Geography word of the week: Palimpsest

  • Dec 01, 2015
  • 108 words
  • 1 minutes
Expand Image


While palimpsest often refers to a writing material on which the original script has been erased (though not completely) and written over again, in geography, the word means a place or landscape in which something new is superimposed over traces of something preceding it.

Latin, Greek; 1655-65
From palímps?stos, meaning ‘again rubbed smooth’

In west Cornwall, England, the weathered granite bedrock gives the area its classic rough-hewn look. It also birthed a booming tin mining business. This interplay between human activity and the physical terrain manifests a palimpsest landscape that evokes layers of cultural identity and geological history.


Related Content

Climate strike Victoria BC


Why Canada should recognize its citizens’ environmental rights

David Boyd, a Canadian environmental lawyer and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, reveals how recognizing the human right to a healthy environment can spur positive action for the planet

  • 1444 words
  • 6 minutes


Meet the 2015 Canadian Geographic Challenge participants

  • 1691 words
  • 7 minutes

People & Culture

Kahkiihtwaam ee-pee-kiiweehtataahk: Bringing it back home again

The story of how a critically endangered Indigenous language can be saved

  • 6310 words
  • 26 minutes
Team Canada for International Geography Olympiad 2019


Team Canada ready to compete in the 2019 International Geography Olympiad

Four high school geography students are preparing to leave for Hong Kong, where they’ll represent Canada in a global geography competition

  • 633 words
  • 3 minutes