Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recapturing History, They Capture the Castle

A keen-eyed former student drew my attention to this bit of awesome: A German building contractor will soon begin building a Carolingian monastery town near Messkirch. Wait, there's more: The whole monastery is based on the plans drawn up in the ninth century by Abbot Haito of Reichenau. Yes, the plan of St. Gall. And, of course, the whole thing will be built entirely by hand, using only materials that were available in the ninth century. So that means no plastic tarps, and all nails will be forged on site. Please, please tell me that this will become a reality tv show. I would totally pay for premium cable to see this.
Crusader Bible, Morgan Library M.638, fol. 3r.  

The article took me down the rabbit hole of other sites like this one. For example, the Château de Guedelon, in Burgundy, and the Ozark Medieval Fortress (started by the same man, Michel Guyot, who started the Burgundian project). I think these kinds of projects are pretty neat, as they give a sense of the complexity and duration of the effort involved in building a cathedral or a monastery town. And the experiential nature of the work has already yielded some important insights about medieval building practices. And if you want to learn any more about experiential history, I suggest you re-watch Timeline (2003): Gerard Butler, Billy Connolly, Michael Sheen, David Thewlis, Frances O'Connor, Marton Csokas, and Lambert Wilson (who was fucking amazing in Of Gods and Men). It's almost like Michael Sheen, David Thewlis, and Marton Csokas were warming up for Kingdom of Heaven (2005).


No comments: