Landscape history


Landscape history

Landscape history is the study of the way in which mankind has changed the physical appearance of the environment - both present and past. It is sometimes referred to as landscape archaeology. It was first recognised as a separate area of study during the 20th century and uses evidence and approaches from other disciplines including archaeology, architecture, ecology, aerial photography, local history and historical geography.

Origin and Scope

In England, landscape history emerged as an academic discipline following the publication of "The Making of the English Landscape" by W. G. Hoskins in 1955, although some topics that are now considered part of landscape history had been identified earlier. Darby, [ "Some Early Ideas on the Agricultureal Regions of England", in The Agricultural History Review, 1954. http://www.bahs.org.uk/backnumbers/02fastview.pdf] for example, gives many early examples of regional characterisation of landscapes.

Following Hoskins, landscape history expanded in various directions. There are published landscape histories of a number of English counties. [J Hunter, "The Essex Landscape" is one example.] Other authors have studied the landscape at earlier periods. [D Hooke, "The Landscape of Anglo-Saxon England" among others. ] One productive avenue has been the study of specific landscape features such as fields, villages, and so on. [J Morris, "Churches in the Landscape" is one of many with the title "... in the Landscape" or similar. ] Managed woodland has been extensively studied by Oliver Rackham. [for example, "Trees & Woodland in the British Landscape"]

The scope of landscape history ranges from specific individual features to areas covering hundreds of square miles. Topics studied by landscape historians include:
*the form (morphology) of settlements - for example whether they are dispersed or nucleated;
*deserted medieval villages which provide evidence of earlier village forms;
*field systems which can be used to date landscape features as well as illuminating earlier landscapes;
*field boundaries or boundaries of larger units such as parishes or counties;
*place-names which have been used to illustrate landscape features, particularly Anglo-Saxon place-names.

Techniques

Two complementary approaches can be used to study landscape history - fieldwork and desk research. Fieldwork involves physical inspection of the landscape to identify earthworks and other potential features. Documentary desk research involves finding references to landscape features in primary and secondary sources. Among the most useful documentary sources are maps. Modern aerial photographs are useful for identifying large-scale features; earlier aerial photographs may show features that have now been lost.

The origin of features can often be related to the geology and ecology of the area being studied - for example the importance of springs and the suitability of the soil for different forms of agriculture.

The historic landscape characterisation programme initiated by English Heritage provides a framework for standardising and recording information about landscape history, particularly to support the planning authorities.

Academic status

Few universities have a department of landscape history. Academic landscape historians are typically found within departments of archaeology, history, local history or continuing education. For example, Nick Higham at Manchester has the title Professor in Early Medieval and Landscape History in the school of history. Landscape history courses are typically post-graduate or extra mural. As a result, much of the work in landscape history is undertaken by amateurs (although often supervised by professionals in landscape studies) [Matthew Johnson, "Ideas of landscape: An Introduction" (Blackwell Publishing, 2007)] .

Landscape Features

Landscape features can often indicate earlier land usage. For example a red hill in a coastal area is an indication of salt production.

Journals and Books

"Landscape History" is the name of a refereed journal published by the Society for Landscape Studies. [ [http://www.landscapestudies.com/ Society for Landscape Studies website ] ]

Notes


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Boundaries in landscape history — Boundaries particularly field boundaries are among the oldest features in an English rural landscape. [English Heritage http://www.english heritage.org.uk/hc2006/upload/pdf/eastofengland2004.pdf] Although a boundary itself is an abstract concept …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape ecology — is the science and art of studying and improving the relationship between spatial pattern and ecological processes on a multitude of scales and organizational levels (Wu 2006, 2008; Wu and Hobbs 2007). In a broad sense, landscape ecology… …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape archaeology — is a body of method and theory for the study of the material traces of past peoples within the context of their interactions in the wider (typically regional) social and natural environment they inhabited. The landscape may be large, such as a… …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape — comprises the visible features of an area of land, including physical elements such as landforms, living elements of flora and fauna, abstract elements such as lighting and weather conditions, and human elements, for instance human activity or… …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape mythology — and anthropology of landscape ( Landschaftsmythologie , Landschaftsethnologie ) are terms for a field of study advocated since about 1990 by Kurt Derungs (born 1962 in St. Gallen). Derungs describes the field as an interdisciplinary approach to… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Netherlands — This article is part of a series Early History …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape architecture — involves the investigation and designed response to the landscape. The scope of the profession includes architectural design, site planning, environmental restoration, town or urban planning, urban design, parks and recreation planning. A… …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape planning — is a branch of landscape architecture. Urban park systems and greenways of the type planned by Frederick Law Olmsted are key examples of urban landscape planning. Landscape designers tend to work for clients who wish to commission construction… …   Wikipedia

  • Landscape assessment — is a sub category of environmental assessment (or EIA) concerned with quality assessment of the landscape. Landscape quality is assessed either as part of a strategic planning process or in connection with a specific development which will have… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Morocco — This article is part of a series Ancient Morocco …   Wikipedia


We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.