> I have a dream that the living history world willUnlikely for a number of reasons.
> one day stop using the terms "in period" and "out
> of period" and instead specify times and places.
First, go a day without using pronouns, I dare you.
Second, there are many things which we know existed in
<place, date> for which we lack a significant
population of artifacts (sometimes any artifacts) from
which we can draw meaningful conclusions.
Let's say we have an example of a turnip twaddler from
England that is dated to 1500, but we have found
dozens of turnip twaddlers from Bavaria dating from
1100s to the early 1900s.
We might conclude that there was one turnip twaddler
in all of England, used in 1500 and that was it. Or
we might conclude that all of Europe and a good chunk
of Asia and Africa had twaddler technology from as far
back as the Roman empire.
The truth is, likely, somewhere in between. We can
demonstrate the movement of other technologies between
England and Bavaria, look for references to twaddlers
in wills and inventories and artwork, examine the
relevance of turnips in the respective local diets, or
look for reasons why so many twaddlers survived in
Bavaria and why that might not have been the case in
The fact is, unless we have a time machine, we can
never be sure. We can do some research, make some
educated guesses and throw some mental error bars
around the phrase, "It seems highly likely that a
turnip monger in York in 1350 would have had such a
thing." If our mental error bars are tight enough and
overlap our target enough to make us happy we can sum
things up by saying, "it's period". (Because let's
face it, most people aren't that interested in your
turnip twaddler research.)
And yeah, there is always going to be the guy who
thinks that a low budget movie about knights made in
1962 is good enough to set his error bars wherever he
damn well wants. Unless you have a time machine there
is nothing you can do about him.
If you do have a time machine you can take him back in
time and leave him in front of a hungry tyrannosaurus!