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New: Article on the Medieval minsters of Beverley, Rippon and York, submitted by Stuart Sharp.

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We've added lots more images. Check out the new photos on our Roman history site, such as Hadrian's Wall. Great new photos of Stonehenge and Avebury are on megalithic sites


Our castles pictures and notes have been updated with Farleigh Hungerford Castle. A full list of the historical galleries we have on line is also available now.

Ancient Cities and Technology:

Conclusions - Part 2

These structures expressed the values of feudal medieval cities and cannot be explained only in terms of the technologies that created them, although the social relations of medieval life shaped and were dynamically shaped by the available technologies.

City size was also controlled by this combination of influences although here technology seems largely determinant. The need for access to fresh water and sanitation limited the distance a city could expand away from a river. As better methods of moving clean water and sewage were developed, cities could increase in size - something the Romans truly mastered, through the innovative use of materials, engineering and construction skills and forms of labour organisation.

Among several valid non-technological explanations for the different layouts of classical and medieval cities (values, class relations, some writers have focussed on the weakness of state structures and increasing evaluation of the private sphere in medieval societies, expressed in Islamic legal codes (Kennedy, in Chant, p97) and in an increase in European property holders' rights (Freidrichs, in Chant, p146). Where individual needs could override city plans chaotic use of space was more likely.



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