A settlement is a general term used in archaeology, geography, landscape history and other subjects for a permanent or temporary community in which people live, without being specific as to size, population or importance. A settlement can therefore range in size from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with surrounding urbanized areas. The term may include hamlets, villages, towns and cities. A UK schools curriculum requires 12-year-old pupils to understand and define the term.
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.
Settlements can be ordered by size or other factors to define a settlement hierarchy.