IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1603: Zooming into Medieval Sites: Interpreting the Medieval Landscape with 21st-Century Tools

Thursday 10 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Meritxell Pérez Martínez, Departament d'Història i Història de l'Art, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona
Paper 1603-aGeographic Information Systems and Domesday Geography in the 21st Century
(Language: English)
Andrew Lowerre, English Heritage, Portsmouth
Index terms: Computing in Medieval Studies, Demography, Economics - Rural, Geography and Settlement Studies
Paper 1603-bThe Digital St Gall Plan Website
(Language: English)
Edward Schoolman, Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles
Index terms: Architecture - Religious, Computing in Medieval Studies, Monasticism
Paper 1603-cHandling the 'Emptyness' of the Early Medieval Landscape in the Vale of Pickering
(Language: English)
Dominic Powlesland, Landscape Research Centre, Malton / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies

Paper -a:
H. C. Darby’s Domesday Geography series is a landmark in the study of Domesday Book and the historical geography of medieval England. Now, thirty years on, the availability of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software and digital datasets based on Domesday Book make possible the mapping and analysis of Domesday material in new ways. I will discuss some of the issues involved in the creation of GIS data from Domesday Book, using two datasets created by John Palmer and Robin Fleming. I will also demonstrate how Domesday GIS allows researchers to ask and answer far more detailed and complicated questions than those on which Darby’s work was based.

Paper -b:
This presentation will unveil the Digital St Gall Plan Web Site, which was created over the past three years at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Virginia under the sponsorship of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on behalf of the team directed by Bernard Frischer (University of Virginia), Patrick Geary (UCLA), and Barbara Schedl (University of Vienna). This complex web site contains visual and textual tools making possible new research into the 9th-century St Gall plan (Codex Sangallensis 1092) as well as an enormous data base of texts and images illuminating the material culture of Carolingian monasticism.

Paper -c:
Archaeological research in the Vale of Pickering, in progress for more than 30 years, including large scale excavations and landscape scale remote sensing has demonstrated fundamental flaws in the established view of Early Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain. Whilst we might argue that the Vale of Pickering has certain unique natural properties which may have attracted settlement from the prehistoric period onwards, it is most unlikely that the emerging settlement pattern, density and landscape continuity reflected in the evidence from the Vale of Pickering are in fact unique; the principal difference with other similar valley settings being the level of archaeological investigation. The landscape scale of the investigations in progress in the Vale of Pickering and the multi-period nature of the evidence accrued reflect a pro-active approach to landscape research, research that would be neither possible nor useful without the integration of the results within a geographic data management system.

This paper is less concerned with the use of GIS technologies, a fundamental core of the Landscape Research Centre’s recording system since the mid 1980’s, but with the intellectual returns that are accrued through the integration of multi faceted and high density data sets; returns that require us to radically re-interpret the evidence of settlement during the formative years of the English state.