Accepted Paper:

A host of golden daffodils: developing theory in medieval landscape archaeology  


Duncan Wright (University of Exeter)

Paper short abstract:

A Poster of the English Countryside (Southern Railway, 1928)

Paper long abstract:

This image was originally used as part of an advertising campaign for travel to the Isle of Wight by Southern Railway.

Images such as this are viewed as 'typical' scenes of past English agricultural life and, as such, continue to pervade the thinking of medieval landscape archaeologists. Three years ago, Matthew Johnson (2007) produced a thorough critique of the current practice, both theoretical and methodological, of medieval landscape archaeology. Central to this thesis is the assertion that the imagery of Romanticism is ingrained in the psyche of landscape researchers, resulting in scholars working within a restricted and idealised intellectual framework.

Since Johnson's publication there has been strong opposition from some quarters of medieval landscape archaeology. The most consistent objection states that Romanticism only impacts interpretation and that the empirical, investigative process of landscape archaeology is a distinct discipline, free of theoretical biases (e.g. Fleming 2007). This poster questions whether such disparate stances may be reconciled, and reviews some approaches which may forward the theoretical development of medieval landscape archaeology.

Panel S39
EXHIBITION - A picture is worth a thousand words: images of archaeological practice, past and present