Domesticated Landscapes

Authored by: John Edward Terrell , John P. Hart

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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One of the most persistent and possibly pernicious ideas in Western thought is the distinction commonly made between things seen as natural, wild, uncultivated, and undomesticated, and things seen instead as unnatural, tamed, cultivated, and domesticated. This distinction is easy to visualize as the difference, for example, between a large field of wheat in the American Midwest and an Amazonian rain forest. The former is a landscape with all the hallmarks of domestication, including the crop itself, mechanized plowing, and the use of petroleum-derived fertilizers. In stark contrast, the latter is perceived as a landscape in a pristine state of being that has been little, if at all, changed or corrupted by human intervention to make such a seemingly wild place suitable for human settlement and land use.

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