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The herring cask and its sign system as witnesses to a growing fishing industry in fifteenth-century Flanders

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Abstract
Archaeological research in the Low Countries regularly uncovers medieval herring casks. They usually show a wide range of marks and symbols. Herring casks are the bearers of a sign system that had relationships with other forms of writing that played a role in the management of a growing fishing industry and the food supply of the urbanized population. The signs on the casks are prominent witnesses to the important fourteenth- and fifteenth-century historical developments in the production and consumption of sea fish in the county of Flanders and the neighbouring regions. For the historical research into the system of signs on the herring casks, I venture into the fields of not only maritime and economic history but also palaeography and semiotics. I argue that signs on the casks played a role in the scaling up and individualization of the marine fishing economy and the conflict management it required
Keywords
herring, cask, branding, hallmark, individuality, obscurity, timber, Scania

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Citation

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MLA
Dillen, Kristiaan. “The Herring Cask and Its Sign System as Witnesses to a Growing Fishing Industry in Fifteenth-Century Flanders.” JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY, vol. 51, no. 3, 2025.
APA
Dillen, K. (2025). The herring cask and its sign system as witnesses to a growing fishing industry in fifteenth-century Flanders. JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY, 51(3).
Chicago author-date
Dillen, Kristiaan. 2025. “The Herring Cask and Its Sign System as Witnesses to a Growing Fishing Industry in Fifteenth-Century Flanders.” JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY 51 (3).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Dillen, Kristiaan. 2025. “The Herring Cask and Its Sign System as Witnesses to a Growing Fishing Industry in Fifteenth-Century Flanders.” JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY 51 (3).
Vancouver
1.
Dillen K. The herring cask and its sign system as witnesses to a growing fishing industry in fifteenth-century Flanders. JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY. 2025;51(3).
IEEE
[1]
K. Dillen, “The herring cask and its sign system as witnesses to a growing fishing industry in fifteenth-century Flanders,” JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY, vol. 51, no. 3, 2025.
@article{01HY528XEFX5DK3V8BDH7R8ZAT,
  abstract     = {{Archaeological research in the Low Countries regularly uncovers medieval herring casks. They usually show a wide range of marks and symbols. Herring casks are the bearers of a sign system that had relationships with other forms of writing that played a role in the management of a growing fishing industry and the food supply of the urbanized population. The signs on the casks are prominent witnesses to the important fourteenth- and fifteenth-century historical developments in the production and consumption of sea fish in the county of Flanders and the neighbouring regions. For the historical research into the system of signs on the herring casks, I venture into the fields of not only maritime and economic history but also palaeography and semiotics. I argue that signs on the casks played a role in the scaling up and individualization of the marine fishing economy and the conflict management it required}},
  author       = {{Dillen, Kristiaan}},
  issn         = {{0304-4181}},
  journal      = {{JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY}},
  keywords     = {{herring,cask,branding,hallmark,individuality,obscurity,timber,Scania}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{3}},
  title        = {{The herring cask and its sign system as witnesses to a growing fishing industry in fifteenth-century Flanders}},
  volume       = {{51}},
  year         = {{2025}},
}