Biweekly Colloquium: “Feeding Anglo-Saxon England: The Bioarchaeology of an ‘Agricultural Revolution’ ”

Dec 06, 2021 from 04:15 PM to 05:45 PM

Virtual Meeting

Prof. Dr. Helena Hamerow  •  School of Archaeology, University of Oxford

Feeding Anglo-Saxon England: The Bioarchaeology of an ‘Agricultural Revolution’

The early medieval ‘agricultural revolution’ saw the advent of extensive forms of cereal farming that supported the exceptionally rapid growth of towns, markets and populations. The spread of open-field farming in particular is regarded as one of the transformative changes of the Middle Ages, one that has left a clear mark on the landscape today.  Historians and archaeologists studying these developments in England have had to rely on a few pre-Conquest texts, post-medieval maps and scatters of potsherds associated with manuring when investigating the ‘cerealisation’ of the early medieval countryside. The project ‘Feeding Anglo-Saxon England’ (FeedSax) addresses an ongoing debate regarding the origins and spread of new forms of cereal farming in England between c AD 700-1300 from the perspective of bioarchaeology (plant macrofossils, animal bones, and pollen). This talk presents an overview of some of FeedSax’s results, which constitute direct evidence for the conditions in which medieval crops were grown.

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