University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

Font Size: 
Settlement patterns in Drahany Highlands: GIS and quantitative methods based approach
Lucie Culikova, Lukáš Holata

Last modified: 2012-01-20



Previous extensive research in Drahany Highlands provided us with a complete medieval settlement network and in some cases also with medieval field systems. Results of this research could be used for further analysis based on GIS and quantitative methods. The basic goal of this paper was reconstruction of past landscapes, impact of human activities on the landscape, the choice of settlement location and changes in the settlement pattern.

The remains of deserted medieval villages and their fields were vectorized and displayed in GIS. This provided us the basis for the reconstruction of past landscapes whereas extent of ploughlands has been delimitated with the help of archaeological prediction. On this basis (and also thanks to comparison with the current settlement patterns) it is possible to observe land use and the impact of human activities on the landscape. We could also try to answer the question of land degradation in the Middle Ages.

Wide spectrum of spatial features together with their evaluation with the help of quantitative methods enabled us to obtain the regularities in the lay-out of villages and their field systems. Thanks to this it is possible to reveal the main principles which could have determined the choice of location for the settlement areas (especially placing of residential areas and their surrounding fields).

Subsequently, during the Late Medieval and Early Modern period approximately half of all villages deserted. We could identify the factors which could expressively influence the process of abandoning the villages. We have pursued the vulnerability of settlement and specified the unsuitable environment for settlement. In addition to this, we have attempted to identify the circumstances which could prevent the complete desertion as well as to define the optimal environment for settlements.



medieval villages, medieval field systems, GIS, landscape