Several years ago I heard author Tom Wessels speak about his (then) new book Reading the Forested Landscape. Anyone who has ever wandered across a landscape can't help but process the evidence at hand and try to decode the history of the place. RFL was focused on the forests of New England, but the ideas he outlined were universal to any terrain.
Imagine my delight when I saw the companion field guide at the library, Forest Forensics. In this volume Wessels provides a method - similar to a plant identification key - to help the reader understand the land use history by reading the assorted clues that are in view.
Again, there is a New England focus here, but the techniques are useful anywhere. If you get a chance, get a hold of one of these books. Reading the land can be just as compelling as any book.