Steve Ashby is the co-editor of a new collection of essays on Viking and medieval craftspeople
The medieval marketplace is a familiar setting in popular and academic accounts of the Middle Ages, but we actually know very little about the people involved in the transactions that took place there, how their lives were influenced by those transactions, or about the complex networks of individuals whose actions allowed raw materials to be extracted, hewn into objects, stored and ultimately shipped for market. Twenty diverse case studies combine leading edge techniques and novel theoretical approaches to illuminate the identities and lives of these much overlooked ordinary people, painting of a number of detailed portraits to explore the worlds of actors involved in the lives of everyday products – objects of bone, leather, stone, ceramics, and base metal – and their production and use in medieval northern Europe. In so doing, this book seeks to draw attention away from the emergent trend to return to systems and global models, and restore to centre stage what should be the archaeologist’s most important concern: the people of the past.
The book can be purchased from Oxbow Books.