If you can let your inner mental editor do that, and maybe remove anything that looks like it was built this or last century, then maybe, just maybe, you're kind of close to a Napoleonic era England, or a landscape for a War of the Worlds campaign (hey… there's an idea!). But there's still so much of what you're seeing that looks quintessentially English and somehow 'natural', but that plain isn't.
Take a look at the image on the right, which is a Google Street View from just south of what's now Ancaster but was probably Cavsennae in Saxon times. Ok, so we can easily mentally edit out that big radio tower and the few structures. But there's also those awfully English-looking hedge lines. Those didn't happen by accident. Not only that, some of them are old enough to be interesting.
The lovely Chantelle is a friend of mine who (as well as being part of the fabulous Talis Kimberley's band - check her out!), very usefully both happens to be a professional archaeologist and someone who was at the con I was at this weekend, so I picked her brain a little, and probably will do so more before I'm done (she's promised to go trawl through some of her lecture notes for me). To broadly summarise, a lot of the field patterns we see are quite late in nature, but it would be naive to assume that what we'd be fighting over for a Dark Ages game was devoid of field boundaries and similar man-made intrusions on the landscape.
I suspect this is going to turn into another series of posts, and I probably ought to state here and now that anyone who thinks wargaming is just playing with toy soldiers has clearly not been reading my blog lately! I now find myself doing research into Dark Ages and Romano-British farming techniques purely so I can build scenery and craft more detailed terrain rules to satisfy my inner pedant.
|Google Earth view of lynchets at Kirmond Le Mire|
in Lincolnshire. [This is actually in prime country for
Andy and my campaign.]
And I have to say? I'd love to see someone plonk a lynchetted hill tile on a wargames table!
More soon, I suspect. But to close? Today I learned a new word. No day on which you learn a new word is entirely wasted :D Thanks, Chantelle!
[Edited to add: Ashley in comments recommends Making of the English Landscape. Duly ordered, along with Francis Pryor's book of very nearly the same title (he does admit it's a rewrite/update!)]