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The contribution of archaeology to the study of historical disasters.

Brown, P. J. (2017) 'The contribution of archaeology to the study of historical disasters.', in Archaeological approaches to breaking boundaries : interaction, integration and division : proceedings of the Graduate Archaeology at Oxford Conferences 2015–2016. Oxford: BAR Publishing, pp. 239-245. BAR international series. (2869).


Recently, a ‘call to arms’ has been issued to historians, emphasising the contribution their discipline can bring to the study of the impact of catastrophes on human society, specifically in the medieval period. This highlights the, relatively, long-term perspective and detailed analysis which a historical perspective can provide compared to focussing solely on contemporary or very recent disasters. Archaeology as a discipline is similarly well placed to approach this subject but rarely does. This paper, focussing on medieval European evidence, offers a brief review of the reasons for this hesitancy in tackling topics related to natural disasters, what archaeologists can offer in the study of past disasters and what directions future archaeological research should favour in order to increase the contribution of archaeological research to this area of scholarship.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This material is an earlier version of a chapter published in Archaeological Approaches to Breaking Boundaries: Interaction, Integration and Division: Proceedings of the Graduate Archaeology at Oxford Conferences 2015–2016 edited by Rebecca O'Sullivan, Christina Marini and Julia Binnberg, published by BAR Publishing. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. It cannot be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher.
Date accepted:04 October 2016
Date deposited:06 December 2017
Date of first online publication:2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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