Introductory reading list

An introductory landscape history, landscape archaeology and rural settlement development reading list and resource

The following listing offers a broad selection of recommended introductory and specialist landscape history, landscape archaeology, and rural settlement development books and resources (ordered by theme and year first published). The focus is on the British Isles and Ireland. In between looking after two ‘boisterous youngsters’, a longer term aim will be to present key summaries of individual books, perhaps leading to a synthesis review.  Click on a title, within this listing – as the site develops over time – to see further links, pdfs to web resources, or personal summary.

Suggestions for key introductory texts:

Hoskins. 1955. The Making of the English Landscape.

Hoskins. 1988. The Making of the English Landscape (Hodder & Stoughton edition). Full original text of this classic work, in which Taylor, in addition, explains, within page text boxes, how our understanding of landscape history has later developed.

Beresford.  1957.  History on the Ground: Six Studies in Maps and Landscapes.

Mitchell.  1976.  The Irish landscape.

Aston. 1985. Interpreting the Landscape: Landscape, Archaeology and Local History.

Rackham. 1986. History of the Countryside.

Rackham. 1994. The Illustrated History of the Countryside.

Muir. 2000. The New Reading the Landscape: Fieldwork in Landscape History.

Johnson. 2007. Ideas of Landscape.

Pryor. 2010. The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today.

Hall.  2011.  The making of Ireland’s landscape  since the ice age.

Cunliffe. 2012. Britain Begins.

Selected landscape and rural settlement development texts:

Taylor. 1975. Fields in the English Landscape.

Taylor. 1983. Village and Farmstead. A History of Rural Settlement in Britain.

Roberts. 1987. The Making of the English Village: A Study in Historical Geography.

Lewis et al. 1997. Village, Hamlet and Field: Changing Medieval Settlements in Central England.

Fowler & Blackwell. 1998. The Land of Lettice Sweetapple: An English Countryside Explored.
Bowden. 1999. Unravelling the Landscape, An Inquisitive Approach to Archaeology.

Thirsk (ed). 2000. The English Rural Landscape.

Roberts & Wrathmell. 2002. Region and Place: A Study of English Rural Settlement.

Stout.  2002.  Irish Rural Landscapes Vol 1:  Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne.

Williamson. 2002. Transformation of Rural England.

Williamson. 2003. Shaping Medieval Landscapes.

Rippon. 2004. Historic Landscape Analysis (CBA Practical Handbook 16).

Gerrard & Aston. 2007. Shapwick Project Somerset: a Rural Landscape Explored. (alternatively, see Aston 2013)

Taylor. 2007. An atlas of Roman rural settlement in England.

Hauser. 2008. Bloody Old Britain, OGS Crawford and the Archaeology of Modern Life.

Ripon. 2008. Beyond the Medieval Village

Roberts. 2008. Landscapes, Documents and Maps: Villages in Northern England and beyond, AD 900-1250.

Higham. 2010. The Landscape Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England.

Christie & Stamper. 2011. Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600.

Hamerow. 2012. Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England.

Rippon. 2012. Making Sense of an Historic Landscape.

Aston & Gerrard. 2013. Interpreting the English Village: Landscape and Community at Shapwick, Somerset.

Williamson. 2013. Environment, Society and landscape in Early Medieval England.

Hall.  2014.  The Open Fields of England

English Heritage. Regional England’s Landscape series:

Short. 2006. The South East. England’s Landscape 1.

Williamson. 2006. East Anglia. England’s Landscape 2.

Kain. 2006. The South West. England’s Landscape 3.

Cunliffe. 2006. The West. England’s Landscape 4.

Stocker. 2006. The East Midlands. England’s Landscape 5.

Hooke. 2006. The West Midlands. England’s Landscape 6.

Aalen. 2006. The North East. England’s Landscape 7.

Winchester. 2006. The North West. England’s Landscape 8.

Landscapes History After Hoskins. Windgather Press:

Fleming et al. 2007. Prehistoric and Roman Landscapes.

Gardiner et al. 2007. Medieval Landscapes.

Barnwell et al. 2007. Post-Medieval Landscapes.

Society for Landscape Studies:

Hooke (ed). 2000. Landscape, the richest historical record.

Whyte & Winchester (eds). 2004. Society, landscape and environment in upland Britain.

Example vernacular architecture & historic building development books: 

Brunskill. 1971. Illustrated Handbook of Vernacular Architecture.

Brunskill. 1981. Traditional Buildings of Britain.

English Heritage. 2006. Understanding Historic Buildings. A guide to good recording practice. (pdf link)

Johnson. 2010. English houses 1300-1800: vernacular architecture, social life.

Alcock & Miles. 2013. The Medieval Peasant House in Middle England.

Steane & Ayres. 2013. Traditional Buildings in the Oxford Region.

Pevsner. ‘Buildings of England’ county series.

Community group resource guide to surveying and recording archaeological sites:

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. 2011. A Practical Guide to Recording Archaeological Sites.  (pdf link)

Field work:

English Heritage. 2007. Understanding the Archaeology of Landscapes. A guide to good recording practice.  (pdf link)

Drewett. 2011. Field Archaeology: An Introduction. 2nd edition.

Eastmead. 2012. Landscape Surveying using Handheld GPS Receivers.

Specialist geographical information system, geophysical survey, LIDAR and technical texts:

Wheatley & Gillings. 2002. Spatial technology and archaeology. The Archaeological Applications of GIS.

Gaffney & Gater. 2003. Revealing the Buried Past: Geophysics for Archaeologists.

English Heritage. 2003. The global positioning sytem (GPS) in archaeological field survey.  (pdf link)

Conolly & Lake. 2006. Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology).

Chapman. 2006. Landscape Archaeology and GIS.

English Heritage. 2008. Geophysical Survey in Archaeology Field Evaluation.   (pdf link)

English Heritage. 2010. The Light Fantastic.  Using airborne lidar in archaeological survey.



The origins of the British and Irish:

Sykes. 2006. Blood of the Isles.

Mallory. 2013. The Origins of the Irish.

Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North of England interest:

Winchester.   2000.  The Harvest of the Hills.  Rural Life in Northern England and the Scottish Borders, 1400 – 1700.

Hodgkinson.  2001. The Lowland Wetlands of Cumbria.

Whyte.  2003. Transforming Fell and Valley.  Landscape and Parliamentary Enclosure in North West England.

Higham.  2004.  A Frontier Landscape: The North West In The Middle Ages.

White.  2005.  The Yorkshire Dales.  A landscape through time.

Quartermaine & Leech.  2013.  Cairns, Fields and Cultivation.   Archaeological Landscapes of the Lake District Uplands.

page last updated 14.07.14.   North by Southwest: a British journey.


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Possible Vindolanda writing tablets relating to late Roman Christmastide

Finding words for the annual Christmas letter, brings thoughts of possible family news.  Perhaps the first Vindolanda wooden writing tablets, relating to late Roman Christmastide, may be unearthed from anaerobic middens alongside Hadrian’s Wall ?

(re-deciphered Tablets 291, 344):

“Clausia Santavera, to his Lepidina, greetings. On the 25th December, Sister, for the day of celebration of Christmastide, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, or call, as you make the day more enjoyable for me today by your fine words of news. If you give presents, I wish for … (?). I shall expect your joyful letter too by return, sister. Such words bring great cheer. The de[e?]r, yon babes, [s?]elves do well. Farewell, sister, dearest soul, as hope I to prosper, and Hail to all this Christmastide”.

“… all the more .. such letters.. the strain – pour them down the drain (?). As befits an honest man, I implore your majesty not to allow me, an innocent man, to have to receive such drivel (?) I was unable to complain to the prefect because he was detained by ill-health, too having received Christmastide writings so very long. I have complained in vain to the beneficiarius and the rest of the centurions. Accordingly (?) I implore your mercifulness not to allow me, an innocent man, as to whose good faith you may inquire, to receive such news of family this month as if I had committed some crime. Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy(?) A curse on writers such..”

If so, little changes?     With best wishes for Christmas.  Rural Dad

  1. A Grand idea for a grand tour Leave a reply