I guess unlike USA, here in Europe a lot of features and formations in the landscape are man made. Just the fact that we have had a lot of monument building, industrial and farming cultures for thousands of years have seen to this phenomena. But there is of course great local variations here as well. Some parts where never (as far as the archaeologists know) that populated – usually areas far from water where less populated.
Here in the south of Sweden, in the region of Scania (Skåne) where I live one of the most easily found features from older times are the burial mounds (or barrows) of the bronze age – so called “tumulus” in archaeology-latin (tumuli in plural). And they can really dominate the local landscape sometimes beeing in huge numbers and often located on top of ridges so that they can be seen for miles. I think its been calculated that these mounds took some 2000 man hours to build, so one can understand that not just any any would get them, and that those men (I think that the gender part has been proven) where of great power in the society. Big men or chiefs – typical of the Scandinavian Bronze age, wich many regard as one of the most rich, complex and impressive bronze age cultures in the World. Probably far more impressive in comparison than our more famous Viking age in the late Iron age. Yeah, I know, these types of valuations are totally subjective.
Anyway, it is well known that even from the start these mounds started to erode down by unnatural reasons – meaning busy little people eroding them. But it was probably not until the late 1800s that the great erosive destruction of the mounds started for real when farming used deeper going plows and needed more and more land. Before that people probably where superstitious about the mounds and the “magic” about them and left them alone in respect and fear of them. So in some cases superstition was a good thing – for archaeologists at least.
Anyhow, the hills are greatly decimated in numbers today, but thanks to archaeological surveys a lot of traces of “lost” hills are still there. And thanks to the fantastic FREE service provided by RAÄ (Riksantikvarieämbetet) (A government branch working with cultural heritage) called “Fornsök“, where one can search almost all of Sweden for mapped archaeological finds, I got to learn that there where several of these burial mounds around my neighbourhood actually. Today some of them are still visible and preserved, but most are just known by their name on the map and small elevations on the ground.
Fig 1. Fornsök map of north western parts of the city of Lund called Gunnesbo where I live. Here all archaeological finds are marked with an “R”. Blue areas indicate larger discoverys like for example so called fossilized farmland. Clicking the “R” (on Fornsök) gives you a window with the original archaeological report. The red rings (made by me) indicate tumuli. Existing ones or just the remains. The one with the green ring is seen in photo below and is well preserved.
Fig 2. This tumulus in the center of Gunnesbo has three used names in the historical text. Its called Kongshögen (Kings mound) Räfshögen (Fox Mound) or Bålshögen (Fire Mound).
Fig 3. This tumulus I took a photo of just yesterday from the highway north of Lund near Gårdstånga and is called Ulshög (or Utshög) according to Fornsök. Just to give you another example of these common man made features in the Scanian landscape – and that Fornsök can aid you with most of them.