Cultural Landscape

As we’ve alluded to in previous sections, the physical and ecological elements of Putney’s landscape are inherently integrated with the cultural landscape, i.e. the historical and contemporary aspects of human enterprises in the region. Today more than 2600 people live in Putney, many clustered along the Route 5 corridor and the village centers on Sacketts and East Putney Brooks. On the whole, the hillsides are cloaked in a mantle of maturing forest, with open agricultural fields peppered throughout. Yet Putney’s landuse patterns haven’t always been this way. By looking into the past and considering historical context in conjunction with the lay of the land, we can get a sense for how and why the cultural landscape has changed. Whereas most biological functions can best be understood in cycles, human history is, for better or worse, most often portrayed in a sequential time-line. Hence, that is the pattern we will employ here, beginning first with the state’s original inhabitants – Vermont’s indigenous peoples.