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  • Cited by 37
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2013
Print publication year:
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Book description

Christopher Loveluck's study explores the transformation of Northwest Europe (primarily Britain, France and Belgium) from the era of the first post-Roman 'European Union' under the Carolingian Frankish kings to the so-called 'feudal' age, between c.AD 600 and 1150. During these centuries radical changes occurred in the organisation of the rural world. Towns and complex communities of artisans and merchant-traders emerged and networks of contact between northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle and Far East were redefined, with long-lasting consequences into the present day. Loveluck provides the most comprehensive comparative analysis of the rural and urban archaeological remains in this area for twenty-five years. Supported by evidence from architecture, relics, manuscript illuminations and texts, this book explains how the power and intentions of elites were confronted by the aspirations and actions of the diverse rural peasantry, artisans and merchants, producing both intended and unforeseen social changes.


'… this book is an elegant step in the direction of a new history of this region during a formative era, and for its boldness and breadth it must be welcomed.'

Richard Hodges Source: Antiquity

'This important synthesis of material evidence for early medieval Europe delivers even more than its title promises … a major study that should be essential reading for students and researchers of the period.'

Christopher Scull Source: The Archaeological Journal

'… this is an important book that provides a much-needed comparative overview that cuts across traditional temporal and national boundaries. It is extremely well written and presented, and should be essential reading for any early medieval archaeologist or historian.'

Stephen Rippon Source: Medieval Archaeology

'This book is a rich storehouse [of data], marshalled within a comparative framework undertaken at ‘inter-site, regional and supraregional levels’, and providing an exploration of the ‘mental templates’ which governed aspirations and action at all levels of society in the early Middle Ages. The exploration thus enabled is a valuable, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable journey.'

Brian Ayers Source: History

'This is an excellent book. It is theoretically aware and critical in character but not densely speculative as a result; it lays out a mass of archaeological evidence. It provides us with an informative, clearly laid-out and appropriately commented survey of a substantial period within [a] considerable area of [northwest] Europe that has hitherto been far too obscure.'

John Hines - Cardiff University

'Christopher Loveluck’s magisterial survey of the emergence of medieval Europe from its origins in the fading Roman Empire is a solid contribution to the scholarship of the period.'

Susan Oosthuizen Source: Landscape History

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