(National Service for Archaeology, The Netherlands)

Archaeological data gives us a narrow window on the environment people lived in: only the small areas excavated give an insight of the landscape of the past. Historical research widens this vies, but still is limited since a lot of the ordinary every day lives of common people is not recorded. In order to get a better picture of the landscape of the past, influencing and (partly) formed by the people living in it we should turn to more sources.
One of those sources is the way people described their surroundings, but most of it is not recorded contemporary. But people still ‘remember’ their old surroundings: folk lore and stories tell us a great deal on the environment people of old lived in. And in old toponyms there is a great source of (sometimes hidden) information on land-use, nature and soil type. But how can we incorporate this intangible heritage into modern, computerised research? In this paper I will give some examples of using this ‘new’ form of basic data in a GIS.

Keywords: landscape archaeology, biography of landscapes, names and stories in a GIS