The Evolving Rural Landscape- environment and us. (Rural settlement…
The Evolving Rural Landscape- environment and us.
The rural landscape is just as modern as the urban landscape- it underwent just as much transformation as the urban one during the 17, 18, and 19th c. There are a lot less people per square meter so archaeological evidence is preserved much better.
The idea that the landscape is owned and that people have clearly defined legal rights about the landscape and its materials. These have been legalised in the past few hundred years.
Industrial landscape- Muirkirk, Ayrshire
We have this idea as people living in the city that the countryside should be preserved and not developed on. Create greenbelts to protect our cities and landscapes. Although if the rural landscape is thought of as dynamic and changing environment that is just as integral to the creation of the modern world as the Urban environment- our perception changes e.g. use of wind-turbines, scarring the landscape.
Continuity + change
Rural settlements probably the most plentiful archaeological resource in Scotland. The reason is because it was quite prevalent- buildings would have existed over a vast past of Scotland, but medieval settlements were often deserted due to clearances and subsequent changes- lots of preserved archaeology of this period- whereas in cities things are constantly being reused.
The farming landscape
Farming was largely considered to be for subsistence, so that the person on that farm could feed their family and the people in that region. This obviously changes over time- moving towards a market style agriculture.
In contact more with England- one of the impacts from this is that the agriculture and field systems changed- evidence through etchings, by Capt Slezer 1690s, who went round making etchings (sketches) of significant landmarks and ruins. Although he also accidentally preserved the evidence of the field systems.
1690's- Wide open field structure with no hedge boundaries. But there is evidence of this ridge and gully field system. Each person within a medieval community would have farmed one or several rigs.
The agriculture was subsistence- so things that could survive in Scottish climates had to be grown- Crops- barley, oats, wheat (only in some areas)- which has influenced the Scottish diet till today- oatcakes, porridge.
Cultivated by plough and spade/foot plough. Not very viable or productive land in Scotland, although was ploughed, showing a different attitude towards agriculture- this is where you live you make it work- different attitude than today when people make efficient use of the farmlandscape.
Hand querns- used from prehistory to the end of the 20th c- very inefficient way of producing flour, although in isolated communities with labour this is an adequate way of producing flour. Horizontal wheels, common in western isles, the wheel would turn a stone directly, from water, this sped the process up.- could be working all the time and could be used communally.
As you get the establishment of more and more consolidated power in rural areas and the desire by landlord to impose power on rural populations you get the constructions of very elaborate watermills that still survive today.
These mills had a fundamental impact on peoples lives- it allowed a central power who had the resources to construct a watermill, to tax and regulate- see how much was being produced and take a cut in financial terms.- this meant that it became a cash economy.
This really is the germination of an idea that the land could be put to more efficient use, enlightenment idea that we should continue to replicate how things were done in medieval society, we should start to think how could things be done more efficiently.
Cattle Dominated Agriculture
Livestock most valuable and prestigious resource; black cattle.
This is the area where Scotland excels- we have evidence from very early on as these cash goods begin to emerge of cattle being driver from Scotland to markets in England- as they had such value, for leather and food.
Rural settlement architecture
Medieval Rural Settlement evidence is sparse- imperimant dwellings of perishable material. Constructed from turf and timber- so archaeological evidence is a bit shit- you can tell where they were, just not a huge amount about them.
Re-use of prime settlement sites over time.
18th and 19th (built up until the 1920's) Black house- in contrast to a white house (modern house). Stone turf walls and turf roof, called black houses as they weren't painted. They use techniques from medieval architecture in Scotland, techniques that rely on the resources available in Scotland.
Cruck houses- Traditional turf (made out of timber and turf and plaster- so don't last very long) buildings- survived into the 18th c. We don't even have post holes as the beams supporting were buried in the walls of the house.
This continues to exist until the 19th and 20th century
Because of the styles of architecture and subsequent shifts in the arrangement of fields- these things were lost.
Lordship and estate
Emerges in15th to 17th century.
Tightening their hold on the landscape and imposing new forms of organisation in community- where clans exsisted the clan suddenly becomes a very different entity.
They also begin to extend and cement their power.- which is when you get the construction of these tower houses, as they extend their estate to lands that weren't their.
This is also when you get the emergence of mapping as a mewans of setting down boundaries for lands, really is the expression of power through imagery.
This leads to some interesting developments. e.g.Inveraray- new town built by the Duke of Argyll to rehouse people who were displaced so the land could be put to better use.- principles of efficient land-use really coming in, becomes apparent that you will make much more money from having sheep on your land than people.
Improvement and capitalism
Application of Enlightenment thinking to agriculture.
Improved drainage, enclosed fields, new crops, new tenurial arrangements.
Kin-based tenure (idea that your family were the permanent residence of the farm) was swept away and payment in services and kinds replaced by rents and leases, which created the conditions for land owners to chuck people off their lands.
The clearances and the crofting community are a consequence of capatalism.
Most violent clearances associated with the mid 19th C.
Land is more valuable for sheep farming than for housing people and so large areas of land are cleared- often places where people have lived for centuries.
St Kilda (1880) is a good example of this
The houses are modern houses- organised in a modern way.
People were moved into theses landscapes and given just enough space to farm in a subsistence way.
These houses look very romantic, although when looking at the floor plan it is very apparently modern, each house has subdivided strips of land, pushed right to the margins.
Population were again displaced in the 1930's
Modern houses mixed with black houses.