Do you think you’d be able to leave the modern comforts of life behind to discover what it was like for our ancestors to live during the 10th century? We probably wouldn’t be able to survive more than a week.
Usually, when folks decide to abandon the drudgery of their current lifestyle and live alone in the woods, they are condemned by society. But for Pavel Sapozhnikov, it became a social experiment.
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old volunteered to be part of a project called Alone in the Past, where he spent eight-months living by himself in medieval conditions. For the duration of the experiment, he had very little human contact, except when he was visited once a month by a medical expert and project leader to check his progress.
The project began in September 2013 and ran until the end of May.
Sapozhnikov had to live without running water, electricity and Internet access during the toughest season of the year, winter. He was only allowed to use authentic tools and eat meals from ancient Russia. He was also not allowed to leave the farm unless he was out to hunt for food. Even the construction of the outbuilding and farm were built using methods from the 10th century, which included a main house, a well, a hayloft, a smokehouse and a separate toilet. These were all built with information gathered from ethnographic data and archaeological findings.
“The idea is to see if a modern man can survive alone in an early medieval environment, what impact this kind of lifestyle will have on his psychological state” says Alexey Ovcharenko, who was the driving force behind the project.
From the looks of it, living in medieval times was far from being a breeze.
Each day, Sapozhnikov endured a routine of physical labor to ensure his survival: He woke up, checked on his livestock, milked the goat, chopped wood, fetched water from a well, insulated his cabin with manure, and hunted for food.
The photos in the slideshow above depict one day of his life as a medieval hermit. As part of the project, he was given a notepad and a camera to document his experiences.
The material he collected has been published on a blog.
If given the opportunity, would you be willing to live alone in the past?