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1.3 Landscapes

Spatial analysis tends to view landscape as an inert space, comprising such characteristics as elevation, slope, aspect, water and soil. In fact, there is 'no explicit explanatory component to these models' (Church et al. 2000, 137), and the resultant interpretation tends to be environmentally and economically deterministic (Gaffney 1995, 375). Church et al. go on to extend this definition when they characterise landscape as 'mosaics of temporally and spatially dynamic resource patches in which ecological, geomorphological and cultural systems operate at various scales' (2000, 146).

However, this emphasis on physical space is different from the definitions by contextual archaeologists. Ingold (1993, 154) states that 'through living in it, the landscape becomes a part of us, just as we are a part of it in a landscape, each component enfolds within its essence the totality of its relations with each and every other'. Whereas Gosden and Head assert that landscapes 'are shaped by human action they are also the shapers of human action encouraging and constraining various forms of land use and inter-regional connections' (1994, 114).

It is notable from this discussion that while some regard landscape as a determinant of human action, others view it in a more inclusive dynamic fashion, with physical, social and historical elements being considered important in the interrelationship between people and the land (Fig. 2).

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