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Evolution of plant economy in Medieval and Post-Medieval Belgium, a review of the Archaeobotanical Data

TitleEvolution of plant economy in Medieval and Post-Medieval Belgium, a review of the Archaeobotanical Data
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2016
EditorPreiss, S, Speleers, L
Publisher17th Conference of the International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany
Conference LocationParis
AbstractThe first archaeobotanical studies on medieval and early modern sites in Belgium were published in the eighties of last century. Since then hundreds of samples from rescue excavations have been analysed and the increasing amount of data permits a first review. In this presentation we will give a synthesis of the carpological records of cultivated and collected plants of economic importance from medieval and post-medieval sites in Belgium. It will comprise published data from Flanders (the northern part of Belgium) and published and unpublished data from the Brussels region and the Walloon region (the southern part of Belgium), recently collected by the archaeobotanical team of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. After evaluating the potential and limits of this rich archaeobotanical dataset, diachronic trends related to intensification of crop cultivation, developments in horticulture and fruit cultivation, introductions of non-indigenous species, changing trade networks and changes in food consumption patterns of medieval and post-medieval populations will be discussed. The data will be confronted with information from historical sources and archaeobotanical records from the wider region. Finally we will define some research questions for future studies.
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