Burial sites between last inhabitations and abandonment
The famines and plagues that struck Tuscany between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries brought a substantial influx of deceased people to the cemetery area formed around the monastery.
This period saw the growth of family burials in masonry tombs, as well as of deaths of mothers with their children, sometimes laid together in order to recall their bond of affection. Though we lack certainty, it is likely that they were mainly inhabitants of the Montescudaio territory.
Based on the evidence garnered from documents and archaeological excavations, the use of the area in front of the church for cemetery purposes continued even in the sixteenth century and at least until the early part of the following century, when the abandonment of residential facilities by the nuns had already occurred.
Funeral uses between the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Between the late fourteenth century and the end of the sixteenth century, funeral customs and rituals hardly underwent changes.
Some family groups, probably the most affluent ones, were interred in “two-flap lid” masonry tombs near the presbytery area of the church.
However, most of the burials took the form of a simple pit dug into the ground, or one devoid of delimiting elements or marks.
The dead were laid without a coffin, in some cases spread on wooden stretchers.
In this period, moreover, we witness an increasing recourse to burying bodies dressed up and adorned.
After all, the position of the arms spread out on the sides and folded over the chest evinces the rarefied use of shrouds.
Women’s and men’s clothing
The increase in the phenomenon of dressed up burials shows a certain growth in economic well-being and in the social stratification of the local population, at the same painting a picture of the main types of clothes of the period.
Women often wore dresses with corsets or shirts closed by laces passing through metal reinforced-eyelet rings of various shapes.
The dresses of the richest could have elaborate collars and sleeves, fastened with a series of “bell-shaped” or decorated buttons.
Hands were adorned by bezel rings with precious stones or glass pastes.
Men’s clothes were completed by variously decorated buckles, capable of closing up one or more belts at the waist or hips.
Sometimes, small circular buckles by the feet indicated the presence of shoes.
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