My research interests are in the environmental and social history of past cultural and ecological changes especially within rural cultural landscapes. Whereas most of my studies deal with villages in medieval Germany, I am also involved in field projects in Neolithic chert extraction at the Southern Germany, on the medieval landscape in southwestern Crimea and on pre-Columbian and colonial sites in Panama, lower Central America. All these research project highlight specific situations of human-environment interaction. Periods of fast change are especially informative for a reconstruction of the complex interaction of different drivers.
The 14th century is such an instructive situation of cultural change. It is however no situation of collapse. At least it is no collapse nor from a European or national perspective nor from a rather long-term perspective. The situation may be quite different if we focus on the level of families or small settlements. The 14th c. is an outstanding example, when dealing with an archaeology of crises as it highlights many heuristic problems.
In two articles I dealt with some theoretical aspects:
- R. Schreg, Die Krisen des späten Mittelalters: Perspektiven, Potentiale und Probleme archäologischer Krisenforschung. In: F. Daim/D. Gronenborn/R. Schreg (Hrsg.), Strategien zum Überleben. RGZM-Tagungen 11 (Mainz 2011) 197-214 (academia.edu).
- R. Schreg, Feeding the village – Reflections on the ecology and resilience of medieval rural economy. In: J. Klápště (Hrsg.), Processing, Storage, Distribution of Food – Food in Medieval Rural Environment. Ruralia 8 (Turnhout: Brepols 2011) 301-320.
Besides these rather theoretical reconsiderations my interest in the 14th century comes from two ongoing projects on medieval settlement formation: (1) the abandoned settlement of Würzbach in the Black forest and (2) a detailed study of three villages at the Stubersheimer Alb (part of the Suabian Alb north of Ulm).
As I am mainly engaged in medieval archaeology (or even historical archaeology in its European definition) I am especially interested in the interrelation of artefactual, written and pictorial evidence and on interdisciplinary research bringing together sciences and humanities.
I am working at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz, a time-honoured archaeological research institute covering all periods from the palaeolithic up to the early modern period. I also teach at the Universities of Mainz and Tübingen.
Currently I am also experimenting with an archaeological blog http://archaeologik.blogspot.de, dealing with various topics mainly from critical and environmental archaeology.
For more information on my person see: http://web.rgzm.de/493.html and http://rgzm.academia.edu/RainerSchreg