Space as place: understanding emptiness in archaeological landscapes

Author(s): Susan Johnston

Year: 2015


One of the basic tenets of the landscape approach in archaeology is that we need to think beyond the idea of discrete sites and consider instead the use of an entire landscape (or landscapes). From this perspective, places in a landscape that do not contain "sites" as understood in the conventional sense were nevertheless woven into the lives of ancient people. This means that, in order to understand the past, we need to understand both the places where people left things behind and the places where they left no obvious trace, as well as the relationships between them. This not only affects the interpretation of the past but also how archaeological data is collected. These ideas are explored in this paper with examples from public archaeology in Rhode Island and from research in Iron Age Ireland, to begin to develop ways to think about the "empty spaces" of the past.

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Cite this Record

Space as place: understanding emptiness in archaeological landscapes. Susan Johnston. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397032)