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Title: Weathering a medieval climate : gauging the impact of natural hazards on northern European society through archaeology and history, AD 1000-1550
Author: Brown, Peter James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 9786
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the occurrence of meteorological hazards in northern Europe and their impact on society during the medieval period (AD 1000-1550). When high-magnitude meteorological hazards affected vulnerable human populations disasters were the inevitable consequence. These events resulted in highly complex repercussions over the short- and long- terms, touching a wide variety of different spheres of human activity and experience. Additionally, the occurrence of these events was usually sudden and unpredictable in an age when natural processes were poorly understood. As a result, floods, storms and other hazards were widely interpreted through a framework of religious and superstitious beliefs which is widely attested by the historical record. A range of different types of archaeological artefact are also associated with these beliefs and, particularly, in accruing personal protection from a hazardous environment. At the same time, medieval society understood disasters in a practical sense and took steps to minimise risk through constructing flood defences and reinforcing structures damaged by storms. Medieval society, therefore, interpreted disasters through a duality of understanding in which disasters could be the result of spiritual or superstitious causes but could be mitigated through established and well-understood practical solutions. This thesis evaluates this duality in reference to specific case studies and in light of the significant demographic and climatic fluctuations of the medieval period-as a result of the Black Death and the transition to the Little Ice Age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available