Metal Detecting Research & Exploration - A Complete Guide, page 13

Map Research for Locating Treasure Hunting Sites in Europe

IMPORTANT SPECIFICS


3. Relocated Settlements
Some of the villages, which were either destroyed by natural disasters or deserted for other numerous causes, were usually rebuilt by their inhabitants or newcomers if these villages had been initially situated at the good strategic or economic locations. Such locations would be on high grounds, near reliable sources of water or waterways, on the rich farming soils, near mines or building timber, etc.

In many cases, the villages were rebuilt and re-settled not exactly at the original site but within a few hundred meters from it. Later on, the original spot was leveled and turned into a farm field - an invaluable commodity in those times. That is why it is important to search the areas adjacent to the village site, even if you are not sure whether the village was "removed" from one spot to another.

Other cases of settlement relocation include the following: 1) breaking up a large settlement into a few smaller villages, one of which would be given the original settlement's name, 2) consolidation of a few small settlements into one which was given the name of a largest village in a group.

Those treasure hunters who put serious efforts into finding more historical information on any ancient and still existing village, manage to pinpoint its initial location. If the Map Overlay method (described on page 30) shows that this location is situated outside the boundaries of a modern village - out in the open field, and not overbuilt with modern infrastructure of any sort, the results of treasure hunting at this spot can be amazing.

4. Settlements with Names Changed
Every time a region was conquered by the foreign army and inhabited by people of a different culture and language, the names of some villages were changed. Sometimes they were changed due to the difficult spelling. The new villages were established and given the foreign names. After the land was reconquered some years later, the toponyms - place names, again were changed into the names that were pronounced close enough to the former names and could somehow make sense at the same time.

Other cases of place name changing include the following: 1) breaking up the large settlements into a few smaller ones which were given new names, 2) consolidation of a few small settlements into one with a new given name.

The place names on the newly-created maps were often affected by transliteration - the process of representation of the written symbols of one language by symbols in another, which resulted in slight difference between old and new place names. An effect of poor transcription - the attempt to spell in another language the phonetic sounds of another, would increase the difference between the former and subsequent place names even more.

And finally, when cartographers had to choose between various phonetic spellings of local names versus older imposed ones, sometimes resented, the name difference would reach the critical point - new place names would not resemble the old ones.

Researching the sites which bear different names on different maps sometimes can be a big pain in the neck, and it is easy to make a mistake - confuse one settlement for another on a map. Using as many maps as possible for comparison, learning both the toponymy and etymology - study of the origin and historical usage of place names, of local places, and paying close attention to details - all combined is the only way to avoid mistakes.



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