The multiple estate model re-considered: power and territory in early medieval Wales
Seaman, A. 2012. The multiple estate model re-considered: power and territory in early medieval Wales. Welsh History Review. 26 (2), pp. 163-185.
Glanville Jones’ multiple estate model has been a highly influential interpretive framework for over forty years . The basic principle of the model - that early medieval central places exploited a diversity of landscape resources through wide networks of dependent settlements - remains relevant and valid, but there is much which is highly problematic. Criticism of Glanville Jones’ model is not new, but in this paper I will re-examine its applicability specifically in relation to early medieval Wales. I will explore how the multiple estate model shapes our understanding of the fiscal and territorial organization of early medieval Wales, and highlight the implications which this has for the interpretation of historical and archaeological data. It is argued that the model is anachronistic and drawn from sources which are not applicable to the early medieval period. As a consequence it creates a static and over schematized impression of the socio-political landscape in which political and agrarian units are conflated. It is suggested that the model must be rejected as an interpretive framework and replaced by frameworks which emphasize the limitations and transient nature of early medieval power structures.
|Journal||Welsh History Review|
|Journal citation||26 (2), pp. 163-185|
|Publisher||University of Wales Press|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||23 Apr 2013|
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