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Social History and Computer: The Construction Yard of the Cathedral of Orvieto between the 14th and the 15th Century

Social History and Computer: The Construction Yard of the Cathedral of Orvieto between the 14th and the 15th Century

By Lucio Riccetti

Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung(HSR), Vol. 14:4 (1989)

Introduction: The scope of this study is that of tracing the day by day of the cathedral construction yard and of daily life in the city of Orvieto over a period that ranges from 1321 to 1450. The point of departure was determined by the fact that the documents of the Archives of the Opera del Duomo prior to 1321 have been lost. The closing date, 1450, was chosen so as to include all the material that belongs to the Middle Ages.

No continuous historical study of the economic efforts which involved the city and the inhabitants who materially constructed the cathedral has ever been attempted and as a result the social history of the Duomo of Orvieto has so far never been published.

The basis of this new study is the cataloguing of all the documents (relative to the years in question) preserved in the Archives of the Opera del Duomo of Orvieto so that they may reveal in each and every detail how the project was financed and realized. In the line with the most up-to-date concepts, the cathedral construction yard is seen in relationship to the city which generated it, analyzing, in other words, the economic conditions which made such a binding investment possible and the political, social and cultural forces which were involved in the installation of the great construction yard in the 1290s. An attempt is also made to provide an answer to other questions regarding the organization of the work, the production, the locating and transportation of the necessary materials.

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