Historic Landscape Characterisation

A sample from the online 'Surrey Interactive Map' which sources historic data from the ASE Historic Landscape Characterisation project

Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) analyses present-day landscapes with a view to explaining the history and development of an area in order to provide advice on sustainable management. This is usually undertaken using a Geographic Information System (GIS) program to map all elements of the landscape and provide advice on how to correctly preserve each one. The difference between HLC and previous methods of landscape definition is that all elements of the landscape are given equal prominence, e.g. an area defined as ‘Medieval Assarted Enclosures’ is differentiated from an area defined as ‘20th Century Industry’ only by the colour used to infill the polygon. This allows all elements of the landscape to be assessed on their own merits, and avoids the iniquities of former classification systems based on defined areas of ‘interesting’ land, e.g. a scheduled ancient monument would be seen as worth preserving, but the landscape around it, by default, was not. It is, consequently, a powerful and subtle tool, useful to heritage management professionals and historical landscape researchers alike.

Archaeology South-East has many years of in-house expertise in landscape interpretation, and we were responsible for the HLC mapping of the South Downs National Park.

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General Contact: Ron Humphrey

Page last modified on 08 jun 15 12:10