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Huguenin Jacquin, a 14th century Burgundian

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Bianca Markos
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« on: December 21, 2011, 07:22:27 pm »

Huguenin Jacquin, a 14th century Burgundian



Images: Denis Gliksman/Inrap
Huguenin Jacquin, a 14th century Burgundian
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Thursday, December 15, 2011  |  News

French archaeologists from INRAP are currently excavating a medieval residence dating to the second half of the 14th century, which was abandoned suddenly at the beginning of the 15th century.


Excavation site at Cestres. Image: Denis Gliksman/Inrap
The archaeology of a residence

Excavations at Cestres, a hamlet in the district of Saint-Martin-du-Mont, thirty kilometres to the north-east of Dijon, have revealed a large stone building with a limestone flagged roof, typical of residences on the Burgundy plateaus. The building began life as a rectangular structure measuring 19 x 8 m. The interior space is arranged around an imposing central hearth which is surrounded by large stone slabs.
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Bianca Markos
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 07:24:06 pm »

To the south of this area, a further room was added and was found to contain ceramic pitchers and stone mortars, suggesting a kitchen. The architecture and impressive fireplace would have set this residence apart from the modest Burgundian habitations present in the High Middle Ages.

The archaeological artefacts that were recovered seem to corroborate this impression of wealth. Items such as a gilt bronze belt buckle, a riding spur, an anthropomorphic spoon handle and numerous coins, some bearing the effigy of Eudes IV, Duke of Burgundy (1315-1349), confirm the social status of the occupants. A seal matrix, bearing the profile of an individual surrounded by three clasps, and that of a monetary weight, show that this residence was also a place of business, or even local power.
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Bianca Markos
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 07:24:42 pm »



Central hearth. Image: © Denis Gliksman/Inrap
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Bianca Markos
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 07:25:18 pm »

The history of Huguenin Jacquin

The archaeology of historic periods is often able to draw on sources other than the artefactual evidence found beneath the ground. Fortunately for the Inrap archaeologists, the written archives have been able to reveal the probable name of the owner of this residence and better understand its socio-economic history, and perhaps even more, on the biography of its occupants.

Descending from a lineage of mayors of Cestres, Huguenin Jacquin was a wool trader linked to international commerce through his relationship with Antonio dei Grassi, a merchant from Milan. Starting in the 14th century, the  Lombardic merchants were present in large numbers at trade fairs, where they dominated the wool, horse, and even usury markets.

    By 1360 Huguenin Jacquin was already the guarantor for the Lombardic merchant.
    In 1376, the Burgundian became his creditor and ordered the confiscation of the wools of Antonio dei Grassi.
    From 1383 to 1384, Huguenin Jacquin was the Châtelain of Talant and served as an intermediary between the Duchess Marguerite and her “livestock buyers”.
    His daughter Eglantine then married Perrenot Poinsot of Saint-Seine.
    Eglantine pursued the commercial activities of her father from the turn of the 14th century and into the 15th century often accompanied by her son Guillaume during her widowhood.
    Guillaume himself would become mayor of Cestres.

Though the memory of Huguenin Jacquin and his family has long been forgotten, the name of the land plot currently being excavated, “La vie aux Maires” is suggestive of the family position as mayors.

    This excavation highlights a type of person rarely addressed in archaeology; the powerful rural trader, acting as a merchant, chatelain and representative of the community

This excavation highlights a type of person rarely addressed in archaeology; the powerful rural trader, acting as a merchant, chatelain and representative of the community. With strong local ties, he also participated in international commerce through the selling of wool, a raw material that ensured the wealth of the Châtillon plateaus during the Middle Ages. A group of buildings contemporary with the Huguenin Jacquin residence, devoted to raising sheep for their wool, was also discovered nearby.
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Bianca Markos
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 07:26:18 pm »



Seal matrix. Image: © Denis Gliksman/Inrap
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Bianca Markos
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 07:26:52 pm »



Recording the floor of the residence. Image: © Denis Gliksman/Inrap
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2011, 07:28:02 pm »

A tragic demise for the Jacquin family?

The Jacquin residence appears to have been abandoned in the early 15th century and the archaeologists are attempting to understand its swift demise. Although the Hundred Years’ War began in 1337, it was not until the period  from 1380-1417 that the Châtillon area of Burgundy suffered a terrible population collapse. Patrice Beck, a professor at the University of Lille III, reports on the disappearance of 322 homes, or 50% of  all habitations in the vicinty of Saint-Martin du Mont. The Jacquins seem to have abandoned many of their personal, and often valuable effects within their residence, and the question must be asked, why would they do this? Repeated Black Death events may well be one reason why they abandoned their home with no hope of returning. There is also the possibility of social instability caused by the Hundred Years’ War and bands of armed robbers roaming the countryside would have made life and trade extremely difficult.

Whatever the cause of the abandonment, the Jacquin residence was never been reoccupied. After being partially dismantled for its building materials, it was soon forgotten and the land used for agricultural purposes ever since.

This work is curated by the State (DRAC Burgundy).

Source: Press release from INRAP
More information:

INRAP: http://www.inrap.fr

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2011/huguenin-jacquin-a-14th-century-burgundian
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