The Ribble Valley: A Methodological Study in Landscape Development

Authors: Cook, Jo; Huckerby, Elizabeth; Quartermaine, Jamie; Wearing, Neil

Source: Landscapes, 1 January 2008, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 28-49(22)


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Using modern geographic information systems, it is possible to reconstruct landscapes, not only throughout human history, but also back to the time of the last glaciation. A multi-disciplinary project by Oxford Archaeology North and the University of Liverpool, funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), implemented by English Heritage, reconstructed the landscapes of the Ribble Valley and Kirkham Moraine in Lancashire, and provided an opportunity for an assessment of different methodological approaches. Many diverse datasets were used in the project, including geological and palaeoecological data, LiDAR, cartographic sources, aerial photography and data from the County's Historic Environment Record. Statistical techniques were then used on the data to highlight patterns in human occupation of the landscape. This resulted in a detailed chronological history, showing the effect of human interaction on fluvial development, and highlighting areas of potential where further archaeology may be discovered. Some methodological techniques such as LiDAR proved very useful for detailed visualisation of landscape and the identification of archaeological sites, whereas statistical analysis was useful in some cases but not in others, demonstrating that qualitative analysis can never be entirely replaced.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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