The international colloquium “Archaeology of medieval villages currently inhabited in Europe” will take place at the University of Oxford on 7 May 2016. This will be an event featuring speakers from all around Europe to discuss the topic, and their experiences of it, comparing and contrasting case-studies in different countries.

Aims and purposes

This colloquium will explore the problem in archaeological terms of studying villages that are still inhabited. Traditionally the study of medieval villages has been based on deserted sites, from which archaeologists have obtained only partial information about wider settlement networks, as an important number of villages remain inhabited today. Frequently these latter villages have not been investigated archaeologically, but they offer significant data if methodologies are applied properly. These data are of crucial importance if we want to have a complete idea of landscapes in medieval and modern times across Europe.

Moreover, archaeology can be an important tool to understand, on one side, the history of the different management systems of landscape and natural resources from a global point of view and, on the other side, rights over land, an issue which concerns many local communities at present. For instance, the political question relating to common lands is not well resolved in some European countries, and archaeology could recover significant information to this debate. Archaeologists working in villages currently inhabited can also play a major social role in their relationship with local communities.

Our aim is to gather different archaeologists throughout Europe with a specialism in those topics in order to create a common framework of reflection in a comparative perspective.

Colloquium guidelines

  • Different archaeological methodologies for the study of villages currently inhabited.
  • The relationship between deserted and non-deserted villages in the investigation about medieval and later settlement networks.
  • Archaeology on-site, off-site or “all-site”? Inhabited villages and their agrarian space as a sole object of research.
  • The social impact of archaeology in local and global communities.
  • The relationship between academics and rural societies.

Organisers: University of Oxford and Agrarian Archaeology Research Group

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