This is hardly a scientific test, but…

…the following ‘word clouds’ give a quick idea of the contents of some of my datasets. Wordle is an app that generates such clouds: the relevant text is fed into the app and the outcome is a nebulous collection of words that condense in such a way that the most important or frequently used keywords are rendered most eye-catching in the final cloud. So, if I was to round up all the records from the Historic Environment Record database that refer to prehistoric sites, features and finds… I would end up with a cloud like the black one below. It’s interesting that the word ‘field’ features comparatively prominently in this cloud, giving an indication of the importance of the field systems among the other recorded prehistoric sites. It is also somewhat telling that, when the text of the records relating to the prehistoric field systems alone is used (bottom), ‘unknown’ is one of the larger words.

Fig. 3 Word cloud representing the contents of the ‘prehistoric’ HER records. ‘Field’ appears centre-bottom, right and centre.

Word cloud representing the contents of the ‘prehistoric’ HER records. ‘Field’ appears centre-bottom, right and centre.

Word cloud representing the contents of the ‘prehistoric field system’ records from the HER. Note the relative prominence of the keyword ‘unknown’!

Word cloud representing the contents of the ‘prehistoric field system’ records from the HER. Note the relative prominence of the keyword ‘unknown’!

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