"An Archaeology of Capitalism "offers an account of landscape and
material culture from the later Middle Ages to the beginnings of
the Industrial Revolution. In tracing some of the roots of
modernity back to the transformation of the countryside, this book
seeks an innovative understanding of the transition between
feudalism and capitalism, and does so through a unique synthesis of
archaeology, economic, social and cultural history, historical
geography and architectural history.
Medieval and early modern archaeology has in the past focused on
small-scale empirical contributions to the study of the period. The
approach taken here is both wider-ranging and more ambitious. The
author breaks down the dividing lines between archaeological and
documentary evidence to provide a vivid reconstruction of
pre-industrial material life and of the social and mental processes
that came together in the post-medieval period in the transition
towards modernity. Matthew Johnson is careful to avoid a
simplifying evolutionary explanation, but rather sees the period in
terms of a diversity of social and material practices evident in
material traces - traces that survive and that, when reused in
different contexts, came to mean different things.
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