Oram R (2021) Too much environment and not enough history: the opportunities and challenges in researching medieval seasonal settlement in Atlantic Europe. In: Dixon P & Theune C (eds.) Seasonal Settlement in the Medieval and Early Modern Countryside. RURALIA, 13. Ruralia XIII Conference: Seasonal Settlement in the Medieval and Early Modern Countryside, Stirling, 09.09.2019-13.09.2019. Leiden, Netherlands: Sidestone Press, pp. 193-201. https://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/seasonal-settlement-in-the-medieval-and-early-modern-countryside-67232.html
Abstract Over the last twenty-five years, advances in palaeoenvironmental research have revolutionised our understanding of the physical effects of historic climate change around the North Atlantic rim across the eras of the Medieval Climate Anomaly and subsequent 'little ice age'. This revolution has been marked in respect of marginal upland and coastal zones, where landscape-scale palaeoecological research coupled with excavation at abandoned perennial and seasonal settlement sites has provided high-quality and subtly nuanced data to evidence baseline conditions, impacts and responses. In Scotland, analysis of this data has been framed largely in terms of system sustainability and environmental resilience but, with few notable exceptions, has offered no examination of human agency in shaping responses to climate change or of wider historical contexts for trends evident in the palaeoenvironmental data. Equally, however, too few archaeologists and historians have engaged with the environmental contexts for socioeconomic discontinuities, site abandonment and resource-related conflict reflected in artefact and ecofact assemblages or the parchment record. Consilience and inter/transdisciplinary approaches to the study of historic seasonal settlement and associated exploitation regimes can provide insights on human ecodynamic processes, avoiding the risk of unconscious determinism through linear, single discipline analyses and revealing the complex interplay of natural agency and human cultural responses to the opportunities and threats presented by past climate change.