Fantasy mapping can use real world examples to create more plausible and predictable settings. In the real world, there is a practical reason why something is built the way it is. This is usually because it is developed from a tried and tested idea that actually works. Whether you need a plan for a large building or an overview of a community, adapting something from history is a useful way to develop a fantasy region, create a local history and generate adventure seeds.
"Merton Priory, situated on the banks of the River Wandle in Surrey, was one of the largest and most influential monasteries in southern Britain. Apart from one engraving of a chapel in 1800 and the survival of parts of the precinct wall, nothing was known of its exact location until the early 20th century."
David Saxby, Merton Priory, Museum of London Archaeology Service.
In 1914, this 12th century arch was discovered during a demolition.
This was a great excuse to dig some holes.
The photo above shows the Chapter House site viewed from the north west.
Excavations were made in the areas bordered red. Later, the site was mapped.
Meanwhile, the original arch had been restored and relocated.
For more info on this and other projects, visit http://www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk/
Merton Priory Arch illustration © Steve Luxton.
Other images © 2005 · Museum of London