On Rome’s ecological contribution to British flora and fauna: landscape, legacy and identity, Robert Witcher

This paper addresses the flora and fauna of Roman Britain via two long-lived and closely-related notions: the ‘Roman introduction’ and the ‘living legacy’. These concepts connect knowledge and beliefs about the introduction of new species during the Roman period with the idea of direct and enduring biological inheritance in post-Roman societies. The paper explores both the popular and academic prominence of the Romans as agents of ecological change with effects on landscape, identity and diet which are still discernible and resonant today. These notions demonstrate wide currency, from popular stories through to scientific research.

                Today, archaeobotany and zooarchaeology are the primary means of documenting the flora and fauna of Roman Britain. Yet the discipline of archaeology came late to this topic. This paper outlines the evolving sources of evidence used over the past 400 years to identify those species introduced during the Roman period. This includes consideration of the reception of classical texts, linguistic etymology and genetic analysis. An overarching narrative behind these concepts is the colonial theoretical framework of ‘Romanisation’, or the genealogical appropriation of the Romans as ‘our’ cultural and biological ancestors.

                Despite interest in the reception of Rome and its archaeological remains, scholars have been slow to recognise the centrality of flora and fauna for understanding historical and contemporary perceptions of the Roman past. This paper opens a new avenue of research by calling attention to the intellectual biography of the dominant interpretive frameworks which structure both scientific approaches to the collection and interpretation of data and popular attitudes towards landscape and identity.

Moat, park, manor house, rectory, palace and village: elements  of the landscape at Doddington, Cambridgeshire, C. Taylor

A disparate group of features in a Cambridgeshire fenland parish, including a moated site, a rectory, a village and a deer park, have been examined in an attempt to lay the foundations of the landscape history of the area.

 

Composing landscapes: musical memories from nineteenth century Norwegian mountain-scapes, Annika Lindskog

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Norwegian mountain-scape gradually grew in popularity as a destination for foreign and domestic touristic discovery, while simultaneously acquiring a status as object(s) of artistic value and national significance. This article explores how musical responses (here by Franz Berwald, Edvard Grieg and Julius Röntgen) to this mountain-scape can be understood to both feed off and into the ideological rhetoric around the mountain-scape by creating various ‘reminiscences’ which are conditioned by distance and (actual or imagined) memorisation, and narrated through a nostalgic construction of idealised longing.

Peopling polite landscapes: community and heritage at Poltimore, Devon, Oliver Creighton, Penny Cunningham and Henry French

Poltimore House, near Exeter, Devon, was the seat of the Bampfylde family from the mid-sixteenth century until the 1920s. The AHRC-funded knowledge transfer project ‘Community and Landscape: Transforming Access to the Heritage of the Poltimore Estate’ researched the changing relationship between house and setting through a public heritage initiative that promoted the co-creation of knowledge with local groups. Research techniques included analysis of maps, estate records and pictorial sources; geophysical and earthwork survey; test-pitting; and fieldwalking. The designed landscape around the house went through a series of previously unknown iterations as the park was enlarged and gardens re-designed, while accompanying changes saw roads diverted and farms and estate buildings variously moved, re-built and abandoned. Visual experiences of the house and its surroundings were manipulated in complex ways as different elements of the estate landscape were exhibited to certain audiences but secluded from others at different points in time. The case study demonstrates how the design of a post-medieval estate landscape could be moulded by the ‘personality’ of a local dynasty and mediated by local circumstances. It also shows how integrated archaeological and historical analysis of polite landscapes can reveal antecedent activity and illuminate layers of re-use to these settings.

Reviews

Adrian Harvey, Introducing Geomorphology – A Guide to Landforms and Processes (Gillian M. Sheail)

Gloria Pungetti and Alexandra Kruse (eds), European Culture Expressed in Agricultural Landscapes (Della Hooke)

Robert Hofmann, Fevzi-Kemal Moetz and Johannes Müller (eds), Tells: Social and Environmental Space (Augusta McHahon)

Robert van der Noort, North Sea Archaeologies: A Maritime Biography, 10,000 BC – AD 1500 (Hans Peeters)

Richard Buswell, Mallorca: The Making of the Landscape (Caroline Malone)

Gordon Campbell, The Hermit in the Garden, From Imperial Rome to Garden Gnome (Steffie Shields)

Nico Roymans and Ton Derks (eds), Villa Landscapes in the Roman North: Economy, Culture and Lifestyles (Stephen Upex)

Mike McCarthy, The Romano-British Peasant. Towards a study of people, landscapes and work during the Roman occupation of Britain (Susan Oosthuizen)

D. Blair Gibson,From Chiefdom to State in Early Ireland (Nancy Edwards)

Mick Aston and Chris Gerrard, Interpreting the English Village. Landscape and Community at Shapwick, Somerset (Susan Oosthuizen)

Tom Williamson, Environment, Society and Landscape in Early Medieval England. Time and topography (Della Hooke)

Julio Escalona and Andrew Reynolds (eds), Scale and Scale Change in the Early Middle Ages: Exploring landscape, local society and the world beyond (Rosamund Faith)

Richard Jones and Sarah Semple (eds), Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England (Nick Higham)

Susan Oosthuizen, Transition and Transformation in Anglo-Saxon England. Archaeology, common rights and landscape (Della Hooke)

T. A. Heslop, E. Mellings and M. Thøfner, Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia: From Prehistory to the Present Day (Richard Hoggett)

Graeme J. White, The Medieval English Landscape 1000-1540 (Colm O’Brien)

Helen Gittos, Liturgy, Architecture and Sacred Places (David Stocker)

Graham Brown, Stanley Abbey and its Estates, 1151-c.1640: A Cistercian monastery and its impact upon the landscape (James Bond)

Emilia Jamroziac, Survival and Success on Medieval Borders: Cistercian houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the twelfth to the late fourteenth century (Glyn Coppack)

Nat Alcock and Dan Miles, The Medieval Peasant House in Midland England (Stuart Wrathmell)

Mary Wiltshire and Susan Woore, A Catalogue of Local Maps of Derbyshire c.1528- 1800, 2nd edition, revised (Brian Rich)

Alan Mikhail (ed.), Water on Sand. Environmental histories of the Middle East and North Africa (Stephen Upex)

Glenn Foard and Richard Morris, The Archaeology of English Battlefields: Conflict in the pre-industrial landscape (John Carman)

Charles Watkins and Ben Cowell, Uvedale Price (1747-1829). Decoding the Picturesque (Paul Stamper) Geoffrey Tyack (ed.), John Nash: Architect of the Picturesque (David Brown)

Peter Kendall, The Royal Engineers at Chatham 1750-2012 (Paul Pattison)

John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Mike Murphy (eds), Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (John Broad)

Nigel J. Tringham (ed.), A History of the County of Staffordshire XI: Audley, Keele and Trentham (Brian Rich) Jaap Evert Abrahamse, Menne Kosian and Erik Schmitz (eds), An Atlas of Amstelland. The Biography of a Landscape (Susan Oosthuizen)

Tobias Plieninger and Claudia Bieling (eds), Resilience and the Cultural Landscape (Della Hooke)

 

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Volume 34 (2013) Issue 2