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Approaches to the study of migration during the crusades

Mitchell, P; Millard, AR


P Mitchell


The crusades were arguably the largest migration events that involved medieval Europeans. A range of archaeological and textual methods have been used in the past in order to try to understand the process of migration and settlement in the Frankish states in the eastern Mediterranean. Archaeological methods include identifying the building plans of European-style houses in the Latin East, and finding European items such as coins, brooches and belt buckles in burials. Textual approaches using manuscripts from the Frankish East include the spelling of words in texts indicating the accent of the author, the use of words particular to specific European regions, the names of Europeans in lists of settlers, and mention of European toponymic bynames among those recorded in documents. Here we also introduce recent results of an archaeological method that had not previously been applied to crusade-related migration: the analysis of oxygen and strontium isotopes in teeth from excavated human skeletal remains. This technique has been applied to crusader-period burials at Caesarea and the farming village of Parvum Gerinum, both in the kingdom of Jerusalem, in order to identify which individuals were probably born in the East and which had spent their childhood in Europe. The results suggest that the majority of those tested from the cemeteries of Caesarea were born in Europe; and we have been able to identify the specific region of origin for a proportion of those migrants.


Mitchell, P., & Millard, A. (2013). Approaches to the study of migration during the crusades. Crusades, 12,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date May 24, 2013
Journal Crusades
Print ISSN 1476-5276
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Volume 12