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Building Production and Commercial Strategies: The Case of the Great and Small Provençal Elite (10th-12th centuries)

Abstract : Since the study of the “peasant knights” of Lake Paladru (11th c.), the complexity of the medieval elite system has raised intense questions among both historians and archaeologists. Medieval Provence - especially in the late Middle Ages - has long raised the interest of historians. Recent advances in elite/rural archaeology and zooarchaeology have led to a certain updating of knowledge related to this context, particularly for the more remote times of the 10th - 12th centuries. Not only do they allow us to consider lords tastes and culinary practices, but they also shed light on social and economic phenomena that are still little known. This contribution will rely on three archaeological sites (rural elite settlements), their zooarchaeological analyses and on history. The results show an astonishing homogeneity in the economic and dietary behaviour of the seigniories. They are characterised by high meat consumption and by a production centred on pig breeding. On the other hand, knights, in charge of the lord lands, demonstrate intense changes in their diet and production systems, associated with the development of commercial strategies. This behaviour could be an attempt to keep the economy afloat but would not always have prevented its decline. In a broader perspective, the results can lead to (1) discussions on the fate of the medieval elites and their prospects for evolution, and (2) a reflection on the impact of social identity both on diet and on the building of a local economy.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 6:57:21 PM
Last modification on : Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:03:00 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-03450123, version 1

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Dianne Unsain, Daniel Mouton, Mariacristina Varano. Building Production and Commercial Strategies: The Case of the Great and Small Provençal Elite (10th-12th centuries). 27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), Christian-Albrechts - Universität zu Kiel, Sep 2021, Kiel (Virtual), Germany. ⟨hal-03450123⟩

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