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12.0 Conclusion

In this article I hope to have demonstrated that a landscape scale apprehension of tells is a valuable complement to traditional studies in furthering our understanding of these enigmatic monuments. A GIS-based study of visibility is important for moving the discussion away from artefacts or floor plans, and into language relating the settlements to the landscape contexts in which they are situated. Importantly, by conducting a study of real tells in a real case study landscape, the work addresses some of the ambiguities that have developed with existing studies regarding the basic dimensionality and nature of tell visibility.

The approach has sought to replicate the visual research methods of the Phenomenological school, but in practice the analysis took place within the formal environment of the GIS. Here a tight methodology has been applied, with the same analytical procedures applied to each case-study monument. The results of this analysis are reproducible, and quantifiable.

This research has also sought to introduce novel, and more holistic ways to approach the results achieved with visibility analysis. The evidence from the study area suggests that people were habitually in visual contact with relatively small portions of the surrounding landscape, but that vision was deliberately directed to these zones, and afforded high or, at worst, medium quality of information. From a perspective that sees the act of looking as an aspect of being in the world, this suggests that tells were located to afford the occupants practical visual information from the floodplain, serving to inform on and further their personal projects within the world. Anthropological studies inform on the range of visual events occurring in a floodplain environment, and their importance for structuring social organisation. The similarity in the morphology of visibility from the tells with earlier settlement forms in the open floodplain, accords with the archaeological evidence in suggesting continuity among changing settlement fashions. Ultimately this analysis gives us an understanding of how people understood their worlds and how they were disposed towards them. In the context of southeast Europe tells, visibility analyses allows us to approach the significance of the places earmarked for the initiation of long-term building projects, giving rise to monumental tells.

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Last updated: Thur Nov 11 2004