Examining other Cultural Landscape Blogs

Through the last eight posts, we have learned a lot about the cultural landscape of our subject of research, the town of Gettysburg. 
There are other aspects of this town that deserve much examination as well, including the campus of Gettysburg College and the Gettysburg National Military Park. 
A blog, titled, Breidenbaugh Landscape Blog, examined the academic building Breidenbaugh Hall on the campus of Gettysburg College. This group took a different approach to the blog, by only focusing on one building within their cultural landscape. There are many common ideas and themes between our two blogs, but something was very different. A lot of structural changes have happened to Breidenbaugh Hall throughout the years. The building was built after the Civil War had ended, thus having little historical significance to the battle that happened in Gettysburg during that hot July in 1863. Because the building was built afterwards, thus not protected by laws that protect buildings like the train station and the David Wills house. I really liked their approach to their blog. They showed that a cultural landscape can be as small as a building, while others can be as large as thousands of acres, like the battlefield adjacent to the college. I would ask the question as to how difficult it was to find information about just one building to base an entire project on Breidenbaugh Hall. 
The other landscape blog group examined is On Great Fields. This blog was superb, and really did shed light on the Gettysburg National Military Park as a cultural landscape. While the Breidenbaugh blog focused on something small, this blog focused on a large topic, much larger than the town that we explored. This group did have similarities with ours, in that they saw the clash of the historical cultural landscape with the current cultural landscape. The battlefield looks very similar to how it did in 1863, just as the buildings in the town that we focused on do. However, the purpose for the battlefield has changed, now a preserved destination for tourists, no longer owned by the farmers, but by the National Park Service. It must have been hard to deal with such a large landscape, but the group decided to pick two major parts of the battlefield to focus on, Devils Den and the Eternal Peace Monument. These two locations are very different from each other, and really provide readers with an idea of how the park has changed. The monument was added much later, but the rocks in Devils Den have been sitting there since long before the battle. This shows that the battlefield has become a memorial over time, but one that still resembles how the landscape would have looked in 1863. The question I would ask the group is why exactly did you chose the monument and Devils Den as your two areas of focus? 


Why a Cultural Landscape?

Throughout our postings, we have talked about the cultural landscape of the town of Gettysburg. But what we haven’t really talked about is why a cultural landscape is so important and effective for learning about the past. A cultural landscape is the combined effects of humans and nature on a certain section of land over time. Gettysburg’s cultural landscape has much more to do with the human side, as humans have had much more of an effect on the area (at least in recent times). By being inclusive and looking at all of the elements that go into a cultural landscape, we can learn about all the parts of the landscape, but also how they relate to each other. This is extremely helpful when anthropologists and archaeologists come across something they don’t know a lot about in the landscape. They can make inferences about it and figure out what it is or does or how it was used based on the context of the surrounding elements of the cultural landscape. For example, a button. If you or I found a button on the ground, our curiosity would be peaked and we would wonder where it came from. We might look around, but because we probably don’t know enough about our surroundings, we probably couldn’t figure out anything about it. Now if an archaeologist was looking at the remains of a house in Gettysburg, and found a button, they could probably figure out more. First of all, they have better technology, so they could test its age and make up. Then, given where it was found, they could probably figure out who or at least what kind of person used it. Its all about the circumstances. That’s what a cultural landscape provides. The context and circumstances to figure out the what, when, where, why, and how of an item. Its an invaluable tool for discovering our past.

Mapping a Cultural Landscape

Above should be an imbedded copy of a map that we made to show the different places we have been focusing on thus far in our blog. We decided to break them down into groups. The Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg Train Station, and the David Wills House are all historical locations, and the Gettysburg Hotel, Dirty Billy’s Hats, and the Lincoln Diner are all put into the category of tourism.
In case the imbed doesn’t work, below is a link to our map.