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Dig deep and go further

This week we were introduced to the Early Middle Ages from an innovative and even contemporary point of view.
Person at an archaeological excavation
© Università degli Studi di Padova

That’s a wrap for Week 1!

This week we were introduced to the Early Middle Ages from an innovative and even contemporary point of view: that of climate change, environmental transformations, and its consequences.

What we learned this week

We were also introduced to the main contemporary written sources such as Cassiodorus or Paul the Deacon and learned new tools and methodologies coming from the scientific milieu that have been recently introduced in archaeology. These help us reconstruct and date environmental and climatic transformations to see how these changes led to massive migrations and political upheavals. While these subjects are linked to the history of the past, they are also important for our present.

More to dig into

If you have a bit of extra time and want to know more about the topics we discussed this week, I recommend the following resources:

  • A Youtube video on the power of volcanoes
  • Michael McCormick, Climates of History, Histories of Climate: From History to Archaeoscience, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 50:1 (Summer, 2019), 3–30.
  • Michael McCormick et al. Climate Change during and after the Roman Empire: Reconstructing the Past from Scientific and Historical Evidence, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 43:2 (Autumn, 2012), 169–220

What we’ll be digging up next week

Next week, we’ll be focusing on food and health.

We saw how the climate—particularly changes in the climate—dictates the kind of food people in the past produced and how a sudden shift could create huge consequences to the delicate food system. Let’s dig in a little bit more and better understand the kind of food people ate in the Early Middle Ages.

We’ll also learn about the state of their health and how they were affected by plagues—a topic of interest given our current context. Lastly, we’ll discuss how we have come to know these things through recent innovative tools and methodologies coming from the “hard sciences” which have been applied to archaeology of the Early Middle Ages.

© Università degli Studi di Padova
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Enlightening the Dark Ages: Early Medieval Archaeology in Italy

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