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Title: Technological developments in wheeled vehicles in Europe, from prehistory to the sixteenth century
Author: McNeill, Carol Ann
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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The thesis assembles a substantial body of evidence from archaeological and documentary sources, in particular from western illuminated manuscripts and English manorial records, to investigate the development of land transport from prehistoric times to the end of the Middle Ages and to trace the origin, chronology and transmission of major improvements in vehicle construction, harnessing, breeding and draught, wheelwrighting and farriery. It asserts that while there is general continuity in vehicle morphology and function throughout the period, the major innovations and sophistications of carriage design were the products of the skills of western European wagonwrights. Moreover, it presents evidence for a rational harnessing system as early as the Roman period. Such conclusions challenge the chronological and classificatory schema previously advanced by historians of technology. If one accepts these conclusions, it is also necessary to accept that the belief in the degenerate and uninventive nature of Roman and medieval society is largely mistaken, that a more efficient form of land carriage may no longer be considered a post eleventh century development and that a thorough reevaluation of the assessment of the viability of wheeled transport and its relationship to sea and fluvial carriage in western medieval Europe is necessary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available