Eat, Pray, Dig:

Miners' Health in the Mediterranean and Europe, 1200-1550

Prof. Guy Geltner

Monash University

Since their proliferation in the later twelfth century, miners encountered many hazards both below and above the ground. This talk examines the cluster of dangers that extraction involved and the suite of preventative programs devised to address them. It also seeks to assess the latter’s limitations and impact, as they emerge from (bio)archaeological data. Tracing the preventative practices of these mostly rural communities sheds much new light on preindustrial healthscaping in Europe and its relations with the era’s prevalent medical paradigm of Galenism. Furthermore, it tests new methodologies to recover and analyse miners’ sub/terranean spaces, including their unique materiality and mobility regimes. In particular, the spread of metalliferous seams, which was beyond elites’ control, and the era’s available technologies of excavation, created opportunities for miners to translate their underground agency into exterranean privileges, including those designed to preserve their health. Collectively these conditions placed miners on the cutting edge of group prophylactics, ranging from protective gear and underground guidance systems, to expensive drainage and ventilation equipment, to balanced diets and zoning.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Gathering: 13:00, Start of lecture: 13:15

Room #232, New Library Wing,

University of Haifa

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