Thematic Area 2: Archeology and History of Medieval Societies

The history and archeology of medieval societies have been at the core of Research Facility UMR 5136/Framespa from its inception, but this area is also a speciality of another Toulouse team belonging to UMR 5608/Traces. A co-ordinating facility, Terrae ( was founded in 2007 to extend and organise a well-established area of collaboration between the medievalists of these two units. The objectives are (i) to present to the assessing authorities a set of projects with completely coherent and visible results and (ii) to facilitate communication with institutional partners, financial supporters and the wider public.


The thematic organisation of the Framespa laboratory corresponds precisely with the above co-ordination, providing the Terrae group with one of its four major showcases: Thematic Area 2 therefore fits with great accuracy the facilities and scientific contours of Terrae. Two teams from the Framespa lab and one from the Traces lab work together in the following groups:


-"The construction of rural space in the Southern European area" (Framespa Team 2)

- "Feudalisms, communities and power" (Framespa Team 3)

- "Archeology of medieval space(s)" (Traces, area 7)


A much more detailed description of this thematic area, comprising scientific ambitions, facilities and the various programmes developed in this perspective, can be found on the Terrae site: . It will suffice, therefore, to mention that Terrae is based on two supports:


- A scientific perspective. As we are archeologists and historians from very different intellectual backgrounds, we have decided to organise an epistemological reflexion on our own interdisciplinary proceedings, in order to subject our approach to real-world, concrete testing around one essential notion: the Earth, as a medieval concept and construct. This theme, although far from new, has been neglected of late, and it is our position that it should be re-examined from all the angles now made possible by newer disciplines such as paleo-environmental science, the anthropology of law, Geographical Information Systems and mathematical modelization. Thus, by juxtaposing analytical tools and measurement technologies, the resulting breaklines in scale and/or plane, can be used to re-construct the studied object.


- A 5-programs architecture. These 5 programs are all based on the idea that the Earth, indeed, the Earths in all their diversity, Terrae, earths to be planned and built, owned, allotted, exploited - and the earth which archeologists dig up - are essentially a construction[ef1]  of medieval society. The perspective can be divided into five fields: 1. Southern Gaul between the Roman and Carolingian Empires, (2) Feudalism, communities, power, (3) Creation and transformation of the habitat, (4) construction of Southern European rural spaces and (5) Technology, manufacture and trade.







 [ef1]ne correspond pas à l'expression : « haut lieu d'invention »... L'idée est que la terre est un lieu essentiel de la construction des sociétés médiévales