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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/dpd6-zs48

technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Woodland relations during the Transition to Agrarian Capitalism in Suffolk England The



ecology and environment

political ecology

The transition to agrarian capitalism potentially altered the relationship between humans and the environment. Ecological systems such as woodlands were controlled by feudal elites, who policed their access and use by local populations of tenant farmers. Towards the end of the medieval period, non-elite, economically prosperous peasants, and merchants gained political and economic power, allowing them increased ownership over woodlands and market access to their resources. Most of the buildings constructed by this social group between 1450 to 1700 relied heavily on timber. I use preindustrial timber use in these buildings as a proxy for the changing access to woodlands that this newly economically powerful social group engaged with, both through their construction patterns and through their agrarian investments. The size of the timbers used within a building can indicate the age of felling, and broader patterns of tree age relate to existing patterns of woodland exploitation. Within a single, still-standing building, there are often multiple phases dating from this transition. Through the buildings of a single settlement, I can explore how woodland resource utilization changed in response to broader social changes taking place in the region. This archaeological survey of building materials, dating to before and after this transition in Suffolk, England, will test the degree to which political economy shaped woodland management through time.


Transcript English (automatic)

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