North and South: New Directions in Medieval European Archaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

This session provides a forum for promoting advances in medieval archaeology, particularly relating to inter-disciplinary and inter-regional approaches, new theoretical frameworks, methodologies and research agendas. The session is split between southern and northern Europe (in the broadest geographic sense, including frontiers, seascapes and neighbouring regions), recognizing the artificiality of sub-divisions within the timeframe of the "Middle Ages", whilst acknowledging modern geographic research parities. Recent developments within the field have contributed to a step-change in the discipline. These have included multiple applications of scientific techniques, sophisticated theoretical paradigms and inter-regional research frameworks moving beyond particularism, whilst recognizing the importance of local context. This has been partly driven by increasingly international research networks facilitating more supra-regional communication, moving beyond out-dated nationalistic modes of thought. Alternative material histories have prompted the reconsideration of traditional narratives embodied in the perception of the European medieval past. This has brought northern and southern European scholars, as well as those archaeologists working internationally, towards a common nexus, although significant barriers still remain to be overcome. The aim of the session is to contribute to this process on the highest international level, capturing these new directions and promoting them with participants from both Europe and North America.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Advances in Viking Archaeology: Aligning Data, Theory, and the Interdisciplinary Perspective (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Davide Zori.

    Viking Archaeology, conceived of here as a particularly influential subfield of medieval archaeology, originated in antiquarian efforts of early Scandinavian scholars who helped to shape the identities of their nation states. From C.J. Thomson, to Jens Worsae, and Oscar Montelius, these early Scandinavian archaeologists were formative in the establishment of a periodization of the past, development of dating techniques, and the professionalization of archaeology as a discipline. The Viking Age...

  • The archaeology of medieval nomadism in Eastern Europe (10th-13th centuries): the current state of research (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Florin Curta.

    The vast steppe corridor that begins in north-central China and ends on the Middle and Lower Danube has been the habitat of many communities of nomads, and the object of intensive archaeological research. Ever since Svetlana Pletneva, research on the late nomads in the steppe lands now within Russia and Ukraine has focused on burial assemblages, especially on burial mounds. However, new lines of research have opened in the last few decades, which highlight new categories of evidence: stone...

  • Between radicalism and tolerance: Characterising the rule of a militarised Christian theocracy in the medieval Baltic (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Aleksander Pluskowski.

    The Teutonic Order, the last of the major military orders founded in the Holy Land in the twelfth century, developed a strong, centralised hierarchy once it redirected its efforts to crusading in the Baltic. After the initial period of crusading was over, its fortified monasteries were built with consistent regularity, and the Order adopted a top-down, corporate approach to controlling the conquered territories, under the leadership of the Grand Master. However, despite this centralisation,...

  • Beyond trauma and disease: Examining the growth and potential of bioarchaeological research in Iberian medieval archaeology. (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katelyn Bolhofner.

    With the advancement of inter-disciplinary research in medieval archaeology in recent decades, much progress has been made in the integration of bioarchaeological data into larger archaeological and historical questions. This growth may be seen in the increase in publications, professional associations, and programs of study focusing upon bioarchaeological research of the medieval period. Yet, particularly in Iberian medieval studies, the contribution of bioarchaeological research largely has...

  • Byzantine Archaeologies (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Decker.

    Byzantine Archaeologies Michael J. Decker The past twenty years have witnessed important research in the core areas of Byzantium, especially in Asia Minor, as well as in territories governed by Constantinople prior to the Arab conquests of the seventh century. Byzantine archaeology has long remained conservative and often the preserve of those interested in art history or nationalist agendas. Nonetheless, many aspects of Byzantine archaeology remain unexplored or neglected, in part because of a...

  • Crusader Archaeology at the Crossroads of the 21st Century (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Schryver.

    Crusader Archaeology at the beginning of the 21st century occupies a somewhat strange position. While certain aspects of the field are at the forefront of interdisciplinary approaches to archaeological evidence, others remain focused on basic issues of identification, categorization, and preservation. In part this is due to the nature of the field itself. In addition, some studies can only focus on preserving a particular monument from further decay before moving on to the next one. The port...

  • Globalizing Graves: Necklaces and Networks of Consumption during the Viking Age (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Delvaux.

    Viking Age graves typically contain two types of exotic goods: coins and jewelry. Coins have long dominated discussions of early medieval economics because they have been understood as being closely linked to exchange. Two factors militate against this one-sided approach. First, coins appear alongside jewelry either as pendants worn singly or as parts of necklace groups. Second, ornamental objects appear in coin hoards, and beads in particular are attested in written sources as a means of...

  • "L’Isola che non c’è". Narratives about 8th century Venice / Malamocco (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Diego Calaon.

    Venice in the 8th was a key trade centre in the Mediterranean. Between 742 and 812 AD the centre of Venice was not located were it is today. The Duke’s palace and his headquarters were in Malamocco Island. Malamocco is a never-never land (“Isola che non c’è”): its location on the lagoons has never been positioned accurately, and traditional archaeology methods have failed in the description of the materiality of the site. How can modern archaeology fill this gap and project a holistic research...

  • A multiscalar approach to medieval animal cremains: from bone microstructure to multiregional trends (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine French.

    Variability is a defining characteristic of early medieval pagan mortuary practice. Groups may have buried individual decedents in myriad ways all falling under the definition of ‘pagan.’ When the variability of a specific ritual practice is compared at the community rather than individual level, however, then local and regional trends emerge. One such ritual practice is the incorporation of animals into human cremations – a practice common in terminal Iron Age and early medieval mortuary...

  • Trade, Technology, and Identity: Current Approaches to Pottery Studies in Late Antique and Early Medieval Europe (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only K. Patrick Fazioli.

    This paper will survey some of the most interesting and innovative recent contributions of pottery studies to our knowledge of late antique and early medieval Central Europe (circa fifth to tenth centuries CE). Since an exhaustive review of the many national traditions across this culturally and linguistically diverse region is beyond the scope of this paper, the focus will remain on three broad areas of inquiry. First, what insights can pottery offer into changing patterns of exchange and...