Forest fences: enclosures in a pre-enclosure landscape, John Langton

The word ‘fence’ is used here generically to denote any structure created to prevent or impede movement across the countryside. They ought to have been absent from forests, where obstructions to the free passage of deer and hunters were forbidden by forest law, which in principle, therefore, preserved open countryside. The patchwork of settlements and enclosed private fields of the characteristic English landscape could not emerge until disafforestation got rid of forest law. However, hunting required fences, and so did the preservation and management of deer so that they were available to be hunted. Growing crops abutting forests could be fenced from deer, and the statutory protection of common rights and coppices in forests required the careful regulation of areas available for fuel gathering, domestic animal grazing and wood production: whilst deer were allowed almost complete freedom of movement inside forests, commoners’ animals were not; some areas were temporarily closed even to deer; some were open to deer but not commoners’ animals, whilst others were accessible to both, but only at particular times. Far from ‘wildscapes’, forests were common-pool resource systems where the exercise of different sets of rights over the same area of land by different people required complex systems of fencing. Some were unique to forests, and generally they differed from fences where enclosure allowed the management of land for private profit by individual owners with sole rights over its use.

The Lucanian Ionian landscape (XVIIIth-XIXth century), Gaetano Morese

A The Lucanian Ionian coast represents an interesting case of transformation of the agrarian landscape affected by Greek colonisation, followed by the Roman conquest, then the monastic communities of the Middle Ages, and finally threatened by the Saracen invasions. In the eighteenth century the area was divided into an internal hilly area in which the characteristic landscape was dominated by grassland and cereal crops, and near the cities vineyards, olive groves, orchards and woods prevailed. On the plains towards the coast, in the many water basins, cereals with vineyards and olive groves grew abundantly along with the century-old lush forest of Policoro; there were no cities but only a few settlements. The classic Mediterranean landscape of the area also saw the presence of the intensive cultivation of ‘cotton wool’ as well as the cultivation of liquorice plants along the fertile half moon until 1870. The rivers reshaped the landscape, especially on the plains, and formed marshes, whereas men modified the area with the usurpation of the state-owned allotments and by logging near the cities. The human presence in the area, in contrast to the region as a whole, shows a steady increase in numbers from the eighteenth century with the formation of the two new centres in the twentieth century. The process of modernisation by the middle of the nineteenth century saw a transformation phase in the agrarian landscape through the allotments and the end of feudalism, while in the landscape in the whole area, new elements and components appeared such as roads, railways, telegraph poles and cables.  

The lead legacy: the relationship between historical mining, pollution and the post-mining landscape, Catherine Mills, Ian Simpson and W. Paul Adderley

The British lead mining industry peaked and declined well before environmental protection and aftercare became a statutory requirement in the post-war period, and as a consequence left in its wake pockets of barren and degraded land. Metal rich waste tips rarely return to vegetation, and environmental pollution continues through wind erosion and adit drainage. Yet the upland and often remote situation of the mines has permitted many of these small scattered wastelands to escape extensive remediation. These abandoned mine sites have often been interpreted in terms of their historic economic and technological narratives or studied in relation to contemporary heavy metals pollution and current risks to public health. This interdisciplinary study explores the value and benefits of integrating these two approaches towards a better understanding of mining landscapes in relation to their pollution history; grounding the methodology in research questions rather than in any specific discipline. It combines the history of a small abandoned lead mine at Tyndrum, Stirlingshire, with the environmental record contained with the soil material at the site. The integration of traditional historical research with geo-scientific analysis both expands, and not only deepens, knowledge of the historic processes that have brought the specific landscape at Tyndrum to its current state of degradation but also sets the long-term environmental legacies of historic mineral exploitation in the wider British context.

From rural to urban: landscape changes in north-west Italy over two centuries, Marco Isaia, Consolata Siniscalo and Guido Badino

Landscape changes during the last two centuries were analysed, comparing two rural areas of about 5000 ha at the interface between the Alps and the Po plain (north-west Italy). Two centuries ago the areas were both set within a rural context. In the last few decades one of the two (15 km from Torino) has become mainly residential. The comparison has been made using ancient cadastral maps focused on land use which date back to the eighteenth century (Napoleonic cadastre) and recent land-use maps based on aerial photographs. The comparison highlights that changes of socio-economic frames determine different rural landscape dynamics in spite of geomorphologic similarities.

‘Co-operation and conflict in the development of the south-west Lancashire landscape: a comment, A. J. Gritt

This article comments on Virgoe’s 2011 study of the Croston drainage scheme in early nineteenth-century Lancashire. It argues that although the underpinning research is sound, the long-term national and regional context are under-developed, leading to a number of potentially misleading conclusions. This article, then, develops the immediate regional context of social and economic development, and highlights local comparators not referred to by Virgoe. In doing so the notion of ‘typical’ landscape of drainage activity and the primary role ascribed to landlords in drainage and landscape history is questioned.


Peter Mitchell and Paul Lane (eds), Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology (Janette Deacon)

Mats Larsson and Jolene Debert (eds), NW Europe in Transition: the early Neolithic in Britain and south Sweden (David Barrowclough)

Rowan K. Flad and Pochan Chen, Ancient Central China. Centres and peripheries along the Yangzi river (Xinyi Liu)

Anthony Harding and Harry Fokkens, The Oxford Handbook of the European Bronze Age (Mark Sapwell)

Martin Furholt, Martin Hintz and Doris Mischka (eds), ‘As Time Goes By’? Monumentality, landscapes and the temppral perspective (Dušan Borić)

Stephanie Dalley, The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon (Martin Worthington)

Toby Driver, Architecture, Regional Identity and Power in the Iron Age Landscapes of Mid Wales: the hillforts of north Ceredigion (Harold Mytum)

Daniel R. Stewart, Reading the Landscapes of the Rural Peloponnese (James Roy)

Paul Johnson and Martin Millett (eds), Archaeological Survey and the City (Dominic Perring)

Simon Esmonde-Cleary, The Roman West, AD 200‒500. An archaeological study (Neil Christie)

Duccio Bonavia, Maize: origin, domestication and its role in the development of culture (N. James)

Peter Sarris, Empires of Faith. The fall of Rome to the rise of Islam, 500‒700 (Andrew Merrills)

Eberhard W. Sauer, Hamid Omrani Rekavandi, Tony J. Wilkinson and Jebrael Nokandeh et al., Persia’s Imperial Power in Late Antiquity. The Great Wall of Gorgan and frontier landscapes of Sasanian Iran (St John Simpson)

Björn Poulsen and Sören Michael Sindbaek (eds), Settlement and Lordship in Viking and Early Medieval Scandinavia (Jan-Henrik Fallgren)

John Baker and Stuart Brookes, Beyond the Burghal Hidage. Anglo-Saxon civil defence in the Viking Age (David A. Hinton)

Warwick Rodwell, St Peter’s, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire: a parish church and its community. Volume 1, History, Archaeology and Architecture (Paul Everson)

Jeremy Haslam, Urban-Rural Connections in Domesday Book and Late Anglo-Saxon Royal Administration (Simon Draper)

Billy Colfer, Wexford Castles: landscape, context and settlement (Rory Sherlock)

Lucy Ryder, The Historic Landscape of Devon (Bob Silvester)

Carl I. Hammer, Town and Country in Early Medieval Bavaria: two studies in urban and comital structure (Sophie Hueglin)

Gérard Béaur, Philipp R. Schofield, Jean-Michel Chevet and María Teresa Pérez Picazo (eds), Property Rights, Land Markets and Economic Growth in the European Countryside (Thirteenth-Twentieth Centuries) (Daniel R. Curtis)

Warwick Rodwell, The Archaeology of Churches (Richard Morris)

Anna Keay and John Watkins (eds), The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle (Christopher Taylor)

Tracey Partida, David Hall and Glenn Foard, An Atlas of Northamptonshire. The medieval and early-modern landscape (Susan Oosthuizen)

Lucy Jessop and Matthew Whitfield with Andrew Davison, Alston Moor, Cumbria:bBuildings in a North Pennines landscape (Angus Winchester)

Ian D. Rotherham, Ancient Woodland: history, industry and crafts (Charles Turner)

Melanie Doderer-Winkler, Magnificent Entertainments: temporary architecture for Georgian festivals (Timothy Mowl)

David Moon, The Plough that Broke the Steppes. Agriculture and environment on Russia’s grasslands, 1700‒1914 (Paul Warde)

Paul Rabbitts, Regent’s Park. From Tudor hunting ground to the present (Barbara Simms)

Chris Elliott, Egypt in England (Kate Spence)

Simon Thurley, Men From The Ministry: how Britain saved its heritage (Ian Baxter)

Colin Shepherd (ed), Bennachie and the Garioch: society and ecology in the history of north-east              Scotland (Della Hooke)


Previous Volume        Landscape History Homepage        Next Volume

Landscape History


Volume 35 (2014) Issue 1