Bradbourne Landscape Project

John Moreland

The growth of interest in long-term landscape histories has been one of the most productive and promising of recent developments in British and European archaeology. However, even a cursory inspection of many long-term histories reveals common problems. Most contain lacunae, gaps in the sequence which are frequently taken as a manifestation of a real absence in the past. They are seen as the product of the collapse of the structures that bound society together in earlier times, and are almost always explained in terms of demographic collapse and abandonment. The Bradbourne Project was established to test the belief that these gaps can be more apparent than real, and that if we shift our focus slightly (and change our methods), some of them actually disappear. This should result in more, nuanced, and `realistic´ local and regional histories.

The project is situated in the Peak District of Derbyshire, and maintains a long tradition of Departmental research on the Roman and medieval periods in this area – Professor Richard Hodges directed the long-term training project at Roystone Grange, and Professor John Collis directed the excavation of the Bronze Age and early medieval burial mound at Wigber Low.

We hope to draw on the results of these projects, as well as our own, to write a long-term history of this part of Derbyshire. Some preliminary results of the Bradbourne project can be found in the `Bradbourne: closing the gaps in the history of a Peakland landscape´ link to the right.

Bradbourne Church