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Archaeologists have finally been able to solve a centuries-old mystery by identifying a huge tannery in a British monastery.
The discovery was made at the Abbey of Fountains, a Cistercian abbey, founded in 1132. Located in North Yorkshire, it is considered one of the largest and best preserved abbeys in England.
According to the United Kingdom’s National Foundation for Places of Historic Significance or Natural Beauty – NT, for its English acronym – the function of long lanes similar to bowling alleys has “always been a mystery” to scientists.
Wells and cisterns were also found on the site. This, combined with the discovery’s proximity to the River Skell – a major requirement of the tanning process – allows us to infer the presence of a tannery at the service of the monastery community.
“A tannery of this size, covering a large area of the site, reveals a process on an industrial scale, catering to the needs of hides and other manufactured animal hides for a community of hundreds of people in the growing monastic community. Its scope also reflects an aspect of the monastic community,” NT archaeologist Mark Newman explained. The productivity of the huge flocks acquired and managed by the monastery.”
It was tanning vitality of the economy From the monastery, confirms BBC. The leather produced is used in clothing and book and manuscript bindings for scribes to produce religious texts. It is believed that the tannery operated until 1539.
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