Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Faculty Lecture

Understanding archaeological landscapes through non-invasive approaches

Thursday 19 September 2019
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Central Hall

Landscape archaeology

The term "landscape" comprises both physical space as well as its cognitive equivalent, with the latter referring to the concept of its dwellers. Landscape archaeology has to cope with both of these aspects of landscape. An interpretation of its meaning must be sought based on the description of its physical remains in form of archaeological and palaeo-environmental objects and structures. It is doubtful, whether this can be done based on excavation and surface-surveys alone.

At the same time, archaeological methodology is currently in the midst of a massive transformation. For the past century, archaeology has been mainly associated with digging, and excavation was seen as the primary archaeological information source. Today, this view is being challenged by the rapid development and application of a broad spectrum of non-invasive approaches, including airborne remote sensing and geophysical prospection techniques such as magnetometry and ground penetrating radar.

After investigating the relationship between archaeological prospection and excavation, the presentation will demonstrate the potential of state-of-art non-invasive prospection for landscape archaeology. Using a selected case study from Austria, it will integrate the interdisciplinary fields of archaeology, history, geology, geography, sociology, and natural sciences to interpret and understand an archaeological landscape.

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