TitleBorders in and of Medieval Towns
Date/TimeTuesday 5 July 2022: 09.00-10.30
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairMilan Pajic, Institut de recherche Religions, spiritualités, cultures, sociétés, Université catholique de Louvain
Paper 519-a On the Origin of Burgages: New Evidence from Ipswich, 7th-11th Centuries
(Language: English)
Brandon H. Fathy, School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester
Index Terms: Archaeology - Sites; Daily Life; Economics - Urban; Social History
Paper 519-b Visible, Marked, and Invisible Borders of the Medieval and Early Modern Town: The Vienna Example
(Language: English)
Ferdinand Opll, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Index Terms: Archaeology - Artefacts; Architecture - Secular; Daily Life; Geography and Settlement Studies
Paper 519-c Re-Evaluating Medieval Trieste: Cultural Exchanges in the Borderlands
(Language: English)
Katalin Prajda, Institut für Geschichte, Universität Wien
Index Terms: Historiography - Medieval; Maritime and Naval Studies; Social History
AbstractPaper -a:
Even today, urban property boundaries often have their origins in medieval land tenure. Britain's 'burgage' plots, well established by the 13th century, still influence the boundaries of 21st-century development. They are such important components of medieval urbanism that it is worth tracing their origins back to the earliest medieval towns in Great Britain (c. 600-1000). How and when, then, did burgages emerge?

My research uses a new dataset to answer this question: the unpublished archaeological evidence from Anglo-Saxon Ipswich, a town that is unique in Britain for its continuous occupation through the 7th to 11th centuries. Ipswich, therefore, provides an excellent opportunity to explore the evolution of urban land plots in the longue durée. Next, I will introduce a theoretical framework that focuses on becoming instead of being, thus freeing historians from searching for a contrived 'macro-moment' at which burgage plots first appeared. I conclude that burgage boundaries emerged through uneven and actively negotiated interactions between a myriad of human settlers (kings, reeves, craftspeople, freemen/freewomen, seafarers) with the influence of material actants (estuary, kilns, roads, fences). Together, these agents chaotically and spontaneously laid the groundwork for more formalised and habitual boundaries through the 8th to 10th centuries.

Paper -b:
The oldest example for Urban Borders in Vienna is the construction of the City Walls before the late 1230s as one of the main characteristic features of any Medieval Town. Used for defensive purposes and control, they were demolished after 1857. Another visible Border was the defense line for the suburbs (15th century). Made of stone only partly, it was rather feeble and destroyed during the First Ottoman Siege of 1529. Only after 1700, in a period of new attacks from Hungarian-Transylvanian forces another fortified defense-line was constructed around the suburbs. It had, however, its real importance as a Border for levying taxes.For marked and invisible Borders there is no comparable place in memory. Among these types the district, where the Town's Judge could exert his competencies, in German: 'Burgfried', was the first to be documented for Vienna (1244). A profound initiative of marking out this Border with cornerstones started only lately, in 1698. Similarly - and in this case: totally - forgotten are the Borders of the Quarters within Vienna. Documented in the early 14th century, this 'pure' administrative Border acquired quite a big number of diverse functions. Its existence ended with the Urban Expansion of 1850.

Paper -c:
The present paper proposes to re-evaluate the written documentation and the historiography of medieval Trieste in order to shed a new light on its role played in cultural exchanges between various political entities, such as the Republic of Venice, the Patriarchate of Aquileia, the Duchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. It does so by studying primarily the evolution of merchant networks as agents of cultural mediation and how cultural differences and political belonging were represented by both the primary source material and consequently by the specialist literature and national historiographies published in various languages.