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The Western European Loess Belt: Agrarian History, 5300 BC - AD 1000

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Many books on the agrarian history ofWestern Europe begin with the Middle Ages, which is quite understandable, because they are mostly based on written sources. But everybody who is interested in agriculture knows that agriculture started much earlier and also that information on that millennia-long period is provided by archaeology. Admittedly, there are books which deal with almost the entire story, from prehistory to well into historical periods, but the problem with them is that they focus on the past of modern nations, disregarding the fact that their boundaries were not necessarily the boundaries of former times. I wanted to write using another kind of unit: a region with only one type of soil and climate, as these two are all-important factors where farming is concerned.

I chose the region covered with loess, west of the river Rhine. The scientific background is explained in Chapter 1 of this book. Another reason was that I devotedand still devote much of my own research to this region. And, I have to admit that my interest was also triggered by the fact that I was born there.
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