Power and rural landscapes in early medieval Galicia (400–900 ad): towards a re-incorporation of the archaeology into the historical narrative


  • I am grateful to the anonymous referees for their valuable suggestions and improvements to the text. I also want to express my gratitude to the copy editor of EME , Sue Vincent, for her help with revising the English translation of this article.
  • Copyright line was updated on June 20, 2014.


This paper aims to bring together hitherto neglected archaeological data about the early medieval landscapes of Galicia (north-west Spain), in order to understand the social transformations this ‘peripheral’ region underwent between the fifth and the ninth centuries and to frame them in the context of wider European debates. Despite its many limitations, the archaeology reveals that until the middle of the seventh century, the late antique society of Gallaecia experienced a previously unsuspected vitality. At this point a socio-political fragmentation occurred, which was characterized by the strengthening of local power, until a further change took place with the progressive incorporation of Galicia into the Asturian kingdom in the ninth century.