Pathways to a Panoramic Past: A Brief History of Landscape Archaeology in Europe

Authored by: Timothy Darvill

Handbook of Landscape Archaeology

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781598742947
eBook ISBN: 9781315427737
Adobe ISBN: 9781315427720


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What we nowadays label landscape archaeology emerged as a distinct subdiscipline during the early 1970s. Widespread use of the term can be traced back to Mick Aston and Trevor Rowley’s book Landscape Archaeology, in which they attempted to expand the field of landscape history through the promotion of fieldwork techniques for the investigation of post-Roman landscapes (Aston and Rowley 1974). In a very real sense, the term caught the spirit of the moment, consolidating various strands of thinking about how archaeology could better connect broad notions of time and space within the prevailing processualist paradigm that had emerged out of the New Archaeology on both sides of the Atlantic in the late 1960s. Very quickly, landscape archaeology advanced beyond a methodology and became much more than simply about doing archaeology over a wide area or with an emphasis on time-depth. Embedded within the very idea of landscape archaeology right from the start was an interest in the eponymous defining concept of “landscape” itself, a matter that during the last quarter of the 20th century kept it alive and now provides the motor that powers the subject forward. Uniquely, landscape archaeology has kept pace with changing theoretical and philosophical positions over the last 30 years or so and now displays considerable heterogeneity in its practice and articulation (Darvill 1999; Lemaire 1997; Sherratt 1996).

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