Estate Landscapes in Historical Archaeology
Brief Definition of the Topic
The structure and impact of land ownership on the character of the European postmedieval land-scape and its colonial territories have been relatively neglected compared to the emphasis placed upon comparable structures in earlier periods, such as the medieval manor. The landed estate – an extensive and largely contiguous block of land under the private ownership of an individual – is a product of the modern era following the decline of absolute monarchies and the Church from the sixteenth century. The extent to which the landscape was owned by a relatively small group of wealthy owners remained largely obscure until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when waves of radical opposition questioned the power of the traditional elites.
Landed estates are made up of recognizable and recurrent features. At their core is the substantial house surrounded by an ornamental designed landscape. Both of these features have been well studied by art historians and...