Economic Archaeology & History 2

13-03-2019 van 14:30 tot 17:00
Ghent University, Campus Ufo, Ufo building (1st floor), Lecture Room Henri Pirenne (Department of Archaeology, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35, 9000, Ghent)
Door wie
Dr. Dimitri Van Limbergen, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy – Department of Archaeology
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Specialist Course - Economic Archaeology & History. Comparative approaches for determining economic performance in archaeological and historical research from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

The next session of the Economic Archaeology & History Spring seminar series, organized by the departments of Archaeology and Ancient History at Ghent University, will take place on Wednesday March 13.

For more information on this activity, including the full line-up of invited speakers, please visit:

Following the success of the opening session on network analysis with S. Sindbaek in February, Thomas Currie (University of Exeter) will now give a lecture on:

Modelling agricultural productivity and cultural evolution in past societies: developing alternative hypotheses, incorporating uncertainty, and examining assumptions

Agricultural productivity, and its variation in space and time, plays a fundamental role in many theories about the human past. However, idea are often presented in the form of plausible narratives and there are often different competing explanations and perspectives. In order to test these theories properly we need to translate verbal theories into more concrete terms using formal modelling approaches and systematically assess them using data. There are a number of challenges to employing these techniques due to the nature of the archaeological record. Multiple solutions are available, however, one of the most important conceptual tasks is to ensure we are testing between alternative hypotheses, incorporating the uncertainty that is inherent in the data, and assessing different assumptions rather than just examining a particular, favoured idea. I will illustrate some approaches to modelling agricultural productivity using case studies from my own work on social and cultural evolution and discuss the use of techniques such as model selection criteria, Bayesian methods, and multiple imputation.


Prof. Currie’s lecture will be followed (after a 10-min break) by a presentation by UGent PhD candidate Ewoud Deschepper on:

Peasant life and economy in Northern Francia, from Clovis to the Counts of Flanders.

In Flanders, archaeological research since the late 1980s had profoundly enriched the available data on Early Medieval rural settlement, both on the coastal plain and on the inland Pleistocene soils. This dataset contains both archaeological features and structures as well as ecological data, making it possible to study the Early Medieval economy from an interdisciplinary point of view. Moreover, these archaeological and palaeo-ecological data allow for critically assessing the historiographical view on Early Medieval rural society. This presentation will introduce some preliminary insights on long-term settlement, rural economy and landscape transformations in Northern Francia (present-day Western Flanders, Belgium).


The seminar will conclude with a discussion.

The session will open with coffee & biscuits around 2.30 pm. The lecture by Prof. Currie starts around 2.45 pm.

 For practical reasons, we ask non-UGent attendees to RSVP to prior to the start of the seminar.