1. My story involves a timeslip between the present day and 13th century. I need some kind of item to connect the present to the past. I was thinking that jewelry would be most likely, as it has a better chance of survival. The idea I had was for my main character to find it randomly - preferably while going through some things received as part of an inheritance. Or maybe not necessarily that, she just needs to randomly find it when she wasn't looking for it, and not in a museum. My question is this: is that even possible, these days? For something that old to be kept in decent condition (and by decent, I mean recognizable and generally in one piece. I do realize some things will fade, etc.) generation after generation, without having been sold or put in a museum - does that seem likely, or too farfetched? Would such an item really survive that long without being kept in the preservational conditions that museums keep their artifacts in?
2. Part of my story involves a cave. There is a vast network of tunnels which are easy to get lost in. One of the passages leads to the sea. If someone were to have gotten lost deep in the system, far from the passage to the sea, and their body lay there undiscovered for seven hundred years, what kind of condition would the body be in? Would the hair and clothes still be there? Would the salty ocean air affect decomposition/preservation that far back (I'm thinking the body is in a branch off of a branch off of a branch in the tunnels, so its reeeeeaaallllyyyyy far back from the sea entrance), and if so, how?
This community is awesome, and I've already found the answers to lots of other questions in the archive. I would really appreciate any help that anyone out there can give me for these!