1st Edition

Technology and Resource Use in Medieval Europe Cathedrals, Mills and Mines

By Michael Wolfe, Elizabeth Smith Copyright 1997
    224 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The 10 essays here are the result of a conference devoted to the study of medieval technology in April 1995. Taken together, they aim to help dispel the common misconception that medieval people somehow had to toil in a world bereft of technical innovation and ingenuity. The authors of the papers, all experts in their fields, show the Middle Ages not only to be a time of considerable technological development, but also the ways in which the technologies of building construction, manufacture and metallurgy were shaped by broader forces of culture, social identity, political ambition and the local environment.

    Contents: Introduction; New Perspectives on Medieval Technology and Resource Use Elizabeth Bradford Smith and Michael Wolfe; Stone and Wood: Technological Innovation in High Gothic Architecture, Robert Mark; The Rayonnant Gothic Buttresses at Metz Cathedral, Sergio Sanabria and Kristina Luce; Scale and Scantling: Technological Issues in Large-Scale Timberwork of the High Middle Ages, Lynn T. Courtenay; The Gothic Barn of England: Icon of Prestige and Authority, Niall Brady; Water, Wind, and Muscle: The Archaeology of Water Power in Britain before the Industrial Revolution, David Crossley; ’Advent and Conquests’ of the Water Mill in Italy, Paolo Squatriti; Mechanization and the Medieval English Economy, Richard Holt; Agricultural Progress and Agricultural Technology in Medieval Germany: An Alternative Model, Michael Toch; Iron and Steel: Wood, Iron, and Water in the Othe Forest in the Late Middle Ages: New Findings and Perspectives, Patrice Beck, Philippe Braunstein, and Michel Philippe; Weapons of War and Late Medieval Cities: Technological Innovation and Tactical Changes, Bert Hall; Index.


    Elizabeth Bradford Smith, Penn State University and Michael Wolfe, Penn State University.

    'A valuable feature of several of these studies is their emphasis on the relations between different craft traditions, and on their symbiosis with the natural environment.' Economic History Review, Vol. LII, No. 1