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2 - Patterns and Changes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2021

Caroline Goodson
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

Both the urbanism and agriculture of the early Middle Ages broke from the past. A picture of food cultivation and urban density of the cities of Roman Italy is sketched in order to gauge the transformations of late antiquity, which included the reduced population of Italian cities and the fragmentation of urban settlement. The changed urban landscape created possible spaces for food cultivation where there had not been any before. These are apparent in the archaeological record as early as the fifth century and in the textual record in the later sixth century. A key piece of evidence for the transformation of cities is the presence of Dark Earth, humic soil formed in urban contexts after the end of the Roman empire. Dark Earth in Italy is shown here to have been transformed from deposits which were formed deliberately and which underwent a number of different, related processes of waterlogging, accretion, and weathering. The broader economic shape of early medieval Italy, in terms of both regional networks as well as Mediterranean connections, provides a sense of how strategically important urban cultivation became in post-Roman Italy.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Patterns and Changes
  • Caroline Goodson, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Cultivating the City in Early Medieval Italy
  • Online publication: 08 March 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108773966.002
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  • Patterns and Changes
  • Caroline Goodson, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Cultivating the City in Early Medieval Italy
  • Online publication: 08 March 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108773966.002
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Patterns and Changes
  • Caroline Goodson, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Cultivating the City in Early Medieval Italy
  • Online publication: 08 March 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108773966.002
Available formats
×