Thursday, January 19, 2012

Medieval Medicine--Old Scottish Hospital Unearthed

Somewhere My Lass
 is a unique suspenseful Scottish time travel romance that opens in a Victorian home in historic Staunton, Virginia before taking the leap back to the Highlands. While doing research for the story I uncovered a wealth of information about various time periods and the many facets that go along with a particular setting.  One fascinating archeological discovery I came across is the ancient hospital run by monks at Soutra, high in the Lammermuir Hills, near Edinburgh. This Medieval hospital was dedicated to looking after the poor, travelers, and pilgrims as well as the sick and infirm. Ancient Scotland did a lot more with medicines than I realized.  At least, the Medieval monks did.  I assume they shared this knowledge with other healers.
To quote from the above site: “Evidence…suggests the medieval Augustine monks also knew how to amputate limbs, fashion surgical instruments, induce birth, stop scurvy and even create hangover cures. The excavations at Soutra have also unearthed fragments of pottery vessels that were once used for storing medicines such as an analgesic salve made from opium and grease and treatment for parasitic and intestinal worms. Dressings have also been found, some still with salves or human tissues attached and the scientists have discovered a mixture of Quicklime (calcium oxide) which scientists believe was used as a disinfectant and a deodorant.”
“Dr Brian Moffat archeo-ethno-pharmocologist and director of investigations for the Soutra Project, studies clumps of seeds from the site. He said the scientists trawl literature of the period to try and identify remedies the herbs could have been used to create. They then search the site to find medical waste evidence to support their theories…”
I thought all of this was fascinating.
*The pic is all that’s left of Soutra now. 

No comments:

Post a Comment