ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0284.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: urban; rural; millet; garden; orchard; Iberian Peninsula; High/Late Middle Ages
Online: 19 January 2022 (16:57:08 CET)
Towns emerged as dynamic economic and political centers during the Middle Ages, giving rise to the emergence of new social classes. As a result of these functions, a new relationship began to be forged with the rural world, which supplied towns with foodstuffs that satisfied new social demands. Archaeobotanical analysis (carpology) allows us to understand the flow of cash crops by tracing seeds and fruits produced in the countryside that were consumed in and redistributed from the towns. The study of waterlogged contexts from medieval archaeological sites in the Kingdom of Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Padrón, and Pontevedra) has provided a set of species that played a crucial role in the economy of the urban dwellers and that possibly were related to differential access or food preferences. Evidence for fruits (grapes, chestnuts, figs, apples, and cherries, among others), garden crops (melon), and cereals (foxtail millet, rye, naked wheat, and oat) has been documented. Broomcorn millet is particularly abundant, demonstrating that it was important for subsistence. Some of the species found (medlar, turnip/grelo, and spinach) are novel in the archaeobotanical literature of the medieval period in the Iberian Peninsula.