School of History, Classics and Archaeology

David Astbury

David Astbury

Long-Term Landscape Development in Northern England between Late Prehistory and the later Middle-Ages.

Year started


Project outline

I am developing a new GIS-based dataset and methodology to understand how people encountered and shaped their landscapes over the long-term, and the extent to which their predecessors’ decisions contributed to shaping changes and continuity. The under-used theoretical framework of path creation will be employed to address these questions. I hope to identify new relationships between landscape features which may explain forces behind perceived phases of change and continuity; this in turn could lead to the creation of new landscape development models that can be used in other regions. Incorporating all historic landscape features into the research, including settlements, roads, field-systems, ceremonial monuments and fortified sites, will form a matrix which will help to explain possible intersections in a landscape’s history. Subsequent to data collection and analysis, case-studies will be selected from which more detailed investigation can be undertaken in order to fully engage with the research aims.

The proposed project is now possible because a wide range of new data, including LiDAR, has recently been made freely available through the Environment Agency. Pre-existing geophysical survey and excavation reports undertaken commercially in the region will be accessed where possible through the Archaeology Data Service and local Historic Environment Records. I have access to unpublished literature through professional contacts in the commercial sector, such as the multi-period site at Shotton, Northumberland. The cutting edge surveying equipment available through Newcastle University and the McCord Centre for Historic and Cultural Landscape at Newcastle University will allow me to undertake the required fieldwork, including geophysics and small-scale excavation, to fully address my research questions.

Funded by: AHRC Northern Bridge Consortium

David Astbury

Other roles

  • Teaching assistant for ARA 1027
  • Teaching assistant for ARA 2012