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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the first millennium BC, three major subsistence ‘belts’ can be distinguished in Europe: one around the Mediterranean, a second in temperate Europe, and the third in the north. Shifting colonization was still practised in places, but cereal farming was well developed across most of the continent, with less amenable soils now brought into cultivation. Farmers relied on at least two cereal crops, sometimes with millet cultivated as a third cereal, possibly for fodder. Cultivated legumes included beans, peas, and lentils, while linseed was the predominant oil plant, and was also used for textiles, along with hemp. Rare finds of exotica, such as walnuts, figs, vines, and spices were imports from the Mediterranean zone. Woodland exploitation is also considered. During the Roman Iron Age, new crops and agricultural innovations are seen in areas beyond the limes. Along with iron technology, these laid the foundations for the early medieval farming system.

Keywords: subsistence economy, crop husbandry, cereals, legumes, diet, textiles, woodland exploitation, shifting colonization, land-use systems, iron technology

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