In geography , statistics and archaeology , a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with surrounding urbanized areas. Settlements may include hamlets, villages, towns and cities . A settlement may have known historical properties such as the date or era in which it was first settled, or first settled by particular people .
In the field of geospatial predictive modeling, settlements are "a city , town , village or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".A settlement conventionally includes its constructed facilities such as roads, enclosures, field systems, boundary banks and ditches, ponds, parks and woods, wind and water mills, manor houses , moats and churches.The oldest remains that have been found of constructed dwellings are remains of huts that were made of mud and branches around 17,000 BC at the Ohalo site (now underwater ) near the edge of the Sea of Galilee . The Natufians built houses , also in the Levant, around 10,000 BC. Remains of settlements such as villages become much more common after the invention of agriculture .
Landscape history studies the form (morphology) of settlements – for example whether they are dispersed or nucleated. Urban morphology can thus be considered a special type of cultural-historical landscape studies. Settlements can be ordered by size, centrality or other factors to define a settlement hierarchy.
Geoscience Australia defines a populated place as "a named settlement with a population of 200 or more persons".The Committee for Geographical Names in Australasia used the term localities for rural areas, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics uses the term "urban centres/localities" for urban areas.