ridge and furrow

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The archaeological manifestation of a system of strip cultivation that was widely used in England during medieval times. Fields (typically two or three in each settlement) were divided into groups of strips (furlongs) that were each ploughed separately (lands) by turning the soil towards the centre. This had the effect of creating raised areas separated by troughs or furrows, the whole having a marked S‐shaped form in plan with headlands for turning the plough at either end. When cultivation ceased, the corrugated effect was fossilized in the landscape, especially if the land was put down to grass. Some of the best‐preserved ridge and furrow is to be found in the south midland counties of England, especially Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire. The width of the ridges preferred seems to vary between regions, while dates for ridge and furrow range from the immediate post‐Roman period through to the 17th century ad.

Subjects: History — Archaeology.

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