Exploring the landscape dimension of the early medieval churches. A case study from A Mariña region (north-west Spain),  José Carlos Sánchez-Pardo,

Miguel Carrero-Pazos,Marcos Fernández-Ferreiro & David Espinosa-Espinosa

Despite the long tradition of studies on early medieval churches, little is still known about the reasons behind the selection of specific places for building churches between the fifth to tenth centuries A.D. Thanks to some rich historical documents, the region of A Mariña (Galicia, north-west Iberia) represents an exceptional case study in order to analyse the spatial logic behind the creation of the early medieval ecclesiastical landscapes. This objective is pursued by means of the application of GIS and spatial statistics for the study of the locational patterns of these first Christian buildings. As this is a first attempt, we started from the formal analysis of topographic variables; then a settlement model for the churches was defined, and next used to analyse specific trends on their locational dynamics. The results allow us to propose that the location of the early medieval churches should be related to visual and territorial control over some specific areas of the landscape (mainly settlements and natural resources). This suggests that, despite the variety of church founders, some kind of collective planning of the church network did happen during the early Middle Ages. This fact can be historically explained as a key part of power strategies aimed at the creation of a new territorial articulation during this period.

Sound in the landscape, a study of the historical literature. Part 2: the medieval period — the eleventh to fifteenth century, Della Hooke

Following on from an earlier essay exploring the role of sound in the landscape in the early medieval period (Hooke with Bintley 2019), this essay, although not attempting to offer a comprehensive review, continues the exploration of literary references to such sound, again conveying impressions from a period for which no actual recordings can survive. Some of the material offered here, such as the Irish literature, is of possibly much earlier origin but only survives in later manuscripts. Much of the literature of the Middle Ages is more concerned with the activities of the aristocracy, such as tournaments and hunting, and conveys much less of the everyday world of the farmer and peasant.

The management of a Gloucestershire rabbit warren in the mid-seventeenth century, Anthea Jones

Pillow mounds, long grassy tumps evident in the landscape, were constructed quite widely in Gloucestershire to facilitate the breeding of rabbits for both their meat and their fur. Many probably date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Documentary evidence of the management of the rabbit warrens in the county, however, is not common. The survival of seventeenth-century memoranda and leases about Lasborough warren has provided a picture of this specialised form of husbandry.

Native American landscape modification in pre-settlement south-west Georgia

Rachel R. Fern, Jonathan M. Stober, Max A. Morris and Brandon T. Rutledge

Our objective was to interpret the presence and magnitude of landscape modification by Native Americans on Georgia’s southern coastal plain. Specifically, we aimed to understand how the Native American presence influenced the distribution of fire-tolerant, mast-bearing and fruit-bearing tree species in the fire-dominated landscape of south-west Georgia.

Our study area was comprised of sixteen contiguous counties in the south-west region of Georgia, in south-east USA bordering the Atlantic, investigating the taxon Angiosperms and Gymnosperms native to the early landscape of this region.

 We used witness tree data collected during the early 1820s across sixteen modern-day counties to reconstruct pre-settlement forest composition, particularly pyrophillic trees that are well-adapted to tolerate fire, and mast- and fruit-bearing species. We then used geographic distribution models (Boosted Regression Tree) to interpret the presence and magnitude of landscape modification by Native Americans on Georgia’s forested south-west plain.

The pre-settlement distribution of pyrophillic and mast-bearing trees within our study area were best explained by a combination of environmental (topographic relief, proximity to riparian zones, and soil depth) and Native American factors (AUC = 0.64 and 0.66, respectively). However, the addition of Native American presence as predictors greatly increased the explanatory power of soft mast (fruit)-bearing models (AUC = +0.17).

Our results demonstrate that Native American activities had a measurable influence on pre-settlement plant communities in south-western Georgia. However, the effects of these activities on vegetative composition were most notable in the distributions of fruit-bearing trees. In contrast, distributions of fire-tolerant and mast-bearing taxa were found to be largely explained by a combination of environmental and anthropogenic factors.

The function of open-field farming – managing time, work and space, Kristofer Jupiter

Open fields were a dominant agricultural feature in Central, Western and Northern Europe for nearly a millennium. The spatial organisation of villages and the degree of communal management of common resources varied, but the basic characteristics and common features of the open-field system were that individual holdings were fragmented into several small unfenced plots and intermingled in one or more fields. Research on the subject is extensive, and several explanations for its cause(s) have been presented; however, the answer regarding the question of its rationale and persistence over time is still up for debate.

The overarching aim of this article is to present new findings concerning open-field farming from a functional and practical perspective. What were the farming practices and how was the spatial organisation in open fields integrated in those practices? This article shows that the common practice in Skaraborg County, Sweden, was diversification by using different crops. In the village of Kleva, the preparation of plots and the planting of different crops was carried out in a sequence. Sources indicate that the scattered plots in open fields were integrated into that sequence and that certain plots were designated for certain crops to be sown at a certain moment in time. In the village of Kleva, open fields were used to cater to precision farming as a way to manage time, work and space.

The energyscape of the lower Thames and Medway: Britain’s changing patterns of energy use, Stephen Murray

This article examines the history of the energy landscape — the energyscape — of the lower River Thames and Medway from the 1860s to the present. It explores why, and in what ways, the energy industries have exploited the area and its landscape. Key factors include its accessibility for ocean-going shipping; the proximity to energy consumers in London and south-east England; the availability of large areas of land; and water resources. The energy industries included oil storage and refining; petrochemicals; gas manufacture and handling; and electricity generation and distribution. The article argues that the development of energy infrastructure in the Thames/ Medway landscape reflects the shifting patterns of energy use in the UK. For example, the recent demolition of Grain and Kingsnorth power stations — prominent north Kent landmarks since the 1970s — exemplifies the decline of coal and oil as primary fuels for electricity generation. Similarly, the seascape of the outer Thames estuary has been transformed by the advent of renewable energy and the construction of four major offshore wind farms. The article demonstrates how patterns of energy use are a mosaic of social needs, technological capabilities, environmental concerns, political expediency, and economic forces. The Thames/ Medway energyscape has developed, evolved and been adapted to these influences, and continues to support the energy needs of the UK economy.

Identifying mid-twentieth-century historical trends in United States game law violations: any basis for conservation? Kelsey Gilcrease

The mid-twentieth-century was an important period for game laws in the United States. Identifying trends in game law enforcement can help identify violations that occurred more and less over time (e.g. species that have had more or less violations at a particular time). There has been little research on species emphasis with regard to game laws, with respect to historical game law roots in mid-twentieth century America. For this study, 10,062 violations were identified from randomly selected states including: Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, and Oklahoma. New Jersey and Massachusetts were used from a prior nineteenth-century study and used twentieth- century data for this analysis. The results of this study revealed that fishing violations or hunting/ fishing without a license composed the majority of violations and there were some significant differences between species, number of fines, amounts of fines, violations that resulted in jail, and number of acquittals. Potential reasons for these results are discussed. Future studies could encapsulate more states with various ecosystems and biota (e.g. coastal states or Midwestern states) to better understand the majority and minority of species-specific enforcement trends in those states.


Simon Townley (ed,), A History of the County of Oxford XIX: Wychwood Forest and Environs (John Blair)

Judith Everard, James P. Bowen, and Wendy Horton, The Victoria History of Shropshire: Wem (Christopher Dyer)

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

Mark Hinman and John Zant, East Anglian Archaeology Report 165, Conquering the Claylands: excavations at Love’s Farm, St Neots, Cambridgeshire (Oscar Aldred)

Alexander Langlands, The Ancient Ways of Wessex: travel and communication in an early medieval landscape (Paul Stamper)

Rhiannon Comeau and Andy Seaman (eds), Living off the Land: agriculture in Wales c.400–1600 AD (Nancy Edwards)

Audrey M. Thorstad, The Culture of Castles in Tudor England and Wales (Oliver Creighton)

Roderick Floud, An Economic History of the English Garden (Paul Stamper)

Christian Tagsold, Spaces in Translation: Japanese gardens and the West (Charles Watkins)

Dolly Jørgensen, Recovering Lost Species in the Modern Age: histories of longing and belonging (Karen Sayer)

Kenneth R. Olwig, The Meanings of Landscape: essays on place, space, environment and justice (Hannes Palang)

John Barnatt, Reading the Peak District Landscape: snapshots in time (Paul Stamper)


Landscape Research, Vol. 44, Nos 1–8 (Della Hooke)

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Volume 41 (2020) Issue 1