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19 Pages

A Push into The Margins? The Development of a Coastal Landscape in North-West Somerset during The Late 1St Millennium A.D.

WithStephen Rippon

The colonization of coastal marshlands at this time was an important process in that being created from an entirely natural environment — saltmarshes — a cultural landscape emerged that was free from the influence of earlier periods. In the east and south, the landscape was dominated by Midland-style villages and open fields, in the west there was a largely dispersed settlement pattern typical of South-West England, whereas in the north was a more varied landscape with areas of both nucleation and dispersion. Coastal wetlands are by their very nature not ideally suited for settled arable-based agriculture, and as such would be regarded as a classic ‘marginal’ landscape. Such a landscape was still subject to winter flooding and so could not have been permanently settled there is no evidence for continental-style raised settlement mounds. The landscape of Puxton is typical of the coastal marshes of the North Somerset Levels, in that it was clearly created in a gradual and piecemeal fashion.