The Secret Life of Medieval Female Artists Discovered by Accident

A religious woman living in Germany around 1100AD was likely contributing art to the richly illustrated manuscripts of the era. Analysis of her teeth plaque shows evidence of the rare and expensive lapis lazuli pigment. The research shows women may have played a bigger role in religious art than previously thought.

This may indicate the woman was a painter of these highly sought after manuscripts. The study was examining dental calculus - the plaque that fossilizes on human teeth during life - of bodies found close to the site of a women's monastery at Dalheim in Germany. 

Little is known about the monastery, but a women's exclusive community may have formed there as early as the 10th century AD. 

Written records indicate that a lively community present in 1244 AD. Researchers believe up to 14 religious women may have lived on site until its destruction in a fire in the 14th century.


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