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Senses of Place, Senses of Time: Landscape History from a British Perspective


  • Nicola Whyte


A vast and varied literature exists on the history and archaeology of vernacular landscapes, yet still heritage 'value' is often weighted towards the extravagant landscapes created by powerful elites. This article is concerned to bring the wealth of historic landscape and archival research closer together with recent theoretical writing on landscape and dwelling, by focusing on the early modern period in particular. Recent theoretical approaches open up creative space for thinking through the archival material and invites landscape historians to think in terms of movement and dwelling as essential to understanding landscape at the human scale. As this article attempts to show, this is by no means a one-sided dialogue; rather historical landscape research can inform theoretical work in new and productive ways. Bridging the gaps between research areas has the potential to enrich our understanding of everyday landscapes as heritage, created by ordinary people going about their day-to-day activities. The paper argues for the importance of recasting mundane, commonplace features of the landscape--roads, fields and boundaries--as an essential part of our social and cultural landscape heritage. Read in this light, the archival sources suggest that the meanings afforded to the extant remains of the past in the landscape were made through intangible heritage practices, customs, memories, naming, rituals and performances by 'ordinary' people.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Whyte, 2015. "Senses of Place, Senses of Time: Landscape History from a British Perspective," Landscape Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(8), pages 925-938, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:clarxx:v:40:y:2015:i:8:p:925-938
    DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2015.1074987

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