Spanish medieval vineyard study opens "window to the past"

In the 10th century, Zaballa, Spain was a quiet village that cultivated vineyards on terraces. Then the rich folks arrived in the form of a manor monastery which created a "highly significant rent-seeking system," and then a "veritable factory, a specialised estate in the hands of local lords who tried to obtain the maximum profits possible." The town was abandoned in the 15th century.

Today the town is the subject of study by archaeologists from the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, which has discovered tools related to the cultivation of vines. According to the study's director, Juan Antonio QuirĂ³s-CastilloIn, "these microhistories constitute small windows into the past that allow one to analyse relatively complex historical processes directly, bottom upwards, In other words, to see how the peasant community itself gradually adapts to the political and economic changes that take place in the medieval era and later."