Reclamation and regional economies of medieval marshland in Britain
University of Exeter
Meetings and Proceedings
Department of Archaeology, University College Dublin
[FIRST PARAGRAPH] This is a study of how past human communities have perceived their environment, and made decisions as to how it should be exploited. In their natural state, coastal marshes are not ideal for settled agriculture and would be described as ,marginal': areas of poor quality agricultural land settled only at times of high population pressure (see for example Postan 1972). Intensification of the human exploitation of marginal environments has received considerable attention from archaeologists and landscape historians, though all too often discussion has focused simply upon the relationship between population increase and agriculture, and particularly the shift from pasture to arable. However, more recent scholarship is showing that a far wider range of factors affect how a particular landscape is exploited, including the structure of landholding, proximity to centres of consumption and any natural resources that might be available (see for example Bailey 1989; Dyer 1989; Rippon 1997a). This study focuses on one type of physically marginal landscape coastal marshland - and attempts to explore the reasons why similar environments are exploited in different ways depending on local socio-economic conditions.
Reproduced with permission of the publisher. © Individual authors, Department of Archaeology, University College Dublin and Wetland Archaeology Research Project.
In: Raftery, B. and Hickey, J. (eds). 2001. 'Recent Developments in Wetland Research'. Seandálaíocht: Mon 2, Dept Archaeol, UCD and WARP Occ. Paper 14. Dublin: Department of Archaeology, University College Dublin. pp.139-158
ISBN:0-9539520-1-0 (Seandálaíocht: Mon 2)
ISBN:0-9519117-7-5 (WARP Occasional Paper 14)