A group of researchers from the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Anthropology set out this past spring for the medieval village of Mercadal, Spain, to participate in an archaeological excavation and geophysical survey.

The trip originated from an ongoing relationship between UGA, the University of Toulouse in France, and the University of Zaragoza in Spain. For several years, investigators from the three universities have studied rural settlement patterns in the plains to the north of the Pyrenees mountains in France. This year the collaborators focused on the plains to the south of the Pyrenees mountains in Spain.

UGA’s team included faculty members Ted Gragson and Victor Thompson, as well as graduate students Faith MacDonald and Brett Parbus.

The ongoing project focuses on medieval settlements from between 1000 and 1600 A.D. in southern Aragón. The village of Mercadal was occupied from the mid-13th century to the end of the 15th century. The team aims to develop a chronology for the establishment and abandonment of the village and to characterize the structural remains of the site and its surroundings.

“During this time, Spain went through several major changes including the defeat of the Muslim kingdoms, the expansion of the Christian kingdoms, the Black Death and the Little Ice Age” said Gragson, professor and department head of anthropology.

While at the site, the UGA team and their partners conducted pedestrian and shovel test surveys, excavations to define original living surfaces and recover ceramics and dateable material, and magnetic and ground-penetrating radar surveys.

The team is still processing its data, and Gragson and Thompson plan to present their early findings at archaeological conferences later this year.