The fossilized remains of hamlets and villages in Western Europe with earthworks or walls representing the church, the manor, the dwellings, and other features associated with medieval rural life. Some settlements were deserted each century, but many of these villages were abandoned following the series of plagues in the 14th and 15th centuries. Excavations have been carried out in many villages, and the density of deserted villages in certain regions has been accurately recorded. The most extensive excavations in the British Isles are at Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire, but sites such as Goltho in Lincolnshire and Hound Tor, Devon, illustrate the wide variety of settlements that can readily be found. Sites have been excavated in every region of France; the settlement at Rougiers is possibly the best-known. French archaeologists have excavated Brucato in Sicily, and comparable sites are under investigation in Tuscany. Lowland sites have been excavated in Holland and North Germany, and a detailed survey has been made of the large number of sites in the Eifel Mountains. Scandinavian sites stemming from later Viking times have also been surveyed or partially excavated. Deserted villages are perhaps the most common archaeological sites of the medieval period, and their investigation has become fundamental to the modern study of medieval archaeology in Western Europe.