Today, feathers are an extravagant accessory in fashion; 500 years ago, however, they were used to constitute culture, artistry, good health and even courage in battle. This unlikely material is now part of a project that promises to tell us more not only about what happened in the past, but also about how it felt to be there.
For three centuries one family made an unacknowledged contribution to the life of Cambridge, first as cooks and inn keepers and later as artists and craftsmen. A series of Open Cambridge events will explore the untold story of the Leach family.
Ben Cartwright, a member of Cambridge’s Material Culture Lab, is an archaeologist whose research focuses on the ways in which the crafts of spinning and weaving are embedded into the historic culture of the islands of the North Atlantic and remain an important part of island identity.