The truth is, sometimes details are not available no matter how hard you search, and you have to make logical jumps. I could find out a great deal about Mohawk village life, but not everything. When I couldn’t avoid the murky areas, I tried to extrapolate as cleanly as I could. For example, I never did find out with any certainty what materials were used for swaddling baby bottoms. I assume it was some kind of moss, as that is used for similar purposes, but it’s only an educated guess. As far as daily life for others — European types — there was more information available. I have hundreds of books on topics as diverse as lighting fixtures and household servants to the way in which a birchbark canoe is constructed, from the bottom up. I also had consultants — generous people with expertise in various areas. A surgeon who happens to be an expert on historical methods in hunting and trapping. A specialist in infectious medicine. An expert on the history of Scotland; people who do historical recreations of the French and Indian wars, and know first hand every detail down to how itchy the wool underwear can be. So I did my best — but I know, as any author who is honest with herself knows — that anachronisms will have slipped by me, and that it is almost impossible for me to really know what it is like to live in a world that is lit only by fire.
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