Accessibility statement

Martina Tenzer

Research project

People and Places: Social Landscape Characterisation for inclusive and sustainable heritage management


John Schofield

Julian D Richards



White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH) AHRC competition studentship

Summary of research project

Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) was developed by English Heritage (now Historic England) in the 1990s as one tool within a framework of methods to support various approaches to decision-making in historic landscape management and place-based planning. Such decisions were traditionally based on a canon of rigid values that were initially understood as inherent in the material fabric. However, during the ‘cultural turn’ from the mid-20th century, a paradigm shift introduced social values and more democratic public participation models. The Council of Europe’s Conventions ( Florence 2000, Faro 2005) emphasised the importance of perception, everyday landscapes, and communal and community values, based on beliefs, attachments, experiences, traditions, family history and folklore.

Several projects have successfully included the local population in decisions on change and development increasing community resilience, quality of life and sustainable development. However, these projects were usually initiated by academic researchers, supported by technology and know-how of experts in a reactive approach; and, being based on a complex methodology, not replicable for local authorities within the local planning process’ budget and time constraints.

This research aims to develop a practical and proactive way to include social values, which are inherently challenging to map due to the qualitative, subjective nature of these ‘soft’ data, into HLC maps. A mixed-method approach will utilise digital and online tools complemented by in-depth interviewing. The resulting map will provide local decision-makers with background information on what matters most to people in their everyday landscapes, and foster a sense of place, belonging and identity.


I studied Prehistory, Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Heidelberg in Germany with a keen interest in excavation techniques and the Roman period. My Master’s dissertation explored the excavation of an early Gallo-Roman temple based on site plans and artefacts.

A two-year sabbatical brought me to South Korea, where I studied the Korean language and culture. My time in Korea was an extraordinary experience of Buddhist religion and temple culture and discovering intriguing early relationships between early Korean history and western cultures, such as the evidence of rare Roman glass and the global phenomenon of burial mounts.

Relocated to the UK, I worked for seven years as a field archaeologist and supervisor in commercial archaeology. During this time, I developed a research interest in landscapes, GIS and remote sensing and decided to return to academia alongside my work. I completed a part-time MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology at the University of Oxford. In my dissertation, I explored the time-depth in wider landscapes based on aerial photography and lidar data in partnership with Historic England and created a method of temporal GIS.

As a Post Graduate researcher in Cultural Heritage Management, I am currently exploring place attachment of communities and methods and tools for rapid data collection. In my analysis, I focus on developing automated processes using Python and the Natural Language Toolkit for rapid data processing as an alternative to the time-consuming manual, qualitative analysis, which is widely applied in current research in humanities.

My research interest is in landscapes, GIS and mapping, and place attachment theory. But also in the relationship between Posthumanism and climate change, and opportunities for heritage to counteract this development. Currently, I explore the application of GIS mapping for wider audiences and public engagement. A prospective research project will include the distribution of female Anglo-Saxon Saints in England and producing an interactive web map as a means for immersive storytelling.


Publications and Awards


Tenzer, M. 2022 Tweets in the Peak: Twitter Analysis - the impact of Covid-19 on cultural landscapes, Internet Archaeology 59.

Tenzer, M., & Schofield, J. (2023). Using Topic Modelling to Reassess Heritage Values from a People-centred Perspective: Applications from the North of England. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 1-22. doi:10.1017/S0959774323000203 

Tenzer, M., et al. (2023). Debating AI in Archaeology: Applications, Implications, and Ethical Considerations. SocArXiv. doi:10.31235/

Tenzer, M, and Schofield J. (2023b). “People and Places: Using Topic Modelling to Identify Reasons for Place Attachment – Case Studies from the North of England.” [Manuscript in Review].
Tenzer, M. (2023). Social Landscape Characterisation: a people-centred, place-based approach to inclusive and transparent heritage and landscape management [Manuscript in preparation].

Public Outreach Projects:

"Venerated Women - Mapping Anglo-Saxon Female Saints across Britain", WRoCAH REP project

"People and Places - self-guided walks through the hiStories of Peak District residents and Sheffielders", WRoCAH KEP project

Teaching and Impact


Academic year 2021 - 2022:

  • Themes in Historical Archaeology - Romans

Academic year 2022-2023:

  • Themes in Historical Archaeology - Romans

Conference organisation:

  • CIfA Conference Bath 2022. "More than meets the eye:Understanding the social values of archaeology and heritage through people-centred methods" (online - session organiser, convener and presenter).
  • International Symposium "AI and ethics in academic research" 2023 (online webinar - webinar organiser, facilitator, presenter and discussion panel member).

Martina Tenzer

Contact details

Martina Tenzer
Research Student
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: (44) 1904 433931