Geographical Scale in Understanding Human Landscapes

Authored by: Lesley Head

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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Recent reconceptualizations of scale in geography are relevant to the theory and practice of landscape archaeology. If we want to understand past landscapes as fields of human engagement, then the way we think about scale in both space and time matters. As Raper and Livingstone (1995: 364) argued, “the way that spatio-temporal processes are studied is strongly influenced by the model of space and time that is adopted.” A large literature in geography, particularly human geography, in the last few decades has focused on the theorizing of scale. The particular context of these debates has been the economics of globalization, and the ways in which it is expressed and worked through at local, regional, and national levels. This is not to say that archaeologists have not thought about scale, but rather that they have not theorized it quite so explicitly. Further, juxtaposing discussions from very different empirical contexts to archaeological ones is a useful way to identify commonalities and differences.

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