during the European Middle Ages, literacy and written texts were largely the province of religious institutions. Richly illustrated manuscripts were created in monasteries for use by members of religious institutions and by the nobility. Some of these illuminated manuscripts were embellished with luxurious paints and pigments, including gold leaf and ultramarine, a rare and expensive blue pigment made from lapis lazuli stone.
在发表的一项研究中小号cience Advances, an international team of researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of York shed light on the role of women in the creation of such manuscripts with a surprising discovery -- the identification of lapis lazuli pigment embedded in the calcified dental plaque of a middle-aged woman buried at a small women's monastery in Germany around 1100 AD. Their analysis suggests that the woman was likely a painter of richly illuminated religious texts.
A quiet monastery in central Germany
作为研究的一部分,分析牙科calculus -- tooth tartar or dental plaque that fossilizes on the teeth during life -- researchers examined the remains of individuals who were buried in a medieval cemetery associated with a women's monastery at the site of Dalheim in Germany. Few records remain of the monastery and its exact founding date is not known, although a women's community may have formed there as early as the 10th century AD. The earliest known written records from the monastery date to 1244 AD. The monastery is believed to have housed approximately 14 religious women from its founding until its destruction by fire following a series of 14th century battles.
在墓地一名女子被发现有嵌入式她的牙结石中的蓝色色素斑点无数。她是45-60岁的时候，她死了大约公元1000-1200。她没有特别的骨骼疾病，也没有外伤或感染的证据。她仍然是唯一显着的方面是，在她的牙齿中的蓝色颗粒。“它就像一个完整的惊喜 - 溶解结石，它发布了数百个微小的蓝色颗粒的，回忆说：”约克大学的共同第一作者安妮塔Radini。包括能量分散型X射线光谱法（SEM-EDS）和微拉曼光谱 - - 使用许多不同的光谱法仔细分析表明从天青石制成蓝色颜料。
A pigment as rare and expensive as gold
"We examined many scenarios for how this mineral could have become embedded in the calculus on this woman's teeth," explains Radini. "Based on the distribution of the pigment in her mouth, we concluded that the most likely scenario was that she was herself painting with the pigment and licking the end of the brush while painting," states co-first author Monica Tromp of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
The unexpected discovery of such a valuable pigment so early and in the mouth of an 11th century woman in rural Germany is unprecedented. While Germany is known to have been an active center of book production during this period, identifying the contributions of women has been particularly difficult. As a sign of humility, many medieval scribes and painters did not sign their work, a practice that especially applied to women. The low visibility of women's labor in manuscript production has led many modern scholars to assume that women played little part in it.
"She was plugged into a vast global commercial network stretching from the mines of Afghanistan to her community in medieval Germany through the trading metropolises of Islamic Egypt and Byzantine Constantinople. The growing economy of 11th century Europe fired demand for the precious and exquisite pigment that traveled thousands of miles via merchant caravan and ships to serve this woman artist's creative ambition," explains historian and co-author Michael McCormick of Harvard University.
“我们这里有女人的直接证据，不只是画，但有一个非常罕见和昂贵的颜料绘画，并在一个非常乱的方式到位”的马克斯普朗克研究所的人类的科学克里斯蒂娜Warinner解释历史论文高级作者。“这个女人的故事可以一直保持永远隐藏在不使用这些技术，这让我不知道我们有多少其他艺人可能会发现在中世纪墓地 - 。如果我们只看”