Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Archaeologists are excavating three sites from Martin Luther’s life: the floor of the building where Luther was born, his parents’ house, and his residence in the monastery of Wittenberg where he lived with his family after the Reformation.
They’ve found all kinds of interesting little discarded geegaws in his kitchen trash.
The digs exposed toys and food remains, broken dishes and grain (dated to the year 1500, using the C-14 method). The archeologists also found his wife’s wedding ring and a hoard of 250 silver coins. [...]
The archeologists have already been hard at work in the old abbey in Wittenberg. They scored a direct hit in the rear courtyard, where they found a waste pit filled with a collection of the family’s refuse.
The find reveals that the doctor worked in a heated room with a view of the Elbe River. He spent his evenings writing in the light of lamps filled with animal fat. The dig contained the bindings of parchment books, several “quill knives” to sharpen goose quills, as well as four writing sets containing sand, ink and styluses.
He lived in style as a boy, too, despite his tall tales of being a poor miner’s son. His family trash testifies to his gourmet diet and expensive toys.
It was on this farm that young Martin and his siblings played, surrounded by flocks of geese and chickens. The fragments at the site reveal that they played with crossbows, clay marbles and bowling pins made of beef bones — toys not every family could afford at the time.
The remains of kitchen scraps discovered on the property reveal that the family frequently ate roast goose and the tender meat of young pigs. During Lent, the Luther family ate expensive ocean fish, like herring, codfish and plaice.
This remarkable collection of Lutherian artifacts will be going on display starting tomorrow at the German State Museum of Prehistory.
Fun fact: he claimed to chase the devil away with his farts. For. Reals.