Overview: Trade, Exchange, and Urbanization

Grenville Astill

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Overview: Trade, Exchange, and Urbanization

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This article provides some of the general points focusing on three topics: exchange and trade; the pace and character of urbanization; and the inter-relationship between urban centres. Interpreting the early medieval economy as highly monetized presupposes that trading had penetrated most of society, but there is little independent evidence for this. In the eighth and ninth centuries, the urban character of the country was determined by the emporia, which were served by high-status sites, both secular and religious, which acted as collection centres for the onward transport of agricultural surpluses, giving a basic two-part core exchange structure. It is important to investigate discontinuities in the urbanization process, and not always assume that the urban network came into being relatively early and remained fixed for most of the Middle Ages.

Keywords: exchange; trade; urbanization; urban centres; emporia; agricultural surpluses

Article.  5367 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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