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At the same time environmental topics have gained importance in modern society, but the debate lacks an historical understanding.

Medieval Archaeology: Understanding Traditions and Contemporary Approaches

Regarding medieval rural archaeology, we need to ask how this influences our archaeological research on medieval settlements, and how ecological approaches fit into the self-concept of medieval archaeology as a primarily historical discipline. Based mainly on a background in German medieval archaeology, this article calls attention to more complex ecological research questions.


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Medieval village formation and the late medieval crisis are taken as examples to sketch some hypotheses and research questions. The perspective of a village ecosystem helps bring together economic aspects, human ecology and environmental history. There are several implications for archaeological theory as well as for archaeological practice. Traditional approaches from landscape archaeology are insufficient to understand the changes within village ecosystems.

We need to consider social aspects and subjective recognition of the environment by past humans as a crucial part of human—nature interaction. The medieval period is of course framed by false divides, and this has numerous theoretical and methodological problems attached to it. There is a journal of the society — Medieval Archaeology — that reports the latest archaeological research and findings from this broad date range — 12 centuries — from the 5th to the 16th century. At least its subtitle is clear and content is properly defined.

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In there emerged a Society for Medieval Archaeology celebratory volume that again prioritises authors and scholarship on the Later Middle Ages and has no dedicated discussions of fifth-tenth centuries AD, representing those active in the society at that time. Still, its retrospective, thematic and regional surveys do incorporate a range of early medieval evidence and issues.

First, it is simply entitled Medieval Archaeology. From a British perspective, this would imply it was about the archaeological evidence, methods and theories for societies of the 5thth centuries. This massive set of books is simply unaffordable to me or anyone sane.

It also means that many key issues are not addressed which are significant for understanding the 5thth centuries, including issues of early medieval migration, Christian conversion, kingdom formation, warfare and raiding, maritime and overland communications, urban origins, rural settlement, civil defence, and the interdisciplinary study of early medieval carved stone monuments. Can 11thth-century material evidence be used to debate all the themes and debates in medieval archaeology as a whole?

Is the neglect of the scholarship of the first 6 centuries of the Middle Ages because few good research articles could be found to represent this time period? Does it simply reflect the bias of the editors? Why not subscribe to the journal Medieval Archaeology instead?


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We agreed that I should post her response to my comments above. Here they are:.

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British Isles: Medieval Archaeology | SpringerLink

We have contacted Routledge and asked for urgent action to remedy this. The concept of the Major Works series is well established in other disciplines but new to Archaeology. It is not intended to be a handbook or companion of new material. The series reprints significant articles to show the development of a discipline over time, and to provide core material for those new to the subject.

Medieval Archaeology: Understanding Traditions and Contemporary Approaches by Chris Gerrard

The volumes are aimed principally at markets where medieval archaeology is not taught at UG degree level e. Japan, USA, etc , and where libraries would not have the stock of journals and volumes standard to a UK library. The later medieval focus is designed to complement degrees in Medieval Studies, where students may want to gain a background in archaeology and material culture. Our aim is to extend the discipline to new international audiences. Fab article and thank you One question — where is the picture taken of the ruined church?

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