May 7, 2004

"Childhood" was NOT a modern invention...

H.D.Miller of Travelling Shoes writes: Cronaca has a great post about recent discoveries of medieval toys along the banks of the Thames River. These discoveries have finally laid to rest one of the sillier theories to emerge from the French Annales school, that childhood as we know it did not exist until the Renaissance.

Cronaca, quoting National Geographic:

Many of the miniature guns and cannons were once working replicas and consist of copper alloy to withstand firing pressures. "The largest of them are equivalent to a pocket pistol. So [they're] perfectly capable of killing somebody," Forsyth said. "It's obvious they are not perfect replicas. But we know they worked, because some of the barrels have exploded. If these were being used by children, then they probably met with an unfortunate accident. Certainly children had access to black powder and could use all sorts of projectiles," she said.

And we worry about BB guns!

The miniatures weren't the only playthings that worked. For instance, tiny copper cauldrons have been found with sooty bases, suggesting children used them to cook food.

Hobbs says other replicas, including a three-legged stool, a birdcage, and tools such as saws, are important because no previous record of these objects is known for the period.

Posted by John Weidner at May 7, 2004 7:20 PM
Weblog by John Weidner