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

4.5 Rather than results...

My intent here was not to present an archaeological interpretation of a late medieval landscape, but rather to illustrate the process of building a soundscape and to discuss its rationale and potential. However, here are some tentative thoughts about the late medieval landscape of Polhograjsko hribovje that can serve as food for thought and points of departure for future research.

Apart from the visual domination of churches, bell ringing was one of the key marks of human and Christian presence in the landscape. Ringing was medium of information; it bore witness to daily and important events, such as masses, holidays, deaths and dangers. Church bell ringing served as an acoustic link between communities. Sound signals from one church penetrated others and their acoustic horizons overlapped. The importance of their signalling function diminished, but they still act as a reminder of the various ways in which separate communities were related. Long term it served as a reference that choreographed and structured activities within their acoustic horizons. Daily, weekly and annual schedules of bell ringing created a temporality within the Polhograjsko hribovje landscape. Church bell ringing helped to create community identity. Each community recognised the sound of their church bell and competed with others in loudness and harmony of bell ringing. It was a medium of power, through which the Church ideologically dominated the landscape, as it could be heard where and when churches could not be seen. There are many Slovenian folk tales about pagan rituals and creatures that have power only outside the acoustic horizon of church bells.

Thus the establishment of church bell soundmarks can be understood in terms of Christianisation of wild, pagan, untamed and potentially dangerous landscapes, which symbolically opened the door for colonisation. It set reference points which structured the process of colonisation.

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

© Internet Archaeology URL: http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue16/6/45.html
Last updated: Thur Nov 11 2004