An Archaeology of Town Commons in England

    SubTitle

    'A very fair field indeed'
    An Archaeology of Town Commons in England large image 1
        Paperback / softback

        Publication Date

        31 Aug 2009

        Summary

        Presents an overview of the archaeology of urban common land. By recognising that urban common land represents a valid historical entity, this book contributes towards successful informed conservation. It contains a variety of illustrations, including contemporary and archive photographs.
        9920211
        9920211

        Main Summary

          This is the first published overview of the archaeology of urban common land. By recognising that urban common land represents a valid historical entity, this book contributes towards successful informed conservation. It contains a variety of interesting and illuminating illustrations, including contemporary and archive photographs. Historically, towns in England were provided with common lands for grazing the draft animals of townspeople engaged in trade and for the pasturing of farm animals in an economy where the rural and the urban were inextricably mixed. The commons yielded wood, minerals, fruits and wild animals to the town's inhabitants and also developed as places of recreation and entertainment, as extensions of domestic and industrial space, and as an arena for military, religious and political activities. However, town commons have been largely disregarded by historians and archaeologists; the few remaining urban commons are under threat and are not adequately protected, despite recognition of their wildlife and recreational value. In 2002, English Heritage embarked upon a project to study town commons in England, to match its existing initiatives in other aspects of the urban scene. The aim was to investigate, through a representative sample, the archaeological content and Historic Environment value of urban commons in England and to prompt appropriate conservation strategies for them. The resulting book is the first overview of the archaeology of town commons - a rich resource because of the relatively benign traditional land-use of commons, which preserves the physical evidence of past activities, including prehistoric and Roman remains as well as traces of common use itself. The recognition of town commons as a valid historical entity and a valued part of the modern urban environment is an important first step towards successful informed conservation. An important consideration for the future is maintaining the character of town commons as a different sort of urban open space, distinct from parks and public gardens.

          Additional Information

          Author

          Graham Brown
          Nicky Smith
          Mark Bowden

          Author Information

          Mark Bowden is based in the English Heritage Archaeological Survey and Investigation team.
          Graham Brown is based in the English Heritage Archaeological Survey and Investigation team.
          Nicky Smith is based in the English Heritage Archaeological Survey and Investigation team.

          Publishing Status

          Active

          Size

          276mm

          Number of Illustrations

          75

          Number of Pages

          112

          ISBN

          9781848020351

          Contents

            1. Introduction 2. The land before the commons 3. Farming on town commons 4. From the land 5. Defence of the realm 6. A social dimension to town commons 7. High days and holidays 8. Present and future

            Reviews

              'Attractively produced and readable, this will be useful not just to urbanists but also to anyone with an interest in common lands.'
              'A really useful volume, well researched and written, and full of interest in its detail.'
              Bob Silvester
              'a beautifully presented and informative work, of use to those with a general or academic interest in urban environments and archaeology, and to those with a more personal or professional concern'
              Eleanor Straughton