A GIS aided study of agriculture and landscape in Midland England
A study of the Midland landscape from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century, using digital mapping and GIS to investigate the relationship between agricultural technology, field systems, environment and social structure. Using a wide range of sources, both archaeological and documentary, the project addresses two key areas: the origins and development of the medieval landscape of nucleated villages and extensive open fields; and the dissolution of that landscape through enclosure and land use change.
The project aims to provide a long term history of agrarian systems, over a period of a thousand years or more. It is possible that broad principles or relationships detected in one period may help us to understand the characteristic features of another. The project is also concerned with the ideological and the social: with the ways in which landscapes were ordered and manipulated by elites for recreation, and to demonstrate and maintain power and status. The various data-sets will allow investigation of such matters. It also enables the examination of the extent to which the development of settlement patterns, road networks etc. were a consequence of such factors, rather than being solely the result of economic and agrarian, influences.
The methodology for this project was developed by Glenn Foard, Tracey Partida and David Hall for South Northants Council (SNC) and Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) for the mapping of the historic landscape of South Northamptonshire; subsequently refined and the analytical method developed for Rockingham Forest Trust (RFT) for mapping the Rockingham Forest. This methodology was subsequently applied to this AHRC funded project based at UEA. The Rockingham Project formed the pilot for this current project with limited enhancements to the original methodology and some new data sets added.