Middle Ages

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These are X-ray radiographs of the lower part of core 5 and of core 7. Credit: Haflidi Haflidason, Gudrun Larsen and Gunnar Olafsson.{{fairuse}}

The Middle Ages is usually regarded as a period of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (5th century) to the fall of Constantinople (1453), or, more narrowly, from c. 1100 to 1453.

The apparent Dark Ages lasted from the destruction of the Western Roman Empire until about 500 b2k, or it's the period in western Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire and the high Middle Ages, c. ad 500–1100, during which Germanic tribes swept through Europe and North Africa, often attacking and destroying towns and settlements.

"The latest Roman levels are sealed by deposits of dark coloured loam, commonly called the 'dark earth' (formerly 'black earth'). In the London area the 'dark earth' generally appears as a dark grey, rather silty loam with various inclusions, especially building material. The deposit is usually without stratification and homogeneous in appearance, It can be one meter or more in thickness. [...] The evidence suggests that truncation of late Roman stratification is linked to the process of 'dark earth' formation."[1]

"The sediments in the Thingvellir lake basin have been successfully dated by tephra layers back to ca. AD 900, the time of Nordic Settlement in Iceland."[2]

"Contemporary literature refers directly to tephra fall in the Thingvellir area during the following eruptions [see the X-ray radiographs of the cores on the left]: Katla 1918, 13 October (Sveinsson 1919); Hekla 1766-68, 16 July 1766 (Thörarinsson 1967); Katla 1721, most likely 13 May (Thörarinsson 1955). Tephra fall in adjacent regions is mentioned during the following eruptions: Vatnajokull 1766, 24 July (Thörarinsson 1974); Hekla 1693, sometime between mid February and the end of July (Thörarinsson 1967); Hekla 1510, 25 July or later that summer (Thörarinsson 1967); Hekla 1341, 19 May or later that summer (Thörarinsson 1967)".[2]

"Tephra layers from three historical eruptions, not mentioned in written sources, have been traced into the Thingvellir area, i.e. Katla - 1500, Katla-R from the early 10th century and Vatnaoldur - 900, also named The Settlement Layer (Thörarinsson 1959, 1967, Larsen 1978, 1984a). Neither the year nor the season of deposition are accurately known. In addition, a tephra layer from a subaqueous eruption near Reykjanes in the 13th or 14th century, the Medieval tephra layer, has been traced into the region west of the lake (Olafsson 1983), and the tephra layer from the Eldgjd eruption AD 934 ± 2 has been traced into the region east of the lake."[2]

Theoretical Middle Ages[edit]

Def. the "period of primarily European history between the decline of the Western Roman Empire (antiquity) and the early modern period or the Renaissance; the time between c. 500 and 1500"[3] is called the Middle Ages.

Def. the history of "or relating to the Middle Ages,[4] the period from about 500 to about 1500"[5] is called medieval history.

Early history[edit]

Main sources: History/Early and Early history

The early history period dates from around 3,000 to 2,000 b2k.

-10th century[edit]

Gold burial mask is for Pharaoh Psusennes I, discovered 1940 by Pierre Montet. Credit: José-Manuel Benito.{{free media}}
Burial mask is for Pharaoh Amenemope, currently in the Cairo Museum. Credit: tutincommon (John Campana).{{free media}}

The 10th century BC is equivalent to 3,000 to 2,900 b2k.

On the right is the burial mask for the Pharaoh Psusennes I exhumed from Tomb III at Tanis (Nile delta). The material used is gold (different pieces were assembled using nails). The eyebrows and eye shadows are lapis lazuli. The eyes are glass paste. There is a cobra on the forehead. The ritual beard is braided to symbolize the death of the sovereign. It is kept in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. Dynasty is the XXI, dated to c. 1039 BC-990 BC.

In the center image is the burial mask for pharaoh Amenemope of the 21st Dynasty of Egypt, dated to 1001 – 992 BC or 993 – 984 BC.

Derrybrusk 2, Co. Femlanagh, is a logboat of Ireland, designated UB-3848, radiocarbon dated to 2912 ± 38 b2k.[6]

-9th century[edit]

King Jehu of the Kingdom of Israel bows before Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Credit: Chaldean.

In 842 BC the Kingdom of Israel and the Phoenician cities sent tributes to Shalmaneser III. The image on the right is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III and depicts King Jehu of the Kingdom of Israel bowing before Shalmaneser III of Assyria.

Carthage was founded in 814 BC.[7]

"The recent radiocarbon dates from the earliest levels in Carthage situate the founding of this Tyrian colony in the years 835–800 cal BC,4 which coincides with the dates handed down by Flavius Josephus and Timeus for the founding of the city."[8]

The "dates for the founding of Carthage coincide with dates established for the Phoenician colony of Morro de Mezquitilla, which situate the most ancient occupation levels (Strata B1a and B2) in the years 807–802 cal BC.5"[8]

The "founding of the first Phoenician colonies at the end of the ninth century coincides with the radio-carbon chronology attributed to the most ancient Phoenician imports recorded in the indigenous Portuguese settlements and in the south of Spain, like Acinipo, Alcáçova de Santarem or Cerro de la Mora.7"[8]

Derrybrusk I, Co. Fermanagh, is a logboat of Ireland, designated UB-3846, radiocarbon dated to 2876 ± 34 b2k.[6]

-8th century[edit]

Dipylon Vase of the late Geometric period, or the beginning of the Archaic period, is dated c. 750 BC. Credit: Dipylon Master.{{free media}}
Sargon II, King of Assyria is depicted here with a dignitary. Credit: Jastrow.{{free media}}
This is a statue of Elissa, Queen of Carthage. Credit: Emna Mizouni.{{free media}}

This Dipylon Vase on the right is apparently from the late Geometric period, or the beginning of the Archaic period, c. 750 BC (2750 b2k). Prothesis scene is exposure of the dead and mourning.

The low-relief from the L wall of the palace of Sargon II at Dur Sharrukin in Assyria (now Khorsabad in Iraq) is apparently dated to c. 716–713 BC. It is the image on the left.

In the center is an image of the upper portion of a statue of Elissa, Queen of Carthage, apparently from the early 8th century or late ninth century.

"The founding of the Phoenician colony of Toscanos would have come a bit later; its earliest levels (Strata I/II) would date from the years 805–780 cal BC.6"[8]

A logboat of Britain, 126 Short Ferry, designated Q-79, was radiocarbon dated to 2795 ± 100 b2k.[6]

-7th century[edit]

Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, has his portrait on a stone stele, dated after 671 BC. Credit: Maur.{{free media}}
Black basalt monument of king Esarhaddon narrates Esarhaddon's restoration of Babylon. Circa 670 BCE. From Babylon, Mesopotamia, Iraq. The British Museum, London. Credit: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg).{{free media}}

Esarhaddon, portrayed on a stone stele, dated after 671 BC on the right, apparently ruled Assyria between 681 – 669 BC.

The black basalt monument of king Esarhaddon on the left narrates Esarhaddon's restoration of Babylon, ca. 670 BCE, from Babylon, Mesopotamia, Iraq, now in The British Museum, London.

A logboat from Britain, 108 Peterborough, designated Q-1564, has been radiocarbon dated to 2610 ± 50 BP or b2k.[6]

-6th century[edit]

Croesus at the stake is on Side A from an Attic red-figure amphora, ca. 500–490 BC. Credit: Myson.{{free media}}
Gold coin of Croesus, the Lydian, around 550 BC, is from modern Turkey. Credit: BabelStone.{{free media}}
One of the earliest surviving images of Sappho, from c. 470 BC. Credit: Brygos Painter.

Croesus, 595 BC – c. 546 BC, was king of Lydia for apparently 14 years: from 560 BC until his defeat by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 546 BC, or 547 BC. He issued gold-silver alloy coins as on the left.

Based on the pottery shown in the image on the right, Croesus was burned to death.

"Sappho of Eresos" is shown center holding a lyre and plectrum, and turning toward a bearded man with a lyre partially visible on the left.

Logboats from Britain occur in the -6th century: 108 Peterborough, designated Q-3129, radiocarbon dated twice to 2535 ± 40 and 2565 ± 35 BP or b2k, and 14 Blae Tam, designated Q-1497, to 2550 ± 50 BP or b2k.[6]

-5th century[edit]

The Parthenon, Athens Greece, photo taken in 1978. Credit: Steve Swayne .{{free media}}

Apparently construction on the Parthenon is dated to have begun in 447 BC (2447 b2k) and was completed in 438 BC (2438 b2k) although decoration continued until 432 BC (2432 b2k).

A logboat from Ireland, Kilraghts, Co. Antrim, designated GrN-14743, has been radiocarbon dated to 2405 ± 20 BP or b2k.[6]

-4th century[edit]

The Victorious Youth (c. 310 BC), is a rare, water-preserved bronze sculpture from ancient Greece. Credit: school of Lysippos.

The Hellenistic period is between the death of Alexander the Great dated to 323 BC and the Battle of Actium dated to 31 BC[9] and the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt dated to 30 BC.[10]

The bronze statue imaged on the right is missing the feet, ankles, eyes, part of the crown and the palm branch originally brought in the left hand. The statue is supported by a stainless steel rod inserted in his right leg. It is dated from 340 until 100 BC.

Two logboats from Ireland, 124 Shapwick and 47 Ellesmere, designated Q-357 and Q-1246, have been radiocarbon dated to 2305 ± 120 and 2320 ± 50 BP or b2k, respectively.[6]

-3rd century[edit]

The Pyramid of the Moon is one of several monuments built in Teotihuacán apparently in the 3rd century BC. Credit: Hajor.{{free media}}

"Jastorf (La Tène) culture [3rd to 1st century BC] with bronze and iron technology. Rich building evidence in downtown Bremen."[11]

A logboat from Britain 40 Clifton I, designated Q-1374, has been radiocarbon dated to 2250 ± 45 and 2275 ± 35 BP or b2k.[6]

-2nd century[edit]

The Nike of Samothrace, ca 190 BC, is a masterpiece of Hellenistic art. Credit: Archaeological expedition of Charles Champoiseau, 1863 and 1879.
Cleopatra II was born c. 185 BC and died 116 BC. Credit: Jastrow.{{free media}}

The Winged Nike of Samothrace is made from Parian marble, ca. 190 BC? and found in Samothrace in 1863 by the archaeological expedition of Charles Champoiseau, 1863 and 1879.

Cleopatra II on the left was involved in the ruling of Egypt apparently from c. 175 BC to until she died in 116 BC.

A logboat, Eskragh, Co. Tyrone, from Ireland, designated GrN-14740, has been radiocarbon dated to 2165 ± 25 BP or b2k.[6]

-1st century[edit]

Indian-standard coin of King Maues has on the obverse a rejoicing elephant holding a wreath, symbol of victory. Credit: Per Honor et Gloria].

The "Late La Tène time span [is] between the conquests of 55 BC and 54 BC [2055 and 2054 b2k] under Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) and the time of Christ. In the rare cases where pottery and tableware are attributed to Saxons of the 4th/5th c. AD, "astonishingly La Tène art styles [more than 300 years out of fashion] re-emerge as dominant in the northern and western zone." (Hines 1996, 260)"[11]

"Stamped pottery has had a long and varied history in Britain. There have been periods when it flourished and periods when it almost totally disappeared. This article considers two variations of the rosette motif (A 5) and their fortunes from the late Iron Age to the Early Saxon period. [...] The La Tène ring stamps [which end in the 1st century BC; GH ] are found in a range of designs, from the simple negative ring (= AASPS Classification A 1bi) to four concentric negative rings (= AASPS A 2di). These motifs are also found in the early Roman period [1st century AD; GH]. [...] The 'dot rosettes' (= AASPS A 9di) on bowls from the [Late Latène] Hunsbury hill-fort (Fell 1937) use the same sort of technique as the dimple decoration on 4th-century 'Romano-Saxon' wares."[12]

In "Šarnjaka kod Šemovca (Dalmatia/Croatia), e.g., contain 700-year-older La Tène and Imperial period items (1st century BC to 3rd century AD) [...]:"[11]

"A large dugout house (SU 9) was discovered in the course of the investigation in 2006. Its dimensions are 4.8 by 2.1 metres, with a depth of 34 centimetres, and an east-west orientation, deviating slightly along the NE-SW line. It contained numerous sherds of Early Medieval pottery, two fragments of glass, and a small iron spike. Three sherds of Roman pottery [1st-3rd c. CE; GH] and ten sherds of La Tène pottery [ending 1st c. BCE; GH] were also recovered from the house."[13]

"The contemporaneity of Rome’s Imperial period textbook-dated to the 1st-3rd century AD with the Early Middle Ages (8th-10th century AD) is also confirmed for Poland [in the stratigraphic table above]. There, too, Late Latène (conventionally ending 1st c. BC) immediately precedes the Early Medieval period of the 8th-10th c. CE."[11]

"In [the Roman Empire] capital cities, Rome and Constantinople (Heinsohn 2016) [they] build residential quarters, streets, latrines, aqueducts, ports etc. only in one of the three periods—Imperial Antiquity, Late Antiquity, and Early Middle Ages—dated between 1 and 930s AD. In Rome, they are assigned to Imperial Antiquity (1st-3rd c.); in Constantinople, to Late Antiquity (4th-6th c.)."[11]

"Roman churches of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages [...] would suffice to confirm the existence of these two periods. The churches are there. However, we never find churches of the 8th or 9th century superimposed on churches of the 4th or 5th century that, in turn, are superimposed on pagan basilicas of the 1st or 2nd century. They all share the same stratigraphic level of the 1st and 2nd/early 3rd century. Moreover, the ground plans of the 4th/5th—as well as the 8th/9th—century churches slavishly repeat the ground plans of 1st/2nd century basilicas, as already pointed out 75 years ago by Richard Krautheimer (1897-1994). It is this period of Imperial Antiquity (with its internal evolution from the 1st to 3rd centuries) that alone builds the residential quarters, latrines, streets, and aqueducts so desperately looked for in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Thus, Rome does not have more stratigraphy for the first millennium AD than England or Poland."[11]

"Germanic tribes, not only Anglo-Saxons and Frisians but also Franks, had been competing with Rome for the conquest of the British Isles since the 1st century BC".[11]

"1st century BC "Astonishingly LA TÈNE art styles" (Hines 1996) dominate pottery of SAXONS [and] Powerful LA TÈNE Celts with King Aththe-Domarous of Camulodunum [is the] greatest ruler."[11]

"Saxons begin their attack on Britain as early as the 1st century BC. They compete with the Romans, who may have employed Germanic Franks as auxiliary forces. The Saxons invade from the East, i.e., from the German Bight."[11]

From "the stratigraphy of the Saxon homeland, located around Bremen/Weser inside today’s Lower Saxony [it] is mainly inhabited by Chauci and Bructeri [...] Saxon tribes that are [...] at war with the Romans in the time of Augustus (31 BC-14 AD) and Aththe-Domaros of Camulodunum (Aθθe-Domaros, also read as Addedom-Arus; c. 15-5 BC)."[11]

On the right is an Indian-standard coin of King Maues. On the obverse is a rejoicing elephant holding a wreath, a symbol of victory. The Greek legend reads ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΜΑΥΟΥ (Great King of Kings Maues). The reverse shows the seated king Maues. Kharoshthi legend: RAJATIRAJASA MAHATASA MOASA (Great King of Kings Maues).

Gortgill, Co. Antrim, is the location of a logboat from Ireland, designated UB-268I, radiocarbon dated to 2060 ± 60 BP or b2k.[6]

Classical history[edit]

The classical history period dates from around 2,000 to 1,000 b2k.

Classical antiquity may be from the earliest poetry of Homer (8th–7th century BC) to the Early Middle Ages (600–1000).

"There is absolutely no justification for believing there to have been a historical figure of the fifth or sixth century named Arthur who is the basis for all later legends. / There is, at present, no cogent reason to think that there was a historical post-Roman Arthur."[14]

Imperial Antiquity[edit]

The contemporaneity of Rome’s Imperial period textbook-dated to the 1st-3rd century AD with the Early Middle Ages (8th-10th century AD) is confirmed for Poland. Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.{{fairuse}}
Ruins of Felix Romuliana palace are the gate area. Credit: Goran Andjelic.{{free media}}
Mosaic is of Greek god Dionysus from Felix Romuliana. Credit: Vanjagenije.{{free media}}
The image shows the East Gate of Felix Romuliana. Credit: Marcin Szala.{{free media}}
Gamzigrad-Romuliana is ruins of palace with mosaic floor. Credit: Vesna Vujicic-Lugassy.{{free media}}
The image is a detail of mosaic floor. Credit: Vesna Vujicic-Lugassy.{{free media}}
Emperor Galerius' portrait head in porphyry is from his palace in Romuliana (Gamzigrad). Credit: Shinjirod.{{free media}}

Imperial Antiquity lasts from 2,000 to 1,700 b2k.

In Felix Romuliana, "the construction [...] is [...] Imperial Antique (1st-3rd c.), and sometimes even late Hellenistic, [in] appearance."[15]

"Felix Romuliana is regarded as an ideal embodiment of a purely Late Antique (4th-6th c.) city in the Roman province of Moesia (today's Gamzigrad in Serbia), because in the earlier Imperial Antiquity of the 1st to early 3rd centuries there appears to be simply nothing at all in that splendid urban space erected around 305 CE for Emperor Galerius (293-311 CE)."[15]

"Felix Romuliana [was] erected around 305 CE for Emperor Galerius (293-311 CE)."[15]

"Felix Romuliana can boast a rich urban history up to the end of the 1st c. BCE"[15]

It "has “a long settlement continuity from the Neolithic period over the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, the Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages”2 (DAIST 2013, see already Petkovic 2011a, 40)."[15]

Between "1 and 1,000 CE there are only some 300 years with building strata in Felix Romuliana."[15]

"Just between the 1st and 3rd c. CE the city’s evolution is totally and mysteriously stalled."[15]

"Only during the Late Antique period (3rd to 6th c.), which appears to emerge out of thin air, does evolution pick up again with “different construction and expansion phases”3 (DAIST 2013). Since the German-Serbian excavations (2004 to 2012), one even knows “the localization of a necropolis belonging to the palace and its succession of settlements [up to the 6th c.], whose evidently dense occupation indicates a large population”4 (DAIST 2013)."[15]

"For the more than 400 years between the late 6th and early 11th centuries, there was, however, no building evolution in the emergency accommodations. There are no archeological remains for some 400 years of use. There is substantial evidence for only a few decades, or even less. Those 400 years were written into the excavation report to meet a textbook chronology that is not understood but deeply venerated."[15]

"Imperial Antiquity [apparently] did not leave any buildings [in Felix Romuliana] between Augustus (31 BCE - 14 CE) and Severus Alexander (222-235 CE)."[15]

"Since Marcus Licinius Crassus (consul in 30 BCE) had already conquered Moesia in 29 BCE, it remains an enigma why suddenly the fertile area of Felix Romuliana, which had been in full use since the Neolithic period, was suddenly abandoned."[15]

"Galerius’s Late Antique palace complex in Felix Romuliana was built by Legio V Macedonica (the bull and eagle were its symbol), a Roman legion that had been set up in 43 BCE by Octavian and Consul Gaius Vibius Panza Caetronianus (who fell in 43 BCE against Mark Antony)."[15]

"It is indisputable that in 6 CE the legion was in the province of Moesia, with sufficient time to build something. It is also known that right there, in 33/34 CE (now under Emperor Tiberius), the legion did road-construction along the Danube (Clauss EDCS, 1649)."[15]

"The Legio V Macedonica also participates in the construction of the gigantic Danube Bridge (1135 m; 103-105 CE) under Emperor Trajan (98-117). All this happens in close vicinity of Felix Romuliana, where the legion supposedly did not work before the 3rd/4th c. CE."[15]

"Also, for around a quarter of a millennium (1st-3rd c. CE), there are no Aeolian layers in Felix Romuliana with vegetation or small animal remains, etc., which are to be expected if a city lies fallow for such a long time."[15]

"Felix Romuliana still amazes [...] by its absence of Christian traces, despite its cultural proximity to the Greek part of the empire where Christianity had been in full development since the 1st c. CE. During the governorship (111-113 CE) of Pliny the Younger (61/61-113 CE) in Pontus-Bithynia, Christianity was, e.g., no longer stoppable. It had “spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms” of Asia Minor (Pliny: Letters 10:96)."[15]

"[Roman sites and buildings dated to Britain’s Late Antiquity, i.e., to the 5th/6th century AD] never have 1st-3rd century building strata with streets, residential quarters, latrines, aqueducts etc. that are—after the Crisis of the Third Century—built over by new streets, residential quarters, latrines, aqueducts etc. reflecting new styles and technologies. At best, there are alterations of 1st-3rd c. structures that retain the style of the 1st-3rd century AD. An example may be provided by the small basilica in the 2nd century forum of Lindum Colonia (Lincoln) that is currently dated 5th/6th c. but stylistically would perfectly fit the late 2nd early 3rd century AD. The situation is comparable for pottery dated to Late Antiquity that cannot be tied to settlements. E.g., a "small later Roman pottery assemblage" from Mucking is dated "to a period without major occupation" (Lucy 2016)."[11]

"From a stratigraphic viewpoint there is nothing wrong with the term "Saxon date," if Saxons and Romans lived side by side from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD. Since archaeologically this period is contingent with the High Middle Ages of the 10th century AD—there are no building strata with residential quarters etc. in between—, its dates cannot help but move into the 7th to 10th century AD time span."[11]

1st century[edit]

Venus standing on a quadriga of elephants is a Roman frecso from the Officina di Verecundus (IX 7, 5) in Pompeii. Credit: unknown.
In Sainte-Colombe, near Lyon (France), a whole suburb of ancient Roman Vienne is uncovered during preventive excavation on a projected construction site. Credit: Benjamin Clément.{{fairuse}}

On the left is a Roman fresca of Venus standing on a quadriga of elephants from the Officina di Verecundus (IX 7, 5) in Pompeii, first century.

"[1st century AD] Saxon Chauci create rich building evidence. 50 m long houses (three aisles) with integrated stables are found all over the city and many suburbs; blacksmith shops; charcoal kiln technology etc."[11]

"A succession of fires allowed the preservation of all the elements in place, when the inhabitants ran away from the catatrophe, transforming the area into a real little Pompei of Vienne [image on the right]."[16]

"The fire brought the top floor, the roof and the terrasse of a sumptuous dwelling to collapse, both caved in floors being preserved, with the furniture left in place. The house, dating from the the second half of the first century and surrounded by gardens, was baptised "House of the Bacchae" because of a mosaic with a cortege of bacchae surrounding a Bacchus."[16]

"With many others, a superb mosaic preserved in its near-totality in the "House of Thalia and Pan" has been lifted with much precaution earlier this week, to be restored at the ateliers of the gallo-roman museum of Saint-Romain-en-Gal."[16]

"The Roman city of Vienne, in Southeast France, was at a crossroads of communications, between the Rhône River and the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis, on a "highway" connecting Lyon, the capital of Gaul, to the city of Arles. Another axis of circulation had most probably preceded it and the excavations «provide also an exceptional opportunity to analyze the anterior states of the Roman road of Gallia Narbonensis, or Transalpine Gaul, "one of the most important of this time.""[16]

"Besides the two luxurious houses, the neighborhood included shops dedicated to metalwork, food stores and other artisanal production; a warehouse full of jugs for wine; and a hydraulic network that allows for cleaning and drainage. The neighborhood appeared to be built around a market square, apparently the largest of its kind to be discovered in France."[16]

A logboat from Britain 7 Baddiley Mere designated Q-1496 has been radiocarbon dated to 1980 ± 50 BP or b2k.[6]

2nd century[edit]

The Mainz celestial globe is the last known celestial globe of Roman antiquity (1850-1780 b2k, 11 cm diameter). Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.
These are constellation illustrations on the last known celestial globe of Roman antiquity. Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.
A 2nd-century sculpture of the Moon-goddess Selene accompanied by perhaps Phosphorus and Hesperus: the corresponding Latin names are Luna, Lucifer and Vesper. Credit: unknown.

"[2nd/3rd century AD] Ptolemy’s PHA-BIRABON is identified with Bremen though there are other candidates, too. Rich evidence for Roman period. Settlements of 1st century are continued."[11]

The last known celestial globe shown at the right dates from 1850 to 1780 b2k. The constellation illustrations from the Mainz celestial globe are shown at the left.

"After Octavian/Augustus (31 BCE – 14 CE) had, in 30 BCE, turned Egypt into an imperial province of the Roman Empire, Memphis continued to thrive. Suetonius (69-122) writes about the city in his Life of Titus (part XI of The Twelve Caesars)."[17]

A 2nd-century sculpture on the right perhaps shows Phosphorus (the Morning star) and Hesperus (the Evening star) on either side of the Moon (Selene or Luna).

A logboat from Ireland Crevinish Bay l, Co. Femlanagh, designated HAR-1969, has been radiocarbon dated to 1860 ± 70 BP or b2k.[6]

3rd century[edit]

The map shows late Roman antiquity of Egypt and surrounding provinces based on the Verona List c. 303-324. Credit: Tom Elliot and Rachel Barckhaus, Ancient World Mapping Center, University of North Carolina.

In the late imperial antiquity map on the right, provincial boundaries (dashed red lines) are approximate and, in many places, very uncertain.

"Many [British] building sequences appear to terminate in the 2nd and 3rd centuries [1900-1700 b2k]. [...] The latest Roman levels are sealed by deposits of dark coloured loam, commonly called the 'dark earth' (formerly 'black earth'). In the London area the 'dark earth' generally appears as a dark grey, rather silty loam with various inclusions, especially building material. The deposit is usually without stratification and homogeneous in appearance, It can be one meter or more in thickness. [...] The evidence suggests that truncation of late Roman stratification is linked to the process of 'dark earth' formation."[1]

“Parts [of Londinium] / were already covered by a horizon of dark silts (often described as 'dark earth') / Land was converted to arable and pastoral use or abandoned entirely. The dark earth may have started forming in the 3rd century."[18]

A logboat from Britain 168 Wisley designated Q-1399 has been radiocarbon dated to 1780 ± 45 BP or b2k.[6]

Early Middle Ages[edit]

Third order polynomials provide a series of statistical calibration curves that highlight lacunae in the carbon-14 samples. Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.
The Δ14C values in a chronology can clearly be used to identify apparent catastrophic gaps and catastrophic rises in carbon-14. Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.

The Early Middle Ages date from around 1,700 to 1,000 b2k.

At left is an attempt to correlate the change in 14C with time before 1950. The different data sets are shown with different colored third order polynomial fits to each data set.

"The Δ14C values in a chronology can clearly be used to identify catastrophic gaps and catastrophic rises in carbon-14."[15]

The first four gaps have a jump up in 14C with a fairly quick return to the calibration curve shown in the figure on the right. However, from about 2000 b2k there is a steady rise in the Δ14C values.

4th century[edit]

"Recent archaeological excavations have focused on the late fourth and fifth centuries. The discovery of two young adult skeletons in a burial pit in the courtyard of the commander's house have been dated to the early fifth century. The bodies were not buried immediately after their deaths but were left [...] for animals to prey upon before they were thrown into the burial pit. The bodies of the young man and young woman have been radiocarbon dated to 140-430 AD cal. and 340-660 AD. Archaeologists believe that the commander's house was already in ruins at the time of their deaths, and the burial in the pit suggests the Roman community was no longer present at Arebia. The end of the occupation can be tentatively dated by two coins dated to AD 388-402 found on the floor of the commander's house. These coins are the latest Roman coins to be found anywhere along the northern Roman defenses. This last period of Roman occupation was active, with the fort's garrison and defenses consistently maintained. The fortress was remodeled or repaired in the same period since another coin dating to 388-402 was found in the resurfaced road of the rebuilt west gate. This combined data suggests that the fortress was occupied by the Romans until the end of the fourth century and that the end came rapidly."[19]

A logboat from Ireland, Drummans Lower, Co. Leitrim, designated GrN-18756 has been radiocarbon dated to 1630 ± 30 BP or b2k.[6]

5th century[edit]

"The Saxons tended to avoid Roman sites possibly because they used different farming methods."[20]

"[We] learn from Prof. Fleming [2016] that Roman conquerors introduced many — perhaps as many as 50 — new and valuable food plants and animals (such as the donkey) to its province of Britannia, where these crops were successfully cultivated for some 300 years. Among the foodstuffs that Roman civilization brought to Britain are walnuts, carrots, broad beans, grapes, beets, cabbage, leeks, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, cherries, plums, peaches, almonds, chestnuts, pears, lettuce, celery, white mustard, mint, einkorn, millet, and many more. These valuable plants took root in Britain and so did Roman horticulture. British gardens produced a bounty of tasty and nourishing foods. [...] Following the collapse of Roman rule after 400 AD, almost all of these food plants vanished from Britain, as did Roman horticulture itself. Post-Roman Britons [...] suddenly went from gardening to foraging. Even Roman water mills vanished from British streams. But similar mills came back in large numbers in the 10th and 11th centuries, along with Roman food plants and farming techniques."[21]

"Wat's Dyke has recently been redated to the fifth century. The dyke runs parallel to the eighth-century Offa's Dyke in the Welsh Marches. This area marked the border between the British kingdom of Powys and Mercia in medieval times. Excavations at Maes-y-Clawdd near Oswestry have discovered a site along the dyke that contained the remains of a small fire and Roman-British pottery. The charcoal from the fire had been radiocarbon dated to AD 411-561. It has been suggested that the dyke was associated with the Romano-British kingdom based on the city of Wroxter."[22]

A logboat from Ireland Strabane, Co. Derry, has been dendrodated to 431 AD and radiocarbon dated 1610 BP or b2k.[6]

Another Oxford Island, Co. Amlagh (Kinnegoe), has been dendrodated to 492 AD and radiocarbon dated 1590 BP or b2k.[6]

6th century[edit]

Stratigraphic unit 2032 is the northern wall on the left of the Tepidarium. Credit: Marta Prevosti, Alf Lindroos, Jan Heinemeier, and Ramon Coll.{{fairuse}}
Combined calibration of the 14C measurements of the initial CO2 fractions of samples CanFer 005 and CanFer 006. Credit: Marta Prevosti, Alf Lindroos, Jan Heinemeier, and Ramon Coll.{{fairuse}}

"AMS [Accelerator mass spectrometry] 14C dating [summarized on the left] indicates that the age [of Can Ferrerons, a Roman octagonal building in Premià de Mar, Barcelona, with an image of the Tepidarium on the right] is between CE 420–540, at 95.4% confidence level."[23]

A logboat from Ireland West Ward I, Co. Tyrone, designated GrN-16863, has been radiocarbon dated to 1440 ± 30 BP or b2k.[6]

7th century[edit]

"There is absolutely no justification for believing there to have been a historical figure of the fifth or sixth century named Arthur who is the basis for all later legends. / There is, at present, no cogent reason to think that there was a historical post-Roman Arthur."[14]

"The reputed remains of St. Chad, enshrined at St. Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham, have been put to the scientific test by radiocarbon dating and skeletal analysis. Only six bones from at least two individuals remained in the reliquary. Five of the six bones have been dated by radiocarbon dating to the 7th century. This date for the bones likely means that one of the at least two 7th century individuals in the reliquary is St. Chad."[24]

"St. Chad and St. Cedd were two Anglian brothers who were among the original twelve students chosen for instruction by St. Aidan of Lindisfarne. In 658, he was sent by Bishop Finian of Lindisfarne to Mercia as a missionary. He became Bishop of the East Saxons and later in 669 of Mercia. He died on March 2, 672 and was buried in Lichfield, Mercia."[24]

"The fact that all the bones date to the 7th century likely means that they have been held together for centuries, perhaps being mixed from bones in cemetery where he was initially interred or, as attested by Bede, in the first movement of his bones to a new church in c. 700. The bones are all leg bones with three bones being dated to the mid 6th to late 7th century and the remaining two bones to the early 7th to mid-8th century by Radiocarbon analysis."[24]

"In 1996, the Isle of May yielded the earliest known Christian church on the east coast of Scotland. Current estimates date the church to the ninth century. The church is similar in size and style to those found in western Scotland and in Ireland in the seventh to tenth century."[25]

"The church was built into the side of a mass burial mound which contains mostly early medieval graves. [...] The burial mound contains hundreds of graves in a 30 m x 20 m space. The latest burials were found in stone cists but most of the earlier graves were separated only by a layer of rocks. [Radiocarbon] dating of the remaining skeletons produced dates from the seventh to the tenth century."[25]

8th century[edit]

The Dunhuang Star Atlas is the last section of Or.8210/S.3326. Credit: Unknown.
This is an image of the Dunhuang map from the Tang Dynasty of the North Polar region. Constellations of the three schools are distinguished with different colors: white, black and yellow for stars of Wu Xian, Gan De and Shi Shen respectively. Credit: Laurascudder, from: Brian J. Ford (1993). Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195209834.
Krakus Mound may have been built between the end of the 8th and the mid-10th centuries. Credit: Unknown.{{free media}}
Pile from The Strood, in Roman cut (223 cm high), re-dated from the late 1st c. AD to the 7th/8th c. AD. Roman lead covered box with Roman glass urn (100-120 CE) from Mersea’s Roman barrow. Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.{{fairuse}}
The picture shows The Strood, the causeway to Mersea Island. Credit: Glyn Baker.{{free media}}
The photo shows an aerial view of The Strood and some of grid TM0114. Credit: terry joyce.{{fairuse}}
GISP2 ice core SO4+ and Cl- time series covers the period a.d. 650–1050 and historically documented multiregional climate anomalies between 750 and 950. Credit: Michael McCormick, Paul Edward Dutton, and Paul A. Mayewski.{{fairuse}}

The Dunhuang map from the Tang Dynasty of the North Polar region at right is thought to date from the reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang (705–710). Constellations of the three schools are distinguished with different colors: white, black and yellow for stars of Wu Xian, Gan De and Shi Shen respectively. The whole set of star maps contains 1,300 stars.

The Dunhuang Star Atlas, the last section of manuscript Or.8210/S.3326. It is "the oldest manuscript star atlas known today from any civilisation, probably dating from around AD 700. It shows a complete representation of the Chinese sky in 13 charts with over 1300 stars named and accurately presented."[26]

"The Dunhuang Star Atlas [above center] forms the second part of a longer scroll (Or.8210/S.3326) that measures 210 cm long by 24.4 cm wide and is made of fine paper in thirteen separate panels."[26]

"The first part of the scroll is a manual for divination based on the shape of clouds. The twelve charts showing different sections of the sky follow these. The stars are named and there is also explanatory text. The final chart is of the north-polar region. The chart is detailed, showing a total of 1345 stars in 257 clearly marked and named asterisms, or constellations, including all twenty-eight mansions."[26]

"The importance of the chart lies in both its accuracy and graphic quality. The chart includes both bright and faint stars, visible to the naked eye from north central China".[26]

"There is no doubt about Early Medieval artifacts from the [Krakus] mound [in the second image down on the right] belonging to the 8th century, i.e. the date that was settled upon by dendrochronology."[27]

"The Archaeological Museum of Kraków (Poland) is to be commended for its chronological honesty. Though its curators do not deviate from chronological dogma, they refuse to report settlement strata that cannot be found in the city’s ground. Therefore, their exhibits for the 1st millennium AD jump from the 2nd right into the 9th century AD, with nothing to show for the 700 years in between."[27]

"Mound Krakus (apart from Lusatian and pre-Roman items) also revealed artifacts of the Przeworsk Culture (Buko 2011, 163), which peaked from the 1st c. BC to the 2nd c. AD. The situation is repeated at Aleksandrowice, some 70 km southwest of Kraków, where many Przeworsk artifacts were excavated (Makiewicz 2002, 106-113, 120). Thus, the Kraków area was well settled and active in the time of Imperial Rome."[27]

"Dates for the Przeworsk Culture in more recent textbooks may be stretched up to the 5th or even 6th c. AD. However, there are no 5th c. Przeworsk settlement strata superimposed on 2nd century Przeworsk settlement strata. The additional three centuries are derived from dates found in coin catalogues. Thus, there is no Przeworsk building evolution over six centuries anywhere. Therefore, Ukraine’s Kiev Culture –– with striking 1st-3rd c. Przeworsk features, too –– that is dated from the 3rd/4th to the 5th/6th century has no strata for the 1st-3rd century but a plain blank (cf. Heinsohn 2015). Thus, for Przeworsk it is either 1st-3rd substance plus a 300 year blank or a 300 year blank plus 4th-6th c. substance but never the two periods on top of each other. Moreover, there are no 8th-10th c. Slavic tribal centers (matching the dendrochronological date of the Krakus Mound) superimposed on Przeworsk settlement strata dated to the 2nd or the 5th century. Therefore, it cannot come as a surprise that Przeworzk material and Early Medieval material, i.e. 2nd and 9th c. material, was mixed together in the Krakus Mound (Buko 2011, 163)."[27]

"This enormous time span is confirmed by two other mounds in Lesser Poland, located close to Sandomierz, where the mix of 700 year apart artifacts can be dated to Imperial Rome (1st c. AD) and the Early Middle Ages (Buko 2011, 166). There can be no doubt about blossoming cultures in Lesser Poland during the 1st-3rd century of Imperial Antiquity."[27]

"The first set of [Roman coins at] Jerzmanowice was discovered in autumn 2005. There were more than 110 denarii, only 8 of them were recorded (from Vespasianus [69-79 AD] to Septimius Severus [193-211 AD]). In spring 2006, the second hoard in Jerzmanowice was dug up (less than 100 meters from the place, where the first set had been found). Until summer 2006, Roman denarii in the number of 78 (from Hadrian [117-138 AD] to Septimius Severus [193-211 AD]) were discovered there" (Dymovski 2007, English abstract).[27]

“Though Mound Krakus of the 8th century ff. is labeled as the “oldest man-made structure in Kraków” the same area has villages blossoming 700 years earlier in the 1st and 2nd centuries that are confirmed by the coin finds of Jerzmanowice, 21 km northwest of Kraków. How, then, is it possible that Kraków’s Castle Hill, the very heart of the city, has to wait for some 700 years to start its role as the future capital of Poland? After all, small finds from the hill also stretch from Imperial Rome, a coin of Emperor Titus (69-81 AD; i.e Przeworsk period) to the Early Middle Ages with a Carolingian belt buckle from the 8th/9th c. Slavic Vistulans (Wiślanie) period (Wawel.Kraków)."[27]

"Late Latène Period whose artifacts are evolutionary continued not only in Przeworsk but also in Early Medieval Tribal Center sites. Stratigraphically, Late Latène immediately precedes Polish Tribal Centers as well as Przeworsk strata, Therefore, Late Latène people must be the Slavic predecessors of 1st c. Przeworskers as well as of 8th c. Poles, making the former Poles, too."[27]

"The situation of a 700-year-gap between Slavs of the 8th century and possible predecessors at their sites is repeated on Poland’s Baltic coast where, e.g., at the 8th/9th Slavic hill fort of Sopot 700 year earlier Roman coins from the 1st/2nd century (Trajan [98- 117 AD] and Antoninus Pius [138-161]) have been found (Sopot 2001). In 8th-10th c. Viking Truso (Jagodziński 2010) coins of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius (161-180) have been excavated (Bogucki 2012, 41 f.). Both sites have no strata for the time between 1 and 700 AD. Therefore, the coins cannot be heirlooms handed from parents to children over many centuries."[27]

"In and around Sopot, altogether 41 sites have been surveyed that jump from the end of Late Latène/Iron Age (1st c. BC) right into Slavic sites of the Early Middle Ages with nothing to show for the 700 years in between (Sopot 2001). Yet, there is hardly any evolution of art over this enormous time span. This is well known because of “analogies observable in the Roman period [1st-3rd c.] and medieval pottery [8th-10th c.]“ (Wołoszyn 2012 after Makiewicz 2005)."[27]

"Whereas written sources referring to Slavs on the Baltic coast are divided over three different periods, Imperial Antiquity (1st-3rd c.), Late Antiquity (4th-6th/7th c.), and the Early Middle Ages (7th/8th-10th c.), archaeology can only confirm the Slavic Tribal Centers of the Early Middle Ages. Thus, the 1st-3rd c. VENEDI-Slavs (Pliny the Elder; Tacitus, and Ptolemy) as well as the 4th-6th c. VENETHI-Slavs (Jordanes) are none other than the 8th-10th c. WEONOD-Slavs (from Alfred the Great’s Voyage of Wulfstan). What was anti-stratigraphically put into a chronological sequence returns back to its archeological contemporaneity."[27]

"The devastation of Rome in the 3rd c. is contemporary with the fires that annihilate the second stage of Wawel’s Early Medieval fortifications at the beginning of the 10th century."[27]

In 1978 radiocarbon dating of Roman Empire piles in England such as the one at left were dated conclusively to AD 684 to 702.[28]

"The Strood causeway to Mersea Island was thought to be Roman, built in the 1st c. AD. It leads to Mersea’s Roman burial mound (barrow) where a typical Roman lead covered box with a no less typical Roman glass urn (tentatively dated between 100 and 120 AD) was retrieved [in the image on the page top left]. Oak piles in typical Roman cut were discovered in 1978. Up to the 1980s it was never doubted that the dam was built by Romans in the 1st c. AD to reach their settlements on the Island."[11]

"Scientific dating methods have been applied to some substantial oak piles discovered beneath the Strood in 1978, when a water-main was being laid. They indicate that the structure was probably built between A.D. 684 and 702. The piles were discovered at the south end of the causeway where the trench was at its deepest—they were about 1.6m below the present ground level and were sealed by a series of road surfaces. Seven piles were recovered and samples were submitted to Harwell laboratory for radiocarbon dating to get a rough idea of the date. Samples from four of the piles were sent to the University of Sheffield for tree ring dating (dendrochronology). The remaining three piles are now in the Colchester and Essex Museum. The dating of the construction to AD 684 to 702 was regarded as conclusive."[28]

"Until 1978 it was thought the causeway had been in use since Roman Times. However radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology of the original foundation timbers gave a felling date of about the year 690. The site of the original Roman road has yet to be determined. The Strood regularly floods especially during spring tides."[29]

"From Ireland to the Black Sea, the winter of 763–64 was so extreme that the normally laconic historical and other records of the mid-eighth century refer abundantly to it and offer exceptional details about it and its consequences. The Irish annalistic tradition records that terrible winter as “a great snowfall which lasted almost three months.”29"[30]

"At 66 ppb, the spike in the GISP2 sulfate deposit on Greenland dated 767 is the highest recorded for the eighth century [in the bottom image on the right] and shows that this terrible winter in Europe and western Asia was connected with a volcanic aerosol that left marked traces on Greenland."[30]

9th century[edit]

Charlemagne's empire included most of modern France, Germany, the Low Countries, Austria and northern Italy. Credit: Hel-hama.

"Three hundred years [prior to 829 AD, 1171 b2k], it would seem, have left almost no trace in the ground. Truly, it would appear, that these years were indeed dark. Not only did men forget how to build in stone, they seem to have lost the capacity even of creating pottery; and the centuries in England that are generally designated Anglo-Saxon have left little or nothing even in this necessary domestic art. Pottery making does appear again in the tenth century."[31]

"An important British settlement has been found at Llanbedrgoch, Anglesey [...]. Structures have been found dating to the 10th, 8th-9th, and 7th century. The settlement is believed to have been a working farm which also produced goods for export. It included coexisting timber halls and round wattle houses. The 10th century structures are in the Viking style but it is unclear if it was built by Vikings or Britons influenced by Viking culture."[32]

"The excavations discovered numerous foreign goods. A seventh century bird headed Saxon brooch similar to Northumbrian brooches was found at the settlement. The brooch could have been dropped during Edwin's raid on Angelsey in c. 630 or arrived as booty from Cadwallon's raids and occupation of Northumbria from 633-634. The 8th-9th century ring ditch was dated to the early 9th century by radiocarbon analysis and a Northumbrian coin. A large timber hall is also believed to date from the same period. The 10th century settlement revealed fragments of silver arm bands, leather working tools, hack silver, pottery, coins, and a Viking style whetstone linking the settlement with Hiberno-Norse society."[32]

"Wales fared the Viking years better than most northern regions. The Viking impact on Wales was limited to occasional raids, trading, isolated settlers and perhaps intermarriage with the Welsh but large territories were not lost to the Vikings. Further there is no archaeological evidence that the Vikings established major outposts in Wales."[33]

The "apogee of this settlement occurred in the second half of the 9th and during the 10th century, when the interior contained rectangular long-houses and halls. . . . These developments must be linked to changes in the political and economic fortunes of the area and contact with the trading networks of the Hiberno-Norse world. The archaeological evidence from North Wales thus suggests the existence of pockets of strong contact between the Welsh and Vikings of Dublin and Man, with the adoption of some Viking fashions."[33]

"During the summer, three skeletons were discovered in a roughly built burial pit on the site. Last year, two other skeletons had been discovered in the same burial group. The five skeletons represented three adults, as yet unsexed, and two infants, all dumped in a shallow grave located in a ditch outside the defensive wall of the settlement. The presence of the infants and the disordered array of the bodies suggests they were members of the settlement who were not buried by their families but rather by raiders or invaders. At least one of the victims appears to have had his hands tied behind his back at the time of his death. The adults, ranging in age from 25-35, do not show signs of violent deaths but Redknap suggests that their throats may have been slit, which would not leave a mark on the skeletal remains. The bodies have been radiocarbon dated to 770-950, a timespan that includes the Viking raiding period that began in the 850s. It is being suggested that the Vikings temporarily captured the settlement after a raid. This complicates the analysis of Viking-style artifacts dated to the tenth century found at the site."[34]

"In the Greenland ice-core layers dated to “822 and 823,” GISP2 offers a peak reading of 83 ppb of SO4, the highest sulfate deposit of the ninth century. Because those layers fall within the 2.5 year chronological resolution of the individual strata, they must be considered as reflecting the same event. Even more significantly, a second sulfate peak at 62 ppb occurs in the GISP2 ice layer assigned to “827,” demonstrating that the volcanic aerosol was a multiyear phenomenon [image in 8th century section]. Conceivably, but not necessarily, the entire sequence from 820 to 824 could represent the fluctuations in one long period of some volcano’s activity. In other words, not only is the short interval since the preceding volcanic event and its correlate in the written sources correct within the margin of error of the GISP2 dating at this depth, but so, too, is its duration as a phenomenon of multiple events approximately spanning four years, with a decline in the middle."[30]

"Two remarkably cold winters struck Europe over the period 855–60. Reports from both France and Ireland document the cold and dry winter of 855–56. The winter of 859–60 appears to have been much harsher still, affecting France, Germany, and northern Italy in extreme fashion. The description of celestial phenomena that are consistent with volcanic aerosols in the atmosphere reinforces the link of the 859–60 winter with a volcanic eruption.53"[30]

"Comparison with sulfate sediments in GISP2 strongly suggests that both cold winters reflect volcanic emissions, conceivably, but not necessarily, from one long period of some volcano’s activity [image in the 8th century section]. The ice core provides a strong parallel, with a 68 ppb peak in SO4 in the layer dated to “854” and continuing with a high SO4 level at a maximum of 55 ppb in the layers assigned to “856” and “858.” Because those layers fall within the chronological resolution of individual strata, we consider them as reflecting the same event. Both the historical and glaciochemical records indicate multiyear phenomena."[30]

"An exceptionally long and hard winter [occurred] in western Europe in 873–74 and possibly in Spain and North Africa [...] For “876” GISP2 shows a very steep peak to 70 ppb in SO4 sediment [image at lowest right in 8th century section], signaling a volcanic aerosol deposit on Greenland; the date falls within the ± 2.5 years bracket. In this case, then, the precision of the written sources works to fix the less precise GISP2 chronology."[30]

10th century[edit]

Baekdu Mountain—Baitoushan volcano (Paektu-san) is in the Changbai Mountains along the border of today's People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Northeast Asia. Credit: NASA.
Anglo-Saxon rulers wear Roman diadems. Credit: Gunnar Heinsohn.{{fairuse}}
The approximate territories of dynasties includes the Jin (China). Credit: Ian Kiu.
Reconstructions are for the Viking colonisation site at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland. Credit: Dylan Kereluk.{{free media}}

"Dark and rainy years and harsh winter [occurred] in 913 in Ireland, Switzerland, and France [...] GISP2 shows a 61 ppb peak in SO4 sediment in “913–14,” which corresponds to this winter [image on the lowest right in the 8th century section]. Ireland’s increased precipitation and dark could certainly correlate with the presence of volcanic aerosols by virtue of their capacity to act as cloud condensation nuclei."[30]

There "appears to be evidence for a major outbreak of [Yersinia pestis]-plague peaking at the end of the “733–960 AD”4 time span."[17]

"At Birka, [near Stockholm, Sweden] “a sea level drop estimated up to 5 m has separated the lake from the nearby Baltic Sea of which it was once an inlet, and resulted in the harbour structures being located considerably inland as compared to their original situation”7"[17] From coin finds, Birka was abandoned around 960.[35]

"Truso [around Hansdorf near Elbing, situated on Lake Drużno near the Baltic Sea just east of the Vistula River] had undergone “isostatic adjustments (vertical crustal movements) [and] eustatic movements (fluctuations in the sea level due to climatic changes). / [The] in-fill consisted of a layer of black/brown sand with a high content of charcoal and ash”8."[17]

"In [Great Moravia] some 30 major fortresses, at least nine of them with stone churches, are utterly devastated: "The most recent burnt horizons give evidence for a gigantic annihilation that is roughly datable to the time of 900 CE“11. More recently, the demise of the Great Moravia Empire is dated into the early part of the 10th century"12."[17]

"Salzburg, [Austria]’s most important Early Medieval center, becomes “multiple times smaller”13 after a devastation in the 10th century when it resorts to primitive wooden houses for the few survivors.14"[17]

"“There was a rapid, sometimes catastrophic, collapse of many of the pre-existing tribal centers. These events were accompanied by the permanent or temporary depopulation of former areas of settlement. Within a short time new centers representative of the Piast state arose on new sites, thus beginning [in 966] the thousand-year history of the Polish nation and state.”15 In the future Piast realm “the local traditional territorial structure was undergoing deep and dramatic changes. Actions which resulted in the abandonment of some of the old strongholds and the building in their place of new ones were associated irrevocably with mass population movement, […] the emergence of new forms and zones of settlement“16. Previously unsettled areas “became densely settled and strongholds appeared; in the second quarter of the tenth century, these were built on a unified model in Bnin, Giecz, Gniezno, Grzybowo, Ostrów Lednicki, Poznan and Smarzewo“17."[17]

Archaeology "confirms that [Southern Baltic Ports] mysteriously “undergo discontinuity”18 in the 10th c. CE. The indigenous names for some of the deserted ports are not known to this very day."[17]

"In [Hungary], the Early Medieval town of Mosaburg with its strikingly Roman style stone Basilica of Zalavár-Récéskút (9th/10th c.) “had become ruinous by the Arpadian age. / Dateable finds from the multilayer cemetery could all be dated to the years from the second third or middle of the 9th century to the early 10th century, namely to its first few decades. / / Not just Mosaburg/Zalavár became depopulated, but also its surrounding area“19."[17]

Bulgaria "had the most splendid 9th/10th c. Slavic cities that – to the excavators‘ surprise – had been built in the 700 year earlier style of Rome’s 2nd/3rd c. CE period. Notwithstanding all their stone and brick massiveness, its metropolis, Pliska, comes to a terrible end: “A dark grey (most probably erosion) layer“20 (Henning 2007, 219; bold GH) had strangled that urban jewel for good [...] “Between the 11th and 15th c. CE, [Bulgaria’s; GH] Pliska basin was turned into a desert landscape“22."[17]

The Classic Maya "culture of the [Yucatan] collapsed around the same time25 (or [Tiwanaku/Bolivia] dated to ca. 1000 CE26)"[17]

“In Baghdad, the first half of the tenth century had a greater frequency of significant climate events and more intense cold than today, and probably also than the ninth century and the second half of the tenth century”27.[17]

"The destruction of [Constantinople] must have taken place in the early 10th century when the Port of Theodosius was covered by mud."[17]

"Egypt’s most famous export item, writing material made of sheets of papyrus (Cyperus papyrus or Nile grass) ceased to be cultivated around the 10th c. CE43: “All in all, we can say that after the 11th century no writing materials were produced from the papyrus plant"44. The plant had been virtually wiped out".[17]

"The collapse of the [Balhae Empire was established under the name Jin] (Chinese: Bohei), stretching from [North Korea via China to Manchuria], is conventionally dated to 926 CE. It should have been noticed in Japan. Yet, a chronicle from a Japanese temple that reports "white ash falling like snow" is currently dated to 946. A recent survey tries to tie the explosion of Changbaishan volcano (also called Mount Paektu) –– located in Southern China close to North Korea, i.e., within the borders of the Balhae Empire –– to the chronicle’s observation:"[17]

"The written sources document one exceptionally severe winter that affected Europe and western Asia at least as far east as Baghdad in 927–28 but that does not correspond to a major surge in SO4 deposits in GISP2.80 [The] written sources do not record exceptionally harsh winters for two peaks in GISP2 SO4 deposits around “757” and “900–902” [image on the lowest right in the 8th century section]."[30]

“The Millennium eruption has fascinated scientists and historians for decades because of its size, potential worldwide impacts. […] Its eruption in 946 was one of the most violent of the last two thousand years and is thought to have discharged around 100 cubic kilometers of ash and pumice into the atmosphere –– enough to bury the entire UK knee deep."46[17]

"Eldgjá, has created the largest volcanic canyon in the world. It is some 40 km long, 270 m deep and 600 m wide. The eruption (dated to 934 or 939 CE) resulted in the most massive formation of flood basalt in historical time. 219 million tons of sulfur dioxide were blown into the atmosphere where they reacted with water and oxygen and became 450 million tons of sulfuric acid. These corrosive aerosols must have covered a large part of the Northern Hemisphere47."[17]

"A very harsh winter in Germany and Switzerland, and possibly the Low Countries and Ireland, [occurred] in 939–40 [...] The GISP2 layers assigned to “936,” “938,” and “939” show the highest spike in sulfate deposits in the two hundred years under review, 132 ppb [image on the lowest right in the 8th century section]. We consider them to reflect the same event, since they fall within the 2.5 year chronological resolution of individual strata. In this case, tephra have been used to identify chemically the volcano from which the sulfate very probably originated: Eldgjá, on Iceland. The proximity of the Greenland ice sheet to Eldgjá explains the exceptionally high levels of sediment connected with this eruption, for they could well stem from localized tropospheric transport (i.e., lower in the atmosphere) rather than the stratospheric transport, which typically has the most powerful cooling effect.79 If it is correct that the Chronicon Scotorum preserves an eyewitness account of this eruption’s plume in 939, then the connection and the date seem confirmed."[30]

“Throughout the Mediterranean Basin, the Levant, Iran, and southeast Arabia, many valleys display two alluvial fills of which the older dates from about 30,000-10,000 yr BP and the younger from about A.D. 400-1850. […] The younger fill is well sorted and stratified and, as in Mexico, displays silt-clay depletion as well as iron loss when compared with the older fill deposits from which it is often derived. […]. The younger fill is seen in many widely separated areas to cover structures of Roman age as the period of deposition extended into Byzantine and even medieval times. […] The sections in W. Libya are typical in showing the younger fill deposits in channels eroded into the earlier fill. In most areas, the surface of the older fill was the usable land in Roman times. Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and medieval sherds are found in the younger fill, which also covers entire cities, notably, Olympia in Greece.49”.[17]

"The history of the Anglo-Saxon court is largely lost and unknown."[36]

"The Anglo-Saxons, from homelands [in Germany] where the necessary materials scarcely existed, probably had no tradition of building in stone."[37]

"Attempts to demonstrate conclusively significant continuity in specific urban or rural sites have run afoul of the near archaeological invisibility of post-Roman British society."[38]

"Whatever the discussion about the plough in Roman Britain, at least it is a discussion based on surviving models and parts of ploughs, whereas virtually no such evidence exists for the Period A.D. 500-900 in England. [...] In contrast to the field system of the 500 years or so on either side of the beginning of our era, little evidence has survived in the ground for the next half millennium."[39]

"After all, Alfred the Great (871-899) as well as other Anglo-Saxon rulers take pride in wearing a Roman diadem and/or a Roman chlamys. Offa of Mercia (757-796), e.g., issued a coin that shows him "in the style of a Roman emperor with an imperial diadem in his hair." [See the coin images third down on the right.]"[11]

Embossed "clay vessels attributed to Angle-Saxons follow the pattern of Anglo-Saxon coinage because they, too, point to a “deliberate imitation of Roman silver or glass ware” of the 1st/2nd century (Myres 1969, 30)."[11]

There are "the rich Roman strata in Anglo-Saxon capitals, like Alfred’s (Venta Belgarum) (Winchester)".[11]

For "authors of the 9th century AD, like Harun ibn Yahya, a Syrian traveler writing in 866, there is no doubt that Britain (Bartīniyah) is the “the last of the lands of the Greeks [Rum/Romans], and there is no civilization beyond them” (Green 2016)."[11]

The unknown author of "the Persian Hudud al-'Alam (982 AD) in which Britain (al-Baritiniya) "is the last land of Rum [Rome] on the coast of the Ocean" (Watson 2001)."[11]

"Stratigraphically, there is no problem with such a statement since—between the year 1 and the 930s AD—there are only enough building strata with streets, residential quarters, latrines, aqueducts etc. for a period of some 230 Roman years in Britain. Since they are contingent with the High Middle Ages of the 10th century AD, these massive Roman strata cannot help but belong to the 8th-10th century period, whatever the textbook chronology requires."[11]

"Everything we know from Early Medieval texts pertaining to 8th/9th century Anglo-Saxons confirms that they thrived in a classical culture, in a genuine Roman environment. That makes sense only when the hard evidence of the period dated 1st to 3rd century receives the 8th-10th century dates of its stratigraphic location immediately before the onset of the High Middle in the 10th century AD:"[11]

"Anglo-Saxon England was peopled with learned men and women, highly educated in Latin and English, who circulated and read Classical texts as well as composing their own. [...] There survives a large corpus of literature showing a deep understanding of the physical and the metaphysical [...]. Charters show that laws, administration and learning were not just for an educated elite. Laypeople were involved in the ceremonies and had documents created for them: land grants, wills, dispute settlements. [...] The coinage across the period shows an elaborate and controlled economy. This was a well-managed society not given to lawlessness and chaos. [...] They drew influence from Classical art and developed their own distinct artistic styles. [...] They had trade routes stretching across the known world and were familiar with and able to buy spices, pigments and cloth from thousands of miles away (many manuscripts use a blue pigment made from lapis lazuli, brought from Afghanistan. [...] The English church was in close contact with Rome, with correspondence travelling back and forth; new bishops would be sent to Rome to collect the pallium; and King Alfred visited the city as a young boy."[40]

The Norse settlement of Vinland at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland, in the image on the left, has been radiocarbon dated to c. 1000, or 1,000 b2k.

Medieval Warm Period[edit]

Northern hemisphere temperature reconstructions are for the past 2,000 years. Credit: Global Warming Art.
The figure shows the number of samples in time for the Central European oak chronology. Credit: Stand.
The center of the graph shows the time axis of conventionally dated historical events. Upper and lower coordinates show reconstructed time tables. The black triangles mark the phantom years. Credit: Hans-Ulrich Niemitz.

The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) dates from around 1150 (950 AD) to 750 (1250 AD) b2k.

"A proof-of-concept self-calibrating chronology [based upon the Irish Oak chronology] clearly demonstrates that third order polynomials provide a series of statistical calibration curves that highlight lacunae in the samples."[41]

As indicated in the figures, the data used in the plots comes from radiocarbon dating of Irish Oaks.[42]

Gaps occur near the 720s (1280 b2k), 1070s (930 b2k), 1370s (630 b2k), 1670s (330 b2k), 1800s AD (200 b2k) during the rising Δ14C values.

"The number of suitable samples of wood, which connect Antiquity and the Middle Ages is very small [shown in the first figure on the left]. But only a great number of samples would give certainty against error. For the period about 380 AD we have only 3, for the period about 720 AD only 4 suitable samples of wood (Hollstein 1980,11); usually 50 samples serve for dating."[43]

"The center of the graph [in the second image on the left] shows the time axis of conventionally dated historical events. Upper and lower coordinates show reconstructed time tables. The black triangles mark the phantom years."[43]

"In Frankfurt am Main archaeological excavations did not find any layer for the period between 650 and 910 AD."[43]

"Specialists now do not favor the terms “Little Ice Age” and “Medieval Warming Period” since the climatic manifestations of the underlying phenomenon of these [Rapid Climate Change] RCC events can differ greatly from one region of the world to another and the connotations of climate homogeneity within those periods can be misleading."[30]

"When the “Medieval Warming Period” began and ended is defined very differently by scientists and historians, who analyze the diverse data with different methods and chronological smoothing scales and techniques. Furthermore, while historians’ professional background makes them extremely sensitive to chronological precision on the yearly, if not finer, scales, climate scientists often work in thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years and hence may sometimes seem rather more casual toward a historical time scale."[30]

11th century[edit]

These are five Överhogdal tapestries found 1909 in Överhogdal, Sweden. Credit: unknown.{{free media}}
Skuldelev II is a warship built in the Norse–Gaelic community of Dublin (c. 1042). Credit: Casiopeia.

"All 5 pieces of the famous Swedish Överhogdal [tapestries such as the portion shown in the image second down on the right] were examined [by radiocarbon dating to 900 - 1100]."[44]

Radiocarbon dating of charcoal fragments from Koumbi Salehin, a settlement in south east Mauritania, indicate the site was continuously occupied from the 8th/9th to the 13th centuries.[45]

High Middle Ages[edit]

The map shows the geographical distribution of the archaeological sites sampled. Credit: Nicole Maca-Meyer, Matilda Arnay, Juan Carlos Rando, Carlos Flores, Ana M González, Vicente M Cabrera, José M Larruga.
Illumination depicts the Crucifixion from the Skara Missal. Credit: Unknown.{{free media}}

The High Middle Ages date from around 1,000 b2k to 700 b2k.

Mitochondrial "DNA analysis (HVRI sequences and RFLPs) [have been performed from] aborigine remains around 1000 years old. The sequences retrieved show that the Guanches possessed U6b1 lineages that are in the present day Canarian population, but not in Africans. In turn, U6b, the phylogenetically closest ancestor found in Africa, is not present in the Canary Islands. Comparisons with other populations relate the Guanches with the actual inhabitants of the Archipelago and with Moroccan Berbers. This shows that, despite the continuous changes suffered by the population (Spanish colonisation, slave trade), aboriginal mtDNA lineages constitute a considerable proportion of the Canarian gene pool. Although the Berbers are the most probable ancestors of the Guanches, it is deduced that important human movements have reshaped Northwest Africa after the migratory wave to the Canary Islands."[46]

The "sublineage U6b1 is the most prevalent of the U6 subhaplogroup in the Canarian population,4 and has still not been detected in North Africa."[46]

"This survey includes 131 teeth, corresponding to 129 different individuals, belonging to 15 archaeological sites sampled from four of the seven Canary Islands and dated around 1000 years old [image on the right]."[46]

"The Canarian-specific U6b1 sequences are also found in high frequency (8.45%), corroborating the fact that these lineages were already present in the aboriginal population. Three additional founder haplotypes4 were also detected (260, 069 126 and 126 292 294), all of them showing equal or higher frequencies than in the present day Canarian population."[46]

"The detection in the Guanches of the most abundant haplotype of the U6b1 branch, also found in present day islanders,4 points to a significant continuity of the aboriginal maternal gene pool."[46]

"The [...] estimated age of the [U6b1] subgroup is around 6000 years,29 which predates the arrival of the first human settlers to the Islands.1"[46]

12th century[edit]

Recent dating of Sweden's oldest book, the Skara Missal [in the image on the left] shows that the book is just that: Sweden's oldest.[47]

Researchers at Lund University concluded using radiocarbon dating that the book's pages are from the year 1150, i.e. at the time of the opening of the Skara cathedral.[47]

13th century[edit]

The book was bound more than 100 years later with covers made of oak surrounded by leather, where the oak has been dated to 1264 using dendrochronology, and the oak trees used grew in the vicinity of Skara.[47]

"In a meta-analysis of 1,434 radiocarbon dates from the region, reliable short-lived samples reveal that the colonization of East Polynesia occurred in two distinct phases: earliest in the Society Islands A.D. ~1025–1120, four centuries later than previously assumed; then after 70–265 y, dispersal continued in one major pulse to all remaining islands [15 archipelagos of East Polynesia, including New Zealand, Hawaii, and Rapa Nui] A.D. ∼1190–1290."[48]

Little Ice Age[edit]

Changes in the 14C record, which are primarily (but not exclusively) caused by changes in solar activity, are graphed over time. Credit: Leland McInnes.

The Little Ice Age (LIA) appears to have lasted from about 1218 (782 b2k) to about 1878 (122 b2k).

A "climate interpretation was supported by very low δ’s in the 1690’es, a period described as extremely cold in the Icelandic annals. In 1695 Iceland was completely surrounded by sea ice, and according to other sources the sea ice reached half way to the Faeroe Islands."[49]

In the image at the top, "before present" is used in the context of radiocarbon dating, where the "present" has been fixed at 1950. The apparent decreases in solar activity are called the "Maunder Minimum", "Spörer Minimum", "Wolf Minimum", and "Oort Minimum".

"Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures over the past 8000 years have been paced by the slow decrease in summer insolation resulting from the precession of the equinoxes."[50]

Precisely "dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland [show] that LIA summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430-1455 AD. Intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half centuries of the past millennium. [Explosive] volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times, and that cold summers can be maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols are removed. [The] onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg. The persistence of cold summers is best explained by consequent sea-ice/ocean feedbacks during a hemispheric summer insolation minimum; large changes in solar irradiance are not required."[50]

Late Middle Ages[edit]

The Late Middle Ages extends from about 700 b2k to 500 b2k.

14th century[edit]

The Shroud of Turin: modern photo of the face, is shown positive left, digitally processed image right. Credit: Dianelos Georgoudis.

Italian humanism began in the first century of the late Middle Ages (c.1350-1450).[51]

"The processed image at the right [in the images on the right] is the product of the application of digital filters. Digital filters are mathematical functions that do not add any information to the image, but transform it in such a way that information already present in it becomes more visible or easier to appreciate by the naked eye. The processed image was produced by inverting the brightness of the pixels in the positive image but without inverting their hue, and then by increasing both the brightness contrast and the hue saturation. Finally noise and so-called “salt and pepper” filters automatically removed the noisy information from the original image which hinders the appreciation of the actual face. To my knowledge the resulting image is the best available and indeed the only one that reveals the color information hidden in the original."[52]

Radiocarbon dating of a corner piece of the shroud placed it between the years 1260 and 1390,[53] in the High to Late Middle Ages, which is consistent with "its first recorded exhibition in France in 1357."[54]

15th century[edit]

"Italy from the peace of Lodi to the first French invasion (1454-94): the era of equilibrium"[51] is near the end of the late Middle Ages.

A logboat from Ireland, Derryloughan A, Co. Tyrone, designated GrN-14737, has been radiocarbon dated to 570 ± 25 BP or b2k.[6]

Short History of Middle Ages[edit]

Dates are correct for the Julian calendar, which was used in Russia until 1918. It was twelve days behind the Gregorian calendar during the 19th century and thirteen days behind it during the 20th century.


Main source: Hypotheses
  1. Each century from 3000 to 500 b2k has been demonstrated to exist by radiocarbon dating or dendrochronology of an artifact.

See also[edit]


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External Links[edit]