A Relict Landscape in South East Hertfordshire: archaeological and topographic investigations in the Wormley Woods area: Stewart Bryant, Brian Perry and Tom Williamson

The evidence of field survey, excavation, documents and maps is combined to suggest an extensive ‘organised landscape’ of pre-medieval date in south-east Hertfordshire. This survives in part in the form of modern roads and boundaries, but in part as earthworks buries within areas of ancient woodland. It is suggested that this, and other ‘co-axial landscapes in England, may have originated through the subdivision of an initially much sparser network of droveways and boundaries, associated with the management of livestock and the exploitation of upland wood-pastures.

 

Four possible nemeton place-names in the Bristol and Bath area: Richard Dunn

This paper discusses the possibility that four places in the Bristol and Bath region derive their names from the Celtic word nemet or nemeton meaning a ‘sacred place’. A detailed examination of the topography of each place is presented together with what is known about the archaeology. This analysis suggests significant similarities between the places and that they may all have a long history of being ritual sites. Some comparisons are made to other places in Britain with names that are generally thought to derive from nemet The paper concludes that the hypothesis that the four places near Bristol and Bath derive their names from nemet has some merit, but further research is needed in terms of understanding the archaeology of the places and the linguistic derivation of their names.

 

Rethinking the early medieval settlement of woodlands: evidence from the western Sussex Weald: Diana Chatwin and Mark Gardiner

The assumptions underlying the interpretation of the early medieval settlement of woodland are challenged through a detailed study of the Weald in western Sussex. The patterns of usage of woodland in England were very varied, and each area needs to be looked at individually. Systems of woodland exploitation did not simply develop from extensive to intensive, but may have taken a number of different forms during the early medieval period. In one area of the Weald, near to Horsham, the woodland appears to have been systematically divided up between different estates. This implies that woodland settlement may not always have developed organically, but this type of landscape could have been planned. It is argued that the historical complexity of woodland landscapes has not been recognised because the evidence has been aggregated. Instead, each strand of evidence needs to be evaluated separately.

 

Past landscapes and present-day techniques: reconstructing ‘submerged’ medieval landscapes in the Flemish coastal plain (the border area of Belgium and the Netherlands): Nele Vanslembrouck, Alexander Lehouck and Erik Thoen

The coastal wetlands of the former county of Flanders situated on the border area of Belgium and the Netherlands, belong geographically to a late Holocene landscape that consists mainly of alternations of clay, peat beds and sand deposits. During the later middle Ages and the 16th century, the old medieval landscape was heavily ravaged by the marine influence. Especially the 16 century flooding carried out for military reasons had wreaked havoc. This “flooding”, which had put large parts of the area under water for many decades as well as a huge reorganisation of the whole infrastructure and field pattern afterwards when new embankments took place had completely reshaped the medieval landscape.  As a consequence, it broaches more methodological skills as well as a multi- and even interdisciplinary approach to reconstruct the old cultural landscape.

The application of present-day techniques for processing information discovered via aerial archaeology and geoarchaeology, historical-geography and social economic history, geography and geomorphology, could generate unexpected reconstructions and interpretations about the cultural landscape before c. 1600. This article presents some preliminary results of this research project, which is focussing on a ‘test area’ in Sealand Flanders (the Netherlands). Although the struggle with water was omnipresent in this area, it stresses especially the importance of anthropogenic factors in the processes of land reclamation, land loss and land transformation.

 

The evolution of the Cornwall and West Devon landscapes as a result of industrialisation from the mid-18th century to the early 20th century: Adam Sharpe

This paper describes the results of research into the changing landscape of Cornwall after industrialisation in the mid-eighteenth century. This resulted not only in landscapes of mining and industry but in the creation of new patterns of settlement and the display of wealth. The transfer of skills from the county to other parts of the world paradoxically led to a decline in its fortunes but the richness of this landscape heritage led to the World Heritage Site Bid described here.

 

Debate: South Hampshire, ‘East Wessex’ and the Atlas of Rural Settlement in England: David A. Hinton

 

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Volume 27 (2005)