Appel à contribution – Household goods in the European Medieval and Early Modern countryside

Viseu | Portugal
13th – 19th September 2021

RURALIA is an international association for the archaeology of medieval settlement and rural life. It provides a European-wide platform for the scientific exchange on current problems in rural archaeology in order to strengthen comparative and interdisciplinary studies. The conference covers the period from the Early Medieval to the Early Modern periods. The conference language is English.

RURALIA XIV will take place in Viseu, a city located in the central-north of Portugal. The theme will be: Household goods in the Medieval and Early Modern countryside.

In addition to the papers, one day and half excursion and an optional two-day study trip to Beira Alta and Douro regions will be offered.

The conference is jointly organized by Catarina Tente, Sara Prata, Piers Dixon, Mark Gardiner and Claudia Theune, with the support of the Viseu Municipality, Direção Geral do Património Cultural, Direção Regional de Cultura do Centro, Direção Regional de Turismo do Centro, and Institute of Medieval Studies of the NOVA University.

Household goods in the European Medieval and Early Modern Countryside

Although household goods are a well established topic in Medieval and Modern archaeology, more recent research is overcoming simple typological and technological aspects and pointing to broader, more encompassing approaches. This is particularly the case of newly-introduced analytical methodologies and theoretical perspectives. The material culture studies act as base to understand people, groups and societies.

By analyzing house structures and its contents, much can be learned about artefactual assemblages (ceramic, metal, wood, basketry…), goods’ production and consumption strategies, other economic activities, structures of social organization and relations among household members. Thus, the understanding of past societies and cultures relies heavily in the study of their household goods. In this context, the aim of the Ruralia XIV Conference is to emphasize the significance of household archaeology to the study of the European countryside in Medieval and Modern times under a cross- cultural approach, with attention also paid to written and pictorial sources and data obtained in interdisciplinary analyses.

Detailed analysis of single contexts, small parts of sites, faunal, botanical and soil studies enables us to reconstruct common peoples’ activities and interactions within their homes. House functions can be detected by means of specific installations but also by inventories and location of goods, evidence for particular activities inside − such as cooking and eating, storage, weaving, refuse disposal, resting, etc. − or by a comprehensive overview of outdoor surroundings. All this is evidence of functional purposes but it can also tell us about the rank and wealth of their owners, their daily lives, household compositions, family concepts and even gender statuses. Structural analysis can give evidence about spheres of interaction and patterned behaviours within a house.

We are seeking papers that address some of the archaeological questions outlined above. Sessions may be focused on particular topics on household goods (not agricultural and not typological classifications). Papers which incorporate interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcomed, namely those combining archaeological, ethno-archaeological, sociological, historical, chemical, faunal, botanic, geo-archaeological evidence or documentary analysis.

Papers should address some of the following questions:
How was the house organized?
What activities took place in the house?
How and what products were cooked and consumed in the house?
Can we identify family organization and its members using household goods?
What economic and social relations can be express by the household goods?
What relation was established between the interior of the house and the outdoors? What role was played by the house within the community’s social organization? What can household goods tell us about social statuses and wealth of their owners? Can we identify interaction between households and communities?

Can we identify local, regional, trans-regional or even global exchange?

Please fill out the separate Abstract Form if you wish to give a paper or poster at the conference.

Abstracts must be submitted by 15th January 2021.

Paper proposals are subject to review by the organizing committee. Applicants will be informed of decisions by 5th February 2021.

Appel à contribution au format PDF : ici

Talon réponse : ici

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