Feeding Anglo-Saxon England. The Bioarchaeology of an Agricultural Revolution

The medieval ‘agricultural revolution’ saw the spread of open-field cereal farming across much of Europe and is regarded as one of the transformative changes of the Middle Ages.  In England there is a long-standing debate regarding the origins of open field farming and its true impact on the landscape and society, especially prior to the Norman Conquest.  Historians and archaeologists have, until now, been forced to rely on a small number of problematic texts, post-medieval maps, manuring scatters etc. to understand how and when this ‘cerealisation’ of the countryside occurred.

This lecture presents an overview of a new project that is using bioarchaeological data (plant macrofossils, animal bones, and pollen) to generate, for the first time, direct evidence for the conditions in which medieval crops were grown in order to advance this debate.

Refreshments will be served from 17:00. The seminar will begin at 17:30. No booking is necessary.


Professor Helena Hamerow – Professor of Early Medieval Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford and Fellow, St Cross College, Oxford