Plague and Desertion – A Consequence of Anthropogenic Landscape Change? Archaeological Studies in Southern Germany

Schreg, Rainer GND

The formation of villages and the introduction of systematic three-field crop rotation transformed the landscape of western central Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These processes have often been seen as an important progress of the medieval agriculture. This paper examines these developments from the per-spective of human ecology. There is some evidence to suggest a connection between village formation and the transformation of the cultural landscape in the High Middle Ages on the one hand and the Black Death in the late Middle Ages on the other. Recent archeological data suggests that these changes to the cultural landscape were in fact major factors in or preconditions for the fourteenth-century crisis.