Please note: Only one List A Module for 2023/24 for Medieval Archaeology will be running. Either Europe in the Early Middle Ages OR Archaeology of Later Medieval Europe.
This course examines the diverse societies of Europe from the end of the Western Empire in the fifth century to the Viking Age. It offers an overview of material culture change over a wide geographical region over a period of some 500 years, although the emphasis is on western and northern Europe, including Britain.
The objective of the course is to understand the social structure and economies of early medieval societies, the complex cultural interactions of in the period and the early stages of state formation. How did the influences of the late Roman Empire, the early Church, and the 'barbarian' Iron Age peoples of Europe together shape the culture, especially the material culture, of the early Middle Ages?
Although this is a period for which written sources are frequently scarce, it is essential to build up an historical framework from the reading lists provided.
The course is structured thematically and chronologically: the first two lectures provide an overview of ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ societies; Lectures 3-5 deal with social structure (as expressed in votive deposits and mortuary practices), and Lectures 6-8 with socio-economic development (the rural economy; the revival of towns and trade; the impact of the conversion to Christianity and of Viking incursions). The course also addresses the problems and potential of comparing written sources and material culture.
Convenor: Professor Helena Hamerow