Making Sense of an Historic Landscape

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OUP Oxford, Jul 12, 2012 - History - 396 pages
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Why is it that in some places around the world communities live in villages, while elsewhere people live in isolated houses scattered across the landscape? How does archaeology analyse the relationship between man and his environment? Making Sense of an Historic Landscape explores why landscapes are so varied and how the landscape archaeologist or historian can understand these differences. Local variation in the character of the countryside provides communities with an important sense of place, and this book suggests that some of these differences can be traced back to prehistory. In his discussion, Rippon makes use of a wide range of sources and techniques, including archaeological material, documentary sources, maps, field- and place-names, and the evidence contained within houses that are still lived in today, to illustrate how local and regional variations in the 'historic landscape' can be understood. Rippon uses the Blackdown Hills in southern England, which marked an important boundary in landscape character from prehistory onwards, as a specific case study to be applied as a model for other landscape areas. Even today the fields, place-names, and styles of domestic architecture are very different either side of the Blackdown Hills, and it is suggested that these differences in landscape character developed because of deep-rooted differences in the nature of society that are found right across southern England. Although focused on the more recent past, the volume also explores the medieval, Roman, and prehistoric periods.

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1 Introduction
2 The physical character of landscape
3 The most beautiful landskip in the world? The perceived character of landscape
the pattern and language of settlement
5 Houses in the landscape
6 The character of the fieldscape
7 Beyond the morphology of fieldscapes
8 Reconstructing early medieval territorial arrangements
the development of territorial structures in early Medieval western Wessex and beyond
documentary evidence and palaeoenvironmental sequences
12 Arable cultivation and animal husbandry in the medieval period
13 Arable cultivation and animal husbandry in the Roman period
14 Regional variation in landscape character during the late prehistoric and Roman periods
communities and their landscapes

9 Early folk territories on and around the Blackdown Hills

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About the author (2012)

Stephen Rippon is Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Exeter.

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