UCL Early Medieval Atlas


IoA/BM Seminar Keith Buhagiar

01 November 2016, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

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UCL IoA 209

Dr Keith Buhagiar (Malta): Investigating Maltese rural settlement development (AD 500 - 1530)

The Maltese archipelago lapsed into the Byzantine orbit of influence in the first half of the sixth century AD - a political development which probably brought negligible change to Malta's agrarian landscape context. At this point, Malta's agrarian framework appears to have primarily consisted of open field systems and agricultural estates of the Villa rustica type, engaged in olive oil production. The Muslim conquest of AD 871 brought large-scale disruption to Malta's settlements and commerce. It is only in the post-1127 period that centralised management coordinated by the Royal Chancery in Palermo (Sicily), that significant investment brought about the conversion of a series of river-carved valleys into viridaria or agricultural estates containing terraced land, perennial water availability, gravity-fed irrigation systems and rock-excavated dwellings.