Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tuesday at the DIG - Official Post

This is Eric writing about our adventures on Tues. the 30th. So on Tues.we hopped back and forth around the timeline. We started our day at the Merchant Adventurer's Hall, a hall built during the latter part of Medieval England and used there after. Although we did not spend too long here we did get to see some of the architecture of a non-stone structure from that time. One of the things that I remember from the hall was how many slopes there were. After 500 plus years the hall was beginning to bend.
The next place we visited took us out of the Middle Ages briefly was the Fairfax House. The house is a stunning example of Georgian design and architecture, Georgian style coming out of the early 18th century.The house is also indicative of the culture and wealth at the time. Fairfax who was a Roman Catholic in an Anglican Great Britain, used the house as a means to show off just how important he had made himself in British society and to show that even though he was a Catholic he could still fit into British society. It was also his way of flaunting his wealth for its own sake. The house was built for him and his daughter so that they could live comfortably and yet show off their wealth to their friends and neighbors and indulge themselves fully into the society that was developing at the time.
Following our lunch we visited DIG, an interactive children's archeology museum, and even though it was meant for children I'm certain that everyone in our group enjoyed it. Here we learned about some of the ways in which history and archeology are portrayed to the public especially at a younger audience. DIG emphacized that archeology is not always about the big or unique finds, but rather about all the minor or  generic finds. These are important because they teach historians moe  about how the mass population lived rather than just a small class or a few people.
Barley Hall was the next place that we visited and here we went back to the Middle Ages and saw how a more typical person lived in York. One of the main focuses of the museum was to talk about plague and health in Medieval England. We got to see how people's health was affected by their diets, cleanliness and environment. Then once they became ill, what    types of cures they sought such as religion, penance, royal blessing, etc. A place like Barley Hall certainly shows a more in depth view. I think everyone assumes that people lived in unclean conditions but they don't think about how that affected them at the time. Barley Hall shows more of the social implications of plague in the Middle Ages.
Our final stop of the day was at Clifford's Tower on the southern part of town. Here we got to see the strategic advantage of place like the tower. It was once a part of a castle in the motte and bailey style, which is a small castle at the top of a hill surrounded by a wooden fence at the bottom of the hill. Clifford's tower gave us the perspective of why someone would build in this style because it allowed them to look down at their opponents and keep an advantage over them when the castle came under seige. Well that is it for Tues. on Wed. we traveled to Helmsley and you will here about that soon.

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