chapter  1
12 Pages

The Cabrei of the Order of Malta as an Archaeological Source: Some Notes on Piedmont

Originally the cabrei consisted of notarial registers which recorded the privileges and rights enjoyed by a landowner and as such they only served a juridical function. However, the detailed descriptions of territorial possessions resulted in these registers playing a notable role in the economic administration of landed property at the end of the seventeenth century. The first cabrei only contained written descriptions of the possessions belonging to noble families and ecclesiastical or lay bodies (cabrei descrittivi). Later they came to include an iconographical part which portrayed the properties through various drawings (cabrei figurati). These registers sometimes embraced a wide range of documents such as lists of rights, inventories of goods, valuations of landed property, maps, locations of borders, and so forth. In the eighteenth century the cabrei became the preferred means to gather and keep all the information that could prove useful when checking landed possessions, making land improvements or developments, settling inheritance issues, and paying taxes.1