1st Edition

Historical Archaeologies of Transhumance across Europe

Edited By Eugene Costello, Eva Svensson Copyright 2018
    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    Transhumance is a form of pastoralism that has been practised around the world since animals were first domesticated. Such seasonal movements have formed an important aspect of many European farming systems for several thousand years, although they have declined markedly since the nineteenth century. Ethnographers and geographers have long been involved in recording transhumant practices, and in the last two decades archaeologists have started to add a new material dimension to the subject.

    This volume brings together recent advances in the study of European transhumance during historical times, from Sweden to Spain, Romania to Ireland, and beyond that even Newfoundland. While the focus is on the archaeology of seasonal sites used by shepherds and cowherds, the contributions exhibit a high degree of interdisciplinarity. Documentary, cartographic, ethnographic and palaeoecological evidence all play a part in the examination of seasonal movement and settlement in medieval and post-medieval landscapes. Notwithstanding the obvious diversity across Europe in terms of livestock, distances travelled and socio-economic context, an extended introduction to the volume shows that cross-cutting themes are now emerging, including mobility, gendered herding, collective land-use, the agency of non-elite people and competition for grazing and markets.

    The book will appeal not only to archaeologists, but to historians, geographers, ethnographers, palaeoecologists and anyone interested in rural lifeways across Europe.

      1. Transhumant pastoralism in historic landscapes: beginning a European perspective; 2. The Scandinavian shieling – in between innovation and tradition; 3. From written sources to archaeological remains – medieval shielings in Central Scandinavia; 4. Winter housing: archaeological perspectives on Newfoundland’s non-pastoral transhumant tradition; 5. What do we really know about transhumance in medieval Scotland?; 6. Ethno-geoarchaeological study of seasonal occupation: Bhiliscleitir, the Isle of Lewis; 7. Morphology of transhumant settlements in post-medieval South Connemara: a case-study in adaptation; 8. The changing character of transhumance in early and later medieval England; 9. Seasonal pastoral settlement in the lower mountains of the Auvergne region (France) during the medieval and modern periods (thirteenth–eighteenth centuries); 10. Moving up and down throughout the seasons: winter and summer grazing between Provence and southern Alps (France) AD 1100–1500; 11. Alpine settlement remains in the Bernese Alps (Switzerland) in medieval and modern times: the visibility of alpine summer farming activities in the archaeological record; 12. Short- and long-distance transhumant systems and the commons in post-classical archaeology: case studies from southern Europe; 13. Transhumance in the mountains of northern Tuscany (Italy); 14. The role of marginal landscape for understanding transhumance in southern Tuscany (twelfth–twentieth century AD): a reverse perspective integrating ethnoarchaeological and historical approaches; 15. Transhumant herding systems in Iberia; 16. Transhumance dynamics in the Gredos Range (central Spain) during the last two millennia: environmental and socio-political vectors of change; 17. Ovine pastoralism and mobility systems in Romania: an ethnoarchaeological approach.


      Eugene Costello is a landscape archaeologist with interests in pastoralism, non-elite society and the archaeology of the Reformation. He received his BA (UCC) in 2011, MA (Sheffield) in 2012, and PhD (NUI) in 2016. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at University of Notre Dame, USA, for 2016–2017 and is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Archaeology at National University of Ireland, Galway.

      Eva Svensson is a historical archaeologist and professor in the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Karlstad University, Sweden. Her main research interests include social and ecological approaches to forested landscapes in a long-term perspective, and subaltern environment and lifescapes in the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. She has published extensively on both topics in Swedish and English.