The Ancient Origins of Medieval Fields: A Reassessment

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Abstract

This article questions the suggestions that have been made by a number of archaeologists and landscape historians concerning the Roman and prehistoric origins of large tracts of the medieval rural landscape in lowland England. It suggests that arguments for large-scale continuity of field systems, mainly based on the evidence of excavations and topographic analysis, are flawed because they fail to take fully into account the topographic contexts, and the practical functions, of field boundaries. When these matters are given due weight, much of the evidence cited in support of ‘continuity’ instead appears to suggest a significant degree of discontinuity, at least in terms of systems of land division, between Roman Britain and medieval England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-287
Number of pages24
JournalThe Archaeological Journal
Volume173
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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