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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Consumption patterns and living conditions in 18th century rural nunnery: an interdisciplinary study on the latrine of Clairefontaine (south-eastern Belgium) with special attention to botanical remains

Sidonie Preiss, Mona Court-Picon, Quentin Goffette, Davy Herremans and Isabelle Bernard (ed.) (2013)

Consumption patterns and living conditions in 18th century rural nunnery: an interdisciplinary study on the latrine of Clairefontaine (south-eastern Belgium) with special attention to botanical remains

University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, European Association of Archaeologists (ISBN: 978-80-261-0255-7).

The abbey of Clairefontaine, situated near Arlon in Belgium, was founded in the 13th century and destroyed during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century. Although the abbey buildings were largely dismantled after the suppression of the community, archaeological research revealed the underground remains of the 18th century monastery. A latrine was discovered on the south side of the monastic complex and excavated for a detailed interdisciplinary study. Plenty of macro-botanical and faunal remains, glass and pottery have indeed been found throughout the profile; analyses of plant micro-remains were also performed. The major part of the archaeological remains dates between the second quarter and the end of the 18th century. Built over a narrow stream, the latrine underwent regular waste evacuation by the inflow of water. It is then supposed to give an insight into cabinet of the last generation of sisters present at Clairefontaine. A clear stratification is however observed with five different units delivering contrasted archaeobiological results. We will focus here on the archaeobotanical data, which will be discussed in detail and compared with archaeozoological and historical studies, in order to illustrate the lifestyle and the consumption in a rural nunnery from the 18th century.
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