Reconstructing the impact of 14th-century demographic disasters on late medieval rural communities in England

Lewis, Carenza (2020) Reconstructing the impact of 14th-century demographic disasters on late medieval rural communities in England. In: Waiting for the End of the World. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph (43). Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 298-327. ISBN 978036790263-6

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Abstract

The ‘calamitous’ 14th century saw the reversal of centuries of demographic growth as a series of disasters including famines and epidemics caused population levels to plummet across Europe. In places such as England, recovery did not take place for more than 200 years. This might be expected to have had a substantial effect on rural settlements where the vast majority of the medieval population lived, but with the exception of the 10% of settlements which are today almost or completely deserted, evidence for change in this period has been difficult to detect. Consequently, the impact of late medieval population decline has often been downplayed. Evidence is now emerging to challenge this view, derived from new approaches which enable change in rural settlements to be reconstructed. This chapter explores how this informs our understanding of the impact of the 14th-century demographic collapse in England, bearing in mind that similar effects were felt across much of Europe and beyond.

Keywords:Medieval, Archaeology, plague, Settlement
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
Divisions:College of Arts
ID Code:42544
Deposited On:13 Oct 2020 13:47

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