Pathways, Perception and the development of Place


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Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory.

Building on my masters work, an initial presentation having just started my PhD

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Pathways, Perception and the development of Place

  1. 1. Pathways, Perception and the development of Place Computational approaches to movement and perception of landscape in prehistory Paul Cripps Postgraduate Research Student University of Southampton
  2. 2. Background & Introduction <ul><li>Any landscape can be seen as a snapshot of the complex continuum of interaction between humans and their environment </li></ul><ul><li>The formation of landscapes, particularly significant places within them, can therefore be seen as a function of this interaction </li></ul><ul><li>This interaction has at its core the notions of movement and perception, humans being highly visually attuned, mobile actors </li></ul>
  3. 3. Landscape studies & visibility analysis to date <ul><li>Landscape interpretation comprises functional aspects (eg Renfrew) and phenomenological aspects (eg Tilley, Thomas) </li></ul><ul><li>Complementary rather than bipolar </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility analysis fuses these aspects and has been used successfully to analyse visual characteristics of landscape built up from the point of view of individual human actors </li></ul><ul><li>eg Exon, Gaffney, Woodward & Yorston (2000); investigated intervisibility of sites around Stonehenge </li></ul><ul><li>eg Wheatley (1995); looked at intervisibility of long barrows around Avebury and Stonehenge </li></ul><ul><li>eg Llobera; looked at total visual characteristics of landscape </li></ul>
  4. 4. Approximations of the situation <ul><li>Visibility analysis can only ever provide an approximation of the situation </li></ul><ul><li>Better approximations can be achieved by improving the theoretical model used and/or the source data </li></ul><ul><li>A simple binary viewshed can be seen as a starting point illustrating a single static view but can also be used as the input to: </li></ul><ul><li>Cumulative, Fuzzy and Dynamic viewshed techniques used to give an improved approximation the situation </li></ul>
  5. 5. Approximations of the situation <ul><li>But this is still only part of the story! </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility analysis dependent on a purely mathematical approach using Line-Of-Sight vectors </li></ul><ul><li>What about other factors…? </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetation has a dramatic effect on visibility, as does weather, colour, relative position and lighting </li></ul><ul><li>Static viewpoints only give one view, often biased by the choice of archaeological sites as input locations </li></ul>
  6. 6. Moving and seeing <ul><li>So visibility analyses to date, while successful, have for the most part, ignored effects of movement and perception </li></ul><ul><li>While there may be significance in particular static viewsheds, what about humans as dynamic agents, moving through, seeing and interacting with the landscape around them…? </li></ul><ul><li>This investigation will draw on theoretical discourses and make use of the concept of visibility as a means to investigate this cultural continuum in terms of movement and perception </li></ul><ul><li>Hence, inferences regarding site location, relative chronology and functional aspects may be made </li></ul>
  7. 7. Perception <ul><li>For the purposes of this investigation, a simplified perceptual model is used: </li></ul><ul><li>Based on visibility and factors influencing visibility alone eg effects of colour, lighting, relative position, environmental factors, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Other senses (aural, haptic, etc) are currently ignored </li></ul>
  8. 8. Movement <ul><li>Humans are dynamic agents capable of moving and interacting with their environment </li></ul><ul><li>It is through such movements and interactions an understanding of landscape is constructed </li></ul><ul><li>This understanding is incorporated back into the landscape continuum by means of human action eg constructing/destruction of monuments, reserving ‘special’ places, cultural practices, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Movement is therefore an important factor in the way humans come to understand the world around them </li></ul>
  9. 9. An integrated approach <ul><li>A holistic approach needed </li></ul><ul><li>GIS cannot adequetely account for the factors previously mentioned </li></ul><ul><li>3D technologies do not have the sort of anaytical functions found in GIS </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, make use of analytical 2D GIS and image analysis supported and qualified by 3D visualisation tools </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate rich spatial data; terrain models, lighting/atmospheric models, environmental evidence, reconstructed archaeological features and interpretations (eg Neolithic neon) </li></ul>
  10. 10. An integrated system GIS database (ArcINFO) 3D visualisation (Vue Infinite v5) 2D spatial analysis (ArcINFO) Rendered views Animations Viewsheds (simple, binary) Viewsheds (complex, compound) Dynamic interaction (gaming engine tbc) Image Analysis (analytical gfx package tbc) Uni-directional data flow Bi-directional data flow Interface interaction
  11. 11. Next steps <ul><li>This investigation is still very much work in progress (6 months into three year programme) </li></ul><ul><li>System components to be integrated and tested (due late 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed investigations of study areas to follow (scheduled for 2006), including fieldwork to validate results </li></ul>