The conference Archaeology of social inequality in Early Medieval Europe. Socio-political practices from top-down and bottom-up approaches. A tribute to Chris Wickham will be held in the Faculty of Arts of the University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the framework of the Research Project DESPAMED (Landscapes and Social Inequality in Northern Iberia, HUM 2012-32514) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
The aim of this conference is to discuss the theoretical challenges posed by the study of social and political inequality in early medieval societies in Western Europe. It will focus mainly on archaeology of rural communities. Traditional approaches have defined them as poor and unstable, in the framework of a self-sufficient economy that prioritized animal husbandry over agriculture. However, available archaeological evidence has upended that picture in recent years. It is also unfolding both the relevance of peasant agency and the true complexity of those small worlds. All these novelties are currently being discussed in the light of a research agenda centered on the emergence of villages, the formation of local elites, the creation of socio-political networks and the state, intensification of agrarian production and the role of identities and other strategies in the legitimation of social inequalities.
This conference is a tribute to Chris Wickham in occasion of his retirement.
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