Farming regions in medieval England: the archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological evidence
Accepted version (143.9Kb) Med Arch Figure 1 Dengie.pdf (71.63Mb) Med Arch Figure 2.pdf (3.227Mb) Med Arch Figure 3.pdf (2.090Mb) Med Arch Figure 4a.pdf (1.242Mb) Med Arch Figure 4b.pdf (1.243Mb) Med Arch Figure 4c.pdf (1.244Mb) Med Arch Figure 5.pdf (1.185Mb) Med Arch Figure 6 cows drinking from Exe.JPG (6.629Mb) Med Arch Figure 7 bones EAS + MAS.pdf (501.5Kb) Med Arch Figure 8 bones HM.pdf (455.8Kb) Med Arch Figure 9 cereals EAS + MAS.pdf (527.6Kb) Med Arch Figure 10 cereals LAS + HM.pdf (539.5Kb)Show MoreShow Less
Society for Medieval Archaeology
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Regional variation in landscape character has in the past been studied by archaeologists in terms of its physical manifestations such as different settlement patterns and field systems. Local and regional distinctiveness in landscape character also results from how rural communities practised different agricultural regimes, and historians have long recognised the extent to which these varied across the country. Archaeologists, in contrast, have compared the animal bones and cereal remains from sites of different socio-economic status, but have not previously focused on the extent to which they vary across different geologies. This paper therefore presents an analysis of the animal bones of the three main domesticates (cattle, sheep/goat and pig), and the charred grains of the four main cereal crops (bread wheat, barley, oats and rye), across a series of different surface geologies within a study area extending from East Anglia down to the South-West Peninsula. It shows that, first, patterns of animal husbandry and cereal cultivation varied considerably across different surface geologies; secondly that, while farming practices do appear to have been influenced by surface geologies, they were also affected by cultural factors, particularly as human communities responded to the opportunities of a growing market economy; and thirdly that, while archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological patterns evident in the mid-11th–mid-14th centuries conform with what documentary sources tell us, the particular importance of this archaeological dataset is that it allows us to reconstruct farming regimes back into the undocumented early medieval (and indeed earlier) periods.
© Society for Medieval Archaeology 2014. Accepted version deposited in accordance with SHERPA RoMEO guidelines. The definitive version is available at http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/0076609714Z.00000000036
Vol. 58, Issue 1, pp. 195 - 255