Town and countryside in medieval Italy: a critical evaluation of the sources for understanding the mechanisms of supply and demand

Gillian CLARK

en Anthropozoologica 16 - Pages 75-82

Published on 01 October 1992

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animals and their products in trade and exchange. Proceedings of the 3rd international meeting of HASRI, Oxford, 8-11 November 1990

This paper focuses upon food production, distribution and consumption in past societies, and in particular on animals and animal products, Most of the data available at present relate to consumption. This is particularly the case in urban contexts, although it is also perhaps applicable to the limited number of excavated rural contexts. Particular emphasis is placed upon the large sample of animal bones recovered from excavations in the Palazzo Vitelleschi, Tarquinia, material which has been interpreted as the refuse of an affluent urban household in c. 1390. Having described the probable consumption patterns of this household, an attempt is made to comment upon the related production and distribution Systems. The enormous value of documentary sources to the archaeozoologist is demonstrated through the use of examples from Bologna, Massa di Lunigiana, Viterbo and Alto Monferrato. It is urged that an interdisciplinary approach is adopted wherever possible.


Animal bones, Medieval Italy, Food-consumption, Food consumption, Food production, Documentary sources.

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