Medieval kids’ doodles on birch bark

Here’s something very special. In the 1950s archeologists made a great discovery near the city of Novgorod, Russia: they dug up hundreds of pieces of birch bark with all sorts of texts written on them. The 915 items are mostly letters, notes and receipts, all written between the 11th and 15th century. Among the more notable scraps is a marriage proposal from a man called Mikita to his beloved Anna: “marry me - I want you and you want me, and the witness to that is Ignat Moiseev” (item 377).

The most special items, however, are the ones shown above, which are from a medieval classroom. In the 13th century, young schoolboys learning to write filled these scraps with alphabets and short texts. Bark was ideal material for writing down things with such a short half-life. Then the pupils got bored and started to doodle, as kids do: crude drawings of individuals with big hands, as well as a figure with a raised sword standing next to a defeated beast (lower image). The last one was drawn by Onfim, who put his name next to the victorious warrior. The snippets provide a delightful and most unusual peek into a 13th-century classroom, with kids learning to read - and getting bored in the process.

More information - On the scraps in general, see here. Here is a full inventory, in Russian. On the excavation, see here and here. More kids’ doodles here and here. Some letters in this Flickr stream. The Leiden scholar Jos Schaeken published a book in Dutch on this material, which can be downloaded for free here (English translation to follow next year). 

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Anxiety is practicing failure in advance. Anxiety is needless and imaginary. It’s fear about fear, fear that means nothing. Seth Godin

(Source: psych-facts, via sharpedlamb)

Gesso Patinato

  1. Ecce Puer, 1906
  2. Sagrestano, 1883
  3. Malato all’ospedale, 1889
  4. Enfant à la bouchée de pain, 1897
  5. Madame Noblet, 1897
  6. Bambino al sole, 1891-1892
  7. Bambino malato, 1893-1895

Medardo Rosso

(Source: blue-voids, via reblololo)

Moonlight by Yang Yongliang, 2012

1. The Moonlight - new moon
2. The Moonlight - waxing crescent moon
3. The Moonlight - waning crescent moon
4. The Moonlight - full moon
5. The Moonlight - the landscape without night

Lambda Print on Kodak Professional Duratrans paper, Diasec face mounted, LED lighting system / EPSON UltraGiclee print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta Fineart

(Source: frenchtwist)


Max Brückner, from his book Vielecke und Vielfläche, 1900. Leipzig, Germany. Via Bulatov.

Brückner extended the stellation theory beyond regular forms, and identified ten stellations of the icosahedron, including the complete stellation. wiki

(via harvestheart)


Marasmius alveolaris
1000 Steps Trail, Upper Ferntree Gully, VictoriaLate Autumn, May 2014Taken on 60mm Macro, Canon 600D


Marasmius alveolaris

1000 Steps Trail, Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria
Late Autumn, May 2014
Taken on 60mm Macro, Canon 600D

(via mycology)