International Council
for Archaeozoology

Medieval period Working Group (MWG)


Scene from "L'uomo e la natura - Gli effetti del buon governo" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 1338-1340, Palazzo Pubblico of Siena

A long tradition of archaeozoological studies has widely proven that medieval societies can be fruitfully investigated through the analysis of animal remains, providing key information on a period which saw the birth and development of important economic models and socio-political structures. In the Middle Ages, with significant geographical and chronological variations, the establishment of different settlement types prompted the development of various mechanisms of animal exploitation, as well as of redistribution and consumption of their products; in addition, the basic principles of social differentiation were also applied through the procurement and intake of different – animal – food products. Such mechanisms of exchange, specialisation and socio-cultural differentiation often produced several defined patterns of animal use that can be detected by archaeozoologists.

Within this research context, the Medieval period Working Group (MWG) was founded in 2021 as an important platform where archaeozoologists dealing with the Middle Ages can present, share, compare and discuss their data. The Group is open also to researchers investigating geographic areas outside Medieval Europe but adjacent and/or related to it. Similarly, archaeozoologists working on the Late Roman period/Late Antiquity and the early post-medieval period, on topics relevant to the study of the Middle Ages, are encouraged to join; in this sense, the Medieval period Working Group complements well the work carried out by the Roman Period Working Group and the Zooarchaeology of the Modern Era Working Group.

The current coordinator of the MWG is Dr Veronica Aniceti (University of Bergen, Norway), and the ICAZ liaisons are Dr Idoia Grau-Sologestoa (University of Basel, Switzerland), Prof. Pam Crabtree (New York University, USA), and Dr Mauro Rizzetto (American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece).

Next meeting and contacts

 View of Bergen from the Bergens Fjellstrekninger. The 1st Meeting of the Medieval period Working Group will be held at the University Museum of Bergen, in Norway, between the 28th and the 30th of September 2022.

The Organizing Committee consists of Dr Veronica Aniceti, Prof. Anne-Karin Hufthammer, Prof. Hanneke Meijer, Dr Liselotte Takken Beijersbergen, Dr Olaug Flatnes Bratbak (UM/UiB), Dr Samuel Walker (former PhD student at UM/UiB), and Prof. Ramona Harrison (AHKR/UiB).

 View of Bergen Cathedral (12th-13th c.) from Lille Øvregaten street. The Meeting will be held in a hybrid format; in-person participation is strongly encouraged but it will also be possible to attend and present remotely. The call for abstracts will open in early 2022.

If you need more information and/or would like to become a member of the MWG, please write to mwg.icaz@gmail.com. Updates and information are also regularly posted on the MWG Facebook page and Twitter account (@Medieval_ICAZ).

Publications

The Organizing Committee plans to publish the Proceedings of the 1st Meeting of the Medieval period Working Group as a special volume of a peer-reviewed journal. The details (journal, timing etc.) will be agreed together with the delegates after the Meeting.