Field system

Field system

The study of field systems (collections of fields) in landscape history is concerned with the size, shape and orientation a number of fields. These are often adjacent, but may be separated by a later feature.

Contents

Types of field system

So called Celtic fields can date from the Bronze Age through to the early Middle Ages. These fields are typically small and rectangular.[1] They are frequently coaxial - that is they form a system in which the boundaries of adjacent fields make a series of long, roughly parallel lines. The extensive coaxial field systems established by the Romans are described as centuriation.

Ridge and Furrow in Grendon, Northamptonshire

Open fields were very large fields in which many individual farmers cultivated their own strips. These were a frequently found feature in the Midlands but less so in the South-east and West country. No documents survive which explain how and when the change to open fields took place, but signs of the change are apparent in some areas in the 9th or 10th centuries.".[2] The landscape of open fields was frequently called "champion country".[3]

In England, enclosure of open fields during the 18th and 19th century produced field systems with larger rectangular fields, often with blackthorn hedges. Adjacent areas were often enclosed at different times, leading to a change in orientation of the field systems between the two areas. The pattern of ridge and furrow will often reveal the layout of the original open fields.

In parts of England where enclosure took place early (or which were never enclosed), fields are often small and have an irregular shape, sometimes described as "pocket handkerchief".

Recent changes of agricultural practice are eliminating old field boundaries, particularly by removing hedges, to produce much larger fields reminiscent of traditional open fields.

Identifying former field systems

The boundaries of earlier field systems that have fallen out of use, can sometimes be deduced by studying earthworks (lumps and bumps), cropmarks or by using geophysics. Studying early maps will often show the field system in use at the time the map was prepared. From the mid 17th century, landowners began to commission estate maps that show the size and layout of the fields they own. However, for many English parishes, the earliest written evidence of their field system is from the enclosure maps or tithe maps. It is often possible to draw conclusions about relative age by looking at how field boundaries meet. Later boundaries will often abut, but not cross earlier boundaries.[4]

Drawing conclusions from analysis of field systems

Because fields were organised for the convenience of the farmer, the size of fields often gives an indication of the type of agriculture and agricultural implements in use when they were established. The shape and orientation of collections of fields provides clues about the date they were established. Field systems can give an indication of land ownership and social structure. The extent to which the field system respects other features (or not) can be used as dating evidence for the other features or the field system itself. For example, a field system that doesn't respect a Roman road is likely to predate it. Similarly, a feature that respects medieval ridge and furrow is likely to post date it.

The Rodings (the largest group of parishes in England to bear a common name)[5] was investigated by Steven Basset.[6] Basset showed that a broadly rectilinear field system (and other features such as roads) continued across parish boundaries thus showing that the field system pre-dated the formation of parishes.[7] He therefore concluded that they had originally been a single estate.

Notes

  1. ^ Taylor, Christopher. Fields in the English Landscape. ISBN 0460041592.  (However, he says the term "celtic fields" is "totally misleading and meaningless.")
  2. ^ Hooke, Della (1998). The landscape of Anglo-Saxon England. Leicester University Press. p. 115. 
  3. ^ Oosthuizen, Susan (2006). Landscapes Decoded. University of Hertfordshire Press. p. 13. ISBN 1902806581. 
  4. ^ Hunter, John (2003). Field Systems in Essex. Essex Society for Archaeology and History. 
  5. ^ Rollason, Pam (June 2008). "Around the Rodings". Essex Life (Archant): p. 92. http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/Launch.aspx?referral=other&pnum=&refresh=3Ex0Hy14j5C1&EID=52357006-6cf2-46b7-874f-a85febe6a2c6&skip=true. Retrieved 2009-02-03.  (Registration required.)
  6. ^ Basset, Steven (1997). "Continuity and fission in the Anglo-Saxon landscape: the origins of the Rodings (Essex)". Landscape History 19: 25–42. 
  7. ^ Muir, Richard (2002). The NEW Reading the Landscape. University of Exeter Press. p. 123. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • field system — žadinimo sistema statusas T sritis automatika atitikmenys: angl. excitation system; field system; inductor vok. Erregersystem, n; Feldsystem, n rus. индуктор, m; система возбуждения, f pranc. inducteur, m; système d excitation, m …   Automatikos terminų žodynas

  • field system — noun : the prevailing system of husbandry in medieval times in England and parts of western Europe whereby the arable land of a village unit was composed of unenclosed strips held by the different owners or cultivators subject to use as a common… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Open field system — Generic map of a medieval manor, showing strip farming, from William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas, 1923 The open field system was the prevalent agricultural system in much of Europe from the Middle Ages to as recently as the 20th century in some …   Wikipedia

  • Equal-field system — The Equal field system (zh cp|c=均田制度|p=jūntián zhìdù) (Also, Land equalization system) land system was a historical system of land ownership and distribution in China used from the Six Dynasties to Mid Tang dynasty. By the time of the Han dynasty …   Wikipedia

  • well-field system — Communal land organization supposedly in effect early in the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC). It is mentioned in the writings of Mencius, who advocated it. In the well field system, one unit of land was divided among eight peasant families. A shared… …   Universalium

  • Well-field system — The well field system (zh cp|c=井田制度|p=jǐngtián zhìdù) was a Chinese land distribution method since at least 9th century BC (late Western Zhou Dynasty). It is named after the Chinese character for well (井 jǐng ), which looks like the # symbol and… …   Wikipedia

  • open-field system — ▪ agriculture       basic community organization of cultivation in European agriculture for 2,000 years or more. Its best known medieval form consisted of three elements: individual peasant holdings in the form of strips scattered among the… …   Universalium

  • three-field system — ▪ agriculture       method of agricultural organization introduced in Europe in the Middle Ages and representing a decisive advance in production techniques. In the old two field system half the land was sown to crop and half left fallow each… …   Universalium

  • equal-field system — Chinese land distribution system, AD 485–8th century. Borrowed by Japan in 646, it lasted about a century there. Under the system, all adults were assigned a fixed amount of land; a portion of its produce was paid as taxes. On a person s death,… …   Universalium

  • two-field system — ▪ agriculture       basis of agricultural organization in Europe and the Middle East in early times. Arable land was divided into two fields or groups of fields; one group was planted to wheat, barley, or rye, while the other was allowed to lie… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”