The temporality of the landscape
DOI link for The temporality of the landscape
The temporality of the landscape book
I adhere to the view that social or cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology form a necessary unity – that they are all part of the same intellectual enterprise. I am not concerned here with the link with biological or ‘physical’ anthropology, but what I have to say does bear centrally on the unifying themes of archaeology and sociocultural anthropology. I want to stress two such themes, and they are closely related. First, human life is a process that involves the passage of time. Secondly, this life-process is also the process of formation of the landscapes in which people have lived. Time and landscape, then, are to my mind the essential points of topical contact between archaeology and anthropology. My purpose, in this chapter, is to bring the perspectives of archaeology and anthropology into unison through a focus on the temporality of the landscape. In particular, I believe that such a focus might enable us to move beyond the sterile opposition between the naturalistic view of the landscape as a neutral, external backdrop to human activities, and the culturalistic view that every landscape is a particular cognitive or symbolic ordering of space. I argue that we should adopt, in place of both these views, what I have called a ‘dwelling perspective’, according to which the landscape is constituted as an enduring record of – and testimony to – the lives and works of past generations who have dwelt within it, and in so doing, have left there something of themselves.