Medieval Houses in Brittany: Questioning Reconstructions
By Jean-François Simon
Papers delivered at the Approaching the Middle Ages: Wales and Brittany Conference, University of Wales (2009)
Introduction: First, some clarification regarding the title of my paper:
– ‘medieval houses’. I am no archaeologist, no historian, but (just) an ethnologist, so one might well question my right to discuss this subject;
– ‘questions’ in the plural (in the French title). I do not mean to question the ‘reconstructions’ (reconstitutions) of medieval houses produced by archaeologists, as that is not my area of expertise. However, as an ethnologist, some questions occur to me. I would like to share these with you, as the search for answers may enhance our understanding of these medieval houses in Brittany.
My presentation will be in two parts: firstly, an assessment of the knowledge provided by archaeology; secondly, I shall raise some questions about the way in which these past realities are presented today, with particular attention to the reconstitution of medieval houses in Brittany as they are presented in publications.