Catalunya a l’alta edat mitjana a través de la necròpolis “d’accés est de Casserres”

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


This research shed new light on how the inhabitants of Casserres (Berguedà) lived and died in an agitated period at the Iberian Peninsula, with the arrival of the Visigoths and the later disputes for the territory between the Francs and the Muslims, given the fact that few anthropological studies of Central Catalonia in this period exist. And it is done through the study of the people buried among the 6th-11th centuries A. D. at the medieval necropolis of “Accés Est de Casserres” (AEC from now on), comparing it at anthropological level with other Catalan and Spanish series. The study includes paleodemographic, taphonomic, anthropometric and paleopathological analysis, and an evaluation of the funerary ritual that was practiced. Although the cemetery has not been totally excavated, we have documented a total of 211 individuals from 184 burials. The conservation of the bones is good/regular in general. The population structure of AEC shows us oversized mortality and natality and a low lifespan, a typical situation of the preindustrial populations. The comparison with other Catalan medieval populations shows us similar results but with some variations, such as a bias of the infants and of the women, that are significant to interpret the population. The funerary practices show us that the burials at AEC continued along the centuries (VI-XI A. D.), and therefore Casserres was continuously populated among these centuries. The type of ritual employed at AEC is common in the Christian religion; in fact, the necropolis was found associated to a basilica with burials inside. Later, at the XI A. D., it was abandoned, and the church of Santa Maria de l’Antiguitat was built few meters from the necropolis of AEC that will form part of the priorate of Sant Pere de Casserres. The phenotypic variations of the individuals of AEC are similar to other medieval Catalan populations with a clear sexual dimorphism. Both the quantitative and the qualitative variables show us intersexual differences, regarding the robustness, the muscular development and height. The more frequent pathological processes at AEC are related to aging, degenerative pathology, followed by tooth and maxillary pathology. Despite the differences observed at the level of physical work and the diet between the men and the women of medieval Casserres, these have not influenced the dynamics of the population, in as much as the mortality and survival are very similar among sexes. With all the information collected in this thesis, we can conclude that Casserres at early medieval times would have notable importance since it is located at an important zone for the trade routes, especially the one of Cardona’s salt. We also know for the medieval texts that Casserres was reconquered from the Muslims, that was an important place for the defence against them, and its defences were rebuilt and prepared for a possible attack at the end of the VIII A. D. During the IX A. D. this region had several Saracen attacks to recover its domain. At the X A. D., the region of Lower Berguedà was repopulated with people that run away to mountainous areas with the arrival of the Saracens. All these facts influenced the dynamics of the population of “Accés Est de Casserres”.
Date of Award18 Jun 2021
Original languageCatalan
SupervisorAssumpció Malgosa Morera (Director) & Albert Isidro Llorens (Director)

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