By Robert of Ferness
Although many archaeological projects have been on hold for two years now, a pre-construction cultural resources assessment in a small town in France was able to proceed during the summer of 2021. Thanks to a former graduate-school classmate on the dig, who sent me a few photos of artifacts they uncovered from what may have once been a medieval inn, I have had an opportunity to preview an interesting find. After some study and thought, I have been able to use it as a basis for a modern reconstruction of what it surely was once but a small part.
However, as my friend pointed out, this small graphic is obviously copied from the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry.
It does seem rather unusual to reproduce just a tiny portion of such a large work in a different medium, as this artisan has done, so I would posit that this one piece is all that survives of a once much larger set. Further, I suggest that the work as a whole told a story, like the Tapestry does, but probably a different one, a version much closer to its context, and more appreciated by those who would see it up close.
Without further ado, then, is my reconstruction and highlights of portions of its tale. Of course future discoveries may well prove me wrong in my interpretations, but one has to start somewhere. The fact that this item was found on the site of a probable inn strongly supports the idea behind my conjectured result.
The basic story portrayed here seems to be one that would be familiar to many: it’s an epic pub crawl. However, there are some notable differences, such as asides covering the preparation, brewing, and transport of the beer that will be consumed. The main characters do seem to be enjoying themselves for the most part, with entertainment along the way, and a good meal, but what would a pub crawl be without a bit of rough play before the evening ends?
In homage to the Bayeux Tapestry from which this smaller version comes, I have named this reconstruction the Bièresyeux Capestry. (For those not familiar with French pronunciation, try saying “beers-yo” and you’ll be very close.) At some point my reconstruction will be used for its ultimate purpose: capping 261 bottles of homebrew.