The Archaeology of the Peasantry in the Early Medieval Age. Reflections and proposals

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Kirchner, Helena
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cc-by (c) Edicions de la Universitat de Lleida, 2020
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The archaeology of the medieval peasantry in Spain and Europe has attracted renewed attention in recent decades. This article is an overview of the research carried out in the last 30 years into the peasantry and their cultivated areas in the early-medieval societies in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and al-Andalus. Special attention is paid to the interpretations archaeologists make of the archaeological record. Approaches from two distinct perspectives are analysed, these being the excavation of settlements, and the archaeology of agrarian spaces. Both approaches do not usually come together in the research. It is increasingly clear that the 8th century was a turning point in the forms of peasant settlement and the creation of new cultivated areas. The consolidation of the migration in al-Andalus or the new forms of peasant settlement that arose from the end of the 7th century in the north of the Peninsula were essential for the later urban development. This development is closely linked to the changes in the production of artefacts and tools, as well as how these were distributed (in markets increasingly controlled from the city) and the patterns of consumption by the population, both rural and urban. Ethnic origins and religion have little to do with this process.
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Imago temporis: medium Aevum, 2020, núm. 14, p. 61-102