Conservation lessons from the holocene record in "natural" and "cultural" landscapes

Whitehouse, N. J. (2009) Conservation lessons from the holocene record in "natural" and "cultural" landscapes. In: Hall, M. (ed.) Restoration and History: the Search for a Usable Environmental Past. Series: Routledge studies in modern history (8). Routledge: New York, pp. 87-97. ISBN 9780415871761

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Abstract

Conservation Lessons in “Natural” and “Cultural” Landscapes This chapter highlights the value of archaeological and palaeoecological studies to conservation by drawing upon research undertaken on two raised mires, Thorne and Hatfi eld Moors, both located in the Humberhead Levels of eastern England. The area today is typically viewed as a rather unattractive, backwater landscape, yet its archaeological (“cultural”) and palaeoecological (“natural”) record provides an amazing insight into a complex landscape of raised mires, fl oodplain wetlands, and heathlands that have all evolved and changed over spatial and temporal scales spanning thousands of years. The records emphasize the changing character of the landscape: it is never static, always evolving in ways that we sometimes fail to appreciate or anticipate. Today we are left with component parts of this ancient landscape fundamentally affected by human action; in that respect, it is a cultural product, yet at its core one that is still dominated by natural landscape features and systems. Culture and nature cannot easily be separated in this place, although much of the current policy has been towards total eradication of the former record with a view to rewilding the landscape through natural processes. It is my contention that it is impossible to rewild the landscape to what it once was, but that we should try to conserve what is left, while creating, or gardening, the landscape into something new that recognizes the legacy of both ecological and human change.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitehouse, Dr Nicki
Authors: Whitehouse, N. J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9780415871761

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