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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Illustrated by recent scholarship, this chapter explains the different archaeological approaches available for the study of monasteries and their landscapes. Excavation is now commonly complemented by aerial photography, topographical survey, and studies of the fabric of standing buildings which provide structural phasing. Among the key themes selected for further discussion are the siting of new religious houses, their precinct plans (including monastic gardens), the main claustral buildings and some variations on the ideal standard monastic plan, burials, and estates, and, finally, the impact of their suppression, for the most part between 1524 and 1540. Archaeology and the study of documents offer complementary insights into the practicalities of servicing the needs of religious communities, constructing and maintaining buildings, managing water resources, the production, processing, and consumption of food, and dealing with sickness and death.

Keywords: monastic communities, monastic foundations, precinct plans, siting of monasteries, monastic gardens, monastic estates

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