Emporium (early medieval)

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The term emporia (singular: emporium) is applied to trading settlements which emerged in north-western Europe in the sixth to seventh centuries, and persisted into the ninth century. Also known in English as wics, the emporia are characterised by their peripheral locations, usually on the shore at the edge of a kingdom, their lack of infrastructure (typically they contained no churches) and their short-lived nature, since by the year 1000, the emporia had been replaced by the revival of European towns. Examples of emporia include Dorestad, Quentovic, Gipeswic, Hamwic, and Lundenwic (for which see Anglo-Saxon London). Their role in the economic history of western Europe remains debated. Their most famous exponent has been the British archaeologist Richard Hodges.

See also[edit]


  • Anderton (Mike) (ed.). Anglo-Saxon Trading Centres: Beyond the Emporia.Cruithne Press. Glasgow. 1999.
  • Crabtree (Pamela J.) (ed.). Medieval Archaeology: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. New York. 2013. 448p.
  • Hill (D.), Cowie (R.) (eds.). Wics: The Early Medieval Trading Centres of Northern Europe. Sheffield. 2001
  • Hodges (Richard). 'Towns and Trade in the Age of Charlemagne'. 2001.
  • Hodges (Richard). Dark Age Economics, Origins of Towns and Trade AD 600–1000. Duckworth. London. 1989. 230p.
  • Loveluck (Christopher). Northwest Europe in the Early Middle Ages, c. AD 600–1150: A Comparative Archeology. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 2013. 488p.
  • Loveluck (Christopher). Rural settlement, lifestyles and social change in the later first millennium AD: Anglo–Saxon in its wider context. Excavations at Flixborough Volume 4. Oxbow Books. Oxford. 2007. 194p.
  • Sherman (Heidi Michelle). Barbarians Come to Market: The Emporia of Western Eurasia from 500 BC to AD 1000 (PhD Dissertation). ProQuest. Ann Arbor. 2008. 369p.
  • Valante (Mary A.). Vikings in Ireland, Settlement, Trade and Urbanisation. Four Courts Press. Dublin. 2008. 216p.
  • Verhulst (Adriaan E.). 'Emporium', in Lexikon des Mittelalters, III, München - Stuttgart, [1977]-1999, klm. 1897-1898. (online bekeken)
  • Verhulst (Adriaan E.). The Rise of Cities in North–West Europe. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 1999. 174p.