The 10th century in central-northern Portugal: changing scales of power

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In the last 15 years it has been possible to accumulate relevant information about the 10th century in the central region of Portugal, especially in the territory known as Beira Alta. This information comes mainly from archaeological contexts that have been excavated and from the re-analysis of the scarce written documentation concerning this region. The combination of information from both sources is not always concordant and even seems to be contradictory. However, its integrated reading has made it possible to trace a picture of great socio-political dynamism during the 10th century, the main actors of which were the supralocal elites and the local rural communities. This paper presents and discusses information on the rural communities and their way of life and social relations, by means of a bottom-up point of view of society in this period. At the same time, and using written sources available, the intervention and role of the higher elites is addressed, to construct a topdown view. The combination of these two perspectives, which apparently do not interrelate, makes it possible to better understand 10th century society in this frontier territory and opens a perspective on the changes in settlement and power scales that occurred during this century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 10th Century in Western Europe
Subtitle of host publicationChange and Continuity
EditorsIgor Santos Salazar, Catarina Tente
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781803275147
ISBN (Print)9781803275130
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Publication series

NameHistorical Archaeologies Series


  • Rural Communities
  • Social relations
  • Local communities
  • Encompassing powers
  • Local elites


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