A Rural Economy in Transition deals with one of the most important periods in the history of Europe and the Middle East – the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. In his monograph, Adam Izdebski focuses on the economic history of Anatolia between the fifth and ninth centuries AD, a period which has traditionally posed great challenges to the historian. Because there are very few written sources from which a detailed economic and rural history of the period might be constructed, A. Izdebski has made extensive use of archaeological material in his study; however, he has also been able to integrate a vast amount of new scientific evidence into the traditional debates. This book offers the first major analysis of all the available palynological data -- coming from the investigation of pollen samples taken from lakes and marshes over the last fifty years -- pertaining to the Anatolian region, with comparative data drawn from the entire Mediterranean and Middle East. In addition, it includes a discussion of recent research on the climatic history of both Anatolia in particular, and the Eastern Mediterranean in general. For historians in any field who might wish to engage with the fascinating and under-utilised discipline of palynology, this book provides an easily accessible introduction to the uses of palynological evidence in the construction of historical interpretation. Furthermore, A. Izdebski has succeeded in presenting the history of late antique and Byzantine Anatolia with a new, environmental perspective – and in doing so, he has introduced Byzantine studies into the burgeoning field of environmental and climatic history.
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