Cover of Interpreting Transformations of People and Landscapes in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Interpreting Transformations of People and Landscapes in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

Archaeological Approaches and Issues

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In this volume of papers, deriving from two conferences held in Rome and Leicester in 2016, nineteen leading European archaeologists discuss and interpret the complex evolution of landscapes – both urban and rural – across Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (c. AD 300–700). The geographical coverage extends from Italy to the Mediterranean West through to the Rhine frontier and onto Hadrian’s Wall. Core are questions of impacts due to the socio-political, religious, military and economic transformations affecting provinces, territories and kingdoms across these often turbulent centuries: how did townscapes change and at what rate? What were the fates of villas? When do post-classical landscapes emerge and in what form? To what degree did Europe become an insecure, defended landscape? In what ways did people – cityfolk, farmers, nobility, churchmen, merchants – adapt? Do the elite remain visible and how prominent is the Church? Where and how do we see culture change through the arrival of new groups or new ideas? Do burials form a clear guide to the changing world? And how did the environment change in this period of stress – was the classical period landscape much altered through the attested depopulation and economic deterioration? And underlying much of the discussion is a consideration of the nature and quality of our source material: how good is the archaeology of these periods and how good is our current reading of the materials available? Combined, these expert studies offer valuable new analyses of people and places in a complex, challenging and crucial period in European history.

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