I’m a teacher and have already devised and run some all day projects for pupils at my school.
Our History department have now asked me to come up with a project which:
- should be interesting
- should be historically accurate
- should include four medieval areas (manuscripts, weapons, apothecaries and torture)
- is aimed at 10-12 year olds
So I intend to have the pupils solve a murder, using clues in the above areas.
Basically a Baron gets knocked out by a drug, then killed the way Richard II was (involving a red hot poker and Richard grasping his ankles :eek: .) But later another violent person comes across the ‘recumbent’ Baron and stabs him with a dagger. The body is not discovered for a few days…
OK, don’t worry too much about the plot. (You can probably tell I like CSI, Ellis Peters and Agatha Christie!)
For the sake of accuracy, please can you help with the following?
Was Richard II really murdered with a red hot poker?
Does this leave obvious marks? (apart from the look on his face! :smack: )
Will this upset 10-12 year olds?
What medieval drug (obtainable by a noble) could be used to knock a man out? (It would be great if it left some signs of its presence, such as stains on the lips, or a pungent odour.)
If a dead man is stabbed, is there a lack of bleeding? How long must he be dead before this applies?
Can you tell by simple inspection approximately what sort of blade was used? (no microscopes!)
Do any English insects lay eggs in dead bodies? If so, is there a regular time cycle for the eggs to hatch? In other words, could we say approximately when time of death occurred from the state of maturity of the insects?
In English medieval times, could a woman inherit if there was a younger male heir?
Did medieval nobles keep diaries? (I guess it depends on my time period - I know Samuel Pepys did, but that was around the 1600’s.)
Assume I am initially looking for sometime between 1200 - 1400.