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Riverscapes and Watersheds: Cultural Heritage Layers Along the River Guadalbullón (Jaén, Spain)

  • Pilar ChíasEmail author
  • Tomás Abad
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 26)

Abstract

Humboldt went beyond the old concept of landscape as a mere visual scene. The modern notion aims to find a landscape’s inner structure by means of dynamic visions provided by panoramas and itineraries. These prove to be particularly useful when applied to the analysis of riverscapes. According to Braudel, a landscape is a cultural construction in the guise of something natural, and this is particularly evident in the proposed case study. From the perspective of natural processes, the River Guadalbullón flows along a narrow valley with a variety of land forms and topographical features. From the cultural point of view, the river was the borderline between the Muslim territories and the Christian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages. They were linked by means of an ancient royal road that was recently transformed into a highway from Madrid to Málaga, thereby subjecting the landscape to considerable strain. But the narrow valley still conserves old archaeological sites that date back to the Bronze Age. The old route is still in use and dotted with lodgings, bridges and watermills as described by the travellers since the 17th century. The castles that controlled passage through the valley also survive, as do the atalayas which sent out visual signals alerting to dangers. All of them share the same space as ancient crops like oil groves, elements of vernacular architecture such as alquerías, and ancient opencast mines. This study aims to prevent the disappearance of all these structures, to avoid the extinction of species, and to preserve the memory of territory and landscape.

Keywords

Landscape Sustainable development Territory Regional planning Local identity Ancient cartography 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ArchitectureUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de Henares, MadridSpain

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