From climate and society to weather and landscape

Toby Pillatt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article asks whether there is a role for weather in archaeological narratives. In archaeology, ideas of weather have been expressed almost solely through the aggregated measure of climate. A number of theoretical and practical problems arise from this, specifically in questioning how climatic change can be related to social change. The article reviews how other disciplines have developed a sense of climate that is more embedded in the human experience of landscape. A case study of a township in Cumbria uses the inhabited perspectives of two 18th-century diarists to explore how we might develop and apply these ideas in an archaeological context. The conclusion outlines some of the challenges for future research, arguing that we should consider weather as a material condition of the landscape - something as much open to archaeological investigation as any other aspect of the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalArchaeological Dialogues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • 18th-century Cumbria
  • historical diaries
  • Human-environment relations
  • inhabited perspectives
  • landscape archaeology
  • palaeo-ecology

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