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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 1318: The Materiality of Everyday Life, II: Possessions and Status

Wednesday 3 July 2019, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Ben Jervis, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Moderator/Chair:Chris D. Briggs, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
Paper 1318-aImitating or Innovating?: Social Emulation and Peasant Consumption in Late Medieval Valencia
(Language: English)
Luis Almenar Fernández, Departament d'història medieval, ciències i tècniques historiogràfiques, Universitat de València
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1318-b'A man of myn astate': Yeoman Households in Late Medieval East Anglia
(Language: English)
Louisa Foroughi, Department of History, Fordham University, New York
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Social History
Paper 1318-cThe Status of Things: Archaeological and Historical Reflections on Social Status and Personal Possessions
(Language: English)
Ben Jervis, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Archaeology - Sites, Economics - Rural, Social History

Our possessions and our identities are closely connected, but how secure can we be about drawing inferences between status and objects in the medieval past? Models such as social emulation suggest that we strive to use objects to present ourselves in particular ways, but, as Luis Almenar Fernández will discuss, we cannot always be certain that improvements in living standards can be related to this process of emulating the nobility. The evidence provided by wills, which will be examined by Louisa Foroughi, allows us to understand not only the possessions of medieval people, but also how they perceived of and valued them. Her analysis will help elucidate the types of objects which might reliably be understood as indicators of status. This approach will be furthered by Alice Forward's comparison of archaeological and documentary evidence gathered through the 'Living Standards and Material Culture in English Rural Households 1300-1600' project, which will critically examine the ways that archaeologists are able to infer status from household assemblages through entering this evidence into dialogue with the evidence provided by lists of goods and chattels found in the records of the Royal Escheator and the Coroner.