By Eva Svensson
Recent archaeological excavations in Scandinavia provide us with a fascinating insight into the household and its function as a social focus for people of different medieval social estates. This book investigates four excavated Swedish sites – the castles of Saxholmen and Edsholm, and the rural settlements of Skramle and Skinnerud – in order to juxtapose the daily life of nobles and peasants. The author argues that the practices of everyday life revealed by these sites offer new insights into social traditions, mentalities, and cultural patterns. In particular, she asserts that notwithstanding the huge social gulf between the peasantry and the nobility in medieval Scandinavia, the two social groups shared some fundamental experiences which point to a common cultural milieu. In turn, the author uses daily life as a prism for addressing the formation of common European cultural traits during the medieval period by comparing these excavations with material from comparable sites in Central and Western Europe. By means of this comparison, the author questions the degree to which we may talk about a process of ‘Europeanization’ taking place in this era.
Part 1: Introducing Everyday Life in Castles and Farmsteads
Part 2: Landscapes and Settlements
Part 3: Artefacts, People and Space
Part 4: In Other Parts of Europe
Part 5: Summing Up Human Practice
Review from The Medieval Review – Medieval Household is an archaeologist’s view of the domestic, industrial, and cultural aspects of four sites in Sweden: Dalby parish, with particular attention to the now deserted settlement of Skinnerud; the parish of Gunnarskog and its abandoned settlement of Skramle, the ruined castle of Saxholmen on Saxen Island in Lake Vänern, and the fortress of Edsholm between Grums fjord and Lake Vänern. All four locations are in Värmland in western Sweden, a region that is on the border with Norway.