Agrarian Landscapes of the Historic Period
Agrarian landscapes of the historic period have an often fragile archaeology. Most are still used to produce food, and the fences, walls, and hedges which form their principal remains, or the earthwork traces of earlier systems of farming and land division which survive within them, are thus vulnerable to destruction. Those living and working within what appear to be everyday, functional landscapes are often unaware of their antiquity or historical significance.
Definition and Historical Background
Across much of medieval Europe peasant communities exploited most uncultivated land in common. Grazed intensively for centuries, and cut for fodder, fuel, and much else, these areas developed as particular forms of habitat – with their own individual suites of flora and fauna – such as moorland, fens, or heaths. In addition, in many districts the arable land was farmed in “open fields,” in which the properties of cultivators lay intermingled in the form of narrow, unenclosed...
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