Where to Draw the Line: Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Historic Landscape Characterisation in Wales

Oliver Davis

Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion (HISAR), Cardiff University. Email: DavisOP@cardiff.ac.uk


This article considers some of the ways that monuments and sites that receive statutory protection (Scheduled Ancient Monuments) are recorded in Wales and in particular examines some of the limitations of the current UK legislation designed to protect monuments and sites. It explores the concept of the type-site and considers the implications of using monument or site typologies to classify and characterise the past. The purpose of scheduling is to prevent unwarranted development at defined locations. This makes sense at a site level, but is a nonsense for large areas. It is suggested that in order to protect the historic environment in the 21st century we require an approach that looks beyond the rigid boundaries of defined sites and considers inhabitation of whole landscapes. In particular, this article considers the rolling out of a uniform landscape characterisation process in Wales as a first step for protecting landscapes. Principally the examples used in this article will be drawn from Wales, but the same concerns are likely to be paralleled in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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