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The Fields of Britannia

Continuity and Change in the Late Roman and Early Medieval Landscape

The Fields of Britannia by Stephen Rippon
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It has long been recognized that the landscape of Britain is one of the 'richest historical records we possess', but just how old is it? The Fields of Britannia is the first book to explore how far the countryside of Roman Britain has survived in use through to the present day, shaping the character of our modern countryside. Commencing with a discussion of the differing views of what happened to the landscape at the end of Roman Britain, the volume thenbrings together the results from hundreds of archaeological excavations and palaeoenvironmental investigations in order to map patterns of land-use across Roman and early medieval Britain. In compiling such extensive data, the volume is able to reconstruct regional variations in Romano-British and early medievalland-use using pollen, animal bones, and charred cereal grains to demonstrate that agricultural regimes varied considerably and were heavily influenced by underlying geology. We are shown that, in the fifth and sixth centuries, there was a shift away from intensive farming but very few areas of the landscape were abandoned completely. What is revealed is a surprising degree of continuity: the Roman Empire may have collapsed, but British farmers carried on regardless, and the result is that now,across large parts of Britain, many of these Roman field systems are still in use.
OUP Oxford; September 2015
472 pages; ISBN 9780191019517
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Title: The Fields of Britannia
Author: Stephen Rippon; Chris Smart; Ben Pears
 
ISBNs
0191019518
9780191019517
9780199645824