whitby, North Yorkshire. It begins by arguing that this descends from the construction of a medieval intertidal fish weir. It then explores the possible social and cultural contexts in which it originated and the social and cultural circumstances that perpetuated its construction to the sixteenth century. It proceeds to consider the social and cultural changes that undermined its original function and transformed its significance in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, and how an invented tradition about it became important to the local identity and national reputation of the town.