Project contexts

Mapping medieval urban landscapes has a long intellectual history, stretching back over a century. This project builds upon this tradition by using spatial technologies. The end result will be not only a deeper understanding of how towns were created in the middle ages, but also better ways of representing and analysing medieval urban landscapes using multimedia.

The project began in summer 2003 with a pilot study of Winchelsea in East Sussex. This town was established as a 'new town' in the 1270s-80s following coastal flooding which submerged the earlier town (for more on Winchelsea click here). Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to survey surviving medieval features of a town, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software, its medieval plan can be mapped in three dimensions. This approach is being tried and tested here for the first time. It will benefit all those interested in evaluating historic landscapes more generally. For more on the methods used in the project click here.

Following the field survey work and analysis at Winchelsea, three sessions of field survey were undertaken in north and west Wales during the months of March, May and July 2004. This completed the data gathering (more information on field methods can be found on the methods page). Now the primary fieldwork is complete data analysis has begun and is advancing well. The results are being prepared for publication in academic journals as well as via this website. An interactive historical atlas of the towns will be available shortly, again via this web site.

The project team consists of an historical geographer, Dr Keith Lilley, a spatial analyst, Dr Chris Lloyd, and an archaeologist, Dr Steve Trick. The project director is Dr Lilley. The analytical work is being carried out by the team at the School of Geography at Queen’s University Belfast, using the School’s GIS Laboratory. For more information on the project team click here. To contact the team please use the following email address:

home | contexts | method | study towns | pilot study | people