Fish commoditization and the historical origins of catching fish for profit

A Brixham trawler by William Adolphus Knell,

Herring trade expanded in the late 1300s with the introduction in Holland of an improved curing process that allowed the salting of fresh herring in barrels at sea.

How Much Taxes Did a Medieval Peasant Pay? The numbers from Sweden

ruin of an medieval monastery named Alvastra in Östergötland county Sweden - Photo by Stefan / Flickr

A new study on taxation in late medieval Sweden has revealed fascinating details about how much peasants had to pay to the royal government in taxes.

Medieval poaching site discovered in England

medieval deer hunting scene - British Library Egerton 1146   f. 5v

Archaeologists working in northern England have uncovered a stone-lined cess pit that was filled with dozens of bones from deer. The evidence suggests that they were dumped here by poachers.

Environmental Crusading: The Teutonic Knight’s Impact After the Baltic Crusades

Malbork Zamek Krzyzacki. Wikicommons

Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.

Local and Traditional on the Millennial Scale: Sustainable Waterfowl Management from Viking Age Iceland

Local and Traditional on the Millennial Scale: Sustainable Waterfowl Management from Viking Age Iceland

Inhabited by Vikings since approximately 600 AD, the islands hosts an abundant, but terribly fragile resource, puffins, flightless birds that nest on rocky exposed cliffs, in easy range of the islanders other prime food source, pigs.

The imperial abbey of Ellwangen and its peasants: a study of the polyptych of 1337

Ellwangen - photo by

This paper presents an analysis of Ellwangen Abbey’s polyptych of 1337, with a view to understanding better the nature of the south German rural economy in this period.

‘Falseness Reigns in Every Flock’: Literacy and Eschatological Discourse in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

Peasant's Revolt 1381

The literature of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, a miscellany of fourteenth-century poetry and prose penned before, during, and after the insurrection, often stresses the importance of literacy to the nonaristocratic population of England.

Of sagas and sheep: Toward a historical anthropology of social change and production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland

Medieval hunt - images of sheep

This dissertation deals with the formation of chiefdoms, communities, ecclesiastical institutions and state, and with production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland in the context of climatic change and ecological succession.

The Importance of Parks in Fifteenth-Century Society

Medieval deer park

In this paper, my aim is to consider the role of parks in the fifteenth century.

The Contours, Frequency and Causation of Subsistence Crises in Carolingian Europe (750-950)

Medieval harvest

The Contours, Frequency and Causation of Subsistence Crises in Carolingian Europe (750-950) Timothy P. Newfield Crisis Alimentarias en la Edad Media: Modelos, Explicaciones y Representaciones (Milenio, Lleida, 2013), pp. 117-172. Abstract The subsistence crises of Carolingian Europe have been widely overlooked in modern histories of the early Middle Ages. Detailed treatment has yet to be […]

BOOK REVIEW: Plague Land by SD Sykes

Plague Land by SD Sykes

My review of SD Sykes brilliant medieval thriller, Plague Land.

Manor Village and Individual in Medieval England

Medieval peasants

This thesis explores peasant life of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in England from information found in the manorial court rolls-the village court records–of Ramsey Hepman grove and Bury.

Animals in Saxon and Scandinavian England

Animals in Saxon and Scandinavian England

In this book an analysis of over 300 animal bone assemblages from English Saxon and Scandinavian sites is presented. The data set is summarised in extensive tables for use as comparanda for future archaeozoological studies.

Time, space and power in later medieval Bristol

Medieval Bristol - Robert_Ricart's_map_of_Bristol

With a population of almost 10,000, Bristol was later medieval England’s second or third biggest urban place, and the realm’s second port after London. While not particularly large or wealthy in comparison with the great cities of northern Italy, Flanders or the Rhineland, it was a metropolis in the context of the British Isles.

Primstav and Apocalypse Time and its Reckoning in Medieval Scandinavia

Primstav - Runic Calendar - Museum of History in Lund, Sweden.

This work is intended as an exploration of methods of time-reckoning and conception in Medieval Scandinavia. In the main this is tied to the dynamism between a duality: that of the cyclical and linear models of time‟s progression. Involved in this study are sources verbal and pictoral.

New study to look at Norse farming on the Orkney Isles

17th Century map of the Orkney Islands

A year-long study will begin this fall that will look look at herding economies in the Orkney Isles from the 8th to the 15th century AD.

The role of goat in English medieval husbandry and economy

medieval goat

This paper presents a summary of an on-going PhD project that aims to re-assess the role of goats in the medieval economy and society of England.

The emergence of concentrated settlements in medieval Western Europe: explanatory frameworks in the historiography

medieval village

There is now a general scholarly consensus that the concentration of rural people into settlements in Western Europe (as opposed to dispersed or scattered habitations across the countryside) occurred in various stages between the eighth and twelfth centuries, though with regional divergences in precise timing, speed, formation, and intensity.

Bastard Feudalism in England in the Fourteenth Century


As this summary indicates, the study of fifteenth-century bastard feudalism has shown the necessity of exploring both the private relationship – its nature, extent and function – and the public system of local rule within which it operated and of which it was an essential part.

How to defraud your lord on the medieval manor

Medieval fraud

Here are six ways to commit fraud explained by Robert Carpenter in the 13th century.

Tenure to Contract: Lordship and Clientage in Thirteenth-Century England

Medieval Feudalism

English historians have increasingly stressed the underlying continuity between feudalism and ‘bastard feudalism.’ Indentured retaining is no longer seen as a corrupted and disruptive form of feudalism, but instead as its ‘logical successor.’

Pruning Peasants: Private War and Maintaining the Lords’ Peace in Late Medieval Germany

Drawing by Wolf Huber (1480–1553)

‘Peasants are best when they grieve, and worst when they rejoice.’

Environmental Effects in the Agriculture of Medieval Egypt

18th century map of Egypt

Agriculture has been the main source of the economy for all dynasties established in Egypt and the Mamluk kingdom was no exception.

Ragnhild Simunsdatter and women’s social and economic position in Norse society

Papa Stour and 1299

In this paper I will focus on Norse women’s social and economic position in the high and late Middle Ages, with Ragnhild Simonsdatter and the Papa Stour document of 1299 as a point of departure.

Commons in the late medieval Crown of Aragon: Regulation, uses and conflicts, 13th-15th centuries

Official Coat of Arms of Aragon

In this paper, we shall show some characteristics of the use of pastures and commons in the Crown of Aragon between the thirteen and fifteenth centuries.

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