At a Glance

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Discover historic landscapes with this guide to reading the land produced by the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

How to Read a Landscape

This site is the product of a project led by Professor William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It offers guidance for those interested in learning how to perform original research in environmental history, including how to “read” a landscape as a historical source. The site provides a number of suggestions for how students might see a landscape in different ways, ranging from “visit your landscape throughout the year” to “think about the relation between landscape and modes of production and consumption.” More specific suggestions are offered for landscapes of four types: wild environments, rural areas, cities and towns, and historical ruins.