Rural History 2015

Panel 40

Organizers: Reid, Debra Ann (1); Sapoznik, Alexandra (2); Verslype, Laurent (3); Young, Bailey (1); Tock, Annie (4)

Affiliation: 1: Eastern Illinois University, United States of America; 2: King's College London; 3: Le Centre de Recherches d'Archéologie Nationale de l'Université catholique de Louvain; 4: University of Maine

Title: Finding the grain in the sediment: Agricultural production in medieval Belgium’s fertile plain

A rural medieval lordship, aptly symbolized by castle ruins, provides an opportunity to test whether or not small-scale agricultural estates provided stability and prosperity despite disruption by political and military conflict. The lordship established some physical presence by 1099 in Walhain near the border of the county of Namur and the dutchy of Brabant. This place, while documented, has not been the focus of revisionist history. Instead, scholars have studied Flanders and the Low Countries where population pressures affected land use and revolutionary changes in agricultural practices occurred. This project, in contrast, looks at Flanders’ hinterland, a fertile area with a lower population density (i.e. a rural place) but influential lords.
This session shares findings based on close re-reading of archival sources about the place and mapping information from these sources into a virtual model of the area. To this 3-D interpretive tool, researchers will add findings from geo-archaeological excavations ongoing since 1998, and focused on the Walhain ruins (dated from 1099 to 1435). Layering data from interdisciplinary sources will put the ruins into the context of medieval villages, fields and roadways. This digital imaging will augment efforts by the town of Walhain-saint-Paul to stabilize the ruins and prepare the physical site for public opening. Combining the digital with the tangible will create a framework that allows exploration of authority and land use in a rural place over time.



Chair: Alexandra Sapoznik, King’s College London, Great Britain

Paper 1: Walhain Lordship and its Ruins: Archaeology, Pedagogy and Preservation [+]

Bailey K. Young, Eastern Illinois University, USA (co-director of site excavation with Laurent Verslype, Le Centre de Recherches d'Archéologie Nationale de l'Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium)

Paper 2: Digital Modeling of Rural Medieval Walhain [+]

Annie Tock Morrisette, ABD, University of Maine, USA

Paper 3: Interpreting Medieval Agricultural History at a Castle Ruin: A Case Study in Public Engagement [+]

Debra A. Reid, Eastern Illinois University, USA


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015