Agriculture, gathering, and food processing in the 10th century in central-north Portugal

Catarina Tente, Luís Seabra, João Pedro Tereso

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Archaeological excavations at several 10th century villages in the north-central region of Portugal have recovered large numbers of plant macroremains that have been preserved due to fires that affected the sites. The burned remains allow an approach to issues of the agriculture, collection and food consumption carried out by the rural communities that inhabited these sites.
This paper presents and discusses the results of the analysis of carpological and anthracological remains.
It also discusses some questions of sampling methodology. In fact, different approaches to sample collection greatly affect the results and, consequently, the image that can be built of the consumption and production of food by early medieval rural populations.
The results are indicative of communities with a great diversity of cultivation solutions (cereals and legumes) that would be complemented by gathered products such as berries and fruits. The way in which food was stored and processed for consumption can also be detected by other archaeological
indicators such as pottery and grinding elements. There is also evidence that points to the cultivation and working of flax. Some weaving elements recovered are thought to have been used to work flax and wool.
Original languageSpanish
Title of host publicationPaisajes, espacios y materialidades
Subtitle of host publicationArqueología rural altomedieval en la península ibérica
EditorsSara Prata, Fabián Cuesta-Gómez, Catarina Tente
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78969-998-2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Charcoal Analysis
  • Food consumption
  • Rural Communities
  • Carpology
  • Early Middle Ages

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