HomeBooksShortage and Famine in the Late Medieval Crown of AragonSitges Castle Agricultural Data

Sitges Castle Agricultural Data

First, there is more detail about the agricultural practice at Sitges available in my article: “Grain yields and agricultural practice at the castle of Sitges, 1354-1411,” Etudes Roussillonnaises, revue d'histoire et d'archéologie méditerranéennes, Tome XXVI (2014): 65-78.  There is a graph of the harvest data available at the end of the article that I have reproduced here.

The dataset can be downloaded as a CSV, as well.


The dataset is derived from two sources, both at the Capitular Archive in Barcelona.  In the middle of the fourteenth century, the Pia Almoina (the cathedral hospital) purchased the full rights to the castle and began keeping the relevant administrative records for the running of the land.  The records are divided up into two main series: a smaller series of notebooks, kept daily by the overseer of the castle itself (currently archived as: Arxiu Capitular de Barcelona; V. Pia Almoina; B. Administració; 3. Administracions foranes; C. Sitges; 4. Plecs de comptes; capsas 1-6) and a larger set of record books kept by the head administrators and canons at the Cathedral itself (currently: Arxiu Capitular de Barcelona; V. Pia Almoina; B. Administració; 2. Sortides; C. Majordomia), that usually provide only a summary of the overseer's notebooks.  More of the smaller books have been lost, so more day-to-day data like the date of harvesting or planting and the quantities used are more frequently lost.  Because the larger administrative books are mostly intact, things like the general harvest purchase price for the three grains are more uniformly available.  This is reflected in the sporatic data given for actual crop yields, versus the almost complete run of numbers for prices.

Similarly, the yield data is unavailable for two years if only one book is missing: the previous book may have the quantity sown, but the missing book will not provide the quantity harvested, meaning the yield cannot be calculated. Similarly, the amount sown similarly impedes the ratio calculation even if the harvest is known.  I have provided the column on whether or not the grain was sown in the demesne land specifically because in some years there are indications that this was the case (sometimes indirect: a payment to workers to weed the fava plants in the horta, for instance), even if no sowing or harvesting data is available.  If the column is empty, this can be because the records are lost, or the records preserved but did not include the information, so it is not possible to extrapolate that the other years are "no's," thus I have left them blank.