“Farmers’ trade and markets. Social and economic interaction in the medieval and early modern European countryside

Fredrikstad | Norway

4th – 10th September 2023

Below is link to the registration and abstract form:

Registration form in Word

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 XV will take place in Fredrikstad, a city located in southeast of Norway. The theme is:

Farmers’ trade and markets. Social and economic interaction in the medieval and early modern European countryside.

In addition to the papers, one full day and one half-day excursion and an optional two-day field trip to sites in southeast Norway and eastern Sweden will be offered.

The conference is jointly organized by Marie Ødegaard, Kjetil Loftsgarden, Catarina Karlsson, Frode Iversen†, Mark Gardiner and Claudia Theune; with the support of Museum of Cultural History, Jernkontoret and Norwegian Archaeological Society.

Rural market- and meeting places, both periodic (fairs) and perennial (markets), were of great importance for social interaction and communication on a local and regional scale. It was essential for diffusion of innovations and ideas. The landscape, its prerequisites and possibilities, shaped people and technical systems to form a working combination. Interaction at meeting places shaped cultural norms, thoughts and identities, including norms for material culture.

Markets and informal trading places were parts of a larger economic and social whole, including trade and barter of goods, crafts and production ranging from artisans making jewellery to people making food and bread, accompanied by drinking, dancing, competitions and fights.

In rural areas there was a massive production of non-agrarian goods which made it possible for people to invest in surplus production and commodities. The elite was dependent on supply of resources, from agriculture as well as the outfield. An essential part of society was the command of resources, claimed through the organisation and control of trade routes and markets, and by alliances and social ties.

Human activity is linked to social relations, and the exchange of goods and services is integrated in cultural patterns and social strategies. It is also a part of the mechanisms of regionalization and the formation of a common culture and identity in the medieval and early modern period. We want to emphasise that we want to discuss non-urban markets.

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