Modern archaeology, with its huge methodological repertoire, its interdisciplinary orientation and its rapidly expanding basis in excavations, is beginning to rewrite history, and to reshape our views of the development of Europe prior to the present millennium. Archaeological evidence draws attention to processes on which the written record is silent, or which were not fully appreciated by contemporaries in the literate centres. This book deals with the rise of medieval western Europe as the Roman Empire crumbled, and the integration of hitherto barbarian societies into the new mainstream of European society. Archaeological material is the main focus, but information derived from written sources, especially those illuminating the economic and the associated social circumstances, is also taken into account.
1. Introduction; 2. The historical framework; AD 0-200; AD 200-400; AD 400-600; AD 600-800; AD 800-1000; 3. The physical setting; General physical conditions; Climatic change; Agriculture and erosion; Cultivated plants; Domestic animals; 4. Rural settlement; Roman Italy; The Mediterranean in the Roman period; The Near East; Temperate Western Europe in the Roman period; The Danube area in the Roman period; Western Europe in the post-Roman period; Northern Europe; 5. Towns and other centres; Classification; Size and distribution of Roman towns; Late Roman fortifications; Churches, mosaics, and inscriptions; Roman forts; 6. Production and exchange; Development of water transport; Roman pottery; Coins; Exchange in Central and Northern Europe; 7. Society, culture and mentality; Burial; Social inequality; The visible and the invisible; 8. Archaeology and historiography; From the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages; In the shadow of the empire; Transformations; Epilogue and prologue; Appendices; References; Index.