Sequent Occupance

Sequent occupance is a model of landscape change that was widely adopted by American geographers from the 1930s through the 1950s. It views the landscape as a series of superimposed patterns accumulating as culturally distinct ways of life (modes of occupance) that leave their imprint on the land. Each mode is hypothesized to rework the prehuman landscape and earlier cultural layers in distinctive ways, leaving traces visible in the present landscape. The term was introduced by Derwent Whittlesey in 1929. The word occupance was in use, denoting the whole complex of human interactions with the land, to which Whittlesey added the idea of a succession of discrete historical layers. In his original paper, he offered as an exemplar a hypothetical small area of New England ...

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