ERC grant announcement: ‘Feeding Anglo-Saxon England: The Bioarchaeology of an Agricultural Revolution’

Early medieval depiction of a team of oxen pulling a mouldboard plough
Early medieval depiction of a team of oxen pulling a mouldboard plough. British Library, Cotton Tiberius B.v. fo. 3r.

 

‘Feeding Anglo-Saxon England: The Bioarchaeology of an Agricultural Revolution’ is a four-year project (2017-21) funded by an ERC Advanced Grant, led by Helena Hamerow and based at the School of Archaeology.  It investigates the timing and nature of the great expansion in cereal production that enabled the population of England (and much of Europe) to boom between the ninth and twelfth centuries, fuelling the growth of towns and markets.  ‘Feeding Anglo-Saxon England’ will generate the first direct evidence of early medieval land use and cultivation regimes by analysing crop stable isotopes, weed flora, cattle bones and pollen data to reveal the changing impact of cereal farming -- specifically, the adoption of the heavy plough, crop rotation and ‘open fields’-- on the medieval landscape.  Patterns emerging from these bioarchaeological data will be compared with the evidence from excavated farms to explore the inter-relationship between arable farming and settlement forms.

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