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Social Inequality in Early Medieval Europe
Local Societies and Beyond

J. A. Quirós Castillo (ed.)
approx. 365 p., 98 b/w ill., 156 x 234 mm, 2019
ISBN: 978-2-503-58565-9
Languages: English
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A major contribution for the analysis of social inequality in history.

The goal of this book is to discuss the theoretical challenges posed by the study of social and political inequality of local societies in Western Europe during the Early Middle Ages. Traditional approaches have defined rural communities as passive bodies, poor and unstable in the framework of a self-sufficient economy. In the last few decades the crisis on social approaches both in medieval history and archaeology have missed the opportunity to re-evaluate the role of peasantry and other subaltern groups, even if new written ad material evidences have eroded the traditional assumptions. Conversely, scholars focused on elites and aristocracies have promoted very powerful agendas and projects.

As a consequence of the 2007-2008 recession, Social Sciences have begun to be interested in social and economic inequality, opening new avenues for a reassessment of social history. The Early Medieval period has been identified by different scholars as a key term for the analysis of political complexity and social inequality in a long-term perspective.

The study of local societies has become one of the most fruitful arenas to innovate medieval archaeology and history, using approaches related to the microhistory. This book, dedicated to Chris Wickham, is formed by fourteen papers centred on the study, from both written and material records, of early medieval local communities, which tend to propose a complex framework of social inequality in the local scale.

Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo is professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of the Basque Country (Spain), Honorary Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology of the University College London (UK), and editor of the series Documents of Medieval Archaeology. He is the author of different books, including Arqueología de una comunidad campesina medieval: Zornoztegi (Álava), 2019; Social complexity in Early Medieval Rural Communities. The north-western Iberia archaeological record, 2016 and El poblamiento rural de época visigoda en Hispania. Arqueología del campesinado en el interior peninsular, 2013.

Table of Contents
Preface
Juan Antonio Quirós Castillo, Equal and unequal societies in Early Medieval Europe. An Introduction
Julio Escalona Monge, Towards an archaeology of state formation in North-western Iberia
Robin Beck, Maize, Mounds, and Cosmos: Durable Inequality in the Mississippian World (AD 1000-1250)
Sauro Gelichi, Pottery as inequality? Systems of production and distribution in the Northern Italian rural societies during the Early Middle Ages
Francesca Grassi, Social complexity in peripheral areas in the light of pottery production between 6th and 10th century (Alava, Basque Country, Spain)
Edith Peytreman, Indications of an estate economy from a renewed analysis of sites of rural settlements
Catarina Tente, Social complexity in local communities during the tenth century in Central-Northern Portugal: Negotiation and opposition
Richard Hodges, The primitivism of the early medieval peasant in Italy?
Jean-Pierre Devroey and Nicolas Schroeder, Land, Oxen, and Brooches. Local Societies, Inequality, and Large Estates in the Early Medieval Ardennes (c. 850–c. 900)
Igor Santos Salazar, Fiscal lands, rural communities and the Abbey of Nonantola: social inequality in ninth-century Emilia (Italy)
Fabio Saggioro, Rural communities and landscapes in Northern Italy (9th-12th A. D.)
Iñaki Martín Viso, Unequal small worlds. Social dynamics in 10th century Leonese village
Alvaro Carvajal, Collective action and local leaderships in early medieval North-Western Iberia, 9th-11th centuries
Juan Antonio Quirós, Village formation, social memories and the archaeology of early medieval rural communities in north-western Iberia
Carlos Tejerizo, The archaeology of the peasant mode of production: peasant societies of central and northern Iberia during Early Middle Ages
Chris Wickham, Conclusion
Interest Classification:
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval History (400-1500) : subperiods
Merovingian & Carolingian period

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