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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019 / THEY ALL SMELL THE SAME (THOUGH...) BUT THEIR CONTENT MAY BE DIFFERENT: LOOKING AT LATE MEDIEVAL HUMAN EXCREMENTS AND GARBAGE PITS IN THE COUNTY OF HAINAUT, SOUTHERN LOW COUNTRIES

Sidonie Preiss, Alexandre Chevalier, Mona Court-Picon, Quentin Goffette, Dolores Ingels and Isabelle Deramaix (2019)

THEY ALL SMELL THE SAME (THOUGH...) BUT THEIR CONTENT MAY BE DIFFERENT: LOOKING AT LATE MEDIEVAL HUMAN EXCREMENTS AND GARBAGE PITS IN THE COUNTY OF HAINAUT, SOUTHERN LOW COUNTRIES

In: 18th Conference of the International Workgroup for Palaeoethnobotany, 3-8 June 2019, Lecce (Italy), ed. by IWGP, pp. 146-147, Universita del Salento.

Human excrements and garbage pits of two archaeological sites in the County of Hainaut (Southern Low Countries, Belgium) have been studied by the interdisciplinary team “Archaeo sciences” of the RBINS. Stone walled latrines dating from the 14th century have been uncovered at the site of Chièvres, while several garbage pits dating from the 12th to the 16th century were excavated at the site of “rue des Bouchers-Saint Jacques” in the city of Tournai. We are presenting the 14th century composition of the waste contexts for the two sites and a diachronic composition’s evolution for the garbage pits of “rue des Bouchers-Saint Jacques”. Archaeobotanical (seeds and fruit, wood and wood charcoal, pollen, spores and NPPs) and archaeozoological studies show that, in the majority, they contain digested food residues, food scraps and also some scarce remains of other non-food residues. The most common taxa found are vegetables, condiments, wild and/or cultivated fruits, cereals, fish and mammal remains. But if we look more closely, some cesspits contain outstanding elements such as honey (the first mention in Wallonia for the medieval period), waste of cereal processing that may have been used for the sanitation of such structures. This paper aims at: 1 / highlighting late Medieval period human food intake of the Southern Low Countries 2 / comparing data between two 14th century waste contexts and finally, 3 / showing differences in pit fillings, indicating different structure maintenance and/or different social status.
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