Illuminating the Past:Archaeology in the Landscape
with Professor Stewart Ainsworth
FSA, MCIfA (University of Chester)
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 11th July, 2015.


The landscape itself is a record of past cultural activity in the same way as written documents or archaeological artefacts. Examining the evidence we can see in the landscape around us enables us understand archaeological monuments in a way not possible from excavation alone. This study day will show how this evidence can be decoded using a combination of traditional skills and latest hi-tech approaches.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:         Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:         Unravelling the landscape.

Looking at the landscape as an evidence source and some of the techniques used.

11.15 – 11.40:         Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:         Early landscapes and Roman interlopers.

Showing how the discoveries of early landscapes can been made using a combination of fieldwork and remote sensing technology.

12.40 – 14.00:         Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:         Monks and a medieval crisis in an oilrefinery.

Showing how to peel back the layers of landscape change using maps and aerial photos to investigate the past.

14.50 – 15.10:        Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:         Deer parks and machine guns.

The Centenary of the First World War has raised the profile of military archaeology in Britain. In this session we will see how a landscape archaeology approach is contributing to this.

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Stewart Ainsworth

Stewart Ainsworth has been a landscape archaeologist for over 40 years. For 20 of those years, he was the landscape archaeologist on Channel Four’s Time Team, but he has also worked with Ordnance Survey, the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, and English Heritage. He is currently Visiting Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Chester.

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

  • Bowden, M. (ed.), Unravelling the Landscape (Tempus 1997)
  • Muir, R., & C.Taylor, Visions of the Past (Dent 1983)
  • Hoskins, W.G., Making of the English Landscape (Penguin 1988)
  • Wood, E.S., Collins Field Guide to Archaeology in Britain (Collins 1875)
  • Aston, M., Interpreting the Landscape (Routledge 1977)
  • Taylor, C., Fieldwork in Medieval Archaeology (Batsford 1974)
  • Rackham, O., The History of the Countryside (Weidenfield & Nicholson 1995)
  • Oliver, R., Ordnance Survey Maps: a concise guide for historians (The Charles Close Society 2005)
  • Harley, J.B., Ordnance Survey Maps: a descriptive manual (Ordnance Survey 1975)
  • Brown, A., Fieldwork for Archaeologists and Local Historians (Batsford 1987)