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Norway in the Middle Ages: farms or hamlets – and villages too?

Norway in the Middle Ages: farms or hamlets – and villages too?

By Ingvild Øye

Ruralia, Vol.3 (1999)

Abstract: Traditionally the separate farm has been regarded as the predominant form of medieval settlement in Norway. In the best agricultural districts in the south and east Scandinavia village settlement with a comparatively well-developed system of cultivation in common was usual. Topographical conditions have been considered as decisive for this pattern: villages grew up where it  was possible to cultivate larger, contiguous areas of land, and isolated farms where cultivated land was more dispersed, especially in the forest and mountain areas. Lately, this view has been challenged. There are reasons to look more closely into – and perhaps also revise – the rather stereotype ideas of sharp distinctions between separate farms, hamlets and villages in the different regions of medieval Scandinavia.

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