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Northwest Europe in the Early Middle Ages, c.AD 600–1150
A Comparative Archaeology


  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316648544

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About the Authors
  • Christopher Loveluck's study explores the transformation of Northwest Europe (primarily Britain, France and Belgium) from the era of the first post-Roman 'European Union' under the Carolingian Frankish kings to the so-called 'feudal' age, between c.AD 600 and 1150. During these centuries radical changes occurred in the organisation of the rural world. Towns and complex communities of artisans and merchant-traders emerged and networks of contact between northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle and Far East were redefined, with long-lasting consequences into the present day. Loveluck provides the most comprehensive comparative analysis of the rural and urban archaeological remains in this area for twenty-five years. Supported by evidence from architecture, relics, manuscript illuminations and texts, this book explains how the power and intentions of elites were confronted by the aspirations and actions of the diverse rural peasantry, artisans and merchants, producing both intended and unforeseen social changes.

    • The most comprehensive comparative analysis of archaeological remains in Northwest Europe for over twenty-five years
    • Broad-ranging and interdisciplinary in approach with evidence taken from architecture, relics, manuscript illuminations and texts
    • Revises traditional top-down models of social evolution by showing the importance of different social groups to social and economic change through alliance and competition
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this book is an elegant step in the direction of a new history of this region during a formative era, and for its boldness and breadth it must be welcomed.' Richard Hodges, Antiquity

    'This important synthesis of material evidence for early medieval Europe delivers even more than its title promises … a major study that should be essential reading for students and researchers of the period.' Christopher Scull, The Archaeological Journal

    '… this is an important book that provides a much-needed comparative overview that cuts across traditional temporal and national boundaries. It is extremely well written and presented, and should be essential reading for any early medieval archaeologist or historian.' Stephen Rippon, Medieval Archaeology

    'This book is a rich storehouse [of data], marshalled within a comparative framework undertaken at 'inter-site, regional and supraregional levels', and providing an exploration of the 'mental templates' which governed aspirations and action at all levels of society in the early Middle Ages. The exploration thus enabled is a valuable, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable journey.' Brian Ayers, History

    'This is an excellent book. It is theoretically aware and critical in character but not densely speculative as a result; it lays out a mass of archaeological evidence. It provides us with an informative, clearly laid-out and appropriately commented survey of a substantial period within [a] considerable area of [northwest] Europe that has hitherto been far too obscure.' John Hines, Cardiff University

    'Christopher Loveluck's magisterial survey of the emergence of medieval Europe from its origins in the fading Roman Empire is a solid contribution to the scholarship of the period.' Susan Oosthuizen, Landscape History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316648544
    • length: 490 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 172 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • contains: 45 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Context:
    1. Introduction
    2. The social fabric of Northwest Europe, AD 600–1150: paradigms and perspectives
    Part II. The Age of the Carolingians, c.AD 600–900:
    3. Small farming communities of West Francia, AD 600–900
    4. Larger farming communities, specialist producers and collectors in West Francia, AD 600–900
    5. Farming communities of Anglo-Saxon England and the Atlantic fringes, AD 600–900
    6. Expressions of leadership and models for emulation, AD 500–900
    7. Conspicuous consumption and secular authority in the landscape, AD 650–900
    8. Diocesan towns, AD 600–900
    9. Ports and maritime-oriented societies, AD 600–900
    Part III. From the Viking Age to Angevin Hegemony:
    10. Transformations in architectures and settings of public power, AD 900–1150
    11. The rural world, AD 900–1150: lifestyles of old and new aristocracies
    12. The rural world, AD 900–1150: social mobility, landscape reorganisation and colonization
    13. Major ports and merchant patricians as catalysts for social change, AD 900–1100
    14. Towns as regional centres and urban diversity, AD 900–1150
    15. Final conclusions.

  • Author

    Christopher Loveluck, University of Nottingham
    Christopher Loveluck is Associate Professor and Reader in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Nottingham. He has directed and co-directed archaeological survey and excavation projects in Britain, Denmark, Belgium and France, and has published four other books as principal author or editor, and numerous articles.

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