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1.0 Introduction

Among the archaeological landscapes of southeast Europe the impressive settlement mounds, or tells, relating to long periods of village occupation during the later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, are well known. Traditionally tells have been the target for field research into this period, and excavation has sought to identify regional and temporal variations in cultural material. The manner in which these monuments have been approached, however, is insular and rarely does the discussion move to the broader spatial context. Where the analysis has looked at the wider scale, this has concerned regional distributions of monuments, expressed from a privileged, overhead map perspective, or site catchment studies into the economic potential of the surrounding land.

Recent developments in archaeological theory, which have promoted the apprehension of archaeological sites as active, situated features within a landscape context, have made little impact on the study of tells in southeast Europe. The few examples that have taken such an approach have not been supported by dedicated field research.

The present study uses the formal environment of the GIS to investigate landscape visibility from tell settlements within a contemporary theoretical framework. Through the use of viewshed analysis techniques to simulate the experience of the embodied, viewing subject, tell-based visibility can be visualised, disseminated and measured. By relating tell settlements to their surrounding landscape through the use of visibility tools, a new type of vocabulary is introduced to tell research. This perspective allows us to ask new questions of the case study data, and to reassess our understanding of the spatial distribution of these enigmatic occupation sites.

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Last updated: Thur Nov 11 2004