There by design? Some reflections on medieval elite landscapes

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This paper reviews the evidence for sophisticated designed landscapes in medieval England. It argues that the claims made for such landscapes have been exaggerated, and suggests that while medieval elites clearly altered the surroundings of their residences on a grand scale, such activity was generally concerned with the display of symbols of lordly status, usually involving the control of superior resources of production. There is little evidence for the complex approaches, carefully composed views, contrived sylvan settings or abstract aesthetic schemes suggested by many archaeologists, and ‘designed landscape’ is a term best reserved for post-medieval contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-535
Number of pages16
JournalArchaeological Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

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