The Early Medieval Peasant Economy: An Analysis of Archaeological Data from Central Portugal

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This article presents and compares direct and indirect markers of economic and social strategies of peasant communities from two territories in central Portugal. Over the last fifteen years, several archaeological research projects have revealed new data on the settlements and economic strategies of peasant communities between the fifth and the eleventh centuries. These new data revealed much about the daily lives of such communities, the products consumed and their economic activities. Archaeological markers of peasant economic strategies can be approached through direct evidence: remains of productive structures, tools, produce, and material culture. Likewise, indirect markers, such as occupation patterns and settlement layout, help shed light on shifting priorities and alterations in land use. To adequately frame these peasant communities in relation to broader economic scales, it is also necessary to consider the possible relationships between rural settlements and contemporary administrative, political, and religious centres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Early middle ages
  • Peasantry
  • Archaeology
  • Alto Alentejo
  • Beira Alta
  • Portugal


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