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Past landscapes and present-day techniques: reconstructing submerged medieval landscapes in the western part of Sealand Flanders
Vanslembrouck, N.; Lehouck, A.; Thoen, E. (2005). Past landscapes and present-day techniques: reconstructing submerged medieval landscapes in the western part of Sealand Flanders. Landsc. Hist. 27: 52-64
In: Landscape History: Journal of the Society for Landscape Studies. Society for Landscape Studies/Taylor & Francis: Abingdon. ISSN 0143-3768; e-ISSN 2160-2506, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Coastal plains
    Imagery > Photography > Aerial photography
    Belgium, Flanders [Marine Regions]

Authors  Top 
  • Vanslembrouck, N.
  • Lehouck, A., more
  • Thoen, E., more

    The coastal wetlands of the former county of Flanders situated on the border area of Belgium and the Netherlands, belong geographically to a late Holocene landscape that consists mainly of alternations of clay, peat beds and sand deposits. During the later middle Ages and the 16th century, the old medieval landscape was heavily ravaged by the marine influence. Especially the 16 century flooding carried out for military reasons had wreaked havoc. This “flooding”, which had put large parts of the area under water for many decades as well as a huge reorganisation of the whole infrastructure and field pattern afterwards when new embankments took place had completely reshaped the medieval landscape. As a consequence, it broaches more methodological skills as well as a multi- and even interdisciplinary approach to reconstruct the old cultural landscape. The application of present-day techniques for processing information discovered via aerial archaeology and geoarchaeology, historical-geography and social economic history, geography and geomorphology, could generate unexpected reconstructions and interpretations about the cultural landscape before c. 1600. This article presents some preliminary results of this research project, which is focussing on a ‘test area’ in Sealand Flanders (the Netherlands). Although the struggle with water was omnipresent in this area, it stresses especially the importance of anthropogenic factors in the processes of land reclamation, land loss and land transformation.

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