Chapter 4
Human environment elective
Settlement: a place where people live. Settlements vary in
size, location and functions.
Site: the piece of land a settlement is built on. Physical
factors often determine the location of a settlement as things
like slope, water supply, defence, building materials and
resources often were and are considered.
By examining the land of
an area you can explain
why or why not this site is
suitable for settlement
Situation: this is when you describe the settlement in relation
to the surrounding lands and other towns.
The land around a settlement is the area the settlement might
expand into and is important to recognise positive and
negative factors in the situation.
Drainage: water supply is vital but the
land must be well drained (fear of
Soil quality: Is the surrounding land
fertile for crops
Altitude: lowland areas are easier to
build upon and farm in contrast to
exposed highland areas.
Aspect: the direction an area is in can
see an increase in sunshine hours,
temperatures and less rainfall.
Amount of people per km2 Spread of people across
an area
• Dispersed / Random
• Clustered / Nucleated
• Linear / Ribbon
• Absent / None
2/3 details on why and when each type of pattern occurred
•Early settlers wanted a water supply so chose sites beside a
water (river, sea)
•Early invaders chose river / coastal sites for defence and
ease of escape
•Early Industrial revolution, factory owners chose sites beside
water for energy supplies
•They also chose sites beside resources such as coal and
iron ore
•Recently, government policies determine the site of new
towns (Adamstown, Shannon)
•Settled upland areas offer some kind of natural defence,
shelter and a sunnier aspect and are not prone to flooding
•Dry point settlement were established above the regular
flood levels along rivers
•Routeways through mountains led to the development of
settlements at the meeting place (focus) of all routes
7000BC – Old Stone Age
• Middens (ancient rubbish heap)
•Nomadic hunter-gathers
No fixed home territory
Wandered the landscape in
search of fruits and animals
•Stone weapons and tools which were
found by archaeologists
•Remains of food found in middens
showing what they ate and cooked
3500BC – New Stone Age
(Neolithic) settlement
Mainly tombs: Megalithic tombs, barrows, portal dolmens,
passage graves and court cairns, stone circles, standing
stones, rock art, earthworks, fulacht fia
•Cultivated wild grasses and kept animals = Ireland’s 1st
•Built burial chambers on high places in the landscape (hill)
to remember their dead
•Tombs found on fertile landscapes, close to water supply
and at dry points above a river
•Sheer size of tombs shows the skill used in handling huge
stones and boulders
•Little evidence of houses but thought to have been tentlike
structures with animal skin stretched over curved branches
•Understood sun and seasons (Newgrange) and aligned
tombs to the rising sun
2000BC – Bronze Age settlement
Copper mines, barrows, cist graves and
wedge tombs
•Much smaller graves
•Their tombs (cist and wedge tombs)
were buried in small barrows or stone
•Found mainly on low-lying land
•Many tombs found close to copper
mines which was needed for making
bronze and reflected use of resources
Celtic Settlement
Mainly homes: Ring forts, promontory forts,
hill forts and crannogs, barrows
•Isolated dwellings across countryside
•Used landscape for shelter, farming and dry
•Homes were built on defensive sites (hillltops,
cliff edges and lakes)
•Ring forts built of earth and stone
•Earthern ringforts (raths) in Ireland east and
stone ringforts ( dun/caiseal) in ireland west
where there is less soil
•Crannogs main settlement in lakes and poorly
drained areas of the midlands
•Barrows built as burial places
Mainly religious sites: Holy wells, cross-inscribed stones,
round towers, high crosses, monasteries, churches, graveyards
•Lived near religious sites
•Sites chosen were isolated for peaceful prayer and defence
•Location of church often liked to an important existing well
•Houses built of wattle and daub (interwoven tree stems
packed with mud) and enclosed with circular fences or
•Crosses carved on Stone Age standing stones. Shown as
cross-inscribed stones
•Monasteries and round towers were important and social
Old Stone Age
New Age
Bronze Age Settlement
Iron Age/Celtic Settlement
Early Christian Settlement
800 / 1000AD
1100 / 1500
Medieval / Norman era
1500 / 1700
Plantation era
1700 / 1800
Georgian settlements
1900 / 2000+
Industrial – Resort – Dormitory – New Towns
To protect the future of rural Irish society
2007 -2013
Investment: €183.7 billion
1. Transport links (rural to urban)
2. Support rural-based industries
3. Village renewal (make villages more attractive to live in)
4. Boost tourism in rural areas
5. Improve water supplies
6. Provide education and training schemes
Each county in Ireland has its own development plan
to control urban and rural settlement.
The plan includes lists of committees, organisations,
agencies and groups who deal with local concerns and
Functions are the
services and
activities that an
urban area
provides for its
residents and
people of the
surrounding areas
A central place is a town which provides goods and
services for the people who live in and around the town.
Threshold: The population needed to keep a
services in business
Range: The maximum distance people will travel
for a product or service
Frequency of demand: How often a service is
Rank order: a range of cheap daily items (milk,
bread etc) to expensive and rare goods (car, yacht
Urban settlements are grouped
according to their size and the number
of functions they have.
Basically this is a ranking system from
smallest to largest. It makes sense that the
larger the urban area….the more functions
the city will have….supply and demand.

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