The Medieval Globe

Course Material 2023/24

This paper explores the place of medieval Europe in what was an increasingly yet variably connected world. It spans a complex period extending from the highly globalised later Roman empire to the beginnings of European colonisation of the Americas. The module aims to decentre the archaeology of medieval Europe by highlighting the diverse experiences of people during this time. We will explore how globalisation theory may be applicable to medieval archaeology, and how material and ideological factors both shaped socio-economic change. We will consider the interaction between natural and anthropogenic environmental change, in the context of fluctuating demographic and settlement histories. Drawing on archaeological, environmental and historical evidence, we explore important themes such as inter-regional communication, mobility, trade and cultural influence. Case studies include examples from Europe and Asia, West and east Africa and the Indian Ocean. 

Introductory reading:  

*Moore, R. I. 2016. "A Global Middle Ages?" In The Prospect of Global History, The Prospect of Global History, eds. J. Belich, J. Darwin, M. Frenz and C. Wickham, 81-93. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Chirikure, S. 2014. Land and sea links: 1500 years of connectivity between southern Africa and the Indian Ocean rim regions, AD 700 to 1700. African Archaeological Review 31: 705-724. 

Haour, A. 2011. "The early medieval slave trade of the Central Sahel: archaeological and historical considerations" In Slavery in Africa: Archaeology and Memory, Slavery in Africa: Archaeology and Memory, eds. P. Lane and K. C. McDonald, 61-78. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Lim, R. 2018. "Trade and exchanges along the silk and steppe routes in Late Antique Eurasia" In Empires and Exchanges in Eurasian Late Antiquity: Rome, China, Iran, and the Steppe, ca. 250–750, eds. M. Maas and N. Di Cosmo, 70-83. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 


This is paper A24 of Part II of the Archaeology Tripos

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