River channel planforms and floodplains: a study in the Wessex landscape, Hadrian Cook

For south ‘Wessex’, despite complexity evident on the ground, there is little research that directly links river channel form with historic economic development; that is, channel genesis and planforms are seldom discussed in relation to landscape development within valleys. Of specific interest are relationships linking channel topography, artificial cuts and floodplains with development associated with mills, water-meadows, artificial watercourses and gravel extraction. These are an outcome of a strong regional culture of economic development including water management. It is demonstrated that river planforms within the valleys determine the location of fixed assets and there is a strong relationship between soils and floodplain development. It is concluded that there is an intricate continuum between perceived ‘natural’ fluvial process and human-influenced environmental change, and that genetic interpretation of river channel forms presents a challenge for landscape historians.

Meadowlands in time: re-envisioning the lost meadows of the Rother valley, West Sussex, UK, Alastair W. Pearson and Philip J. Soar

Historically, meadows provided an essential crop of hay and common grazing in a delicately managed sustainable system in harmony with their environment and were of vital importance to the agricultural cycle of farming communities. Using archival and remotely sensed data, this paper provides a speculative re-construction of a former floodplain water management system and examines the changing fortunes of the floodplain meadows of the Rother valley, West Sussex, revealing the process of change in both the physical and cultural landscape. The inevitable decline of the floodplain meadows of the Rother was part of a nationwide transformation brought about by the introduction of new farming practices operating in a fast-changing tenurial landscape, dominated by the growth of landed estates where commoners’ rights were viewed with growing contempt. Today, the current vista of the Rother reveals only remnants of the past landscape where marginal habitats, riparian fringes and meadows have made way for a monoculture of permanent pasture of poor conservation value, supporting low biodiversity and offering little to mitigate against flood risk and poor water quality. If floodplain meadow reinstatement is to be considered as part of a catchment-wide programme of landscape restoration measures then the results of this historical landscape analysis could act as a ‘guiding image’ for environmental managers and policy makers and a platform to rekindle once again community engagement with its landscape.

An early Modern pheasant farm at Saint-Pathus in the Seine-et-Marne, France, Jean-Yves Dufour

The pheasantry of Saint-Pathus is the first of its kind to be found, excavated and identified by archaeologists in France. It can be used as a model for the identification of all kinds of enclosures intended for the breeding of birds. The remains of this rural establishment are a quadrangular trenched enclosure, with an excavated surface of 2250 m², defined by small ditches. The internal perimeter of the enclosure is bordered by a series of small structures. On the plan of Intendance of Paris (1784), the excavated enclosure corresponds to a pheasantry, named as such. What did a pheasantry look like? To understand the vestiges, we carried out an archaeological reading of agronomic and cynegetic literature on the subject. We tried to understand what type of archaeological remains would result from a place built for the breeding of pheasants? Twenty-three eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors inform us of the standards traditionally observed and given for the breeding of pheasants. These treaties inform us about the right location for a pheasantry and its shape, and detail the care to be given to the laying areas. On the basis of treaties, an estimation of bird production is proposed for the pheasantry at Saint-Pathus. For each one of these topics, the excavated remains are compared with the description of pheasantries in traditional agricultural manuals and books related to hunting. This archaeological excavation provides an opportunity for considering the impact of social practices on land and environment management during the Modern period (seventeenth and eighteenth century). 

Reading’s Old or East Cemetery: the geological landscape of an urban burial ground in modern central Berkshire, J. R. L. Allen

The landscape of the private Old or East Cemetery in Reading was laid out as a garden, a plan popular in the early nineteenth century. Interments began in 1843 and continued after extension of the Cemetery in about 1900; in 1927 the rate of burials peaked in excess of 500 per decade. Although the town continued to grow, the interment rate subsequently plunged, in the face of competition from a new, municipal burial ground (Henley Road) in the eastern town. Burials continued at the Old Cemetery, but largely at established family plots. The Old Cemetery is now semi-wild, but in excess of 5,600 graves with accessible monuments are still to be found. The geological landscape presented by these memorials resembles that of other burial grounds in south-central and south-east England: chiefly Italian marble, Pennant sandstone, Scottish and Cornubian (Cornwall-Devon) granites, Portland limestone, and gabbro. There are minor applications of other granites, Lower Carboniferous Limestone, York stone, Banbury Ironstone, Bathstone, slate and gneiss, and some artificial stone (especially terrazzo) and cast iron. Pennant sandstone was the early stone of choice. Marble rose to great and sustained popularity from the late nineteenth century. Scottish granites had a modest but steady appeal, in contrast to granites from south-west England, which rose to prominence only in the early twentieth century. Gabbros from far overseas appeared mainly late, stimulated by the growth of cheap freight-container transport. The geological evolution of the landscape of the Old Cemetery therefore broadly matches that recorded in other burial grounds of the region, such as Oxford and west London.

Churchyards and cemeteries throughout the centuries — praxis and legislation, Grete Swensen and Jan Brendalsmo

Cemeteries belong to spaces where a clear-cut division between public and private property is debatable. In Norway today such sites are formally considered public spaces — free to access all year round and open for all citizens independent of economic status and social belonging. In a longer time perspective both accessibility and property rights related to cemeteries have changed fundamentally. This article examines the laws and regulations which have influenced the ownership rights to cemeteries based on a close-up examination of historic documents. Concerning the burial practice in Norway, a floating border exists between private–public spaces which has been apparent since far back in time. In essence, churches and cemeteries in Norway have alternated between being privately owned or owned by the public, but this has not been decisive for people's use of the cemetery. Until approximately 1900 these areas served two purposes: on one side, burial of dead people and, on the other, to serve as a place for socially conditioned activity. Today’s use, as it is described through stories told by people at the two cemeteries in question, shows that for many users these sites are still perceived as a kind of in-between area of the private–public realm. In the future the management of urban cemeteries has to balance the different demands put on such sites. This includes upholding their character as memory sites as well as ensuring that they can accommodate the new requirements of an increasingly culturally diverse urban population.

Meanings of urban park landscapes as insiders and outsiders, Nasim Yazdani

This paper explores different understanding of urban park landscapes by Iranian immigrants, and develops an alternative predominant perspective of the Australian park landscape. It questions the extent to which Australian public parks contribute to the sense of inclusivity, or alienation, experienced by non-Anglo immigrant visitors of these spaces. The main focus is on the Iranian community of Melbourne, and their engagements with urban park spaces before and after migration in two different landscape contexts: Iran and Australia.

           This study applies Q methodology with photographs as a research method. Findings reveal that historical icons and cultural landscapes play a prominent role in inspiring meaning in Iran’s park environments, while socio-cultural activities, restoration, and bonding with the past have great importance after migration. This study also examines which landscape settings evoke the meaning of ‘paradise’ for the Iranian respondents in both contexts.

Reviews

Fiona Beglane (ed.),Gatherings: past and present (John Baker)

Tim Cunningham and Jan Driessen (eds.), Crisis to Collapse. The archaeology of social breakdown (Nicola Sharratt)

Julian Richards, Stonehenge. The story so far (Della Hooke)

Alexander Smith, Martyn Allen, Tom Brindle and Michael Fulford, The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain (Roger White)

Maren Clegg Hyer and Della Hooke (eds.), Water and the Environment in the Anglo-Saxon World (Susan Kilby)

Jill Bourne, The Place-name Kingston and Royal Power in Middle Anglo-Saxon England: patterns, possibilities and purpose (Nigel J. Tringham)

Bas van Bavel, The Invisible Hand? How market economies have emerged and declined since AD500 (Chris Briggs)

Gabor Thomas and Alexandra Knox (eds.), Early Medieval Monasticism in the North Sea Zone (Richard Hoggett)

Martin Biddle and Derek Keene (eds.), Winchester (British Historic Towns Atlas 6) (Terry R. Slater)

Hadrian Cook, New Forest: the forging of a landscape (Bob Silvester)

Angus J. L. Winchester, Dry Stone Walls, History and Heritage (Della Hooke)

Matthew Johnson (ed.), Lived Experience In the Later Middle Ages: studies of Bodiam and other elite landscapes in south-eastern England (Karen Dempsey)

Patricia Croot, The World of the Small Farmer: tenure, profit and politic in the early-modern Somerset Levels (John S. Lee)

David Jacques, Gardens of Court and Country: English design 1630–1730 (Paul Stamper)

Warwick Louth, The Arte Militaire. The application of 17th century military manuals to conflict archaeology (Peter Gaunt)

David Johnson, An Improving Prospect? A history of agricultural change in Cumbria (Angus J. L. Winchester)

JOURNALS RECEIVED

Landscape Research, Vol. 42, nos 1–8 and Supplementary 1 (2017). (Della Hooke)

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Volume 39 (2018) Issue 1