Dark Ages - 1st Furniture
#11
  
What would be the first pieces of furniture a family unit would acquire back in the dark ages? Not including royalty, knights or priests or any other entitled types. I'm not talking about necessary tools such as buckets for water & waste, spoons, etc.

I'm guessing some sort of bed frame 1st, followed by stools and table.

What say you all?
Thanks,  Curt
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"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
      -- Soren Kierkegaard
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#12
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
My guess:
1. table
2. bench/stools
3. fire side stool, then a chair
4. bed frame of some sort 
5. bed side table for the candle or lantern

Now you have a fully furnished mud hut or log cabin.

Ok, now I have to ask, what started this thought process?
"I tried being reasonable..........I didn't like it." Clint Eastwood
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#13
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
Think about what Dick Proenneke built for his cabin in Alaska, a bed, table, food prep area, stool, bench. I think later on he made a chair but can't remember.
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis
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#14
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
I would think a table first and a bed second. You can put whatever you are sleeping on on the ground.

Abench to go at the table.

Some stools or log sections to sit on

A chest to store your possessions.

I sm sure it depends where in Europe you are talking about as well. Probably some good records. The Romans recorded everything and the fall of rome didnt instantly send all of europe back into the stone age. Lots of records made by priests and scribes after that. Got to know what you can tax after all.

We need a historian.
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#15
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w...HHzhIEmnrl


Here you go link to pdf-

Furnishings of medieval English peasant houses: investment,
consumption and life style
Christopher Dyer
University of Leicester
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#16
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
(06-20-2019, 08:25 PM)cputnam Wrote: What would be the first pieces of furniture a family unit would acquire back in the dark ages?  Not including royalty, knights or priests or any other entitled types.  I'm not talking about necessary tools such as buckets for water & waste, spoons, etc.

I'm guessing some sort of bed frame 1st, followed by stools and table.

What say you all?

I think a chest would have been first. The word for furniture in several European languages has something to do with mobility or transportation.  In the dark ages, furniture was luggage first and foremost. People may have left home with a chest of some sort- marriage or otherwise, to start their lives.

A bed can be a confusing term because typically before the 19thc, "bed" meant a place to lay, to "bed" down. A "bed tick" is an 18th c mattress, made of cotton or linen ticking and stuffed with straw or ??? A "bedstead" is the wooden frame. A "rug" may have been more quilt/comforter than something on the floor. A "bolster" was the pillow placed at the head. So documentary sources need to be interpreted carefully. A "bed" may be nothing more than a smooth place where people (or animals) slept.

The chest would have contained textiles or grains, protected from insects, vermin, the mud floor. The classic bible box from the 17th c rarely held a bible.  It was a valuables box.

Tables and seating would have been pretty crude. More campsite than home.
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#17
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
By "Dark Ages," I assume you mean the period in Europe between the collapse of the Roman empire and the High Middle Ages, so c. 500-1100?  It's hard to say with certainty, since there are a lot of details about the everyday life of commoners that we just don't know. 

I agree with Adam, though.  A box would have been first on the list of necessities.  It would have stored all manner of valuables, and many families probably would never have owned any more furniture than that.  A large chest, after all, can not only store things, but can function as a table or a stool as need be.  

When it came to wooden items, I suspect that furniture would have been pretty low on the list of priorities.  After all, things like doors, shutters, buckets, bowls, yokes, spindles, brooms, and other tools would have been far more important to everyday survival than furniture.  

However, as you climb up the social scale to the more prosperous families, then you would probably see tables, benches, bigger chests, and bedsteads.  Even then, furniture was very expensive, and furnishings would have looked very sparse by modern standards.  For example, just looking around my modern bedroom at the moment, I count seven pieces of furniture: two dressers, a small desk, a file cabinet, a bedstead, and a pair of nightstands.  And it's not a big room!  A medieval bedroom, by contrast, might have a bedstead and a chest for valuables.  And for there to be a dedicated bedroom at all would mean that the family would be very well-to-do.
Steve S.
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#18
  Re: RE: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by mongo (https://www.google.c...)
(06-20-2019, 10:03 PM)mongo Wrote: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w...HHzhIEmnrl


Here you go link to pdf-

Furnishings of medieval English peasant houses: investment,
consumption and life style
Christopher Dyer
University of Leicester
"Dark Ages" is a term used to describe the time between the fall of the roman empire until roughly the Battle of Hastings so, 500AD-1000AD. The term is a misnomer. It originally meant that no advancements were made during that period; Roman society was more advanced. We lost the ability to make domes, undertake large building projects, roads, walls, siege weapons, etc. There was no art, poetry, music.  No advancements were made in understanding the human condition, the world around us etc. That's not strictly true, though it may be true that we lost ground in some areas or the pace of advancement slowed. I'm not sure serious historians still use the term. I think of it as a time when trade was non-existent or highly localized.

"Middle Ages" or "Medieval" typically refers to the time between the fall of the roman empire until the Italian renaissance, or 500AD-1500AD.

Late or high middle ages is typically 1000-1500 or even the start of the hundred years war (1250AD-1450AD). This period differs from the previous possibly due to political and economical expansionism, the latter partly resulting from the Holy Crusades. Trade beyond the village level was not only possible but typical in the latter half of the middle ages.

By the end the late middle ages, Italians had regained the ability to make domes, the large cathedrals and castles that dot Europe were largely complete, we were sailing the open oceans, visiting and trading with Asia near and far. Very different than the 500 years prior.

Not discounting the link. Just trying to clarify the terms and paint a picture. In 500AD, people were "wrapping on" clothes (Roman style togas?). In 1500AD people had fitted clothing. The document attached above really refers to the end of the middle ages.
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#19
  Re: RE: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by Bibliophile 13 (By "Dark Ages," I as...)
(06-21-2019, 12:19 PM)Bibliophile 13 Wrote: By "Dark Ages," I assume you mean the period in Europe between the collapse of the Roman empire and the High Middle Ages, so c. 500-1100?  It's hard to say with certainty, since there are a lot of details about the everyday life of commoners that we just don't know. 

I agree with Adam, though.  A box would have been first on the list of necessities.  It would have stored all manner of valuables, and many families probably would never have owned any more furniture than that.  A large chest, after all, can not only store things, but can function as a table or a stool as need be.  

When it came to wooden items, I suspect that furniture would have been pretty low on the list of priorities.  After all, things like doors, shutters, buckets, bowls, yokes, spindles, brooms, and other tools would have been far more important to everyday survival than furniture.  

However, as you climb up the social scale to the more prosperous families, then you would probably see tables, benches, bigger chests, and bedsteads.  Even then, furniture was very expensive, and furnishings would have looked very sparse by modern standards.  For example, just looking around my modern bedroom at the moment, I count seven pieces of furniture: two dressers, a small desk, a file cabinet, a bedstead, and a pair of nightstands.  And it's not a big room!  A medieval bedroom, by contrast, might have a bedstead and a chest for valuables.  And for there to be a dedicated bedroom at all would mean that the family would be very well-to-do.

I would say a typical dark ages peasant home in Britain would have been a mud and possibly stone round house, cut into the landscape (sod house) with a low teepee like roof structure covered with some sort of thatch, bark, skins, or sod.  The center of the roof would have been open to allow smoke to come out. And like the native american weetoo, which would have been similar in many ways, the home would likely house an extended family or multiple families who would have slept on elevated platforms around the inner periphery of the round house. The home would also serve as a stable for some animals. Very possible they would have had no furniture, again not unlike the American Indians. Children would have slept closer to the fire or with their parents to conserve warmth.

You can google "life in post roman Britain".

Pretty sure there are a couple living history museums in Britain.  I just found a photo from the set of Braveheart that was probably filmed at one of these. Good picture of what I was describing.
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#20
  Re: Dark Ages - 1st Furniture by cputnam (What would be the fi...)
Culture and location has a lot to do with the answer. The Chinese had much different furniture than Europe, which had much different than Native American Tribes, Nomadic Culture in the Middle East, etc. I spent last week in NYC and a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art reveals the Egyptians - far in advance of European "Dark Ages" had some pretty sophisticated furniture in 2000 BC. Nomadic culture would have focused on lightweight chests or containers for their goods when traveling.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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