Skip to main content

Chronological characterization of Medieval Villages in Northern Iberia: A multi-integrated approach


Defining the occupation sequence of medieval rural farming sites in Northern Iberia is complicated, since they feature low density of stratigraphic relationships and few finds and because of the intensive agricultural activities developed there during the last few decades. This paper presents the chronological characterization of the medieval village of Zornoztegi, located in the Basque Country, in the province of Alava. At this site, dwellings extend over an area of approximately two hectares and consist mainly of negative structures excavated in the bedrock. Radiocarbon dating measurements carried out on 32 samples, together with mortar optical microscopic analyses and other information obtained from stratigraphic relationships, changes in the settlement organization and the study of material culture, allowed structuring and characterizing the occupation sequence of the site of Zornoztegi. Furthermore, Bayesian statistics was used to reduce the range of the calibrated dates and to refine the chronology of the sequence.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. J. Bofinger, D. Krausse (Editors), Large-scale Excavation in Europe: Fieldwork Strategic and Scientific Outcome (Archaeolingua, Budapest, 2012)

  2. J.A. Quirós Castillo, Quat. Int. 346, 1 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. H. Hamerow, Early medieval settlements: the archaeology of rural communities in Northwest Europe 400--900 (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002)

  4. R. Francovich, R. Hodges, Villa to Village: The transformation of the Roman Countryside in Italy, c.400--c.1000 (Bristol Classical Press, London, 2003)

  5. M. Carver, Archaeological Investigation (Routledge, New York, 2009) pp. 281--287

  6. M.B. Schiffer, Formation Processes of the Archaeological Record (University of Utah Press, Alburquerque, 1987)

  7. C. Bronk Ramsey, Archaeometry 50, 249 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. F. Sigaut, Tools Tillage 7, 3 (1988)

    Google Scholar 

  9. I. Grau Sologestoa, Quat. Int. 330, 97 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. S. Foreman, J. Hiller, D. Petts, Gathering the people, settling the land: The Archaeology of a Middle Thames Landscape, Anglo Saxon to post-medieval (Oxford Archaeology, Oxford, 2002)

  11. J.A. Quirós Castillo, Arqueología del campesinado medieval: la aldea de Zaballa (Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, 2012)

  12. R.E. Taylor, Radiocarbon Dating: An Archaeological Perspective (Academic Press, London, 1987) p. 46

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  13. I. Sopelana, L. Zapata, Primeros resultados de los estudios carpológicos del despoblado de Zornoztegi (Salvatierra-Agurain, Álava), in The Archaeology of Early Medieval Villages in Europe, edited by J.A. Quirós Castillo (Universidad del Pais Vasco, Bilbao, 2009) pp. 437--445

  14. J.A. Quirós Castillo, Arqueología de una comunidad campesina medieval: Zornoztegi (Álava) (Bilbao, 2018)

  15. R.T.J. Cappers, R.M. Bekker, J.A.M. Jans, Digital seed atlas of the Netherlands (Barkuis Publishing & Groningen University Library, Groningen, 2013)

  16. S. Jacomet, Identification of cereal remains from archaeological sites (Basel University, Basel, 2008) available on-line at:

  17. J.G. Hather, The identification of the Northern European woods. A guide for archaeologist and conservators (Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, 2000)

  18. J.L. Vernet, P. Ogereau, I. Figueiral, C. Machado, P. Uzquiano, Guide d'identification des charbons de bois préhistoriques et récents. Sud-Ouest de l'Europe: France, Péninsule Ibérique et Îles Canaries (CRNS Editions, Paris, 2001)

  19. W.G. Mook, H.J. Streurman, Proceedings of the Groningen Symposium ^14C and Archaeology (PACT Publ., 1983) pp. 31--55

  20. F. Marzaioli, C. Lubritto, S. Nonni, I. Passariello, M. Capano, F. Terrasi, Anal. Chem. 83, 2038 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. C. Lubritto, P. Ricci, C. Germinario, F. Izzo, M. Mercurio, A. Langella, V. Salvatierra Cuenca, I. Montilla Torres, M. Fedi, C. Grifa, Measurement 18, 362 (2018)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. F. Marzaioli, G. Borriello, I. Passariello, C. Lubritto, N. De Cesare, A. D'Onofrio, F. Terrasi, Radiocarbon 50, 139 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. F. Terrasi, N. De Cesare, A. D'Onofrio, C. Lubritto, F. Marzaioli, I. Passariello, D. Rogalla, C. Sabbarese, G. Borriello, G. Casa, A. Palmieri, Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B 266, 2221 (2008)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. M. Stuiver, H.A. Polach, Radiocarbon 19, 355 (1977)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. C. Bronk Ramsey, Oxcal software version 4.3.2., (2017)

  26. P.J. Reimer, E. Bard, A. Bayliss, J. Warren Beck, P.G. Blackwell, C. Bronk Ramsey, C.E. Buck, H. Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, M. Friedrich, P.M. Grootes, T.P. Guilderson, H. Hafildason, I. Hajdas, C. Hatté, T.J. Heaton, D.K.L. Hoffmann, A.G. Hogg, K.A. Hughen, K. Felix Kaiser, B. Kromer, S.W. Manning, M. Niu, R.W. Reimer, D.A. Richards, E.M. Scott, J.R. Southon, E.A. Staff, C.S.M. Turney, J. van der Plicht, Radiocarbon 55, 1869 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. A. Bayliss, World Archaeol. 47, 677 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. A. Bayliss, C. Bronk Ramsey, Pramatic Bayesians: a decade of integrating radiocarbon dates into chronological models, in Tools for constructing chronologies: tools for crossing disciplinary boundaries, edited by C.E. Buck, A.R. Millard (Springer, London, 2004) pp. 25--41

    Google Scholar 

  29. J.A. Quirós Castillo, C. Nicosia, A. Polo-Díaz, M. Ruiz del Árbol, Quat. Int. 346, 56 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. H. Hamerow, Siedl. Küstenforsch. südlichen Nirdseegebiet 33, 59 (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  31. J.A. Quirós Castillo, Arqueol. Arquitect. (2017)

  32. A. Bayliss, Radiocarbon 51, 123 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. R. Aboal Fernández, X.M. Ayán Vila, F. Criado Boado, M.P. Prieto Martínez, M. Tabarés Domínguez, Trab. Prehist. 62, 165 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paola Ricci.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ricci, P., García-Collado, M.I., Narbarte Hernández, J. et al. Chronological characterization of Medieval Villages in Northern Iberia: A multi-integrated approach. Eur. Phys. J. Plus 133, 375 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: