Book: The Archaeology of Medieval Spain, 1100-1500
Chapter: Rural Settlement and Landscape
The Iberian Peninsula represents a very particular case within the European context. During the Middle Ages Christians, Muslims and also Jews coexist in cities and the countryside. The territory was divided in Christian kingdoms and al-Andalus, both parts changing drastically between the 12th and 15th century. This book attempts to focus on differences, similarities and influences of these various cultures that developed during this crucial period between High and Late Middle Ages, as well as their heritage in present Spain.
The volume is the first modern account in English of medieval archaeology in Spain benefiting from the extraordinary development of Spanish archaeological research arising from the creation of regional governments (Comunidades Autónomas) in the 1980’s.
The chapter begins in the countryside, both far from towns and next to towns. Villages, rural settlement and landscape studies are fairly new fields of archaeological study in Spain, in comparison with the archaeology of cities, the most visible form of evidence of the 12th to 15th centuries. Archaeological studies of rural settlement have become more common in the last twenty years; they include excavations in villages, studies of the environment through analyses of pollen, animal bones and soils, and the use of techniques of landscape archaeology such as interpretation of aerial photographs in order to discover deserted villages and former boundaries, forests and crops. The authors review here archaeological models of Andalusi and Christian rural settlement and landscape, agricultural technology and deserted villages.