What does landscape history contribute to our understanding of economic history?
By Christopher Dyer
XIV International Economic History Congress (2006)
Introduction: This paper focuses on the relationship between the landscape and economic history. The distinguishing feature of landscape history is that it is based on the physical traces of human activity on the land, or sometimes on written or cartographic evidence for those physical features. This distinguishes it from the sub-disciplines of ‘environmental history’ or ‘historical geography’, which might examine, in the first case pollution in the vicinity of a city, or in the second the commercial hinterland of a city, but on the basis of written records rather than the hedges, buildings, roads, earthworks, boundaries or settlements which make up the ‘historic landscape’. This preoccupation with material evidence has led to the coining of the phrase ‘landscape archaeology’ in the 1980s.