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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Trade in the medieval period linked people from different countries together and transferred their goods, ideas, and fashions across continents. This overview explores the archaeology of these connections but also stresses other forms of cultural contact such as pilgrimage, gifts, commissions, and direct personal acquisitions. Key circuits of trade are identified, in the twelfth century overland through French fairs which exchanged northern European wool for southern products and afterwards along the Atlantic seaboard. This maritime route became viable only once the Islamic Empire lost its control and monopoly in Spain and Sicily. Among the goods imported to Britain were dyes and mordants for the cloth industry, wine, spices, and salt, few of which leave any archaeological trace. Coins, cloth seals, building stone, and pottery are among the best clues for trade but should always be combined with documentary studies.

Keywords: gifts, merchants, pottery, archaeology of exchange, port books, networks, medieval trade

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