From garden to gut…

My most recent research efforts have been focused on developing ideas about gardening and food in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This has been prompted by some work on the plant remains from excavations at Rathfarnham Castle in late 2014 and early 2015. The samples dated from the 1690s, plus or minus 30 years.

Image of raspberry growing in the garden
Raspberry in the garden

I will be presenting this work at an evening lecture in Rathfarnham Castle on August 23rd, during Heritage Week.

The plant remains included the remains of many different fruits and berries, including raspberries, blackberries, bilberries, strawberries, elderberries, grapes, figs, cherries/plums and apricots and these indicate (along with many of the other finds from the Castle) a rich, high-status diet.

The talk will start with the results from the excavations and then use these to talk about wider social and cultural issues, in particular changing trends in gardening (the cultivation of exotic plants) and how new foods, particularly fruits, were consumed.

After the talk there will be a chance for members of the public to use a microscope to look at the seeds from the samples.