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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

How Natural is Natural? Understanding the Ecology of the Medieval and Early Modern Landscape

7th March 2017, 17:30, Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Professor Tom Williamson, (University of East Anglia)

This event is free to attend and open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception in the Courtyard Café, Palace Green Library.

Abstract: Most people, since at least the eighteenth century, have regarded the countryside as in some sense ‘natural’. But the medieval and early modern rural landscape was almost entirely an artefact, created by intensive and sophisticated management for food and fuel, and it was already extensively populated by introduced ‘alien’ species. This paper will explore the character of pre-industrial habitats and land use, and the implications that historical research may have for the ways we conserve ‘traditional’ landscapes today.

Professor Tom Williamson is Professor of Landscape History at the University of East Anglia and has written widely on landscape archaeology, agricultural history, the history of landscape design and historical ecology. His recent books include An Environmental History of Wildlife in England, 1550-1950 (2013); and Rethinking Ancient Woodland (2015, with Gerry Barnes).

Register here for this and other seminars in the Landscapes series taking place during Epiphany Term (16th January - 17th March 2017).

Contact for more information about this event.