Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. Philip Stooke

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Michael Gervers

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

The Battle of Hastings (1066) is one of the most widely studied battles in medieval history. Yet despite the importance that research shows geography to play in the outcome of such conflicts, few studies have examined in detail the landscape of the battle or the role the landscape played in its eventual outcome. This study, consequently, seeks to assess the impact of geographic factors in understanding the events that shaped the Battle of Hastings. The analysis was undertaken using a geographic information system (GIS) with qualitative and quantitative techniques. Historical and current data combined in a series of detailed state of the art maps are used to bring an entirely new perspective to the nearly millennium long literature on the battle. Factors considered in the study included variables associated with mobilization of the respective armies, the topography and land use at the time of and since the battle, population, food/animal sources, metal resources, water, and the location of the battle. The final section of the thesis provides a detailed cartographic discussion of the development of the battle itself. Among the findings of this thesis were that location was indeed important in the mobilization of the armies, that the local topography has not changed significantly since the battle, that the distribution of resources available to the armies varied spatially, and perhaps most importantly, that there may exist at least one viable alternative battle site to that on Battle Hill.


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