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fishing-msg - 12/25/09


Medieval fishing. Fish ponds. fish hooks, fishing equipment.


NOTE: See also the files: fish-msg, seafood-msg, stockfish-msg, feasts-fish-msg,  eels-msg, sauces-msg, pickled-foods-msg, fish-pies-msg, salmon-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                 AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 13:04:46 GMT

From: "Kirsten Garner  at Archaeology" <KGARNER at hsy1.ssc.ed.ac.uk>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Fishponds


A while back someone posted here asking about medieval fishponds.  I

recently came across a couple of interesting sources and thought I

would post them here in case she is still interested. :)


Aston, M (ed) 1988, Medieval Fish, Fisheries and Fishponds in

England. BAR (British Archaeological Reports) British Series 182, vol

1 and 2. Oxford.


Currie, CK, 1990, 'Fishponds as Garden Features c. 1550-1750' in

Garden History, 18 no. 1, p 22-46





Subject: Re: ANST - Archaeological Fishhooks

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 05:45:08 MST

From: KTMC <ktmc at icok.net>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Marc Carlson wrote:

> I'm sorry to bother everyone with this, but I've been asked to

> document metal fish hooks in the Middle Ages.  At this time, I can

> not.  Anyone have a source?


> Marc/Diarmaid


Marc/Diarmaid posted concerning metal fish hooks in the Middle Ages. I

have a book at home I'll get and make available. It's a translation of a

15th century treatise on angling. You may be intersted, Diarmaid, in

knowing that they were made from (I don't have the book with me,) a

shoe-maker's needle (or something closely named) and worked with an

anvil and forge. I was thinking of doing a Kingdom A&S entry on some

period flies and I was thinking of contacting YOU to see how I could get

some of the needles. I'll get the book and get back with you.





Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 00:38:11 -0400

From: Bill Kenton <bkenton at one.net>

To: sca-arts at listproc.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: New A&S webpage


        A new webpage has emerged.  A medieval angling page has surfaced.  The

idea of a medieval angling (fishing) has been floating around between 2

Laurels, Priscilla and Creador, 1 apprentice-Breac, and myself.  Well,

after a few months of playing around with it I've come to the conclusion

that I can take it no farther without opening it up to the populace for

their opinions, suggestions, etc. It can be found at




Once the initial suggesyions are gone through and added as seen fit, it may

be moved over to the midrealm server. I haven't decided that yet.  But I'd

like this to be an interkingdom site, and would appreciate links to it from

wherever.  I'm hoping this lists gets to many kingdom A&S people to save me

from tracking down emails to each and every MOAS.


        I am seeking one thing, though, that I'd like to add that perhaps you can

help me with.  I'd like to collect a bunch of period fish recipes and have

a recipe section on the page.



Liam O'Shea

Barony of Fenix



Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 19:05:41 +0200

From: Thomas Gloning <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>

Subject: SC - Squary scad enquiry


The OED has two quotations for the expression in question; the latter

suggests that it was a kind of flat fish:


"squary (...) Square-shaped; squarish.


1602 Carew Cornwall 35 Some gutted and kept in pickle, as the lesser

Whitings, Pollocks, Eeles, and Squarie Scads.


Ibid. 320 Of flat [fish there are] Brets, Turbets, Dories, Squary Scad,

Seale, Tunny, and many others. (...)"


Perhaps these books could be useful for further enquiry:

- -- Hoffmann, R.C.: Fishers' craft and lettered art. Tracts on fishing

from the end of the Middle Ages. Toronto (Univ. of Toronto Press) 1997.

- -- Westwood, Th./ Satchell, Th.: Bibliotheca piscatoria. A catalogue of

books on angling, the fisheries and fish-culture (...). London 1883.





Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 11:23:53 -0400

From: Gaylin <iasmin at home.com>

Subject: SC - Garum and Piscinae


So this book I've picked up because of my addiction. To books,

that is. Found it on remainder and just *had* to buy it. You

know how you get that feeling sometimes? The one that says

"I know this is absolutely necessary, but I don't know why"?

That's why I bought it. Here's the book:


    Higginbotham, James. (1997). Piscinae: Artificial Fishponds

    in Roman Italy. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North

    Carolina Press. ISBN: 0-8078-2329-5 [Ed. Note: I got this

    on remainder from Edward R. Hamilton Booksellers for about

    14$US. You might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.]


As I was reading along this morning, I discovered something that

people here might find interesting about garum production,

including some references that I don't believe anyone has

mentioned before. This is going to be a long one, so stay with

me and accept my forgiveness for the cross-posting.


In the introduction, while discussing the modern scholarship

done on ancient piscinae (fishponds) Higginbottom writes:


    "Since Jacono [Ed.: Luigi Jacono's study on Naples seaside ruins

    of piscinae], the study of Roman pisciculture has progressed

    along several paths. The ancient fishing industry, involving the

    manufacture and trade of processed fish products such as garum,

    has received the lion's share of attention (5). These studies

    have focused on tanks and complexes in Spain, southern France,

    and North Africa. Though garum production certainly took place

    in Italy, the bulk of this trade emanated from the western

    provinces (6)". [page 2]


Here are the footnotes associated with the text, in which I've

separated out each reference to make it easier to read. I think

many of you will find these interesting:


    (5) M. Ponsich and M. Tarradell, _Garum et industries antiques

    de salaison dans la Méditerranée occidentale_ (Pariis 1965);


    O. Da Veiga Ferreira, "Algunas consideracoes sobre as fabricas

    de conservas de peixed antiquidade encontradas em Portugal, "

    _Archivo de Beja_ 23-24 (1966-67) 123-34;


    R. Sanquer and P. Galliou, "Garum, sel et salaisons en Armorique

    gallo-romaine," _Gallia_ 30 (1972) 199-223;


    R.I. Curtis, _Garum and Salsamenta: Production and Commerce in

    Materia Medica_ (Leiden 1991);


    J. C. Edmondson, _Two Industries in Roman Lusitania: Mining and

    Garum Production, BAR International Series, 362 (Oxford 1987);


    M. Ponsich, _Asceite de oliva y salazones de pescado: Factores

    geo-económicos de Bética y Tingitania_ (Madrid 1988).


    (6) For evidence of Italian production, see R. I. Curtis, "A.

    Umbricius Scaurus of Pompeii, " in _Studia Pompeiana et

    Classica in Honor of Wilhelmina F. Jashemski 1_ (New Rochelle,

    N.Y. 1988) 19-49, and _Garum and Salsameta_ (ibid.) 85-96.

    Fish sauce production is hypothesized at Cosa on the basis of rather

    tenuous evidence; see A. M. McCann, J. Bourgeois, E. K. Gazda, J. P.

    Oleson, and E. L. Will, _The Roman Port and Fishery of Cosa_

    (Princeton 1987) 340-41.


In his chapter on "Fishponds as Emblems of Social Status", the author

also writes:


    There was, however, great profit in the production of preserved

    fish and processed fish products. According to the literary record,

    several sites in Italy were known for the production of garum,

    liquamen, allec, muria, and other processed fish products. (6)


And again the footnote:


    (6) _RE_ 8 (1912) 841-49, s.v. Garum (R. Zahn):


    P. Grimal and T. Monod, "Sur le véritable nature du 'garum,'"

    _REA_ 54 (1952) 27-38;


    C. Jardin "Garum et sauces de poisson de l'antiguité,"  _RStlig 27

    (1961) 70-96;


    T. H. Corcoran, "Roman Fish Sauces," _CJ_ 58 (1963) 204-10;


    R.I. Curtis, "In Defense of Garum," CJ 78 (1983) 232-40;


    R.I. Curtis, "Salted Fish Products in Ancient Medicine," _Journal

    of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences_ 39 (1984) 430-35;


    R.I. Curtis, _Garum and Salsamenta: Production and Commerce in

    Materia Medica_ (Leiden 1991).


The abbreviations of note: RStLig is "Rivista di studi liguri"; CJ is

"Classical Journal"; and RE is A. Pauly and G. Wissowa's "Real-

Encyclopädie de klassishen Altertumswissenschaft".


My apologies for the bandwidth, again, but I'm certain at least someone

will find some use in these references considering the debate that

regularly occurs about acceptable substitutes for garum and liquamen

in the recipes we research. If you need copies of this information from

the book itself, let me know and we'll work something out.



Iasmin "Yes, I'm Addicted" de Cordoba, iasmin at home.com

AOL AIM: IasminDeCordoba


PS: Typos are most likely my own, especially on the non-English

articles. Also, apologies to those of you who get a little garbage in the

message from the accents and umlauts.



Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 18:45:30 -0500

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: "- Gregory Blount - A&S. Food, Music, Brewing, and Dance SCA Pages (SCA)

Greg Lindahl" <lindahl at pbm.com>

Subject: Webpages



Medieval Angling Page





Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 10:37:56 -0500

From: "Philippa Alderton" <phlip at morganco.net>

Subject: SC - Fw: [Mid] Fishing page moved


Since catching fish is an important part of cooking them, I thought some of

you on Cook's List might be interested ;-)








Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 08:25:26 -0000

From: "Melanie Wilson" <MelanieWilson at bigfoot.com>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: medieval angling site--?


Not the site you want but a ref that might interest


"Angling in British Art" by W S Sparrow,





Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 05:49:10 -0800

From: "Lorene Dinsmore" <dinsmore at ivic.net>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: medieval angling site--?


I just happened to find it....

The URL is http://www.farreaches.org/fishing




-----Original Message-----

I recently received a missive from a gentle who  has a medieval angling

site. I thought I'd bookmarked the page but apparently I screwed up and

didn't. I'm putting the site in my next update on the Resource URL list--but

first I need the URL! Does anyone know who put this site up? Thanks in

advance for any help you can give me in this matter.


Isabelle de Foix

patricia.hefner at worldnet.att.net



Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 16:49:06 -0500

From: "Liam O'Shea" <loshea at cinci.rr.com>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: medieval angling site--?



    hehehe Hate it when that happens.  However, the site belongs to me.  The

URL is www.farreaches.org/fishing   If you need to know anything else, feel

free to contact me.


Liam O'Shea

Barony of Fenix


> I recently received a missive from a gentle who  has a medieval angling

> site. I thought I'd bookmarked the page but apparently I screwed up and

> didn't.


> Isabelle de Foix

> patricia.hefner at worldnet.att.net



From: Heather Rose Jones <hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: period fly fishing

Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 17:48:54 -0700

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Ghelena661 wrote:

>      On the subject of period fly fishing, I would like to get my hands on

> that TI issue.


>      I would like to do a little fishing at Pennsic, since I camp right on the

> lake i can fish from my pavilion if I wanted to.


>      I am a lacemaker, so I suspect I can tie a fly ok.  I know where to get

> fishhooks that are period.


>      If any one has done any period fishing, please sound out!


I haven't actually done any period fishing, but I can give you a few

leads on the research end.  There are a number of surviving treatises on

fishing from the medieval period and earlier. Several from the 15th and

16th century are published in "The Fishers' Craft & Lettered Art: Tracts

on Fishing from the End of the Middle Ages" (ed. Richard C. Hoffmann,

University of Toronto Press, 1997).  I've also seen a book entitled

something like "Fishing in the Ancient World", which I believe is more

of a work about fishing history rather than sources (in translation),

although I wouldn't be at all surprised if you could find some practical

fishing information in Pliny.


Hoffmann's text includes all sorts of specific instructions on both live

and prepared baits, as well as feather-based flies.  Here's a sample (in translation):


"as soon as the brooks become small and clear, like in May, whether it

is the first of the month or the second, then see to it to put 'stone

bait' on the feathered hook which should be tied with yellow silk and

with pinkish-colored silk around the 'heart' and with a black one mixed

around the 'heart'.  The feather should be speckled light.  But if the

water is dark, then the feathers should be that much the lighter,

together with blackish feathering.  If it is high water, then the

feathering should be blackish with light brown mixed among it, fished

high up in running water."


There are dozens of fly-tying instructions, including some for mimicking

particular species of flies.





From: Ghelena661 at aol.com

Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 03:53:54 EDT

Subject: Re: period fly fishing

To: stefan at texas.net


    Fish hooks are sold by either Smoke and Fire, or James Townsend. They

are 3 for $5 and are made by a blacksmith.  These hooks have to be tied to

the line.  Fish hooks have a long and venerated history, and many aspects of

fishing (such as hooks) experienced little change until recently with the

introduction of metals like steel and titanium, and of course, the

introduction of the reel.


May your threads never tangle,

Roxanne Greenstreet



From: Ghelena661 at aol.com

Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 05:24:24 EDT

Subject: Re: period fly fishing

To: stefan at texas.net


    I have been conversing with various fisher folk on this subject. Master

Brok (Atlantian Laurel for blacksmithing)  has done a lot of fly fishing in

the past, and has gone so far as to make his own rods, smith his own hooks

and, braid his own string as well as tie the flies.  I don't know if I am up

to all that!  I understand from another Laurel (Master Finnr, a Viking dude)

that the poles used in period had a still 'handle' section, a more flexible

mid section, and a rather whippy willow end.  Like modern fly fishing, the

rod is whipped in the air and then somehow sent the goodly distance it needs

to go to get into the water away from the bank.  


    I think this is a little ambitious for a beginner.  I intend to tie some

flies on my authentic hooks and then simply pole fish.  I am already

scavenging sticks that will be useful in the cause of a good pole.  I will

then work on flie tying.  I understand this is a bit of an art in itself.


May your threads never tangle,




Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 09:41:38 -0400

From: margali <margali at 99main.com>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Italian fish in oil spreads


Yes, there were pisciniae shown on a number of blueprints of

roman villas in a book on roman architecture I have. There was

quite a complex of them at the Villa of Tiberius on Capri. IIRC

there was also a mention of a piscina run near rome for the

markets of rome, and private piscinae in the peristyle gardens in

Rome. There is a private piscina in the Villa of the Mysteries in



[wel, rob promised to build our retirement home to suit, and he

didn't specifically exclude a roman villa rustica ;-)]



Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 16:37:04 +0200

From: Volker Bach <bachv at paganet.de>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Italian fish in oil spreads


"Pixel, Queen of Cats" schrieb:

> But you don't kill the fish before you send it to Florence. You put it,

> still alive, in a barrel of water with a bunch of other living fish, and

> send it on a cart.


> Or you have fishponds. Does anybody know whether they used fishponds in

> Italy the same way they did in England and France?


I don't know too much about the details, but as

far as I know Italian fishponds were usually stone

or brick structures, and sometimes housed seawater

fish. They were definitely known from Roman times

onwards (quite fashionable in Augustan times) and

used in medieval Italy. However, as fish was a

high-status food in Antiquity but a low-status

item in Lombard and later medieval Italy, it is

unlikely (and definitely not provable) that the

elaborate Roman tradition continued in wide use.


Got it: Massimo Montanari, 'la fame e

l'abbondanza' (German translation Beck 1993), p.

48 (chapter 8, towards the middle): fishponds

built in swamps in Lombard Italy and later.

Unfortunately, no more than that. THese were

likely freshwater and very similar to our local






From: Christina Nevin <cnevin at caci.co.uk>

To: "'SCA Cookslist'" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 16:31:06 +0100

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Fish ponds WAS Italian fish in oil spreads


        Or you have fishponds. Does anybody know whether they used fishponds

        in Italy the same way they did in England and France?

        Margaret FitzWilliam


As the fishpond as used in England and France was introduced by the Romans

(pisciniae), I would say yes.

The Seafood chapter in C. Anne Wilson's "Food and Drink in Britain" has a

fascinating section which traces the evolution of these.





Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 22:30:04 +0200

From: tgl at mailer.uni-marburg.de

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] online glossary: piscinae


piscina (Latin) = a fish pond, used to ensure a supply of fish for the



-- Higginbotham, J.: Piscinae. Artificial fishponds in Roman Italy.

Chapel Hill, NC 1997.





Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 07:48:21 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] fish consumption


There are a number of recipes but you might want to look

at these studies and/or collections of papers first--


Medieval fish, fisheries, and fishponds in England /

by Aston, Michael.

Oxford, England : B.A.R., 1988

2 v. (ix, 484 p.) ill. English

Series: BAR British series ;; 182;

Standard No: ISBN: 0860545091 (set); LCCN: 88-138066


Inland fisheries in medieval Yorkshire, 1066-1300 /

by McDonnell, J.

Publication: [York, North Yorkshire] : University of York,

Borthwick Institute of Historical Research,  1981

42 p. ill. English

Series: Borthwick papers ;; no. 60;

Standard No: LCCN: 82-191154


The tidal Thames :

the history of a river and its fishes /

by Wheeler, Alwyne C.

London ; Boston : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979

x, 228 p. ill. ; English

Standard No: ISBN: 0710002009 :; LCCN: 79-40460


Fish : food from the waters /

edited by Walker, Harlan.

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooke  (1997)

Totnes, UK : Prospect Books, 1998

335 p. ill., maps ; English

Standard No: ISBN: 0907325890


You may have seen this one already--

De Friese palingaken /

by Zetzema, Jan.

Leeuwarden : De Tille, 1976

160 p., [1] leaf of plates : p., ill. Dutch

Series: [Utjeften] - Fryske Akademy ;; nr. 500;

Variation: Fryske Akademy (Series) ;; nr. 500.

Standard No: ISBN: 9070010461 :; LCCN: 77-463633


These cookbooks might help:


Jansen-Sieben, R./ van der Molen-Willebrands, M.

(Hg.): Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen.

Het eerste gedrukte nederlandstalige kookboek

circa 1514 uitgeven te Brussel door Thomas vander

Noot. Bezorgt en van commentaar voorzien. Amsterdam 1994.


Het eerste nederlandsche gedrukte kookboek

(Brussel, Thomas von der Noot, c. 1510).

Facsimile-uitgave naar het eenig bekende

exemplaar in de Bayerische Staatsbibliothek,

M=FCnchen. 's-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff 1925.


Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen.

Thomas vander Noot, Brussel, omstreeks 1514.

Fotografische herdruk gebaseerd op de uitgave

van Martinus Nijhoff, Den Haag, 1925. Amsterdam 1994.


Cockx-Indestege, E. (Hg.): Eenen Nyeuwen Coock Boeck.

Kookboek samengesteld door Gheeraert Vorselman

en gedrukt te Antwerpen in 1560. Uitgegeven en

van Commentaar voorzien door Elly Cockx-Indestege.

Wiesbaden 1971.


Braekman, W.L.: Medische en technische

mittelnederlandse Recepten. Een tweede bijdrage

tot de geschiedenis von de vakliteratur in

de Nederlanden. Gent 1975.


This should provide you with some references to work with

and the bibliographies given in the books should lead you

to more materials on the subject.


Johnna Holloway

Johnnae llyn Lewis


Ides Boone wrote: snipped

> I am working as an archaeozoologist in Belgium. I had to study sieved

> samples with faunal material from Medieval and Post-Medieval sites from

> Namur (Belgium).

> The species present in the material are: strurgeon, eel, trout,

> grayling, pike, carp, perch, catfish == still eaten now in Belgium.

> But also a lot of Cyprinids such as: bream, barbel, nose, gudgeon, chub,

> ide, dace, minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus), bitterling (Rhodeus sericaeus),

> roach, rudd.

> Also, I found  (almost in equal qunantity as the Cyprinids)a lot bones

> of the stone loach (Noemaceilus barbatulus), Stickelbacks and Miller's

> thumb (Cottus gobio).

> I am very much interested how these species were eaten: fried, in a

> soup,... Is there anyone who has some information about it or knows some

> old medieval fishrecipees?>

> Thanks a lot,

> Ides (Belgium)



Date: Tue,  5 Jul 2005 09:58:34 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Big fish

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> My husband came across this and forwarded it to me--

> It is one massive fish.


Not so large as one herring brought in at Caister during the

Yarmouth Herring Fair (source: History of Yarmouth by William  

Finch-Crisp  - Published 1877) extracted on web page  




"Large fish, 17 yards long, the jaw 3.25 yards long, body 4.5 yards

thick, caught at Caister"


Capt Elias

-Renaissance Geek of the Cyber Seas



Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 22:32:39 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] SCA Fishing list?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


>> Are there any SCA oriented lists or websites on pre 1600's  

>> fishing, fishing equipment, fishing boats, and type of fish caught?


>> Sharon

>> gordonse at one.net


> Yep. Apparently there's a group of folks into period fishing, both with a

> pole, and making various traps.


> Phlip


Well, you could go here:



          A treatise on fishing with an angle


Slightly out of period:



          Isaac Walton's treatise on Angling



          Thomas Barker on angling



          Robert Venables on angling





Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2006 12:05:19 -0400

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"

        <adamantius.magister at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] SCA Fishing list?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Apr 4, 2006, at 1:32 AM, Laura C. Minnick wrote:

> Slightly out of period:


> http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/%7Erbear/walton/index.html

>         Isaac Walton's treatise on Angling


Just by way of perspective: this out-of-period source was published

the same year as The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelm

Digby, Knight, Opened (or however much of the 72-page-long title you

want to refer to this work by). It also has some fish recipes, as I



Recommended even for non-anglers.





Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2008 18:04:40 -0400

From: "Sharon Gordon" <gordonse at one.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Information gleaned from medieval cod bones

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


From The Times

April 14, 2008

European history in cod bones

Trading across medieval Europe revealed in cod bones more than a metre in


Norman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent


The catastrophic decline of North Sea cod as the result of over fishing has

had an impact on all our menus, from the poshest restaurants to the corner

chippie: the fish left are few and small, compared with those of less than a

century ago. Cod more than a metre in length are rare these days, whereas

archaeological remains show that fish several times that size were common.


A new study shows that cod were exploited in the Middle Ages from many,

often distant, fishing grounds, with an international trade in dried

stockfish. Some fish eaten in a Yorkshire village may have been some from

off the coast of Sweden, while merchants in what is now northern Germany ate

cod from Arctic Norway.


Co-operation by archaeologists and scientists from Britain, France, Belgium,

Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic states has allowed medieval cod bones

recovered from sites as far apart as Poland and Orkney to be analysed for

their stable-isotope content. Variation in the isotopes of carbon and

nitrogen is regional, "making it possible to identify bones from cod caught

in distant waters", James Barrett and colleagues report in the Journal of

Archaeological Science. Their work suggests that this long-distance fish

trade had already begun by late Anglo-Saxon times, at the end of the  

first millennium AD.


More details at:





Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 23:28:29 -0500

From: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] salt cod

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org




While the term "kippered" goes back to 12th century or so, what we  

think of as "kippered" fish or "kippers" apparently dates to just the  

19th century and refers to a lightly smoked fish, one where the  

smoking is mostly for flavor. This fish required the speed of the  

railroads to transport it to market before it spoiled since there  

wasn't enough smoking to add much preservation qualities.


I am currently in the middle of reading this book. It has quite a lot  

of info about fishing in the Middle Ages including the creation of the  

salted herring and the stockfish trade.


Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and Discovery of the New World

Fagan, Brian

ISBN: 0-465-02284-7

Basic Books, New York


From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It was fish, not spices, that led to the discovery of  

North America," speculates anthropologist Fagan. From 1495 to 1525, he  

tells us, the monks at Westminster Abbey consumed almost 11,000  

kilograms of fish per year. The sheer enormity of this piscine cuisine  

offers a snapshot of the exalted place fish held in the life of  

religious communities. Fagan (The Little Ice Age) regales readers with  

a fast-paced, edge-of the-seat tale of Christianity's role in the  

development of fishing and fisheries as commercial ventures. By the  

fourth century, fish had become the center of Christian fast days and  

holy feasts. Early forms of aquaculture were developed to meet the  

demand, but eventually, as Fagan points out, Europe's rapidly growing  

Catholic population and its demand for fish on Fridays and fast days  

led, as early as the Middle Ages, to a North Atlantic fishing industry  

providing herring and cod and developing salting and smoking to  

preserve the fish for the transatlantic trip. But the onset of the  

Little Ice Age forced fishermen further south, and eventually they  

followed cod down to their winter waters off the coast of Maine.  

Fagan's rich prose creates a lively social history that will captivate  

readers of Mark Kurlansky and Jared Diamond. B&w illus.

Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier  

Inc. All rights reserved.


From School Library Journal

Adult/High School&ndash;This is a thought-provoking, well-researched  

explanation for early European exploration. According to Fagan, the  

knowledge and technological innovations that made ocean voyages  

possible were gained over hundreds of years by ordinary people in  

pursuit of fish. The appetite for the food was enormous in Europe  

during the Middle Ages. Rare fish graced the tables of nobles as a  

delicacy. Stockfish replaced meat during holy days and supplemented  

the meager diet of peasants. Preserved fish fed soldiers when they  

were far from home. Political situations, monopolies, and climate  

changes forced fishermen farther from shore. Better designs for boats  

followed, as well as new methods of drying and salting the catch. The  

longer shelf life for fish allowed for even greater distances to be  

covered. The author's lively style and use of fascinating details make  

this an entertaining book that would also be useful for students doing  

research on specific aspects of medieval life. An analysis of the  

various claims of who reached the New World first is particularly  

interesting. Fish recipes, from classical Rome to 17th-century New  

England, are sprinkled throughout the narrative. A reverse  

chronological time line is provided, as well as 12 maps and 27 black-

and-white illustrations that include reproductions of contemporary  

paintings of towns and shores and woodcuts showing smokehouses,  

waterwheels, and other inventions. Drawings of fishing boats, fish,  

and fishing tools are also featured.&ndash;Kathy Tewell, Chantilly  

Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier  

Inc. All rights reserved.




THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra

   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com


<the end>

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