Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Early Medieval SettlementsThe Archaeology of Rural Communities in North-West Europe 400-900$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Helena Hamerow

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199246977.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2021

Rural Communities in Early Medieval Europe: Archaeological Approaches and Frameworks

Rural Communities in Early Medieval Europe: Archaeological Approaches and Frameworks

(p.1) 1 Rural Communities in Early Medieval Europe: Archaeological Approaches and Frameworks
Title Pages

Helena Hamerow

Oxford University Press

The primary aim of this book is to provide an overview of the evidence for the settlements and everyday life of rural communities in northwest Europe from c. ad 400 to 900, broadly the period from the collapse of the western Roman Empire to the rise of early states in its former provinces and Scandinavia. Its secondary purpose is to relate this evidence, which comes mainly from archaeological excavations, to Anglo-Saxon England and to consider its implications for our understanding of settlements here. Each chapter concludes, therefore, with a brief discussion of the comparable evidence from England, even though detailed comparisons cannot always be drawn due to differences in the quantity and nature of the data available. The evidence is examined under five broad topics: buildings and what the ‘built environment’ tells us about the household and its activities; the layout of farmsteads and settlements and how these may reflect the social structure of communities; the formation of territories and demographic developments; farming strategies; and, finally, the role of non-agrarian production and exchange in the economies of rural settlements. Working with evidence spanning such a broad chronological and geographical range is naturally beset with methodological difficulties. One obvious complication is introduced by the different traditions of periodization and terminology used by scholars working in different countries. Thus, a settlement dating to the sixth century might be described as ‘Germanic Iron Age’, ‘Migration period’, ‘early Anglo-Saxon’, or ‘Merovingian’, depending on its location. The chapters which follow draw primarily on evidence from a large region, stretching from southern Scandinavia, through northwest Germany to the Netherlands. This brings with it the danger of adopting a ‘melting pot’ approach, however unintentionally (Halsall 1995a, 1–3). Yet, an appreciation of regional, indeed local, diversity and of the potential for rapid social change in this period is essential. This North Sea zone has been chosen, furthermore, not out of a misguided belief in a ‘homogeneous Germanic culture’ (ibid.), but because it was in close cultural and economic contact with England and includes the regions from which the Anglo-Saxons believed their forebears to have originated.

Keywords:   Bede, Dalem, Ezinge, Germania, Kootwijk, Nørre Snede, Odoorn, Veluwe, Warendorf, cemeteries

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .