Session: #245

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

What Is a Village? Challenging Concepts and Methods of Iron Age and Medieval Villages, Hamlets and Single Settlements
Villages, nucleated settlements and single farms co-existed in the Iron Age and medieval times. The question of what is a village has been widely discussed within geographical, historical, archaeological, and anthropological research. Definitions are often related to the numbers of farms/buildings and spatial properties of farmsteads. Judicial and social rights/aspects such as land ownership, tenure and land use as well as the interdependency between the farmsteads and/or formal institutions as churches or schools has also been considered.
The question become more complicated when we consider different temporal scales and geographical regions; can we apply the same concept of a village for England’s Pre-Roman Iron Age as in Sweden’s Middle Ages? The application of methods, such as Bayesian modelling of radiocarbon dates or GIS-analysis may provide sequences of concurrent houses as well as life duration of separate houses on a site and insight into the spatial lay-out of a site. This may provide new answers to old questions: What is a village and why did someone choose to live in a village? It also opens for new questions related to the biography of the settlement and the inhabitants.
For this session, we invite contributions that examine archaeological case studies presenting current research on the Iron Age and medieval settlement patterns and the infrastructure of farmsteads and villages across Europe. We especially welcome studies who challenge concepts and methods of different settlement structure and landscape organization. We hope for contributions presenting both theoretical as well as empirical cases.
Villages, settlement pattern, landscape organization, biography of settlements, nucleated settlements
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Main organiser:
Marie Ødegaard (Norway) 1
Lars Erik Gjerpe (Norway) 1
Mads Jessen (Denmark) 2
1. Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
2. The National Museum of Denmark