[Back] [Forward] [Contents] [Home]

3.1 Space and topology

Tim Ingold (2000, 209-18) uses the metaphors of 'globe' and 'sphere' to distinguish two broad views of the environment. 'Lifeworld, imagined from an experiential centre, is spherical in form, whereas a world divorced from life, that is yet complete in itself, is imagined in the form of a globe' (Ingold 2000, 211).

Sound creates space by rapid fading as it propagates from its source. From the perspective of the listener, a topology of sound corresponds to a 'sphere', that surrounds the listener in its centre.

Space in the currently available GIS packages is based on the concept of an abstract, de-humanised, Cartesian space, devoid of meaning and agency. Its topology corresponds to an abstract isotropic space and consists of abstract entities of points, lines, areas or raster cells that have nothing in common with our experience of the world. It can be seen as a 'globe' that can only be observed from a distance (as a map) and is detached from the domain of lived experience. The use of a perspective, of a general idea of locating the centre of reference in a mobile individual's body is not encouraged.

Analysis aiming at a humanistic and experiential approach to past landscapes should avoid the use of distribution maps that remove perspective and encourage the creation and use of first-person centred, relative-to-perceiver routines and models. We should consider using topologies that are closer to the topology of perception, which consists of surfaces, paths, and places (Ingold 1986) that are again centred around the perceiver.

[Back] [Forward] [Contents] [Home]

© Internet Archaeology URL: http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue16/6/31.html
Last updated: Thur Nov 11 2004