What was Europe like a century ajo? Historians set to rebuild lost fragrance

LONDON – For hundreds of years, through plagues and other pandemics, people believed that the disease was not spread by droplets or flea bites but due to unpleasant odors. To purify the air around them, they will burn rosemary and hot tar.

These scents were so common when passing through the winding streets of London Great plague Historians said that in the 17th century they were synonymous with plague.

Now, as the world faces Another widespread outbreak, A team of historians and scientists from six European countries is looking to identify and classify the most common scents of daily life across Europe from the 16th century to the 20th century, and to study what scents over time Change is known about society.

The $ 3.3 million “Odupora” project, announced this week, will use artificial intelligence to squeeze through more than 250,000 illustrations and thousands of texts, including medical textbooks, novels and journals in seven thousand languages. Researchers will analyze fragrances and tobacco-like in the context of texts to train computers to use artificial intelligence using machines.

Once enlisted, researchers, working with chemists and perfumers, will recreate about 120 scents with the hope that museum curators will incorporate some odors into the exhibit to make visits to museumgoers more immersive or memorable. .

Three year project, which is EU funded, Will also include a guide to demonstrate how museums can use the scent. Historians said that the smell of exhibitions could make museums more accessible to people who have darkness or who have limited vision.

Assistant Professor of Early Modern European History at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, England, Drs. William Tullett said, “Often museums are unsure of how to use the smell in their places.”

Plans for the project, which began in January, began before the epidemic, but researchers said the coronavirus, which is The smell of cities changed And May cause odor loss For some infected, it gave examples of how scents and society reflect each other.

During previous epidemics, the theory of misma, which posited that poor smoke was a marker of disease transfer, was central to the way people view the spread of infection.

Now, once again, people especially smell around them and sometimes worry that if they can smell someone standing nearby, that person is in Their aerosol atmosphere And so very close, Drs. Inger Limmens, said a professor of cultural history at the University of Vreje Amsterdam. “Nevertheless, smell becomes an indicator of possible disease and infection.”

And lockdown measures have changed the city’s scents, with fewer cars on the road and fewer stinks on the streets than restaurants. Researchers said, over time, communities stink, highlighting that there are historical perspectives regarding illness and other cultural aspects of daily life. This sentiment has largely been ignored in education, but has received much attention in the last decade.

“With smell, you can open the question about national culture, global culture, going immediately into a quarrel, without differences between communities,” Dr. Lemance said that smelting in museum exhibitions or classrooms gives people the opportunity to open up in discussions in ways they don’t always do when discussing other issues of national identity. “It is such an open subject and has a great investigative and communication aspect.”

Dr. Lemmons said researchers are not only interested in studying the good fragrances of the last centuries, but also the bad smells, such as the smell of dung or industrialization, and sewage issues plaguing some European cities. They can be sent to museums to help people connect with the past, so long as they do not scare away visitors.

Dr. Lemmons said, “What we want to do is do it with olfactory artists. How can you bring that story up to the nose – how can you make people realize what we have done with industrialization in Europe.” ” “That’s the challenge.”

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