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Changing the Face of Landscape: Reflections on Deserted Medieval Villages, the Founding of Cities and Early Industrialization in the German Low Mountain Ranges

Changing the Face of Landscape: Reflections on Deserted Medieval Villages, the Founding of Cities and Early Industrialization in the German Low Mountain Ranges

By Udo Recker and Christoph Röder

Medieval Europe Paris 2007, 4th International Congress of Medieval and Modern Archaeology (2007)

Introduction: In 2004 the Archaeological Board of Hesse started an interdisciplinary research project on the matter of changes and continuity of cultural landscapes in the Central German low mountain ranges. It is carried out in cooperation with the Commission on Archaeological Regional Research in Hesse, the Hessian State Archives in Darmstadt and a number of universities and/or research institutions.

The survey is concentrated on the former county of Solms-Laubach, which is located in the German federal state of Hesse. The small city of Laubach, from which the county´s name is derived from, lies in the eastern part of the district of Giessen. Nowadays this region can be characterized in general as a more or less rural structured landscape.

While the western bounds of Laubach have to be described as an agrarian desert, in which only a few, unique elements of the historical cultural landscape can be found today, the eastern part of it is extensively covered with wood – the so called Laubach forest. In this area numerous single elements and grown structures of the historical cultural landscape are preserved until today. This allows us to gain a differentiated insight into the medieval or later cultural landscapes of the county of Solms-Laubach.

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