Posts Tagged ‘webexercise’

Life and Death in Christian Europe

by   |  09.05.09  |  221- Middle Ages

    Through a period defined by social and political change, the Church provided a surprising continuity to the religious and cultural life of medieval Europe. It was the “catholic” or universal Church which set the shared calendar that established feast and fast days. It was the Church that authorized a shared liturgy spoken in a shared language “Latin” in cathedrals, monasteries, and parish churches from the Mediterranean to the North Sea.

    For most men and women, whether highborn aristocrats or of the laboring majority, it was the local church that unified their lives as well. The life-cycle of Christian Europe was organized by holy sacraments administered in the church, from their baptism to their confirmation, from their marriage to the christenings and weddings of their children, until finally they received extreme unction or last rites and were buried on the grounds of the church facing east to await a common resurrection.

Life and Death in Dartford Exercise

    A day’s ride from London, the pilgrims’ first stop would have been the small town of Dartford. This village represents an interesting crossroads in Britain’s history as not only a hostelry for travelers but also as the reputed home of Wat Tyler, the leader of the 1381 Peasant’s Revolt. Take a moment to read the following summary of Wat Tyler’s Revolt. What does this conflict, which lead to the murder of another Archbishop of Canterbury, say about the relationship between the authorities–church and state–and the commoners?

    Before class, spend 15-20 minutes learning about life and death in medieval Dartford. Your research will focus on the “Population and the People” articles on the Dartford Town Archive (especially those on the lives of the Rich, the Poor, and Pilgrims). As you read, take note of interesting details including typical life expectancy and factors influencing quality of life for both rich and poor. What details surprise you? How do you account for such high infant mortality or low life expectancy numbers? Bring details and observations to class this week or use them as the foundation for your own Blog Post #1.

    Medieval Dartford

    (Once you’ve finished, you might compare life expectancy in medieval Dartford with recent statistics for the US or the UK from the World Factbook. What parts of the world today have figures closer to medieval Dartford’s and why?)

Sutton Hoo Artifacts

by   |  08.27.09  |  221- Middle Ages

    Sixty years ago the faint outlines of a ship were found in a burial mound being excavated in southeast England. The mound was of the type described by Tacitus in his Germania:

      In their funerals there is no pomp; they simply observe the custom of burning the bodies of illustrious men with certain kinds of wood. They do not heap garments or spices on the funeral pile. The armor and weapons of the dead man and in some cases his horse are consigned to the fire. A turf mound forms the tomb. Monuments with their lofty elaborate splendor they reject as oppressive to the dead. It is thought becoming for women to bewail, for men to remember the dead. (Germania)

    Archeologists called the site Sutton Hoo and dated the mound to around the seventh century, but the most startling discovery in these excavations was a treasure hoard now housed in the British Museum. Before class, spend some time looking at the Sutton Hoo hoard online, and then speculate on what these artifacts tell us about the person buried here and the culture these objects represent.


Sutton Hoo Exercise

    For this exercise you will go to the British Museum website and search for “Sutton Hoo.” Choose 4 or 5 of the objects recovered from these excavations (and on display in the British Museum) to examine in more detail. Before reading about these artifacts, study the larger image of each and speculate on the following questions:

      – What was this object?
      – What kind of person did it belong to?
      – What function did it serve?
      – What social or symbolic value might it have contributed to its owner?

    British Museum database

    Next choose 1 object and write a three paragraph summary of your findings. In the first paragraph you should provide a physical description of the artifact. The second should then speculate on its uses or importance. In the third paragraph you should review the catalog article on your object and compare your ideas with the conclusions other researchers have come to. (*See the sample student post below before you begin writing.)

    Sutton Hoo Scepter – Student Example

    Bring your summary class to begin our discussion of the Anglo Saxons.