Ancient Beeswax: Carlsbergfondets Semper Ardens Grant
A new grant ArcHives will be working closely with the B2C team
Beeswax is a remarkable material which has been exploited by humans for thousands of years. Our project, ArcHives, seeks to wrest biological stories from ancient beeswax. Beeswax is waterproof, it has been used as a sealant and as glue and the base for encaustic painting. Solid at room temperature, but malleable when gently heated, it has been used to shape and form objects, notably in lost-wax casting of metal objects. In pre-literate societies, wax was used to seal documents; your seal was your signature, credit card and passport. The product of ‘virgin’ bees, it burns with a bright, clean flame and was a sacred source of light. Beeswax, therefore, plays a key role in our historical past and was traded east-west and north-south across Europe.
Medieval women’s early involvement in manuscript production suggested by lapis lazuli identification in dental calculus
Radini A, Tromp M, Beach A, Tong E, Speller C, McCormick M, Dudgeon JV, Collins MJ, Rühli F, Kröger R, & Warinner C. Medieval women’s early involvement in manuscript production suggested by lapis lazuli identification in dental calculus. Science Advances 2019 5 eaau7126.
"One thousand years ago, a woman in a convent in northern Germany licked her paintbrush to draw the bristles into a fine point, and some of the pigment sealed into the plaque on her teeth. Now, archaeologists have discovered that the color came from lapis lazuli, a blue stone from half a world away. The finding suggests this anonymous middle-aged woman was likely a skilled painter tasked with creating high-quality illuminated manuscripts of religious texts—the first time a medieval artist has been identified from their skeleton alone, and further evidence that women copied and painted books in medieval Europe. "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/01/these-1000-year-old-teeth-belonged-skilled-female-artist-pigment-remains-reveal