The creation of humanised landscapes

Michael Williams

in A Century of British Geography

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262863
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734076 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

The creation of humanised landscapes

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The historical element and human action are implicit in the idea of the landscape. Such combinations, in various guises, often go under the name of historical geography. More latterly, the meaning of ‘history’, in its broadest sense, has been scrutinised closely because of the implicit subjective meaning embedded in any account of the past. Within geography, one of the earliest and most distinctive contributions to humanised landscapes came from the ‘Aberystwyth School’ of historically oriented human geography, which had an emphasis on anthropology and human ecology, and the western parts of Britain. As the l930s wore on, two figures emerged who were to dominate the debate about history in geography — Carl O. Sauer in the United States and H. C. Darby in Britain. There are basically two approaches to understanding past humanised landscapes — the reconstruction of these landscapes from consistent and comprehensive sources, and the mapping of relict features. Increasingly, both approaches combine history, archaeology, palaeobotany, and other disciplines.

Keywords: Britain; humanised landscapes; Carl O. Sauer; H. C. Darby; history and geography; Aberystwyth School; historical geography; human geography; archaeology; palaeobotany

Chapter.  16585 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Population and Demography

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