Medieval Farming

What did Early Medieval European landscapes look like?And Early medieval farming? How did peasants and slaves cultivate the land? What kinds of animals did they husband? What forms of settlement were typical?

In Northern Europe there is a long tradition to excavate not only the buildings but also to investigate the botanical and zoological remains on these sites. And indeed, much is known not only about the size of the farms, the tools, and the systems of agriculture but also about which types of animals were kept on the land an on the farms.

In opposition to this Mediterranean archaeology of farming and husbandry in medieval Southern Europe is much less systematically developed. Although historical analysis of bio-archaeological remains from Southern European medieval sites has been conducted since the 70s, these types of studies are still sporadic.

The interpretation of historical landscapes and ways of production is accordingly often made solely on the basis of textual witnesses, while reflection on these aspects based on archaeology is muted. Nevertheless, in the last years, the number of specialists and researchers, who study the archaeology of farming and husbandry, has grown and a significant amount of data has surfaced. A conference in Northern Spain in November aims to take stock of this new research and contribute to the formulation of more general syntheses concerning Early Medieval Southern Europe

Focus is on the agricultural history of Spain, but in a comparative perspective. In order to achieve this a series of general presentations on archaeo-fauna, paleo-climatic changes, farming and husbandry in Early Medieval England, Italy, Spain, France and the Basque region are supposed to lift the overall debate to a new level.

Presentations will be given by

Archaeology of Farming and Husbandry in Early Medieval Ages
Facultad de Letras (Universidad del País Vasco)
Vitoria-Gasteiz (Álava, Spain)
15.11.2012 – 16.11.2012

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