I have been trying to understand the transition from Roman hegemony to early medieval European cultural and political fragmentation for some time. I look at this great transformation in Mediterranean and Italian history from a rural viewpoint, and attempt to reconstruct what happened on the ground when a huge bureaucratic imperial state collapsed and several successor societies arose in its place. I analyzed how stateless, non-capitalist societies dealt with procuring essential things like water in a first project. Recently I have been occupied with forest history and the question of how woodlands changed, in extent, situation, and composition during the first millennium AD. The corollary question of how changes in the woods affected human culture then likewise interests me.
Recent and Selected Publications
“The Floods of 589 and Climate Change at the Beginning of the Middle Ages: An Italian Microhistory,” Speculum 85 (2010), 799-826.
“I pericoli dell’acqua nell’alto medioevo italiano,” Settimane di studio del centro italiano di studi sull’alto medioevo 55, (Spoleto: CISAM, 2008), pp. 583-629.
The Complete Works of Liudprand of Cremona (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2007).
"Digging Ditches in Early Medieval Europe." Past and Pre