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Archaeological and Written Evidence

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Chapter Summary

A subject as complex as changing ideas and ways of perceiving the world has to rely on a body of evidence that should be as diversified as possible. As every piece of written evidence is characterised by its specific nature, aim, and the assumed audience, it is most important to avoid bias by considering every possible source of information. Unfortunately, this cannot always be avoided, due to the very fragmentary evidence that has been preserved from late Roman and early medieval times. Nevertheless, every extant source has the potential to be a small jigsaw piece of an ancient reality, even if this largely remains inaccessible to us. This chapter outlines the written and archaeological vestiges available for this study and discusses how they are relevant to it. As some pieces of evidence discussed in the chapter provide information solely on their own, they are only dealt with in the chapter.

Keywords: archaeological evidence; early medieval times; late Roman society; written evidence



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