Eorþeburnan and Rye: some aspects of late Anglo-Saxon settlement development in East Sussex, Jeremy Halsam

Reasons are given for questioning the identification of the defended site of Castle Toll in Kent with the late ninth-century Burghal Hidage burh of Eorpeburnan, in eastern Sussex, as has been widely assumed. A new historical narrative is therefore required. A consideration of the relevant topographical, landscape, archaeological, and documentary evidence supports the case for identifying the burh of Eorpeburnan with Rye, East Sussex. Recent palaeo-geographic and geomorphological evidence relating to the development of the Romney Marsh area gives a new perspective to this hypothesis, and a new context for the development of Rye in the historic landscape. Some aspects of the historical relationship of Rye with Hastings and with Old Winchelsea are also explored.

Reconstructing medieval eroded landscapes of the north-western Zuyder Zee (the Netherlands): a refined palaeogeographical time series of the Noordoostpolder between A.D. 1100 and 1400, Y. T.  Van Popta, K. M. Cohen, P. C. Vos and Th. Spek

This paper considers large-scale erosion of late medieval peatland landscapes along the inland lagoon rims of the north-eastern Zuyder Zee area (today: Noordoostpolder, the Netherlands) and integrates palaeogeographical reconstruction, material archeological and spatial archaeohistorical research. The dynamic regional history of coeval loss of peaty coastal plains and boom of maritime activities is studied from archaeological, geological and historical data perspectives. In the first half of the Middle Ages (A.D. 500–1000), vast peatlands and interconnected lakes characterised the study area. During the late Middle Ages (A.D. 1000–1500), increased storm surges and tidal incursions allowed for extensive progressive erosion of inhabited peatlands, transforming the central Netherlands into the Zuyder Zee tidal lagoon. In the north-eastern quadrant of the expanding water body, medieval terrestrial geological and archaeological records fell prey to erosion, re-working and uptake into lagoon-floor deposits. These deposits have been intensively surveyed since the 1940s when the quadrant was reclaimed and made into arable land, and are revealed to contain spatially clustered late medieval archaeological objects. Whereas lagoon floor re-working has hindered making a detailed palaeogeographical reconstruction based on geological data alone, including the mapping of archaeology has helped resolve the pacing of lagoon expansion. The key to resolving the lost peatland palaeogeography for the time frames 1100 and 1400, was to put the archeological data density patterns first and geological lagoon-floor facies descriptions second in process order, while for earlier periods or other regions the opposite order is the convenient choice. We present a map series beginning with an updated map for A.D. 900 (the youngest geological reconstruction), introducing the first detailed palaeogeographical maps for 1100 and 1400 (honouring the late medieval terrestrial and maritime archaeological evidence) and ending with a landscape reconstruction for 1600 (complying with the oldest historical maps of the lagoon), revealing the intertwined landscape history of land and sea as the backdrop for shifts in the human use of both.

The development of historic field systems in northern England:
a case study at Wallington, Northumberland,
Soetkin Vervust, Tim Kinnaird, Niels Dabaut and. Sam Turner

Wallington in central Northumberland is a late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century country house with associated pleasure grounds. Much of the surrounding estate is agricultural land, though there are also expanses of moorland and conifer plantation. The character of Wallington’s landscape, now divided into fifteen separate farm holdings, was to a large extent shaped by estate management practices and improvements in the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries. Today’s settlement pattern is made up largely of dispersed farmsteads, with field systems which reflect the orderly rectilinear layout of planned enclosure, being separated mainly by long and fairly straight stone-faced banks. In medieval and early modern times, by contrast, the landscape is thought to have been quite different, with nucleated villages set amidst irregular open fields which were farmed collectively.

The process of long-term landscape change from open to enclosed field systems has been inferred across the whole of Northumberland but it can be difficult to understand in detail. Absolute dating evidence for field systems before the eighteenth century is generally lacking and the origins and development of historic earthworks including boundary banks and the remains of arable farming are poorly understood.

This paper presents results of research which used retrogressive landscape analysis (based on documentary evidence, archaeological data, aerial photographs, and historic cartography) to identify five areas for detailed geoarchaeological investigation and sampling with optically stimulated luminescence profiling and dating (OSL-PD). The results provide new perspectives on the development of landscape character at Wallington which have wider relevance for north-east England and beyond.

Lot meadows, do they have a role in understanding scattered holdings? A study case in northern Spain, Iago Vázquez

Lot meadows are those hay meadows that, periodically, are divided into plots which are allocated by raffle among the inhabitants of a township or a parish, usually integrated within a common field system. In this article the lot meadow is presented as a relevant object of study, which can facilitate the understanding of the origin and evolution of agricultural landscapes. Firstly, the article provides technical aspects on how the lot meadows operate in Cantabria, a region located in northern Spain. In this region two lot meadows are still in use, and many others remained in use until the mid-twentieth century. By interviewing and by direct observation, a feature about the way in which they are internally zoned was documented: a permanent division of the meadow into large sets of similar forage quality, each of them being the subject of a separate lottery. Secondly, a locational analysis of twenty-seven lot meadows, based on environmental factors and using historical records from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, enabled the identification of possible causes of privatisation or the preference for private meadowlands. The entire analysis led to an illustration of two classic explanations about scattered holdings in common field systems: i.e. equality distribution, and risk avoidance. If a lot meadow was consensually privatised among the villagers, it is likely that such internal zoning in sets was maintained, and therefore scattered plots were obtained. Likewise, this tenure pattern would result if this allocation procedure (with internal zoning in sets) were used to collectively create private meadows or arable fields.

Spontaneous landscape dynamics in the Pays de Bitche, Lorraine (France), during the Little Ice Age, Annik Schnitzler

This study is an analysis of a historical document (the ‘Atlas topographique du comté de Bitche’), dating from 1758 and carried out in north-eastern France. The Atlas is composed of three large volumes. The aim was to evaluate the timber resources that had accumulated during the 100 years of land abandonment following the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). Before the seventeenth century, the main woodland management was a form of the selective cutting of over-mature trees.

The authors of the Atlas focused on oak (without differentiating Quercus petraea from Q. robur) and beech (Fagus sylvatica) sexual regeneration, dead wood and the characteristics of woodlands. According to size, the woodlands (so-called ‘futaies’) were divided into five categories to which the authors associated arbitrary age ranges. Other information concerned climatic events (storms, frosts and drought), large illegal cuttings and new rules for land use.

These descriptions were converted into semi-quantitative data by counting the number of mentions of the woodland categories. The main result was that futaies with large-sized trees, specifically oaks, were dominant. Tree-ring counting on twenty-four selected beech and oak trees indicate that there was no relationship between age and size. Another interesting result was that during the 100 years of non-use, oaks died massively probably following competition with beech, harsh climatic events typical of the Little Ice Age or insect attacks.

The Canadian landscape as Art. Stanley Thompson, Golf Course Architecture, the Group of Seven, and the Aesthetic of Canadian Nationalism, Jordan Goldstein

Golf Courses symbolise more than the relationship between player and landscape. In Canada, where the landscape historically is tied to national identity, golf courses can take on nationalist meanings as well. This paper investigates the relationship between landscape and nationalism through Canadian golf architect legend Stanley Thompson’s golf courses. In particular, Thompson’s creation of the Heroic School of Golf Architecture represents a Canadian adaptation to the Strategic School of Golf Architecture. Thompson allowed the landscape, in particular the dramatic landscape, to dictate the courses and in doing so imbued popular Canadian nationalist ideas in these courses. Using his contemporaries, the famous Group of Seven landscape artists, as comparison shows how different types of artists used the landscape to express Canadian national ideas.


 Evelyn Lord and Nicholas R. Amor (eds), Shaping the Past: theme, time and place in local history — essays in honour of David Dymond (Alan G. Crosby)

Paul Cavill, A New Dictionary of English Field-Names (Della Hooke)

Keith Kirby, Woodland Flowers (Della Hooke)

Chris Fern, Tania Dickinson & Leslie Webster, The Staffordshire Hoard. An Anglo-Saxon treasure (Della Hooke)

Maren Clegg Hyer and Gale R. Owen-Crocker (eds),. Sense and Feeling in Daily Living in the Early Medieval English World (Mary Ward).

Rosamond Faith. The Moral Economy of the Countryside: Anglo-Saxon to Anglo-Norman England (John Hunt)

David Stone and Richard Sandover (eds), Moor Medieval: exploring Dartmoor in the Middle Ages (Andrew Fleming)

Susan Kilby, Peasant Perspectives on the Medieval Landscape. A study of three communities (Phillipp R. Schofield)

Ann Rowe, Tudor & Early Stuart Parks of Hertfordshire (Spencer Gavin Smith)

Eugene Costello. Transhumance and the Making of Ireland’s Uplands, 1550–1900 (Mark Gardiner)

Lizzie Sanders, Audley End: landscape histories (Paul Stamper)

David Crouch (ed.), A History of the County of York: East Riding Volume X: Part 1: Howdenshire: the townships (J. V. Beckett)



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Volume 41 (2020) Issue 2