New evidence for the transformative impact of depopulation on currently inhabited medieval rural settlements from archaeological test-pit excavation in England

Lewis, Carenza (2019) New evidence for the transformative impact of depopulation on currently inhabited medieval rural settlements from archaeological test-pit excavation in England. In: Settlement Change across Medieval Europe. Sidestone Press, Leiden, pp. 147-159. ISBN ISBN 978-90-8890-807-1, ISBN 978-90-8890-806-4, 978-90-8890-808-8

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New evidence for the transformative impact of depopulation on currently inhabited medieval rural settlements from archaeological test-pit excavation in England

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Abstract

This paper reviews the difficulties of reconstructing the development of rural settlement in places where more recent habitation has overlaid suspected medieval settlements, and presents the outcomes of a new approach that is producing promising data from currently occupied rural settlements in the UK. This involves the siting of numerous 1 m square ‘test pit’ excavations within currently occupied rural settlements (CORS) wherever space allows, and then mapping the distribution of pottery of different dates. The resulting data are showing which parts of settlements were inhabited at different dates, settlement by settlement, at a range of scales from individual plot to regional pays and, when aggregated, enable the impact of phenomena such as the Black Death to be reconstructed. More widely, the data show many contemporary settlement plans to be relatively recent and in particular highlight the dynamic volatility of many rural settlements in the medieval period, in which transformation is revealed as a near-universal experience. The paper concludes by noting that this technique could easily be used effectively elsewhere in Europe.

Keywords:Archaeology, settlement, depopulation, England, Medieval
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:37259
Deposited On:27 Sep 2019 10:05

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