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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the material culture of rural life in the later Middle Ages and the motives behind peasant consumption. Rural settlements with their houses and plots may contain evidence for agricultural tasks such as ploughing, tools of cultivation, and the storage of crops as well as space for the production of pigs, poultry, honey, and garden produce. The house, its buildings, yards, gardens, and orchards was not just the base from which cultivators set out to work in the fields, meadows, and woods. Much of the working lives of the family, especially the females, was devoted to processing crops for household consumption and sale. Food preparation has left archaeological traces such as fragments of hand-mills for home grinding of grain and malt in the home, and shallow pottery pans for dairying; meat production is suggested by butchers’ waste. The article argues that the rural poor made skilful adaptations to their environment.

Keywords: rural life, artefacts, material culture, medieval housing, consumption

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