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Medieval sunken buildings in the North of France: from samples to micro-features

Medieval sunken buildings in the North of France: from samples to micro-features

Paper given by Marie Grousset

Delivered at the 7th Developing International Geoarchaeology Conference, University of Newcastle, September 2017

Thirty years of development of preventative archaeology in France have permitted a renewal of the research into the early medieval period. Archaeologists of the French national institute INRAP have unearthed a lot of original data and changed our incomplete vision. Most of the sites seem to be built the same way and one type of structure is often documented as a small building: the sunken hut. It happens to occur more often in rural settlements from the 5th to the 12th centuries. In light of further studies in geoarchaeology, it has been possible to demonstrate that the fillings of excavated huts, which appear to be homogeneous, are much more complex in thin sections of soils. Micromorphological studies are considered by sampling in vertical and horizontal sequences. Thus the science of micro-layers has renewed our often simplistic vision of the activities in these sunken buildings.

Dr Marie Grousset is a technician at the Institut national de recherches archéologiques preventives in France.

 

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